Lexapro: The Benefits You need to KnowFeb 21, 2023
Lexapro (escitalopram) is a prescription antidepressant approved to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). It's also used "off label" for other mental health conditions such as social anxiety disorder (SAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and panic disorder.
Belonging to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) class of medications, Lexapro increases serotonin levels in the brain to help regulate mood.
Using Lexapro to treat your depression or anxiety can help decrease your symptoms and improve your quality of life. We put together this guide to explore all the benefits of this antidepressant.
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What are the symptoms of depression and anxiety?
To understand how a medication like Lexapro can help, it's also important to recognize the signs of depression and anxiety.
Common symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD) include:
Sleep issues, like insomnia or sleeping a lot
Fatigue and lack of energy
Loss of interest in usual activities
Becoming withdrawn from friends and family
Easily angry, irritated, or frustrated
Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness
Thoughts of death or suicidal thoughts*
Anxiety, restlessness, and agitation
Unexplained physical problems, like body aches
Decrease in appetite and loss of weight, OR increase in appetite and weight gain
Drug, alcohol, or substance abuse
*If you or a loved one have suicidal thoughts or plans to attempt suicide, please call 911 or The National Suicide Hotline, 998
Some of the most common symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) include the following:
Feeling restless or on edge
Inability to relax
Overthinking/ always assuming the worst-case scenario
Frequently feeling fatigued
Sleep problems like trouble falling or staying asleep
Muscle aches and muscle tension
Nausea and/or diarrhea
What are the benefits of Lexapro?
Like most antidepressants, Lexapro works best when incorporated with therapy and lifestyle changes. Your healthcare provider can help create a treatment plan that works for you.
If you suffer from depression or anxiety, taking an antidepressant like Lexapro can help to improve your mood stability. As discussed above, this drug works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. As a result, it can help regulate your mood and make it easier for you to feel in control throughout the day.
Increased serotonin levels in your brain can also help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, such as difficulty sleeping or low energy levels.
Reduced intensity of symptoms
In addition to improving your overall mood stability, taking Lexapro can also help reduce the intensity of symptoms associated with depression and anxiety.
For example, if you struggle with intrusive thoughts or feelings of hopelessness due to depression, taking this medication may help reduce those feelings over time. Similarly, if you experience physical symptoms such as headaches or stomach aches due to anxiety, taking this drug can help reduce their intensity.
Ease transition between life events
Life changes can often cause stress, anxiety, and worry. For someone who already suffers from depression or anxiety, certain changes can cause symptoms to intensify and become more prevalent. Lexapro can make it easier to transition between these life events without feeling overwhelmed or anxious.
Whether starting a new job, moving, or going through a divorce, medication like Lexapro may help make it easier for you to cope with any changes that come up throughout your life.
How quickly does Lexapro work?
Many people will notice their appetite, sleep, and energy improve within 1-2 weeks of starting the medication. These physical improvements are a sign the medicine is working.
However, the mental symptoms of depression and anxiety can take 6-8 weeks to improve. It's critical to take your antidepressant exactly as your doctor prescribes, never skipping a dose or stopping the medication.
If you're suffering from major depression disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, or other mental health conditions, Lexapro offers several benefits to improve your overall quality of life.
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