Medication Management for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder pic
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Image: adaa.org

Dr. Lester Sandman, who runs a referral-based private psychiatry practice in Washington state, develops medication-based treatment plans for patients with mental illnesses. Lester Sandman, MD, has developed such plans for individuals with varying forms of anxiety disorders.

An individual with generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, experiences chronic worry that is out of proportion to the topic of concern. They may feel extremely nervous about such everyday issues as money, work, or parenting, and they report being unable to control these feelings. For such patients, anti-anxiety medications or antidepressants may be effective in achieving that control.

Many antidepressants used for anxiety are selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRI’s), which improve mood by increasing the amount of serotonin available in the brain. Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI’s) also stand out as common primary prescriptions for GAD. These drugs have an effect similar to that of an SSRI but also act on a second brain chemical.

Some patients, however, require one or more of a variety of medications, some off- label for anxiety disorders. Benzodiazepines are used for the short term, but in long term use have problems with dependence & sometimes addiction. Often there is also psychological learning & a “fear of fear cycle”. Fear of fear requires “unlearning” either through time after medication treatment or through cognitive behavioral psychotherapy. No one drug will work for all patients, and it is important to seek the advice of a qualified psychiatrist before beginning any treatment regimen.

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