Medication for Anxiety Insomnia and Depression
Maybe you prefer not to use medication for anxiety, stress or OCD. For some people, overcoming anxiety and depression is achievable without the use of medicines. This is also true for milder forms of OCD. NICE (the National Institute of Clinical Excellence) recommends Cognitive Behavioural Therapy as the best anxiety treatment.
Hypnosis and CBT together are known to be far more effective than CBT alone. At Manchester Hypnotherapy we use the ideas of CBT whilst you are in hypnosis. The very relaxing experience of hypnosis allows you to feel calm enough to think rationally and logically.
Short Term Medication for Anxiety can really help
However, you may have got to the stage right now where you feel that you’ve been on the treadmill of thoughts for too long. You can’t take it any more. This is particularly the case for those suffering with anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks and OCD. You feel awful, most days if not every day.
Or your anxiety may be so severe that you feel you cannot focus on the ideas of CBT – your anxious, worried thoughts are uppermost in your mind and you can’t seem switch off from them, except when in hypnosis. In these cases short term medication, combined with hypnosis and CBT, can provide the relief you need to help you focus on the therapy you are undergoing. Medication can also work quickly to remove the very worst of your symptoms.
Medication for Anxiety and Self hypnosis
Clients say they’ve never felt so relaxed as they do during hypnotherapy sessions. This includes clients who take valium (also known as diazepam) or sleeping tablets. One of the aims of hypnotherapy is to teach you self hypnosis so that you can achieve this state by yourself. However, whilst you are still improving your self hypnosis skills, you may feel that you need medication in the short term to relieve the cycle of fear, worry and uncertainty.
If for example you’re worried about your health (which is very common if you’re anxious) then taking medication can help you to realize that it’s anxiety which is producing your symptoms. The medication stops the anxiety, the physical symptoms of anxiety reduce and you feel better, so you realize that it wasn’t a serious physical illness after all. This reassures you, you worry less, and the symptoms (which were just the physical side of your anxiety) disappear. So you’ve broken the cycle.
But medication should only be seen as a temporary measure to help a longer term problem. If you just take the medicine without any counselling or therapy, then there is a good chance that, once you stop taking the medication, your symptoms may return. At the same time as taking medication you should also undergo therapeutic treatment, such as CBT, hypnosis and hypnotherapy. This will help you understand your anxiety and clarify those misunderstandings and assumptions which so often make you anxious.
Hypnotherapy and CBT let you get rid of your anxiety permanently
Sometimes your anxiety is caused by a particular problem – a bereavement, loss of a job, a relationship break up – even if you are not normally anxious. Sometimes this anxiety can be severe. A short term of medication may be all you need to get you past it, or to cope on those days when things just seem overwhelming. However, hypnotherapy and CBT teach you how to deal with ALL anxiety related problems, both immediately and in the longer term. Once you have learnt how to switch off anxious and intrusive thoughts then you will always be able to switch them off, no matter what they’re about.
What are the different medical treatments for anxiety?
There are two main types of anti-anxiety medication, benzodiazepines and SSRIs. In addition, beta blockers are also sometimes used to control some of the physical symptoms of anxiety.
Benzodiazapine Medication for Anxiety
Benzodiazepines are often called sedatives or tranquilizers. You will probably be more familiar with the brand names of these tablets. The most widely prescribed are Valium (diazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam), Ativan (lorazepam), and Librium (chlordiazepoxide), which are used for the short term, very speedy relief of both the physical and psychological effects of anxiety and panic. Restoril (temazepam) is mainly used to treat insomnia.
All benzodiazepines work by enhancing the chemical gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is a naturally calming brain chemical. It slows down, or prevents, certain nerve signals in the brain. Benzodiazepines are active in the body for a short time, around five to ten hours. These drugs may have a “hangover” effect – some of the side effects can still be felt the following day.
Side effects are discussed lower down. They may include drowsiness, confusion, difficulty co-ordinating, dizziness, difficulty driving or operating machinery, and feeling “woolly headed”. You’ll feel worse if you take benzodiazepines at the same time as drinking alcohol. This is because both alcohol and benzodiazepines act by sedating the central nervous system.
If the side effects are severe and you can’t function then the dose you are taking is probably too high. You can then reduce it. You should still be able to function normally and live your life, but without the feelings of anxiety. You don’t want to feel completely sedated.
If you are someone who reads a list of possible side effects, and then tends to experience them, it can be useful to get a friend or relative to read them for you. You’re much less likely to experience side effects if you aren’t expecting to feel a certain way and looking out for the symptoms!
