August 2, 2019
If I’m dealing with anxiety, why do I need an antidepressant?
People often resist the idea of taking any medication, but especially one that needs to be taken daily. We are programmed to treat the immediate problem and move on, but what if that problem reoccurs more days than not? Anxiety can increase irritability and forgetfulness, decrease focus, and even lead to feelings of hopelessness. Why am I yelling at the kids again? Where are my keys? What was I doing? What’s wrong with me?
In truth, anxiety is often accompanied by depression or feelings of being too overwhelmed to cope. I recently had a patient come in after trying Celexa for four weeks. Initially, she was resistant to taking a daily medication, but her racing thoughts, irritable moods, and failing relationships were making her feel desperate for a positive change. She was amazed at the outcome. The emotions were still there as were the challenges, but she felt calmer and much more relaxed. “I wish I had tried medication years ago. My life is just easier.”
If this sounds all too familiar, then an antidepressant may help. Medication that allows us to feel our emotions without being controlled by them can bring order to the chaos. If you are exhausted from trying to juggle your day without being overwhelmed, you may be a candidate for treatment.
Medications like Xanax, classified as benzodiazepines, can help with panic disorders and situational anxiety, such as air travel. This class of drugs can be highly addictive and is not recommended for daily use. One reason for problems with dependency is the fact that Xanax can help you feel calm, but it is short acting. In a few hours, you may feel all those emotions triggering again so you reach for another pill.
Daily medications which have been proven effective for anxiety, such as Zoloft or Lexapro can help prevent this cycle by improving the way the brain functions...stopping the roller coaster before it starts.
Of course, there are possible side effects to all medications, so finding the right one is a part of the process. These medications can take weeks to reach their therapeutic potential, which is also a drawback; in many cases, it is a process that is worthwhile.
Maybe we should just rename the entire class of drugs anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication! Just understand that SSRI’s and SNRI’s do work and may be a helpful tool for you.
If you have questions or want to investigate your personal health status further, please call us at The Well Clinic. We are here to help you and answer any questions you may have.