What are Anxiolytic Medications?
Anxiolytics are medications used for treating anxiety. Anxiety is a disorder that causes distress and physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, nervousness, shortness of breath, insomnia, chest pain, and palpitations. The most common form of anxiety is generalized anxiety disorder. Other types of anxiety include panic disorder, social anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Anxiety can disrupt school attendance, work, and relationships. Doctors prescribe anxiolytics when lifestyle changes do not work for managing anxiety.
There are several classes or types of anxiolytic medications. Anxiolytics are selected based on the duration and type of anxiety that is being treated. Due to their efficacy and safety, the most commonly prescribed classes have been selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).
Uses for Anxiolytics
Anxiolytics can be used for treating different types of anxiety, including:
Benzodiazepines are used only for short-term treatment by many doctors because they cause dependence and withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, they are typically given on an as needed basis for acute management. However, they may also be used for long-term treatment of anxiety disorder.
Antidepressants are used to treat depression and benzodiazepines are also used for treating insomnia. Other than anxiety, pregabalin is used for treating seizures, neuropathic pain, and fibromyalgia.
Hydroxyzine has had some use in treating anxiety but it is most commonly used for itchiness, rash, and hives.
Next: How do Anxiolytic Medications Work?