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor medication for anxiety (SSRIs)
SSRIs are anti-depressants. Many people are unaware that they are also contain an anti-anxiety component. In fact they have a better track record of helping anxiety and obsessive thinking than depression. However they have been shown to be extremely effective in treating anxiety and obsessive or compulsive behaviour.
Frequently prescribed SSRIs are Fluoxetine (the most common brand is known as Prozac, and this name may be more familiar to you), Citalopram (Cipramil) and Escitalopram oxalate (Cipralex). These particular SSRIs are good at helping to reduce anxiety. Your GP may prescribe these even if you are not depressed. There is also Venlafaxine (Effexor) and Duloxetine (Cymbalta) which combine SSRIs with adrenalin blockers.
SSRIs, unlike tranquilizers, don’t have any immediate effect. You need to take them regularly for a period of time before they affect you. This usually takes 7 to 10 days. This is because they very slowly build up the necessary level of chemical in the brain. You need to take a number of doses need to be taken before the medication can work. You might feel that your anxiety feels worse before it feels better. However this is often due to you expecting to feel better immediately. If you don’t (because the dose takes a while to build up) you can feel that nothing will help. This is just a mistake however! You just need to be patient. However, you WILL probably start to feel better after a week or so.
Any side effects of SSRIs usually wear off after the first week or so. If they don’t, or if you have severe side effects, then discuss a different dose, or taking a different type of SSRI, with your GP.
Although these drugs are not addictive, you may find it helpful to discontinue your use slowly, over weeks or even months. This means you’re much less like to struggle than if you suddenly stop.
The main use of beta blockers is the treatment of high blood pressure and heart problems. They block the action of adrenaline and noradreanaline. These drugs can also be used, at a lower dose, to treat anxiety, panic and migraine. They are particularly good at helping phobia and performance anxiety. Adrenalin is responsible for the physical effects of anxiety and panic. Adrenalin increases heart rate and blood pressure, which makes you breathe faster. Because beta blockers stop the adrenaline from working, your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing remain the same. This is helpful in preventing anxiety becoming full blown panic, as without them you may add to your original worry by worrying that you are having a heart attack or are otherwise seriously ill. The most commonly prescribed beta blockers are Propanolol, Bisoprolol and Atenolol, although there are many others. If the beta blocker you are prescribed does not suit you, then you should ask your GP to prescribe another. But side effects are rare, though some individuals do notice fatigue, dry mouth and dizziness.
Side Effects of Medication for Anxiety
With any medication you might have side effects. However, you should be aware that many people experience no side effects at all.
With anti-depressant SSRIs (which are also used to treat anxiety), side effects are usually more noticeable at the very beginning of starting the treatment, and disappear after a week or two. The risk of side effects are even lower if you start off with a lower dose, so that if you have been prescribed, for example, 20mg per day, it may be advisable to start by taking just 10mg per day for the first week.
Some GPs advise this, some don’t mention it, but many people who have taken this type of medication have found it a useful way to minimize side effects. If you are concerned about possible side effects you should discuss this with your GP. There are many different brands and versions of anti-anxiety medication. If you find the side effects of one brand or type are affecting you, then your GP can prescribe a different one which may be more suitable.
Can I get addicted?
Of the thee main types of anxiety medication, only benzodiazepines (tranquilizers) are potentially addictive. So GPs will only prescribe a short course; SSRIs and beta blockers are NOT addictive. However when the time comes to stop taking any of these medications, you should reduce the dose slowly, so that the body does not have to suddenly become used to being without them.
Hypnosis in south Manchester
The therapists at Manchester Hypnotherapy have over fifteen years of experience in treating insomnia, anxiety and teaching self hypnosis. If you want to find a hypnotherapist in south Manchester to help stress and anxiety, emotional problems, or low self esteem, then go to any of the independent websites which list and give reviews of hypnotherapists (for example www.freeindex.co.uk – Google also displays reviews) and you will see the excellent results which Pam and her team have achieved. If you would like further information about hypnosis in Manchester, for insomnia, self esteem and confidence, depression, for help with weight loss, to break bad habits, or for any other problem, please call 07779 575 816 for a free, no obligation, confidential discussion.
Hypnosis and hypnotherapy in Didsbury, Manchester – convenient for Chorlton, Gatley, the Heatons, Cheadle, Stockport and all areas of south and central Manchester.