Major therapeutic use is to relief anxiety (anxiolytics) or induce sleep (hypnotics).
Hypnotic effects can be achieved with most anxiolytic drugs just by increasing the dose.
The distinction between a "pathological" and "normal" state of anxiety is hard to draw, but in spite of, or despite of, this diagnostic vagueness, anxiolytics are among the most prescribed substances worldwide.
Manifestations of anxiety :
Verbal complaints. The patient says he/she is anxious, nervous, edgy.
Somatic and autonomic effects . The patient is restless and agitated, has tachycardia, increased sweating, weeping and often gastrointestinal disorders.
Social effects . Interference with normal productive activities.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) : People suffering from GAD have general symptoms of motor tension, autonomic hyperactivity, etc. for at least one month.
Phobic anxiety :
Simple phobias. Agoraphobia, fear of animals, etc.
Panic disorders : Characterized by acute attacks of fear as compared to the chronic presentation of GAD.
Obsessive-compulsive behaviors : These patients show repetitive ideas (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions).