Paxil, or known by its generic name paroxetine, is prescribed for the treatment of depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD), and panic disorder. Paxil is helpful in treating depression in its early stage, before the disorder becomes deeply rooted. Paxil has become the most widely used SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) for treating anxiety disorders. SSRIs are a class of antidepressant drugs.
Each anxiety disorder has its own distinct features, but they are all bound together by the common theme of uncontrollable worry about everyday tasks. Approximately 19 million Americans are affected with some type of anxiety disorder. The patient's condition will deteriorate if not treated.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a disorder that disrupts the brain's interpretation process. 1 in 50 adults are diagnosed with OCD. In OCD, the brain becomes fixated on a particular thought or urge. Examples include hours of hand washing or continually driving around a block before stopping the vehicle. Very effective treatments are available to help return the behavior to normal.
Depression interferes with a person's ability to carry on with daily tasks and enjoy activities that brought pleasure. Symptoms of depression include feelings of sadness, hopelessness, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, low energy, and difficulty in concentrating. Antidepressant drugs reduce the symptoms and allow the depressed person to regain an interest in their previous surroundings.
The mind transfers thoughts and feelings through nerve cells or neurons in the central nervous system. These messengers are called neurotransmitters. Experts believe that an imbalance in neurotransmitters causes depression. Paxil treats depression by eliminating this imbalance in neurotransmitters.
Some symptoms diminish early into treatment. The first sign of improvement is a decrease in the lethargy and amotivation experienced by the patient during their depression. This effect occurs before the depression itself improves; the patient may be able to develop enough energy and motivation to renew their daily schedule. Different medication may be prescribed if reduction of symptoms is not noted within five to six weeks.
Anxiety disorders are not permanent conditions; therefore short term and long term treatment options are available. Researchers have concluded that withdrawal symptoms are present when patients abruptly stops taking Paxil and other SSRIs. Withdrawal symptoms include extreme dizziness and "zaps" (an electro-shock like sensation to the brain). To ease or eliminate these withdrawal symptoms, it is recommended that the patient reduce dosage levels over time. Withdrawal from paroxetine or any other SSRI medication without supervision is not advised.
There is evidence of increased suicidal risk and deepened depression in people taking Paxil. The patient becomes easily agitated and sudden impulses turn deadly, after beginning their medication. A high number of patients who have taken Paxil have committed suicide.
Studies indicate an association between birth defects and woman taking Paxil during the first trimester of their pregnancy. Cardiovascular birth defects have doubled in babies delivered by mothers taking Paxil. A higher degree of caution is warranted when pregnant women are using Paxil. Read more about Paxil side effects.
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