Generalized anxiety disorder is often treated with medication. According to many specialists, this works best in combination with a matching therapy. However, treatment using therapy often takes a lot of time. After all, certain behavior needs to be changed.
During that time, medication can help control the condition while a patient relies on his or her therapist's treatment and waits for the positive effects of the therapy to manifest.
In this article, we'll tell you how you can alleviate the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder with medication, therapy, and making changes to your diet and lifestyle.
First of all, we will describe below three types of drugs that combat anxiety. Many of these drugs are only available with a doctor's prescription.
That is why – when considering using these anxiety-reducing drugs – it is wise and necessary to contact a medical specialist. The person can find out whether you are eligible for one or more of the medicines below against anxiety.
1. Antidepressants for an Anxiety Disorder
Both so-called “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors” (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants can effectively treat anxiety. These drugs are generally prescribed in low doses.
These medications for severe anxiety disorder can be increased over time. This depends on the efficacy and side effects. While these drugs begin to alter brain chemistry from the first dose, they can take up to 6 weeks to reach therapeutic levels in the body.
If your doctor prescribes antidepressants, you must take them long enough to notice the maximum effect. Side effects that may be linked to the use of antidepressants include nausea, dry mouth, drowsiness, weight gain, and sexual dysfunction.
2. Anti-anxiety drugs
Benzodiazepines generally start to work faster than antidepressants, but patients with anxiety and depression quickly develop a tolerance and need a higher dose over time.
In addition, both dependence and withdrawal symptoms can become a problem when the medication is stopped. Fortunately, the side effects are generally mild and usually only include drowsiness.
Benzodiazepines are most effective for patients who have not overused anxiety disorder medications in the past. They are generally only prescribed for short periods while the patient is undergoing other forms of treatment. We will come back to that later in this article.
Beta-blockers (such as “propranolol”) are normally used to treat heart disease. As well, they can help combat the symptoms of anxiety, such as sweating and an increased heart rate. In other words, beta-blockers reduce anxiety disorder symptoms.
They can be used specifically before a stressful event (such as giving an important speech). Side effects may include cold hands, fatigue, or shortness of breath.
Most anxiety disorder treatments, as previously described, do not start to work right away. It is therefore important to fully commit to treatment, to cope with setbacks, and to consult friends and family for support when needed.
Certain relaxation exercises, such as yoga and deep breathing techniques, can also be helpful. And does it appear that an anxiety disorder arises from addiction or vice versa? Then certain supplements against an addiction may help.
Anxiety can completely grip a person. Remember that during treatment you are more than just your worries and fears. When the progress feels slow, you can pick up your interest in old hobbies or relationships. They can help you overcome the lingering fear and get your life back on track.
Treating Anxiety Disorder With Therapy
It is investigated what has led to the anxiety disorder and what tools can be offered to deal with it in daily life.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a special form of psychotherapy that is especially helpful in treating anxiety. It works by confronting the person with anxiety-inducing thoughts and behaviors.
For example, if a patient is unduly concerned about her financial situation, the therapist can help prepare a detailed monthly budget to help her see what is financially feasible.
For the therapy against an anxiety disorder to work or succeed, the patient must be completely open with the therapist – even when it is difficult or embarrassing. That's why it's important to establish a relationship with a therapist you can trust.
Many people also benefit from group therapy that allows them to build relationships with others while discussing the fear in a collegial, non-judgmental environment.
Generalized anxiety disorder is most effectively treated with psychotherapy – sometimes in combination with medication – but lifestyle changes can also help relieve anxiety symptoms.
Several studies suggest that dietary changes, consistent exercise, and relaxation techniques can help relieve both the physical and mental symptoms of anxiety.
They can also help boost general mood, increase self-esteem and give patients a sense of control over their condition. In addition to psychotherapy, we will discuss some facts about supplements and nutrition against anxiety below.
Treating Anxiety Through Diet Changes
A few scientific studies have linked dietary changes to the reduction of anxiety symptoms. That's why these natural supplements for anxiety are worth trying: Chamomile: Extensive studies show that some compounds in chamomile interact with the same brain receptors as drugs like Diazepam. A cup of tea won't have the same effect as an anti-anxiety drug, but a study — conducted by the University of Pennsylvania — showed that patients with an anxiety disorder benefited significantly more from taking a chamomile supplement than a placebo. Tryptophan: Found in cheese, peanut butter, nuts, sesame seeds, oats, milk, poultry, and bananas, this nutrient is linked to the production of serotonin, which acts as a “feel-good” neurotransmitter in the brain. Increasing your intake of foods containing tryptophan can help promote a sense of peace and well-being. Protein: Eating protein for breakfast can stabilize your mood throughout the day. This is a dietary guideline that everyone should follow, but it can be especially important for those with anxiety. Keeping your blood sugar levels up with slow protein is likely to help you deal with stressful situations more easily than someone who feels weak and hungry.
As well as, several foods are best avoided if you suffer from anxiety and stress. In general, people who suffer from anxiety should avoid the following as much as possible: Caffeine: Caffeine is a stimulant and can make an already anxious person jittery and uncontrollable. It can also mimic some of the symptoms of panic attacks (such as a rapid heartbeat or excessive sweating). If you have a history of panic attacks, experiencing these symptoms again can trigger another panic attack — even if no other cause is involved. Alcohol: Some people who suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder turn to alcohol to calm them down after a rough day. But this is only a short-term solution that will likely make the problem worse in the long run. After all, alcohol can negatively affect sleep, which can disrupt the body's circadian rhythm and worsen anxiety symptoms. Overuse of sugar: Sugar, in large amounts, can have the same effect on your body as caffeine. Limiting sugar intake where possible keeps your mood at an even level.
Treating Anxiety Disorder Through Lifestyle Changes
Learning relaxation exercises (such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing techniques) can also help reduce your anxiety disorder.
Meditation can feel daunting to someone worried, but it all starts with a few minutes of calm, concentrated breathing a day. Just by meditating regularly—however briefly—you can control your fears and improve your overall outlook on life.
When practiced properly, meditation can help you:
Help relax. Sitting still for a long time and breathing steadily can lower a rapid heart rate and calm you down
Learn how to observe yourself – without judging. Many who suffer from anxiety are ashamed of their worries and fears
Learn to recognize and identify your thinking patterns. That way you will learn a lot about what upsets you and what you could do about it
Help identify and focus on tension. Some people who suffer from an anxiety disorder feel like they can't relax
Making these changes to your daily routine is unlikely to completely cure your anxiety disorder. Fortunately, it does serve as support, which means that you feel better about yourself.
In other words, these simple adjustments can help you gain more control over your Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Nevertheless, it is always advisable to contact a medical specialist. They can check for other underlying health problems.