SSRIs For Anxiety


Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, more commonly known as SSRIs, are a class of prescription drugs first developed to treat depression. SSRIs are some of the newest and most prescribed antidepressants, and they are also commonly used in the treatment of anxiety disorders.

SSRIs block the reabsorption of serotonin

SSRIs work by altering brain chemistry, specifically levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. The are called “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors” because they block the reabsorption of serotonin, while appearing to leave other neurotransmitters largely unaffected. They begin working in the brain immediately, but it takes 4 to 6 weeks before they reach their full effectiveness at alleviating symptoms of anxiety. A low dose will be prescribed at first, and the dosage will be increased gradually until the desired results are achieved.

SSRIs are generally thought to be a very safe medication, and generally have fewer side effects than some of the older antidepressants that are also used to treat anxiety. Some of the most common side effects are nausea, insomnia, tremors, and sexual dysfunction. With the exception of sexual side effects, most are short-lasting and will subside after a few weeks of taking the medication.

SSRIs can be effective but are not for everyone

Treatment for anxiety disorders should be tailored to the specific person. SSRIs are often effective and commonly prescribed, but are not be the best option for everyone. Many studies have found that a combination of medication and psychotherapy is particularly effective for anxiety sufferers, and SSRIs are often prescribed in combination with other treatment methods in order to achieve the best and longest-lasting results.

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