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Benzodiazepines for the Treatment of Anxiety

Benzodiazepines for the Treatment of Anxiety

What is Anxiety

The term “anxiety disorder” refers to specific psychiatric disorders that involve extreme fear or worry, and includes generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder and panic attacks, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, selective autism, separation anxiety, and specific phobias. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are closely related to anxiety disorders, which some may experience at the same time as depression.

Anxiety disorders are real, serious medical conditions – just as real and serious as physical disorders such as heart disease or diabetes. Anxiety disorders are the most common and pervasive mental disorders in the United States.

Pathological anxiety is less commonly experienced and may arise from an anxiety disorder in the context
of a depressive or psychotic illness or from one of a number of somatic illnesses, such as hyperthyroidism.

Facts and Statistics
Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric illnesses affecting children and adults. An estimated 44 million American adults suffer from anxiety disorders. Only about one-third of those suffering from an anxiety disorder receive treatment, even though the disorders are highly treatable.

Treatment

Most patients with anxiety disorders will be best treated with cognitive–behaviour therapy and/or pharmacotherapy. Cognitive–behaviour therapy in anxiety disorders incorporates a range of verbal interventions and behaviour modification techniques with the aim of correcting habitual errors in thinking. It is based on the premise that an anxious person interprets certain situations as dangerous, causing anxiety symptoms and a desire to escape. The therapy consists of a combination of strategies to change the dysfunctional thoughts, and behavior modification techniques such as graded exposure (to feared situations) and relaxation techniques. The difficulty of this therapy in general practice is that it requires special training of the doctor and very lengthy and repeated consultations with the patient. As a result patients are advice to go in for treatment with benzodiazepines.  In most cases, benzodiazepines are recommended for the treatment of anxiety and other related disorders for the following reasons

  • Need for rapid, short-term treatment of anxiety/agitation
  • Nothing else works
  • Patient cannot tolerate side effects of other medications
  • Adjunct early in treatment

How Benzodiazepines Work Against anxiety

The benzodiazepines,you can checkout a list of some benzodiazepines effective against anxiety operate widely in the brain, affecting emotional reactions, memory, thinking, control of consciousness, muscle tone and coordination. The benzodiazepines enhance the action of the neurotransmitter, GABA(Gamma Amino Butyric Acid). Neurotransmitters are chemicals which enable the brain cells to transmit impulses from one to another. They are released from brain cells by electrical signals. Once released, the neurotransmitters signal inhibition or excitation of neighbouring brain cells which are involve in the calming effects of your brain. This calming effects are will reduce your anxiety instantly. They are quick acting. Tolerance does not develop in the anti-panic or other anxiety effects. GABA is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter. The function of GABA is to slow or calm things down. Benzodiazepines increase the efficiency of GABA, thus causing greater inhibition or calming.

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