Anxiety medications are used for specific anxiety disorders (such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, phobias, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Separation Anxiety) as well as general anxiety. This means you might get a prescription to help cope with the trauma of the sudden death of a loved one or another horrible life event. You might even get one if you are terrified of flying on a plane and you have to deliver a presentation in Shanghai. However, anxiety medications are used more broadly than to simply treat anxiety.
Many people take benzodiazepine anxiety medications to treat panic attacks. After anxiety disorders, this is the most common use. These drugs have extremely quick onset times and can immediately help deal with stress, anxiety, and panic.
Depression is the next most common condition treated by these drugs. Benzodiazepines often affect a person to more moderate moods. While some people experience low moods and lethargy, many sufferers of depression have found them to be helpful in coping with depression. Part of this may be that anxiety and depression often go hand in hand. As one would expect, studies have shown that they are most effective when it is moderate depression stemming from anxiety that is being treated. Paradoxically, many people experience depression on the medicine, especially when they were not depressed previous to beginning treatment.
Because benzodiazepines take effect within a week of use whereas most antidepressants onset only after two weeks, they may be preferred in cases where quick relief is necessary, though they are not used to treat extreme depression.
One must be cautioned that long-term use of benzodiazepines is not advised by medical professionals. For one thing, they are habit forming and have heavy withdrawal symptoms.
Another common off-label use of these drugs is treatment of seizure. Benzodiazepines have properties of anti-seizure medications (anticonvulsants), and so can be effective for treating epileptic seizures.
More common than that, however, is their use for the treatment of insomnia. Many benzodiazepines make their users sleepy, as well as relax the body and relieve any anxiety that may contribute to insomnia. The possibility of expanding the role of benzodiazepines in treating insomnia is currently being explored by researchers.
Some benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, have become the preferred treatment method for Premenstual Dyphoric Disorder (PMDD). PMDD has similar symptoms to PMS, but usually more extreme. The often debilitating problems include:
– Anti-social feelings
– Suicidal thoughts
– Cravings and binge eating
– Mental states similar to severe depression
– Lack of self restraint
– Bloating, headaches, muscle pain, and tenderness in the joints and tissues, especially the breasts
– Sleep disturbances
Aside from diet, exercise, and rest, nutritional supplements (vitamin B6, iron, calcium, etc.) are often recommended to help with treatment. As far as pharmaceuticals, a class of antidepressants called SSRIs are most common. However, from that list of symptoms, one can see why Xanax would be so effective.
One shouldn’t use Xanax or any other benzodiazepine off-label without consulting a doctor. Only they will know if it is safe and effective for your treatment.
For other highly informative insights on numerous topics from Amanda Patterson visit http://www.viamedical.net/articles/off-label-uses-of-xanax.html. Amanda Patterson is a professional journalist with 15 years of experience delivering news to the public.