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Effective Medication for Panic Attacks & Panic Disorder

Effective Medication for Panic Attacks & Panic Disorder

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In this article, the most often prescribed drugs are discussed along with how they are used to treat panic disorder. It also discusses a few additional therapies that could help people with panic attacks. Keep reading to learn more.

By We Level Up FL Treatment Center | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: January 20, 2023

Difference Between Anxiety and Depression – Medication for Panic Attacks

The fact that one term denotes a single sickness while the other denotes a collection of ailments is a significant distinction between anxiety and depression.

In reality, depression is one illness. There are numerous distinct symptoms (see below). And different people may experience it very differently. However, the term “depression” only refers to one illness.

The word “anxiety” can indicate a number of different things. We all experience anxiety occasionally, and the word “anxiety” can be used to describe that feeling simply. However, when we use the word anxiety in a medical context, it actually refers to anxiety disorder.

Some less frequent conditions are included under anxiety. These include panic disorders and phobias. However, generalized anxiety disorder is the most prevalent (GAD). In the US, a generalized anxiety disorder may affect four to five out of every 100 persons. In this post, we’ll concentrate on generalized anxiety.

What is Anxiety Disorder? Medication for Panic Attacks

According to The National Institute on Mental Health, periodic anxiety is a standard component of life. When faced with a challenge at work, before a test, or before making a crucial decision, you could experience anxiety. However, anxiety disorders involve more than just passing apprehension or terror.

Anxiety and depression difference: It’s critical to get anxiety treatment as soon as possible since, for someone with an anxiety condition, the anxiety does not go away and can worsen over time. The symptoms might affect daily tasks like work performance, academic progress, and interpersonal connections. Generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and various phobia-related disorders are only a few of the several types of anxiety disorders.

Anxiety and depression difference: People with a generalized Anxiety disorder (GAD) display excessive Anxiety or worry, most days for at least 6 months, about many things such as personal health, work, social interactions, and everyday routine life circumstances. Fear and Anxiety can cause significant problems in areas of their life, such as social interactions, school, and work. 

What is Depression?

Depression (also known as Major Depressive Illness or Clinical Depression) is a common but significant mood disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. It produces severe symptoms that interfere with your ability to function on a daily basis, including sleeping, eating, and working. The signs of depression must last for at least two weeks before a diagnosis may be made.

Depression treatment is required when depressive symptoms are chronic and do not go away since some types of depression are slightly different or may arise in unusual situations.

Types of Depression

  • Persistent depressive disorder (also called dysthymia): is a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major Depression along with periods of less severe symptoms, but symptoms must last for two years to be considered a persistent depressive disorder.
  • Psychotic Depression: occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as having disturbing false fixed beliefs (delusions) or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations). The psychotic symptoms typically have a depressive “theme,” such as delusions of guilt, poverty, or illness.
  • Bipolar disorder: is different from Depression, but it is included in this list because someone with bipolar disorder experiences episodes of extremely low moods that meet the criteria for major Depression (called “Bipolar Depression”). But a person with bipolar disorder also experiences extreme high – euphoric or irritable – moods called “mania” or a less severe form called “hypomania.”
  • Postpartum Depression: is much more serious than the “baby blues” (relatively mild depressive and anxiety symptoms that typically clear within two weeks after delivery) that many women experience after giving birth. Women with postpartum Depression experience full-blown major Depression during pregnancy or after delivery (postpartum depression). The feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that accompany postpartum depression may make it difficult for these new mothers to complete daily care activities for themselves and/or their babies.
  • Seasonal affective disorder: is characterized by the onset of Depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. This Depression generally lifts during spring and summer. Winter Depression, typically accompanied by social withdrawal, increased sleep, and weight gain, predictably returns every year in seasonal affective disorder.
  • SAD Seasonal Depression (Depressed SAD): A form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is triggered by the changing of the seasons; it starts and ends about at the same periods each year. If you have SAD like the majority of people do, your symptoms begin in the fall and last through the winter, draining your energy and making you cranky. Typically, these symptoms go away in the spring and summer. SAD less frequently results in depression in the spring or early summer and clears up in the fall or winter. SAD treatment options include medications, psychotherapy, and light therapy (phototherapy).

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Anxiety Fact Sheet

Anxiety Overview

A mental health condition marked by intense feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that interfere with daily activities. Panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder are a few examples of anxiety disorders.
The inability to put aside worry, restlessness, and stress that is out of proportion to the severity of the incident are among the symptoms.
Counseling or medicine, including antidepressants, are used as forms of treatment.

Anxiety Symptoms

Behavioral: hypervigilance, irritability, or restlessness.

Cognitive: lack of concentration, racing thoughts, or unwanted thoughts.

