The latest research on anxiety treatment.
Mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and anxiety have become very prevalent in recent years. While anxiety tends to be less visible compared to other mental illness, its effects can sometimes be just as troubling.
One-quarter of Australians will experience an anxiety condition in their lifetime. Common anxiety disorders include generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), panic attacks, social anxiety and social phobias.
While antidepressants can help people keep their anxiety in check, some people may not find relief from anxiety drugs. Also, these antidepressants may get in the way of normal thinking and cause lethargy.
Some anti-anxiety drugs, such as benzodiazepines can also be addictive. As a result, health providers are always cautious when prescribing them to anxiety patients, especially those with a history of drug abuse.
While most of the drugs have undergone intensive research before being released into the market, they may not work as advertised. Some may even cause serious side effects. Therefore, make sure to talk to a health care provider before using any of these medications. That way, you’ll be able to determine which antidepressant is right for you.
The good news, however, is that researchers are always releasing better anxiety medications all the time. Researchers are now working on anti-anxiety drugs that target specific enzymes in the brain to reduce cases of side effects.
Latest findings show that the human brain naturally synthesises molecules called endocannabinoids that control functions such as response to stress, appetite, and mood. Sufficient supply of these molecules can help keep stress under control.
When someone is stressed, say they are about to sit for an important exam, or when faced with financial problems, the brain becomes flooded with corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH). As a result, endocannabinoids in the brain are degraded, leading to anxiety. The new set of anti-anxiety drugs work by increasing endocannabinoids levels in the brain to protect it against the degrading activities of CRH.
Researchers say that endocannabinoids and THC, a compound found in cannabis, bind to the same receptors in the brain. This explains why some anxiety patients find relief from extreme panic attacks by smoking cannabis. While marijuana can provide natural relief from anxiety, it is packed with hundreds of harmful chemicals that can create problems in the long run. Researchers are, however, in the process of developing a clear-cut endocannabinoid-enhancing compound that will help control anxiety without causing any side effects.
People respond to stressful situations differently. The reason why some people can handle overwhelming feelings and stress better than others is that their brains produce more endocannabinoids.
Researchers use rat models to understand anxiety and figure out possible ways to control mental illness without leaving behind nasty side effects. They sometimes mess around with the levels of endocannabinoid in rats to see how different levels of endocannabinoid respond to stress. Rats with higher endocannabinoids levels act less stressed when exposed to stressful stimuli.
Over the past decade or so, researchers have gone above and beyond to understand anxiety better and come up with better and more natural ways to keep the mental disorder in check.
The best way to deal with anxiety, however, is to prevent it in the first place. While people will always experience feelings of anxiety as long as they are alive, there are several methods to minimise the danger of suffering full-scale anxiety disorder.
Research shows that people who maintain a balanced diet are less likely to suffer full-blown anxiety. Also, researchers encourage people to get enough sleep every night and stick to a sleep routine to minimise the risk of developing a chronic anxiety disorder.
People with a history of chronic anxiety disorders should avoid taking things like soda, caffeine, chocolate, and tea. This way, they can keep their constant worrying under control. Other things to avoid include recreational drugs, marijuana, and alcohol.