Comparing and Contrasting Pharmacologic Options for the Treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a common mental health condition, characterized by persistent and excessive worry or anxiety that often impacts day-to-day functioning. The condition can have a wide range of symptoms, including restlessness, difficulty concentrating, irritability and tension in the muscles. Treatment for GAD typically includes different types of psychotherapy as well as pharmacologic options such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. In this essay we will compare and contrast the various pharmacologic treatments available for GAD.

The most commonly prescribed medications for treating GAD are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs work by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain, which helps to improve mood and reduce anxiety levels [1]. SSRIs are one of the safest medications used to treat anxiety disorders as they generally have fewer side-effects than other classes of drugs and their use has been found to be effective in reducing symptoms [2]. Examples include paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), citalopram (Celexa) and fluoxetine (Prozac).

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Comparing and Contrasting Pharmacologic Options for the Treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Another type of medication used to treat GAD is benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are fast acting drugs that act on the neurotransmitter GABA to produce feelings of calmness[3]. Unlike SSRIs, benzodiazepines work relatively quickly but may cause addiction if taken for long periods or at high doses [4]. Examples include alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam(Klonopin)and diazepam(Valium).

A third class of drug used to treat GAD is Buspirone which belongs to a class called azapirones. These drugs also modify neurotransmitter activity but unlike other types of medication they do not directly affect serotonin levels[5]; instead they increase serotonin receptor sensitivity thus providing similar effects like SSRI’s without causing serious side effects such as fatigue or sexual dysfunction . An example is Buspirone hydrochloride(Buspar)[6] .

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