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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Does escitalopram help with anxiety?

    I suffer from anxiety and my psychiatrist has prescribed escitalopram every morning. When can I start to feel better?
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    I am a consultant psychiatrist who has been in practice for over 20 years. I provide mental health care online. I have worked in public … View Profile

    I am sorry to hear about your anxiety.

    Medication like escitalopram does work for a proportion of patients with anxiety, but doesn't work for everyone.

    It works by 'adjusting' the level of a chemical nuerotransmitter called 'serotonin'. When the nerves in the brain pass messages between each other, those nerve cells that regulate mood an anxiety often use serotonin. Escitalopram raises the levels of serotonin and this seems to improve mood and reduce anxiety.

    However, this is not an instant effect. The medication has to be taken every day, and generally it takes 2-4 weeks, and sometimes longer for you to start to see any improvement.

    So, unfortunately, patience is needed, and this can be in short supply if you are experiencing severe anxiety.

    If things don't get better, and particularly if they get worse its really important to go back and see your GP. There are many other medications, and its also important use psychological techniques such as relaxation and mindfulness. A referral to a psychologist could also help.

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