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.

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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.
came in with a new patent on BuSpar (the brand name for the antianxiety drug).
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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Among these products are: Halcion, the controversial sleeping aid; Xanax, an antianxiety drug; and Micronase, a diabetes drug.
His party binges later included cocaine, antianxiety drugs and marijuana, and the abuse and devil-may-care attitude persisted even when he went home to Sultan Kudarat province after finishing an agriculture course in 1989.
[5] Various antianxiety drugs are being used to alleviate surgical anxiety, but their dose has to be kept low to avoid untoward side effects such as respiratory depression and excessive sleepiness.
The man with MBBS-plus-DPM prescribed the following incredible array of antidepressant and antianxiety drugs:
She had been offered antianxiety drugs and had refused and came to see me as, of course, a last resort.
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. During the run of the exhibition, Kotak made herself readily available to those present, talking with visitors, writing (in gold pen and, as recommended by her psychiatrist, using her nondominant hand), and exercising, inviting her audience to join her.
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.