Here is the good news about anxiety disorders: They are treatable. There are a variety of treatments for anxiety, including behavioral therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques and medication. But the question more and more patients are posing to their doctors is: Is prescription medication the best treatment option?
Anxiety is complicated to diagnose because it is often found to be a symptom of other medical conditions or a side effect of other behaviors. For example, some people react to too much caffeine by exhibiting symptoms of anxiety disorders, including, occasionally, panic attacks. Other conditions that can be accompanied by anxiety are hypoglycemia, hyperthyroid, insomnia, premenstrual syndrome and, most often, depression.
When a patient who is suffering from depression is also suffering from anxiety disorder, doctors can often see it as a good sign. In general, it means that the person has not accepted or given in to their depressed condition, and is anxious about it. To alleviate the anxiety, doctors can recommend different types of therapy, each of which can work equally well. Most doctors recommend cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps the patient first to identify the cause of his anxiety, talks him through it, and then slowly and carefully exposes him to situations which make him feel anxious and teaches him how to cope.
In addition to therapy and learned relaxation techniques, doctors will sometimes recommend prescription medication for anxiety — most often benzodiazepines like Xanax. These medications should not be taken for more than a few months at a time and should not be relied upon as a permanent treatment option. They can be highly addictive and can also produce disturbing side effects, which makes many examine them closely before agreeing to try them.
In many cases, anxiety can be treated without any medication at all. In cases where medication is recommended, there are also natural treatment options for those who are reluctant to begin a regimen that includes prescription medications. If you decide to pursue this route to anxiety relief, look for remedies that include ingredients like passion flower, which is also used to alleviate hypertension, insomnia and nervous tension. Other effective ingredients are lavender, which is one of the most popular panic attack treatments, and lemon balm, a natural anxiety treatment that also serves as a general tonic for the nervous system.
Whichever methods you employ, remember that there are many effective methods of treatment for anxiety and depression, and that patience and persistence will eventually lead you the healthy option that is best for you.
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