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Anxiety attacks can be scary and overwhelming. With sometimes severe consequences, anxiety attacks make it important to find an effective anxiety treatment. Symptoms can include heart palpitations, sweating and chest pain. You may feel extremely nervous or fearful during an episode. These attacks often seem to come from nowhere, which can make prevention through traditional means difficult. If you experience anxiety attacks, you may also have a prescription for anxiety medication. Prescription medications should typically be taken on a regular schedule, usually once or twice daily. However, you may wonder if there are exceptions.

Can you take medication in the middle of an anxiety attack to get relief? Most professionals will probably answer “no.” The reasons for this may vary depending on your condition and your specific medication. This does not mean there is no way to find relief from your attacks. Alternative treatment methods like transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can play a major role in reducing your anxiety symptoms if you have been diagnosed with anxious depression or depression with anxious features. Learning about the potential cons of medication and the advantages of other options can help you find care that fits your situation.

Downsides of taking medication during an anxiety attack

  • Delay in effect — Anxiety attacks tend to be relatively brief. When looking for relief, you probably want something that acts fast. Most anxiety medications are not designed this way, making them ineffective for managing attacks. Is your medication a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)? SSRIs are one of the most common types of anxiety medication along with SNRIs. Both of these medication types can take time to build up in your system. After starting treatment, you may wait weeks to begin feeling an effect. The lack of immediate effects means these medications are not likely to provide relief when you are already in the midst of an anxiety attack.
  • Risk of dependency — Some anxiety medications like benzodiazepines act more quickly, but these medications can have their own downsides. Relying on medication for immediate anxiety attack relief can heighten your risk of misuse and dependency. Over time, this can worsen your symptoms. You may become more susceptible to anxiety attacks when you are not using medication. In some cases, people with anxiety can experience symptoms of withdrawal. Finding a non-medication alternative can help keep you in control. 
  • Potential side effects — Depending on your medication, you may experience a range of different side effects. Unpleasant effects like dry mouth, nausea and aching can potentially come with taking your medication. The effects of these medications can be hard to tolerate at any time, especially during an anxiety attack. With other kinds of treatment, you can experience beneficial results without the sometimes detrimental effects of medication.

Effective alternatives to anxiety medication

  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) — TMS is a non-medication, noninvasive mental health treatment. TMS can treat conditions ranging from treatment-resistant obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) to anxious depression. It offers a targeted approach that can play a major role in reducing anxiety symptoms. TMS also tends to show rapid results. With some chronic anxiety medications, you can expect to wait around six weeks for noticeable results. TMS patients commonly experience improvement by the fourth week. One of the major benefits of TMS is its lack of major side effects. Common side effects include mild headaches and discomfort. These sensations tend to fade quickly. If you are looking for an effective treatment to reduce anxious depression symptoms without medication, TMS can be a great choice.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) — CBT is a well-established form of psychotherapy. With CBT, your therapist will focus on improving your thought patterns. Anxious patterns of thought and behavior are common triggers for anxiety attacks. By helping you build better patterns, CBT can help prevent future attacks. Short-term CBT can be an excellent way to learn coping strategies as well. Improving your coping skills can help you manage anxiety attacks and other crises when they happen. As a form of talk therapy, CBT does not come with side effects like other treatment methods. This makes it a good option for safe and convenient care.

Treat your anxiety attacks without medication with help from Active Path Mental Health

Taking medication during an anxiety attack may not be helpful, but there are other ways to manage your condition. At Active Path Mental Health, we can help you find new ways to address your anxiety. Our expert team offers targeted solutions designed to help each patient find long-term mental health improvement. If you are looking for non-medication care that works, we can work to provide an innovative treatment plan tailored to your condition.

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

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