Living with anxiety can be overwhelming, affecting various facets of daily functioning. There are many effective treatment options for anxiety such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness Training, Deep Relaxation, exploration of family dynamics and life-stage issues, EMDR for trauma induced anxiety, Hypnosis, to name a few. Licensed therapists at Silver Lining Behavioral Health use interdisciplinary to treatment, adjusting care plans to every unique individual based on comprehensive initial assessments. But when anxiety becomes unbearable, and ruminating thoughts prevent a person from experiencing a peace of mind, medication can be an option. Navigating the world of anti-anxiety medication can feel daunting, but with the right support, finding balance and relief is achievable.
Self-Education and Working with Professionals
Prior to beginning any medication, it is crucial to educate ones on different types of anti-anxiety medication, potential side effects, and how they function. Accurate information is empowering, but collecting accurate information has to be done responsibly. Researching reputable sources, consult with mental health professionals, and asking questions to gain a comprehensive understanding is crucial. Try to avoid excessive Googling and go straight to the source. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners, Psychiatrists, and Internal Medicine doctors can answer questions that are geared specifically to the answer seeker. At Silver Linings Care, our psychiatric team can evaluate symptoms, gather medical history, and explore potential interactions with other medications. Healthcare providers can also incorporate family history, genetics, and knowledge of existing medical conditions as a guide to proper medication selection. This will be a process where accurate communication, honesty and transparency, will lead to success. It is a journey our team regularly goes on with the people.
Taking Control Beyond Medication
Medication is just one component to recovery from anxiety. Combining medication with psychotherapy is key. Working with a licensed psychotherapist in addressing the root causes of anxiety while developing coping strategies is crucial. It is important to ask questions. Ask the therapist what their personal approach to treating anxiety is, and how they manage collaborating work with healthcare providers. Agencies like Silver Lining Care have an interdisciplinary structure where healthcare and behavioral health is frequently intertwined to promote healing.
It is also important to create a personal plan of care that blends medicine, psychotherapy, and incorporation of self-care activities into daily living such as exercise, engaging in creative hobbies, personal time, healthy sleeping habits that are right for you, spending time with loved ones, and trying something new at least once a week.
Managing Side Effects
Anti-anxiety medication may have side effects. Common side effects may include drowsiness, dizziness, changes in appetite and libido. The same medication can be addictive, and should be avoided with certain foods. Silver Living staff believe that accurate communication and meta-communication as being essential when working with healthcare providers. Communication can be broken down into honesty and transparency. Talk to your providers. Open up, share what you are feeling emotionally and experiencing physically when taking any medication. With meta-communication, Silver Lining Care staff suggest discussing with the provider, what works best as a means of accurate communication. Communicating about communicating is very important. An example would be; Do we meet in person? Do we speak via telehealth portals? Is it okay to send secure messages and/or HIPAA compliant emails to your provider. With proper communication, side-effects can be minimized. It is through this line of communication, reporting of emotions, follow up visits, that discussions about tapering off medication or making decisions to stay on medication can be responsibly made.
Navigating anti-anxiety medication requires patience, education, and professional support. Remember, finding the right medication and dosage is a journey. Silver Lining care professionals see themselves as partners on this complicated, but meaningful path to recovery. Help is only a phone call away.
Signs and Symptoms when a discussion about medication may be important to have with a healthcare provider:
- Frequent anxiety / panic attacks
- Inability to sleep
- Inability to complete tasks at work
- Paranoid ideation
- Intrusive or ruminating thoughts that feel overwhelming
- Difficulty maintaining relationships due to bouts with anxiety
- Withdrawal / Social Isolation
- Avoiding locations or essential activities due to mounting anxiety
- Gastro intestinal upset (Example, IBS) and facial nerve pain (TMJ)
- Physical symptoms like neck pain, and increased blood pressure due to anxiety
- Compulsive need to engage in behaviors or physical actions to manage anxiety
- Anxiety caused by a pending medical procedures or life changes
- Intense pain due to loss and grief