Whole body: fatigue or sweating

Also common:  anxiety, excessive worry, angor animi, fear, insomnia, nausea, palpitations, or trembling

Anxiety Treatment

  • Support group: A place where those pursuing the same disease or objective, such as weight loss or depression, can receive counseling and exchange experiences.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: A conversation treatment that aimed to change the negative attitudes, actions, and feelings connected to psychiatric discomfort.
  • Counseling psychology: A subfield of psychology that handles issues with the self that are connected to work, school, family, and social life.
  • Anger management: To reduce destructive emotional outbursts, practice mindfulness, coping skills, and trigger avoidance.
  • Psychoeducation: Mental health education that also helps individuals feel supported, validated, and empowered
  • Family therapy: psychological counseling that improves family communication and conflict resolution.

Anxiety Statistics

It’s critical to understand the distinction between anxiety and depression. Anxiety, in its most basic form, is an excessive feeling of worry, whereas depression, in its most basic form, is an excessive feeling of worthlessness and hopelessness. It is conceivable for someone to experience depression and anxiety simultaneously.

6.8 million

GAD affects 6.8 million adults or 3.1% of the U.S. population, yet only 43.2% are receiving treatment.

Source: National Institute on Mental Health

19 million

19 million adults experience specific phobias, making it the most common anxiety disorder in America.  

Source: ADAA2020

17.3 million

Major depressive disorder affects approximately 17.3 million American adults or about 7.1% of the U.S. population aged 18 and older.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

Serotonin And Anxiety: Serotonin Anxiety

Does Low Serotonin Cause Anxiety? Anxiety And Serotonin

A wide variety of factors can contribute to anxiety. However, anxiety alters the chemistry of your brain regardless of the source. Low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin are one of the problems that many persons with anxiety tend to experience. Some people are predisposed to this genetically.

Some people have low serotonin levels as a result of food and lifestyle changes. Others have low serotonin levels as a result of altered brain serotonin production and usage due to anxiety. The causes and natural remedies for serotonin shortage are discussed here.

How Does Serotonin Affect Anxiety? Low Serotonin Anxiety

Although some persons do have a hereditary predisposition to low serotonin levels, serotonin deficiency is typically not the main component in the development of anxiety disorders.

A chemical known as serotonin is believed to elevate mood and induce joy. Other parts of the body, such as the intestines, are also affected.

The role of serotonin in anxiety: since anxiety and depression frequently occur together, serotonin insufficiency shares many of these conditions’ core symptoms. Keep in mind that it’s not always obvious which came first. Studies have unequivocally demonstrated that some individuals are more susceptible to serotonin deprivation. Research has unequivocally demonstrated that low serotonin levels can also be inherited.

Can Too Much Serotonin Cause Anxiety? Anxiety Serotonin

Does Increased Serotonin Cause Anxiety? When the neurotransmitter serotonin is present in excess in someone’s neurological system, serotonin syndrome develops. The signs and symptoms of the illness often fall into three groups: altered state of mind (irritability, agitation, restlessness, and anxiety)

Does Serotonin Cause Anxiety?

Serotonin affects learning, memory, and happiness in addition to controlling body temperature, sleep, appetite, and sexual activity in your body. Serotonin deficiency is thought to contribute to mania, anxiety, sadness, and other illnesses.

Does Serotonin Help With Anxiety?

The chemical serotonin is essential for elevating mood and lowering anxiety. Low serotonin levels have been linked with an increase in despair, anxiety, and other mental health issues, according to research. Serotonin benefits digestion, sleep, and bone health in addition to mental well-being.

Can Low Serotonin Cause Anxiety?

Serotonin influences learning, memory, and happiness as well as controlling body temperature, sleep, sexual behavior, and appetite in your body. Serotonin deficiency is thought to contribute to several illnesses such as mania, anxiety, and depression.

Panic Attack Medication: Best Medication For Panic Attacks And Anxiety

Generalized anxiety disorder and depression can both have emotional and physical symptoms.
Generalized anxiety disorder and depression can both have emotional and physical symptoms.

Medication for Panic Attacks: One of the most common and successful treatments for panic disorder, panic episodes, and agoraphobia is medication. Your doctor may recommend medication to address co-occurring illnesses like depression as well as to lessen the frequency and severity of panic attacks.

Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications make up the majority of treatments for panic disorder.

In this article, the most often prescribed drugs are discussed along with how they are used to treat panic disorder. It also discusses a few additional therapies that could help people with panic attacks.

Medication For Panic Attacks

Psychotherapy and medication may both be used in the treatment of panic disorder. The symptoms of panic and anxiety may occasionally be treated with more than one drug.

For instance, prescribing an antidepressant may help decrease the frequency of panic symptoms, while using benzodiazepines on an as-needed basis may assist decrease the intensity of manic episodes.

