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SSRI’s – Do they work?

Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health conditions worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 264 million people suffer from anxiety disorders globally. Fortunately, anxiety disorders can be treated using various methods, including psychotherapy and medication. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a commonly prescribed class of medication for anxiety disorders. In this article, we will discuss SSRIs and their use in treating anxiety disorders.

What are SSRIs?

SSRIs are a class of antidepressant medication that increases the amount of serotonin in the brain by blocking its reabsorption. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, appetite, sleep, and other bodily functions. SSRIs work by increasing serotonin levels, which can help improve mood and reduce anxiety symptoms.

SSRIs and Anxiety

SSRIs are commonly prescribed for various anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). These medications can help reduce anxiety symptoms, such as excessive worry, fear, and panic attacks.

Studies have shown that SSRIs are effective in treating anxiety disorders. In a meta-analysis of 34 randomized controlled trials, researchers found that SSRIs were significantly more effective than placebo in reducing symptoms of anxiety disorders. Another study found that SSRIs were more effective than benzodiazepines, a class of medication commonly prescribed for anxiety, in treating GAD.

SSRIs also have a lower risk of dependence and withdrawal symptoms than benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are highly effective in reducing anxiety symptoms but are associated with the risk of dependence, tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms. SSRIs are a safer alternative for long-term treatment of anxiety disorders.

Side Effects

Like all medications, SSRIs have potential side effects. Common side effects include nausea, headache, insomnia, and sexual dysfunction. These side effects are usually mild and resolve within a few weeks of starting the medication. However, some people may experience more severe side effects, such as serotonin syndrome, which can be life-threatening in rare cases.

It is important to talk to your doctor about the potential benefits and risks of taking SSRIs for anxiety disorders. Your doctor can help you determine if SSRIs are right for you and monitor any side effects.

SSRIs are a commonly prescribed class of medication for anxiety disorders. They work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, which can help improve mood and reduce anxiety symptoms. SSRIs are effective in treating various anxiety disorders and have a lower risk of dependence and withdrawal symptoms than benzodiazepines. While they have potential side effects, the benefits of taking SSRIs for anxiety disorders usually outweigh the risks. If you are struggling with anxiety, talk to your doctor about the potential benefits of taking SSRIs.


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