What Are Antidepressants (Such As Prozac, Cymbalta), How Do They Work, And How Are They Used To Treat Anxiety Disorders?

Question: What are antidepressants (such as Prozac, Cymbalta), how do they work, and how are they used to treat anxiety disorders?

Answer: The reason that antidepressants can be used for anxiety disorders is that depression and anxiety share a common pathological mechanism. That is to say that in both of these disorders, there is not enough serotonin that exists between nerve cells in the brain. As a result, drugs such as SSRIs may serve to increase the amount of available serotonin so that impulses can travel along the nerve cells in the brain. SSRIs, such as Prozac, Paxil or Lexapro, may serve to increase the amount of available serotonin, whereas SNRIs, in addition to doing this, also increase the amount of norepinephrine in the space between two nerve cells.

Other drugs, such as benzodiazepines, act at other receptors, such as GABA receptors, which are also important in anxiety. What we do know is that these drugs work. Prior to giving people drugs, one of the main brain structures that is involved in anxiety is the amygdala. The amgydala is shown to activate too much in anxiety disorders. When we give people SSRIs, this amygdala activation is reduced, showing us that the drug actually has an affect on the brain that correlates with an improvement in symptoms.

Next: Are All Antidepressants The Same, And How Long Will It Take For Antidepressants To Help With My Anxiety Disorder?

null

Previous: What Types Of Medications Are Helpful In Treating Anxiety Disorders?
-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 4665294. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 4665294. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 4665294. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 4665294. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 4665294.
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Firefighters rescue a woman who got stuck in a chimney in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Ventura County Fire Department
PHOTO: Apple Pay is demonstrated at Apple headquarters on Oct. 16, 2014 in Cupertino, Calif.
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo
PHOTO: Up in Ash: Mount Sinabung Erupting
Tibt Nangin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
PHOTO: Defendant Jodi Arias testifies about killing Travis Alexander in 2008 during her murder trial in Phoenix, Feb. 20, 2013.
Charlie Leight/The Arizona Republic/AP Photo
PHOTO: Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, their daughter North West and Delphine Arnault attend the Givenchy show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2015, Sept. 28, 2014 in Paris.
Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/French Select/Getty Images