Stress is considered the epidemic of the 21st century. That is why there are many pharmacological investigations that have tried to find a solution that involves the administration of medications.
Although what causes stress will hardly be solved with pills, psychotherapy being a totally necessary resource for the person to know how to deal with this emotion, the truth is that pharmacology is useful to treat symptoms.
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Here is some Medicines you should know about
Among the pharmacological options that exist to treat anxiety disorders, anxiolytics are the drugs of reference. In fact, their own name comes to indicate that they are designed to treat stress, especially when it reaches pathological levels, such as anxiety. These drugs control physical symptoms, such as tremors, sweating, or rapid heartbeat.
Its mechanism of action consists of depressing the central nervous system, which causes the reduction of anxiety without the need to put the person to sleep, although technically these drugs can be used for that purpose. Within the group of anxiolytics, we can find barbiturates and benzodiazepines.
Barbiturates are a class of drugs that act by lowering the level of activity of the central nervous system, giving the main effect a generalized state of relaxation in the body, although at moderate and high doses they induce sedation.
Despite being effective, these drugs are known to be dangerous, since in addition to being highly addictive, an overdose can lead to death. It is for this reason that its use has been reduced over the decades, and there are not a few psychiatrists who advise against its prescription.
Barbiturates can be used as a second option for the treatment of insomnia when benzodiazepines have not worked well with a patient suffering from sleep problems.
Benzodiazepines, as with barbiturates, induce depression of the central nervous system, decreasing nervous excitability. At low doses they calm the person, while at high doses they induce sleep and are used as a treatment for sleep disorders.
In generalized stress and anxiety disorders, they serve to reduce anxiety symptoms for a few hours. This effect is beneficial in the short term, but there is a risk that the patient makes a little responsible use of the drug, becoming addicted when consuming them very often, in addition to that without psychotherapy they do not help to solve the source of the problem.
The sustained and habitual consumption of benzodiazepines makes the body get used to this type of drug, making it more difficult to induce a state of relaxation over time, and helping the patient to increase the dose.
Some anxiolytics and their indications
Given that barbiturates have been used less and less, benzodiazepines have been gaining more prominence as the main therapeutic option for stress, and now we are going to see the uses of some of them.
Clonazepam is used for the treatment of social phobia and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Alprazolam, also known by its brand name, Xanax, is used for panic attacks, an indication shared with lorazepam, and also TAG. Buspirone is also used for GAD, although its therapeutic effects are not immediate. The patient must consume it for at least two weeks to begin to see results.
Another of the best-known benzodiazepines is Valium, a drug that alters the transmission of nerve impulses, which encourages the time needed to fall asleep, makes sleep longer and, in addition, decreases the REM phase.
Valium also reduces blood pressure and heart rate, the two main physiological symptoms of stress when stress occurs.