Panic Attack Medication
Almost everybody who suffers from panic attacks will experience similar symptoms. So why not
simply take panic attack medication to control the racing heart, upset stomach, muscular tension,
washing, and tingling in the extremities which accompany a panic attack, and be done with the whole
The world would be much simpler if it were that easy. The problem is that people
may experience anxiety for reasons other than panic attacks, including specific illnesses or as side effects of
other medications. Using a panic attack medication when the symptoms being treated are not due to panic can lead to
a host of other health issues. If you think you need panic attack medication, your first step should be to visit
your doctor and ensure that your symptoms are related to panic attacks.
You need to be completely upfront with your doctor about any medications you're
using, even if they're illegal. There are even drugs which can cause panic attacks, and your doctor needs to know
if you've been taking them. If, however, your doctor can eliminate every other cause of your symptoms, you can
begin treatment with panic attack medication.
Several varieties of panic attack medication are now available, but none of them
is considered the complete answer to panic disorder. Most doctors prescribe panic attack medication in conjunction
with cognitive or behavioral therapy. These medications will often, however, limit the frequency and severity of
panic attacks. They are extremely useful in helping people cope with their panic disorders while they are learning
the life skills which allow them to control their anxiety.
The first types of panic attack medication are the antidepressants. There are
four major families of antidepressants:
Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs)
MAO Inhibitors (MAOIs)
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
Selective Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)
TCAs are most often used to treat panic attacks accompanied by agoraphobia. The main problem with TCAs is patients usually
must wait several weeks to determine whether or not they are effective, and that by itself can be a real
anxiety-producer! According to The A to Z Of Phobias, Fears, And Anxieties, TCAs can effectively reduce the
frequency and symptoms of panic attacks in approximately 25% of the people who tolerate them. While TCAs are not
addictive, they have been associated with side effects including dry mouth.
MAO inhibitors, because they can produce more undesirable side effects than
other kinds of panic attack medication, are widely considered a last resort. They should not be used in conjunction
with TCAs, and people who take them will have to observe several dietary descriptions including the avoidance of
yogurt, yeast or meat extracts and products prepared with them, fermented or smoked meats, and large amounts of
chocolate, caffeine, or alcohol. Nardil and Eldepryl are two examples of MAOIs.
SSRIs and SNRIs
By preventing the brain’s cells from re-uptaking serotonin, SSRIs function as
mood elevators. Prozac and Zoloft are two of the best-known SSRIs. Combining an SSRI with an MAOI can cause an
overload of serotonin, so anyone with been using MAOI must be off it for at least two weeks before beginning an
SNRIs are a more recently developed class of panic attack medication, and work
as mood enhancers by blocking the brain's reuptake of both serotonin and norepinephrine. Most people taking SNRIs
begin to experience their benefits in 2 to 4 weeks, and, to avoid withdrawal, should always discontinue the
medications over a period of time. Withdrawal symptoms include headaches and nausea. SNRIs can't be combined with
The second family of panic attack medication is the benzodiazepines. Xanax and
Klonopin are examples of these drugs, and have been FDA-approved to treat panic attacks. They are controlled
substances designed for short-term use. Anyone taking them should stay away from alcohol, because benzodiazepine
medications act as sedatives. Taking them with alcohol may dangerously depress the central nervous
Benzodiazepines by themselves, while they will reduce the levels of anxiety
which can bring on a panic attack, will not prevent a panic attack itself. They are most effective in attack
prevention when combined with TCAs.
Next are the Beta Blockers, which reduce panic attack symptoms by lowering the
heart rate and blood pressure. These drugs are also used to treat hypertension and heart arrhythmia, and should be
discontinued over a period of time. Inderal is a widely prescribed Beta Blocker.
Finally, buspirone, or BuSpar, is an anti-anxiety drug which used for the
short-term reduction of panic attack symptoms, including elevated heart rate and muscular tension. People who are
using MAOIs must discontinue them for at least two weeks before starting buspirone, and people using buspirone must
avoid any products made containing grapefruit.
While finding it be a trial-and error process, the relief you’ll get when you have the correct panic attack
medication will be more than worth the effort!
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The Use of Medication?
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