The generally accepted method of treating chronic anxiety disorders is experiencing an upheaval as a result of the harmful effects the long-used benzodiazepine class of medication have had on the population. These powerful narcotics are falling out of favor as the industry standard, and more focus is being given to alternative treatment modalities for anxiety disorders. Let’s look at some of the frontrunners in this race to replace benzodiazepines as the first line of treatment for anxiety disorders in the United States today.
As unusual as it may sound, more and more practicing psychiatrists and psychologists are recommending their patients regularly engage in some sort of mindfulness meditation practice in their daily routine. Studies have shown regular meditation practice to dramatically reduce the symptoms of excessive stress experienced by those with an anxiety disorder. Mindfulness meditation could be anything from quiet, contemplative nature walks to Yoga - whatever works best for you as an individual both in terms of scheduling and efficacy. Try a few different meditative activities and see which is right for you!
Medication is still a proven method when it comes to the treatment of anxiety, but the potency of benzodiazepines has caused primary care providers to look elsewhere for a viable treatment for their patients. One prescription which is rapidly gaining popularity for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorders is Neurontin, or commonly known as Gabapentin. This is a medication primarily used as an anticonvulsant, but studies have shown it to be remarkably effective in the treatment of some anxiety disorders. Unfortunately, for extreme cases of anxiety (panic attacks) Gabapentin is ineffective, so if you suffer from occasional panic attacks you would be well served to keep a benzodiazepine on hand for such instances. For daily treatment, however, Gabapentin is far and away the preferred medication as it has a substantially lower risk of abuse and physical dependence.
Anxiety disorders are serious medical conditions which can inhibit a person’s ability to function in their daily lives. Until recently, the commonly prescribed medications used in the treatment of anxiety disorders were so powerful and habit-forming they themselves became equally debilitating to those suffering from anxiety disorders, creating a Sophie’s choice for doctor and patient alike. The medical community’s school of knowledge pertaining to the treatment of anxiety disorders has, thankfully, expanded, and there are alternative therapies available which have shown remarkable efficacy in reducing the symptoms experienced by those dealing with anxiety disorders. If you are one of the millions of Americans diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and are currently treating this condition with a benzodiazepine of some kind, you should strongly consider transitioning to one of these alternative therapies for the daily treatment of your anxiety.