Anxiety Medication Side Effects and Alternatives | Active Path

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Anxiety medications can have some major negative side effects. The downsides of these medications often lead people to explore innovative alternatives like TMS. TMS, short for transcranial magnetic stimulation, is a treatment that is surging in popularity. While anxiety medications have been a go-to treatment for years, their side effects can be daunting. For some people, anxiety medications do not have a significant benefit. With limited benefits and potentially sizable downsides, anxiety medications are not always the best option. Exploring the benefits and side effects of a range of treatments including anxiety medications can help you find a solution that is right for you.

The benefits and side effects of anxiety medications vs. TMS

  • Benzodiazepines — Benzodiazepines are one of the most common types of anxiety medication. They are known for acting fast. If you need immediate relief from your acute symptoms, you may receive a benzodiazepine prescription. Common benzodiazepines include clonazepam (Rivotril) and lorazepam (Ativan). The efficacy of this kind of medication makes it a popular option. However, the side effects can be serious. You may experience dizziness, drowsiness and headaches. With high doses, people sometimes experience memory problems and slurred speech. Benzodiazepines can also be highly addictive. This can lead to patients becoming dependent on their medication. When someone is dependent on this medication, they may experience withdrawal symptoms without it. 
  • SSRIs — SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are typically considered a first-line treatment for anxiety disorders. One of the most popular SSRIs is fluoxetine, commonly known as Prozac. SSRIs are often used to treat conditions like depression as well as anxiety. These medications work by affecting the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, specifically serotonin. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that plays an important role in mood regulation. You may have heard of serotonin described as a natural “feel-good” chemical. By making this chemical more available in your brain, SSRIs can help treat the symptoms of anxiety. Though they have some benefits, SSRIs are not a perfect treatment. Like other anxiety medications, SSRIs can come with many side effects. These include nausea and weight gain over time. In some cases, patients experience an initial increase in their symptoms. This can make SSRIs counterproductive in certain situations.
  • SNRIs — SNRI is short for selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. As the name suggests, SNRIs are similar to SSRIs. The main difference is the chemical each kind of treatment focuses on. Like serotonin, norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter and hormone. One of its main roles in the body is regulating blood pressure in fight-or-flight situations. When you have anxiety, your body’s fight-or-flight response may be triggered often. SNRIs can help by regulating the way your body responds to stress. Duloxetine is one of the most common SNRI types. The side effects of SNRIs may vary depending on the patient and the dose. As an anxiety medication, receiving the right SNRI dosage is essential. The wrong amount can actually make your symptoms worse. Other common side effects of this anxiety medication include dry mouth, nausea and insomnia. Because SNRIs target more chemicals, they tend to have more side effects than SSRIs.
  • TMS therapy — Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) offers an innovative approach to anxiety treatment. TMS works by delivering magnetic pulses to the brain. The pulses are meant to stimulate certain cells in the brain. The magnetic stimulation helps transform the brain’s neural networks, which can help improve mood regulation. TMS has seen strong positive results in patients. By targeting specific parts of the brain, TMS can be highly effective in treating conditions like depression and anxiety. One major benefit of TMS is being a non-medication, noninvasive option. Unlike many anxiety medications, the side effects of TMS therapy are minimal. The effects, which can include localized tingling and discomfort, are typically short-lived. With minimal side effects and many major benefits, TMS can be a great choice for your condition.

Active Path Mental Health can help you avoid anxiety medication side effects

Looking for anxiety treatment without the side effects of medication? Active Path Mental Health can help you find an alternative. Our team is committed to helping patients find a solution that works for them. In addition to TMS therapy, we also offer talk therapy for people with anxiety. All treatments are tailored to each individual patient. If you are ready to take the next step toward lasting improvement, our TMS services can play a crucial role in your treatment.

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.

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