Section II. ANTIANXIETY AGENTS
9-4. INTRODUCTION TO ANTIANXIETY AGENTS
It is not unusual for a person to experience stress and anxiety. Most people can
deal with the minor stresses of life without using antianxiety agents. However, when the
degree of anxiety increases to the point of causing social and/or economic impairment,
the attending physician may decide to prescribe an antianxiety agent. It should be
remembered that the antianxiety agent will calm the patient, but the drug cannot remove
the cause of anxiety. Often the antianxiety therapy is combined with counseling or
therapy to help the patient deal with the stress and anxiety.
9-5. INDICATIONS FOR ANTIANXIETY AGENTS
Antianxiety agents are indicated in patients to control moderate to severe degrees
of anxiety. Antianxiety agents are also extremely useful in treating patients when
periods of overwhelming stress occur.
9-6. USES OF ANTIANXIETY AGENTS
Antianxiety agents are used in a variety of situations. Listed below are some of
a. Control Moderate to Severe Stress and Anxiety in Neurotic and
Depressed Patients. Some neurotic and depressed patients are prescribed antianxiety
agents to reduce the amount of subjective anxiety; thus enabling them to more
productively participate in counseling or therapy.
b. Control Stress and Anxiety in Previously Normal Persons in Periods of
Overwhelming Stress. In most cases, normal individuals are able to cope with the
stress and anxiety of life. However, when unusual circumstances of extreme stress
arise, physicians sometimes prescribe antianxiety agents to assist people during these
periods. Antianxiety agents should not be prescribed for dealing with the stresses of
everyday life (Food and Drug Administration ruling).
c. Treat Withdrawal Symptoms in Alcoholism. These agents are very
effective in the treatment of delirium tremens associated with the withdrawal of alcohol
d. Treat Psychotic Patients in Periods of Acute Agitation. Sometimes
patients who have certain psychotic conditions undergo periods of acute agitation.
Antianxiety agents are used to calm these types of patients during these periods. Thus,
the patients become much more manageable. Generally speaking, antipsychotic drugs
are more effective when used for this particular purpose.