Thursday, January 7, 2010

Panic Attack Medications - Are They Right For You?

Beat the Stress with Panic Attack Medications?

Although most of us might think that panic attacks only happen to a few people, they are actually quite common and can happen to anyone. While most of us can get frightened or scared because of the intensity of the symptoms of attacks, like increased heart rate, nausea and chills, it's easy for us to calm down without the need for panic attack medications. All we need to do sometimes is relax or let the stress out through exercise or yoga.

There are times, though, when anxiety attacks escalate in intensity and frequency and start becoming harmful to ourselves and our loved ones. When this happens, these attacks can turn into serious disorders and it's advisable to seek professional help if you start experiencing panic attacks more often and with no reason. Specialists and doctors can help alleviate the symptoms and intensity of attacks through therapy and panic attack medications.

Various medications can be prescribed to anxiety disorder sufferers to help them cope with their attacks. These drugs affect the brain to eliminate anxiety attacks altogether or to make the symptoms of attacks easier to handle. Below are three of the most popular medications that specialists prescribe to anxiety disorder patients.

1. Tricyclic Anti-depressants (TCAs). Panic attack medications work by affecting neurotransmitters in the brain. These neurotransmitters (or chemicals such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine) send signals for us to be able to move, make decisions and feel anger, joy, pain and stress. When a neurotransmitter sends its signal, it gets reabsorbed and reused (medically known as "reuptake"). Sometimes, though, there is an imbalance in the levels of these chemicals and we may experience depression or anxiety attacks. TCAs keep certain chemicals from being reuptaken, so that the brain maintains an ample amount of these neurotransmitters to stabilize a person's mood and to decrease anxiety. While TCAs help ease stress and anxiety, they can also cause dry mouth, dizziness and constipation.

2. Benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines can provide quick, instant relief from the symptoms of panic attacks and can be taken orally or injected. These drugs can be addictive, so they shouldn't be taken everyday. Benzodiazepines have a calming effect, even causing drowsiness in some people. They can also cause stomach upsets, blurred vision, confusion and weakness as side effects.

3. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). This type of medication works the same way as benzodiazepines and TCAs. With a different chemical structure, SSRIs have fewer side effects and are considered safer, thus becoming the most common panic attack medications prescribed to anxiety disorder sufferers around the world. They ease the complications and symptoms of depression, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorders and even premenstrual syndrome. The reported side effects of SSRIs include headaches, joint pains, a decrease in sexual drive, nausea and diarrhea.

It can be easy for most of us to overcome an anxiety attack but it can become a serious disorder for those who experience panic attacks more often and with greater intensity. There is help available, for anxiety disorder sufferers, such as therapy and medication, to help them live normal, stress-free lives.

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