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Mental health services: Anxiety

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Anxiety treatments

Managing your anxiety

You and your health care provider can make a plan to manage your anxiety. Sometimes just making the plan can make you feel better. It helps you to feel that you have control over your life.

You may want to write the plan on paper. It seems more "official" that way.

Even small steps make a difference. You can play an important part in improving your health by learning how to reduce the stress and anxiety in your life.

How to reduce stress and anxiety

The following may help reduce your level of everyday stress and anxiety.

  • Exercise for 30 minutes at least three times a week.
  • Set aside time each day to do something relaxing (such as listening to music, reading, talking with friends or taking a walk).
  • Cut down on coffee, tea and alcohol.
  • Eat many small well-balanced meals each day (instead of three large meals).
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Stress and anxiety

Stress can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous.

Anxiety is a feeling of fear, unease, and worry. The source of these symptoms is not always known.

Learn more about stress and anxiety in our health library.


Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, How to Manage Your Anxiety, mh-ahc-14314
Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department
First Published: 03/01/2003
Last Reviewed: 03/01/2003

When anti-anxiety medicines may be prescribed

Medicines may be helpful when anxiety symptoms interfere with your everyday life.

Common medicines used to treat anxiety disorders are lorazepam (Ativan®), buspirone (BuSpar®), clonazepam (Klonopin®) and alprazolam (Xanax®).

Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (Lexapro®, Celexa®, Zoloft® and Paxil®) are also used.

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Lorazepam

Lorazepam is used to treat anxiety. This medicine is a benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines belong to the group of medicines called central nervous system (CNS) depressants, which are medicines that slow down the nervous system.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Learn more about lorazepam in our health library.

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Buspirone

Buspirone is used to treat certain anxiety disorders or to relieve the symptoms of anxiety. However, buspirone usually is not used for anxiety or tension caused by the stress of everyday life.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Learn more about buspirone in our health library.

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Clonazepam

Clonazepam is used to treat panic disorder in some patients. Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines belong to the group of medicines called central nervous system (CNS) depressants, which are medicines that slow down the nervous system.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Learn more about clonazepam in our health library.

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Alprazolam

Alprazolam is used to relieve symptoms of anxiety and to treat panic disorder. Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines belong to the group of medicines called central nervous system (CNS) depressants, which are medicines that slow down the nervous system.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Learn more about alprazolam in our health library.

How your brain responds to anxiety

Your brain sends a message of anxiety. Neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) send a message to nerves. Your brain tells your body to make more neurotransmitters. The receiving nerves become overstimulated, causing symptoms such as a fast heartbeat or shortness of breath.

How anti-anxiety medicines work

Medicine to treat anxiety works by changing the way nerves receive the neurotransmitters. The medicine blocks the receiving nerve from getting too many signals. This makes the nerve less excitable. The result is you feel calm and relaxed.

Diagram shows how a message from your brain goes to the nerve and then neurotransmitters (chemical that sends the message to the next nerve).

How nerves pass on messages

A nerve receives a message from your brain.

Neurotransmitters (chemicals) send that message to another nerve.

Neurotransmitters can be norepherine, adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine.

Diagram shows howyour brain releases too many neurotransmitters. This causes the next nerve to send the message faster.

How nerves react to anxiety

When your brain senses stress, your body makes too many neurotransmitters. This causes you to feel anxious.

Diagram shows neurotransmitters are affected by medicine. Nerves that receive the neurotransmitters are less excitable and send the messages at a normal speed.

How anti-anxiety medicine helps

Medicine to treat anxiety works by changing the way nerves receive the neurotransmitters.

Medicine blocks the receiving nerve from getting too many signals. This makes the nerve less excitable. The result is you feel calm and relaxed.


Drug guides

For information about prescription and over-the-counter drugs or alternative medicines, try one of our drug tools. They include a drug interaction tool that allows you to check for harmful effects of taking two or more drugs at the same time.

Pharmacies

Allina Health Pharmacy fills prescriptions at locations in the Twin Cities and surrounding communities. You can have your medication mailed to you at no extra charge.


Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Medicines to Treat Anxiety Disorders, mh-ahc-13768
Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department
First Published: 10/01/2006
Last Reviewed: 10/01/2006