The Difference Between SSRI Antidepressants & Benzodiazepine

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If you are taking prescription medication to better your mental health, our team at Wellsource Group can help ensure that the medications are working as intended.


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What Is General Anxiety Disorder?

General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) can be defined as an excessive uneasiness or apprehension about everyday matters. It is typically caused by the way someone thinks about events, which affects their daily life. This differs from other types of anxiety disorders where a negative event directly triggers the feeling of fear. A person with general anxiety disorder tends to have recurrent and constant thoughts about current problems, which can lead to feelings of fear. When it comes to living with GAD, there are two different types of medication that are most often prescribed: SSRI antidepressants or benzodiazepine. Keep reading to learn more about the differences between the two, and contact our team at Wellsource Group to get the support you need to improve your quality of life.

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Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

SSRI antidepressants are a type of medication most often used to treat depression. SSRIs affect the way certain chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters are broken down, increasing their availability to brain cells. High levels of serotonin in the brain have been linked to feelings of well-being and happiness. Over time, SSRI antidepressants slowly cause changes in brain chemistry that make people more resilient to stress. SSRIs are generally considered safer than tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). They're also less likely to be lethal when taken in an overdose, which is why they're often prescribed as first-line treatments for depression.

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How Do Benzodiazepines Work?

Benzodiazepines are medications that work by enhancing the effect of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This can result in sedative, hypnotic, anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), anticonvulsant, muscle relaxant, and amnesic actions. Benzodiazepines can be highly addictive and you should never mix them with alcohol or other sedatives. The majority of benzodiazepines are prescription medications and they're used to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety disorders, insomnia, seizures, panic attacks, restless legs syndrome, menopause symptoms, and muscle spasms.

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Pros & Cons of SSRI Antidepressants

SSRI antidepressants are the first line of defense for general anxiety disorders because they are non-addictive and safe for long-term use. These medications work to reduce cognitive symptoms and can help with depression, however, there is less reduction in physiological symptoms and they can be associated with unpleasant short-term side effects. When taking SSRI antidepressants, it’s important not to stop suddenly, as rapid withdrawal from these medications can be dangerous.

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Pros & Cons of Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepine medications work opposite then SSRIs in that they reduce physiological symptoms like tension, insomnia, and panic with less reduction in cognitive symptoms like worry or rumination. Benzodiazepiness are fast-acting, have fewer unpleasant short-term side effects, and offer temporary avoidance reduction. Benzodiazepine medications, however, are not safe for long-term use and can potentially be addictive if misused. They also are not recommended for people who suffer from addiction or have had suicidal tendencies.

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Wellsource Group Helps You Manage Your Medication

If you’re suffering with an anxiety disorder and you’re looking for the right medication, our team at Wellsource Group is here to help. With support from a psychiatric provider, you can receive a personalized approach to medication management. Together we will evaluate your unique situation so that we can create a plan to improve your quality of life. If you have been feeling worried, anxious, or tense, or you’ve been struggling for a long time with an anxiety disorder, our team at Wellsource Group in Texas is here for you. Get in touch with us today to get started.

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Do You Suffer With an Anxiety Disorder?

Learn about your medication options with the team at Wellsource Group.

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Request an Appointment Today

At Wellsource Group, we are committed to providing the resources and services you need if you have been suffering with an anxiety disorder or other mental health illness. We want to help improve your quality of life through therapy and medication management. To get started, request an appointment at one of our Texas locations with a psychiatric provider today.

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