For those who have anxiety issues, panic attacks can be a debilitating problem that can cause both stress and discomfort. There is treatment for panic attacks that can be seen in the form of medications and therapy. Through therapy the individual would learn ways of changing their thinking and behavioral patterns. If both forms of treatment are combined there is a better chance of results than with just one. Therefore it might be necessary to have rehabilitation efforts.
There are several possibilities for medications that can treat panic attacks or control the symptoms of panic attacks. Medications can have a number of different purposes, these include: treat panic attacks, control symptoms of panic attacks, reduce the number of panic attacks, reduce the severity of panic attacks, and reduce the anxiety that is associated with having another panic attack. SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are antidepressants that are can also be used in the treatment of panic disorders. Some of these medications include Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil. By being able to treat the neurotransmitters these medications affect how messages are sent to the brain. Basically the medications block the reuptake of the serotonin, therefore making it available to other nerves.
TCAs or tricyclic antidepressants were often used before SSRIs were available. TCAs are as effective as SSRIs however SSRIs are more easily tolerated by the body and safer. Since the discovery of SSRIs, TCAs have been prescribed less. TCAs include the following medications: Tofranil, Norpramin, or Anafranil. The risks of side effects in these medications can range from minimal to life threatening. It is important that you are closely monitored by a doctor while on these medications. There are severe risks associated with these medications and a developing fetus therefore treatment for pregnant women is not recommended.
The FDA has also approved medications that are known as benzodiazepines for the treatment of panic attacks. These medications include Xanax, Valium, Ativan and Klonopin. The basic use of these medications is for the symptoms of anxiety and nervous tension. Unlike SSRIs which need to be taken on a daily basis these medications can be taken PRN or on an as needed basis.
It is common to see results from the medications in a few weeks time. A higher dosage might be needed if there is no improvement within a six to eight week time period. However a doctor might choose to prescribe another medication as well. If you are prescribed medication it is likely that you will need to take it for a year or two prior to trying to go off of it. During this time the medications must be decreased slowly prior to someone not taking them. This is to monitor if you are going to have the attacks again after not being on the medications. If this happens the medication will be needed for a longer time period. It might be necessary to take medications for a long time to be able to keep the symptoms under control.