Antidepressants are medications that treat depression and can be helpful for people who have irritable bowel syndrome brought on by emotional distress. They can be prescribed by a doctor. They work to balance some of the natural chemicals in our brains and may take several weeks for them to help. For IBS, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can help reduce the pain intensity from the brain to the gut.
Anti-anxiety medications help reduce the symptoms of anxiety, such as panic attacks, or extreme fear and worry. The most common anti-anxiety medications are called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines can treat generalized anxiety disorder.
Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications should use as prescribed – do not start or stop taking them without talking to your doctor.
Antidepressants may cause mild side effects that usually do not last long. These may include headache, nausea, sleep problems, restlessness, and sexual problems. Tell your doctor if you have any side effects. You should also let your doctor know if you take any other medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements.
Like other medications, anti-anxiety medications may cause side effects. Some of these side effects and risks are serious. The most common side effects for benzodiazepines are drowsiness and dizziness. Other possible side effects include: nausea, blurred vision, headache, confusion, tiredness, and nightmares
Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away: drowsiness, dizziness, unsteadiness, problems with coordination, difficulty thinking or remembering, increased saliva, muscle or joint pain, frequent urination, blurred vision, changes in sex drive or ability.
If you experience any of the symptoms below, call your doctor immediately: rash, hives, swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, or throat, difficulty breathing or swallowing, hoarseness, seizures, yellowing of the skin or eyes, depression, difficulty speaking, thoughts of suicide or harming yourself, difficulty breathing
Anti-anxiety medications may cause other side effects that are not included in the lists above. To report any serious adverse effects associated with the use of these medicines, please contact the FDA MedWatch program.
Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are available by prescription and should only be taken if prescribed by a doctor. Antidepressant brands include Tofranil (imipramine) or Aventyl or Pamelor (nortriptyline.) Anti-anxiety brands include Klonopin (Clonazepam), Valium (diazepam), and Ativan (lorazepam.)