General Anxiety

GAD usually does not cause significant impairment. Affected individuals typically function quite well in society. The good news about this condition is that most people tend to grow out of it. Typically, symptoms seem to become less severe with age. However, debilitating cases of GAD can occur. Medication therapy and non-drug therapy may each be of help. Buspirone (BuSpar), a prescription drug, may provide some help. However, five non-drug therapies have also proven effective. They are called cognitive behavioral therapy, regular physical exercise, biofeedback, relaxation techniques, and spiritual focus therapy.(The last four treatments are explained in Chapter 8 of Depression the Way Out.)


Caution should be used in taking drug therapy. There are at least three reasons why it may be a mistake to take this seemingly easiest route. First, it can take up to several weeks before buspirone produces any benefit. Second, it can cause a number of disconcerting side effects including dizziness, drowsiness, and nausea. Third, there are concerns about worsening of GAD when the drug is stopped. Many patients are generally not interested in a lifetime of medication if other strategies can address their problems.


Other brain chemicals play a role in anxiety pathways. Two critical ones are serotonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Both of these compounds are called inhibitory transmitters. They have the ability to dampen brain pathways that are involved in stress and anxiety. Further reinforcing the accuracy of these connections are a number of medications that can boost serotonin levels. In many cases these drugs not only can alleviate depression, but can also help ease the effects of anxiety disorders. Fortunately, we are not dependent on medications only to boost our levels of this vital brain chemical.(In Chapters 4 and 5 of Depression the Way Out give a number of ways in which you can improve serotonin levels in your brain.) The important message is that even if you are not depressed, you may find that you can better combat the everyday stresses and anxieties of life if you pay attention to these serotonin-boosting strategies.


Reference: Depression the Way Out

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