One treatment option for agoraphobia patients is to use anti-anxiety medication to help deal with the symptoms, though the type of medication will vary depending on the patient. Some might benefit from a low dose of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) with anti-anxiety benefits on a long-term basis. On a short-term basis, medication from a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines may be prescribed. Benzodiazepines have a sedating effect on the brain that keeps it from generating the panic signals individuals are used to. However, benzodiazepines should also only be prescribed on a short-term basis because they have a habit-forming effect on the brain. Rather than being used as a maintenance medication, these medications might be prescribed short term for patients in acute states of anxiety. Combining benzodiazepines with psychotherapy may help a patient feel more comfortable with exposure therapy and facing their fears. Ultimately, though, it's important to learn to cope with the anxious thoughts and feelings without using sedative medication. Individuals concerned about the risk of dependence should talk to their doctors before they start taking benzodiazepines.
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