Panic disorder can also be successfully treated with psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, and panic-focused psychodynamic psychotherapy are among the psychotherapy modalities that may be beneficial (PFPP).

What Is The Best Medication For Panic Attacks?

Best Medication For Panic Attacks: Antidepressant Medications

Antidepressants were largely used to treat mood disorders when they were initially launched in the 1950s. However, it was later found that these drugs actually work to minimize anxiety, panic symptoms, and the severity and frequency of panic episodes.

Nowadays, antidepressants are frequently used to treat a variety of anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder and agoraphobia.

Neurotransmitters, also known as chemical messengers in the brain, are impacted by antidepressants. It is believed that a wide variety of these chemical messengers are used by brain cells to communicate with one another.

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Fast Acting Medication For Panic Attacks: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) Anxiety Medication Serotonin

Antidepressants from the popular class of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are frequently given to treat depression and anxiety symptoms. In the brain, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is produced naturally.

These drugs function by selectively affecting serotonin and by inhibiting the brain’s nerve cells from reabsorbing serotonin. SSRIs can lower anxiety and elevate mood by regulating serotonin function.

Typical SSRIs consist of:

  • Celexa (citalopram)
  • Paxil (paroxetine)
  • Prozac (fluoxetine)
  • Zoloft (sertraline)

Medications For Panic Attacks: Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) also block the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in concentration and alertness. 

Common SNRIs include:

  • Cymbalta (duloxetine)
  • Effexor XR (venlafaxine)

Research has found that SNRIs are effective in treating anxiety disorders, particularly social anxiety disorder. Side effects can occur while taking SNRIs and may include fatigue, insomnia, changes in appetite, and changes in sexual function.

Best Medication For Anxiety And Panic Attacks: Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs)

Since the introduction of SSRIs, tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) have lost some of their appeal as treatments for anxiety and mood disorders. TCAs, however, can still be a useful medical choice for those with anxiety problems.

TCAs function similarly to SSRIs by preventing the reuptake of the chemical messenger serotonin. Norepinephrine is another neurotransmitter in the brain that is frequently linked to the fight-or-flight stress response, and many TCAs also inhibit its reuptake.

Typical TCAs consist of:

  • Adapin, Sinequan (doxepin)
  • Asendin (amoxapine)
  • Elavil (amitriptyline)
  • Norpramin (desipramine)
  • Pamelor (nortriptyline)
  • Surmontil (trimipramine)
  • Tofranil (imipramine)
  • Vivactil (protriptyline)

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Medication For Panic Attack: Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)

One of the first antidepressants to be successfully produced, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are used to treat mood and anxiety disorders. The action of the enzyme monoamine oxidase is inhibited by MAOIs.

Neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine are broken down by this enzyme. Numerous processes, including mobility, physical energy levels, and motivational feelings, are regulated by dopamine.

Typical MAOIs are:

  • Emsam (selegiline)
  • Nardil (phenelzine)
  • Marplan (isocarboxazid)
  • Parnate (tranylcypromine)
One of the first antidepressants to be successfully produced, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are used to treat mood and anxiety disorders.
One of the first antidepressants to be successfully produced, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are used to treat mood and anxiety disorders.

Medications For Panic Attack: Anti-Anxiety Medications

Anti-anxiety drugs are often recommended to treat panic symptoms since they work quickly. These drugs relax the central nervous system, which lessens panic episodes’ intensity and makes a person feel calmer. Anti-anxiety drugs are frequently recommended to treat panic disorder due to their calming effects and speedy relief.

Panic Attacks Medication: Benzodiazepines

The most popular class of anti-anxiety drugs for panic disorder is benzodiazepines. These drugs, which have a sedative effect, can swiftly lessen panic attack symptoms and promote a more calm condition.

By focusing on the brain’s gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors, benzodiazepines slow down the central nervous system and promote relaxation. Benzodiazepines have been demonstrated to safely and efficiently treat panic disorder despite the risks and adverse effects of these drugs.

among the popular benzodiazepines are:

  • Ativan (lorazepam)
  • Klonopin (clonazepam)
  • Librium (chlordiazepoxide)
  • Valium (diazepam)
  • Xanax (alprazolam)

Benzodiazepines can be habit-forming, so they are typically prescribed for short-term relief of anxiety symptoms.

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Panic Attack Medications: Alternative Treatment Options

Ask your doctor if there are any alternative therapies for anxiety and panic attacks. These are some of the treatments they might talk to you about.

Panic Attack Treatment Without Medication: Counseling and psychotherapy

Talking therapies for anxiety and panic disorders can involve the following, often in combination.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This type of therapy can help you see things that worry you differently. A counselor can help you develop strategies for managing triggers when they arise.
  • Cognitive therapy: This can help you pinpoint, reframe, and neutralize the unhelpful thoughts that often underlie an anxiety disorder.
  • Exposure therapy: This form of therapy involves controlled exposure to situations that trigger fear and anxiety, which can help you learn to confront those fears in a new way.
  • Relaxation techniques: These include breathing exercises, guided imagery, progressive relaxation, biofeedback, and autogenic training. A doctor can talk you through some of these.

