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There are many prescription drugs on the market that claim to be able to cure anxiety and panic attacks. But do they work? What I'm about to say goes against many of the claims made by the multi-billion dollar medication industry.

The truth is, me...
There are many prescription drugs on the market that claim to be able to cure anxiety and panic attacks. But do they work? What I'm about to say goes against many of the claims made by the multi-billion dollar medication industry.

The truth is, medications are not an effective treatment, let alone cure, for panic attacks or generalized anxiety. In fact, medications often worsen anxiety and panic and can cause suicidal ideation, increases in feelings of anxiety, and a whole host of other side effects and withdrawal symptoms.

David Burns, one of the most prominent therapists in the field of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), has written about the ineffectiveness of medications, as have many other leading therapists and experts in the field of anxiety disorders. You have to understand that there are two main classes of medications that are commonly used to treat anxiety: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRIs) and benzodiazepenes ("benzos"). They both have different problems. Let's start with SSRIs.

SSRIs are found to be no more effective than a placebo (meaning, a pill with no active ingredients) in the treatment of mild depression, and show similar effects in the treatment of anxiety.

There are many different types and name brands of SSRIs that include:

Citalopram (Celexa, Cipramil, Cipram, Dalsan, Recital, Emocal, Sepram, Seropram, Citox, Cital), dapoxetine (Priligy), escitalopram (Lexapro, Cipralex, Seroplex, Esertia), fluoxetine (Prozac, Fontex, Seromex, Seronil, Sarafem, Ladose, Motivest, Fluctin (EUR), Fluox (NZ), Depress (UZB), Lovan (AUS)), fluvoxamine (Luvox, Fevarin, Faverin, Dumyrox, Favoxil, Movox), indalpin (Upstene) (discontinued), paroxetin (Paxil, Seroxat, Sereupin, Aropax, Deroxat, Divarius, Rexetin, Xetanor, Paroxat, Loxamine), sertralin (Zoloft, Lustral, Serlain, Asentra), vilazodone (Viibyrd), zimelidine (Zelmid, Normud) (discontinued)

David Burns argues in his excellent book When Panic Attacks that SSRIs are essentially the same as a placebo. The placebo effect is when a patient's optimism about improvement fuels the actual recovery process. This means that the only benefit from SSRIs comes from the fact that people believe the pill will make them better. St. John's Wort didn't fare any better than Zoloft (a common SSRI) either. About a third of patients who took placebos were also "cured". This was caused by the belief in recovery that accompanied taking the pill given by a credentialed doctor.

In some studies, SSRIs outperform a placebo, but this very well could be due to unethical testing. As David Burns notes:

"patients are also informed that the placebo is totally inert, so if they receive the placebo, it will have absolutely no side effects or effects of any kind. In contrast, they're told that if they receive the antidepressant, they should expect some side effects, such as upset stomach, diarrhea, nervousness, trouble sleeping, or a loss of sexual drive. Once the study begins, patients who experience side effects usually conclude that they're taking the antidepressant. In contrast, patients who don't experience any side effects usually conclude that they're in the placebo group."

What this means is that these studies aren't truly double-blind. In other words, medical companies are using intentionally skewed and sub-par testing methods in order to increase the apparent "effectiveness" of the medications in the study.

They are doing this because literally billions of dollars are at stake. The medication industry is largely, though not entirely, a corrupted industry. Money is more important than clinical objectivity.

The other major class of commonly used medications are benzodiazapenes, also known as "benzos". These medications bring about quick reductions in anxiety, and tend to be effective in the short term. The problem is that they become addictive, induce withdrawal symptoms, and don't cure anxiety after they are gone. Often anxiety returns just as strong as ever before.

Ativan (lorazepam) and Xanax (alprazolam) are two of the more popular benzodiazepines. Others include Librium (chlordiazepoxide), Tranxene (clorazepate), Valium (diazepam), Paxipam (halazepam), Serax (oxazepam), Centrax (prazepam) and Doral (quazepam), clorazepate, diazepam and Klonopin (clonazepam).

I have personally experienced the effects of Ativan after rushing to the hospital in a panic attack. After having tests run on my heart, the doctors told me that I was healthy and injected Ativan into my arm. They then gave me a small bottle of Ativan pills. The sedative effect of lorazepam certainly got rid of my anxiety in the short term, but ultimately it did nothing once I stopped using it. I continued to experience panic attacks on nearly a daily basis.

It wasn't until I studied the psychotherapeutic treatment of anxiety disorders that I finally cured my panic, phobias, agoraphobia, OCD, general anxiety, as well as depression. Ultimately, the way to rid yourself of anxiety and panic lies not in finding some "magic pill", but in changing your thinking, engaging in emotional expression, adopting a healthy lifestyle, and making other changes in your thinking and.

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