Furthermore, certain medications often used for anxiety may actually decrease the efficacy of psychotherapy administered at the same time.The following are the main classes of medications typically used to treat anxiety with their associated risks and benefits, along with some examples of specific medications within each class.The advantage of psychotherapy over medications is that the benefits tend to persist beyond the end of treatment.The reason for this is easy to see; recovery achieved in therapy occurs via learning, and when you have learned that something isn't dangerous you don't fear it anymore.When SSRIs do cause side effects, they usually subside within the first week.A notable exception, however, is decreased sexual sensations which occurs in a significant minority of patients.Not all anti-anxiety medications are the same, and it is important to make a distinction between the different classes of medications used to treat anxiety.
Furthermore, these medications can be lethal when combined with alcohol or opioids (a type of pain medication) and are involved in a significant percentage of fatal overdoses.
Nonetheless, when used appropriately, benzodiazepines can play an important role in the treatment of an anxiety disorder.
For example, they are sometimes used in combination with an SSRI for the first few weeks of treatment before the SSRI has reached maximum efficacy.
Some additional disadvantages to SSRIs are that that they take 4 to 6 weeks to reach maximum efficacy and certain SSRIs can cause uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms if they are stopped abruptly.
For individuals with bipolar disorder, SSRIs may trigger a manic episode and for this reason are given with a mood stabilizer when used for anxiety with these patients.