A doctor may suggest attending individual sessions, group sessions, or a combination of the two.

Get a free mental health assessment and find out what treatment options are most suitable for you. Call to learn more. Please note that the We Level Up treatment center offers other complementary therapies excluding biofeedback, at this time. Please call to find out more about our therapy programs.

Medication For Anxiety And Panic Attacks

Examples of medications your doctor may prescribe are:

  • Best Medication For Anxiety And Panic Attacks, Antidepressants: These medications include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).
  • Medication For Anxiety And Panic Attacks, Beta-blockers: These medications can help manage certain physical symptoms, like a rapid heart rate.
  • Best Medicine for Anxiety and Panic Attacks, Anti-anxiety drugs: This includes benzodiazepines, a sedative medication that can suppress symptoms quickly.

All these drugs can have adverse effects. SSRIs and SNRIs are for long-term use, and it can take time to feel the effects. Benzodiazepines are for short-term use only, as there is a high risk of dependence. Oftentimes, a doctor will recommend a combination of treatments. They may also need to alter their treatment plan over time.

Medication Panic Attacks: Natural Remedies

Find out what you can do to both avoid and treat anxiety and panic-related symptoms by speaking with a doctor or mental health expert. You can feel more in control if you have a treatment plan and follow it when an incident occurs.

Try the following if you feel an anxiety or panic attack coming on:

  • Breathe slowly and deeply, paying close attention to each inhalation and exhalation as your breath starts to speed. As you breathe in, you’ll feel the air entering your stomach. As you exhale, count backward from four. Continue until your breathing becomes more relaxed.
  • If you’ve ever had an anxiety or panic attack, you know how difficult it may be to recognize and accept what you’re going through. Remind yourself that you’ll be fine and that the symptoms will pass.
  • Become more mindful: Anxiety and panic disorders are increasingly being treated with mindfulness-based therapies. The practice of mindfulness can assist you in keeping your thoughts on the here and now. By deliberately monitoring your thoughts and sensations without responding to them, you can cultivate mindfulness.
  • Utilize relaxing methods: Muscle relaxation, aromatherapy, and guided imagery are all examples of relaxation treatments. Try relaxing activities if you’re suffering from anxiety or panic attack symptoms. Take a bath, close your eyes, or apply lavender, which has a calming effect.

Panic Attack Treatment Medication: CBD

While cannabidiol (CBD) can be used to treat anxiety, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has a reputation for being euphoric and anxiety-inducing. Numerous research has confirmed the beneficial benefits CBD can have on numerous anxiety problems, which lends evidence to this advantage.

Over The Counter Panic Attack Medication: Natural Herbs

  • Kava
  • Passionflower
  • Valerian
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Lemon balm

Panic Attack Medication List: Vitamins & Supplements

  • Background
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B complex
  • Magnesium
  • L-theanine
  • Multivitamins
  • Omega-3
  • Valerian root

Best Medication For Panic Attack: Essential Oil Blends

Calm & focus diffuser blend

  • 3 drops rosemary essential oil.
  • 2 drops of lavender essential oil.
  • 2 drops of wild orange essential oil.
  • 1 drop peppermint or spearmint essential oil.

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The exact definition of dual diagnosis (also referred to as co-occurring disorders) can differ between institutions.  However, it is generally described as the specific treatment of someone who has been diagnosed with a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder at the same time. Treating dual-diagnosis clients is a critical aspect of our inpatient treatment experience because co-occurring disorders are strongly correlated with instances of substance abuse.

Creating a treatment plan that addresses the physical aspects of withdrawal, the psychological connection with drug use, and managing underlying mental health disorders is part of setting clients up for success.  A thorough mental health analysis identifies possibilities for treatment.  Meeting with mental health counselors and medical care providers means access to behavioral therapy and medication treatment. At our dual diagnosis treatment center, We Level Up can implement the highest quality of care. 

We recognize the fragile complexities of how mental and substance abuse disorders can influence others and sometimes result in a vicious cycle of addiction.  That’s why we offer specialized treatment in dual-diagnosis cases to provide the most excellent chance of true healing and long-lasting recovery.

It can be challenging to accept that you may be living with a mental illness, but once it is properly diagnosed and treated, treating the presenting case of substance abuse can be magnitudes easier. Only a properly trained medical professional can diagnose these underlying conditions.  If you believe you are suffering from a disorder alongside addiction, we urge you to seek a qualified treatment center to begin your journey to recovery. Call We Level Up today.

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