antianxiety drug

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antianxiety drug,

drug administered for the relief of anxietyanxiety,
anticipatory tension or vague dread persisting in the absence of a specific threat. In contrast to fear, which is a realistic reaction to actual danger, anxiety is generally related to an unconscious threat.
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. Although their action is not fully understood, most antianxiety medications appear to affect the action of neurotransmitters in the brain (see serotoninserotonin
, organic compound that was first recognized as a powerful vasoconstrictor occurring in blood serum. It was partially purified, crystallized, and named in 1948, and its structure was deduced a year later.
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 and norepinephrinenorepinephrine
, a neurotransmitter in the catecholamine family that mediates chemical communication in the sympathetic nervous system, a branch of the autonomic nervous system.
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). They may work by affecting the limbic system, that part of the brain associated with emotion.

Antianxiety drugs frequently prescribed in the United States include the benzodiazepinesbenzodiazepine
, any of a class of drugs prescribed for their tranquilizing, antianxiety, sedative, and muscle-relaxing effects. Benzodiazepines are also prescribed for epilepsy and alcohol withdrawal.
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 alprazolam (Xanax) and clonazepam (Clonopin), most often prescribed for panic attacks and general anxiety. Long-term use is discouraged because of side effects (impaired alertness, sedation, interactions with alcohol and other drugs), potential for addiction, and withdrawal symptoms. Nonbenzodiazepine drugs that work by acting on benzodiazepine receptors include zolpidem (Ambien), which is widely prescribed as a sleeping pill. Beta-blockersbeta-blocker
or beta-adrenergic blocking agent
, drug that reduces the symptoms connected with hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, angina pectoris, migraine headaches, and other disorders related to the sympathetic nervous system.
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, usually prescribed for hypertension, are sometimes used for people facing an anxiety-producing "crisis," such as performing on the stage or giving a speech. Buspirone (BuSpar), a drug chemically unrelated to the benzodiazepines or beta-blockers, is often preferred for cases of long-term anxiety because it has fewer side effects, less addictive potential, and no withdrawal symptoms.

References in periodicals archive ?
They recently found that giving an antianxiety drug to a small group of subjects with persistent anxiety "turned down' metabolism in the visual centers at the rear of the brain.
The jury heard Baker was addicted to at least three controlled class A drugs - the heroin derivative Diamorphine, fast-reaction pain killer Pethidine and antianxiety drug Diazepam.
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She had been offered antianxiety drugs and had refused and came to see me as, of course, a last resort.
For example, gun parts, ammunition and gun accessories were found in seven balikbayan boxes, 81,529 tablets of antianxiety drugs were misdeclared as food supplements in November 2014, 413 Casio G-Shock watches, and even a custom Harley Davidson Chopper motorcycle of a Hollywood scriptwriter in 2011, among other high-end car parts, were also delivered through balikbayan boxes, Purisima said.
As she did for that earlier work, Kotak here exposed the public to something that usually takes place in private, in this case the process of weaning herself from post-partum-depression medica-tions--a strong cocktail of antidepressants, antipsychotics, and antianxiety drugs.
A wide range of medications including sympathomimetic amines, central nervous system stimulants and executive function agents, first-generation antipsychotic drugs, second-generation antipsychotic drugs, antidepressants, mood stabilisers, antianxiety drugs, and some miscellaneous drugs are covered in different chapters.
Cholesterol-fighting statins, anti-inflammatory drugs and antianxiety drugs all can cause confusion, memory loss and/or behavior changes in older adults--along with many other drugs listed in the Beers Criteria as being high-risk for the elderly.
Clinical Applications Many psychotropic medications (eg, antidepressants, antianxiety drugs, stimulants) act to disrupt the regular pattern of neurotransmitter action in CNS neurons.
This section states that many antianxiety drugs, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers are excreted in low concentrations into human milk, with the estimated infant doses under 2% of the weight-adjusted maternal dose.