15 Shocking Facts About Treat Anxiety That You’ve Never Heard Of

Meds That Treat Anxiety

Anxiety affects more than 40 million adults in the United States. It is extremely treatable, and there are various types of medication available.

SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), like Zoloft, Prozac, Lexapro and Effexor, work to alleviate anxiety by raising levels of the chemical serotonin in the brain. Contrary to benzodiazepines they’re not addictive.


The most commonly used anxiety medication is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro) and fluoxetine (Prozac). These drugs also treat depression and can help relieve the symptoms of other anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It can take up one month for them to start working.

They help by increasing the levels of certain chemical transmitters in the brain. This includes serotonin and norepinephrine as well as dopamine. These are typically the first choice for treating anxiety, but doctors can also prescribe other kinds of antidepressants, also known as benzodiazepines.

Antidepressants, such as duloxetine (Cymbalta), and venlafaxine, (Effexor) are also used for anxiety. They differ from SSRIs since they reduce norepinephrine but at a lower degree than SSRIs. These medications can take a while to start taking effect, and they also are more expensive than SSRIs.

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), such as imipramine (Tofranil) can be effective in treating some anxiety disorders, notably GAD. However, their drowsiness and other side effects make them less popular. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are another type of antidepressant that can be used to combat anxiety. However, their dietary restrictions and the high risk of toxicity restrict their use.

Benzodiazepines can be used to combat panic attacks and anxiety in the short-term in the meantime, while waiting for SSRIs and SNRIs. These drugs can trigger tolerance addiction, sedation, and withdrawal reactions that can cause rebound anxiety, depression and even delirium. Benzodiazepines can be found in alprazolam, clonazepam, as well as lorazepam.

Therapy is an important part of an anxiety treatment plan because it allows you to discover more about the symptoms and their reasons. Many people discover that both therapy and medication help them cope with anxiety. Some studies have shown that cognitive behavioral therapy is just as effective as medications for anxiety. Talk with your physician about your options and determine what is best treatment for anxiety might be best for you.


Benzodiazepines have a calming affect that reduces anxiety and relaxes tense muscle. They also ease symptoms of bodily arousal due to fear (like heart racing and trembling) and promote sleep.

They work by binding to inhibitory neurons, for example GABA or gamma aminobutryic acid at receptors in the central nervous system. They increase the effects of GABA by facilitating its inhibitory effect on other neurotransmitters, and reducing the number of messages that are sent to the amygdala. which is the brain’s region that detects threats and creates the feeling of fear.

These medications are sometimes taken for short durations for instance, during a panic attack or severe anxiety attack. They can help ease the symptoms within 30 to 90 minutes of taking them. Benzodiazepines are different from SSRIs aren’t able to remain in the body for a long time. They’re fast-acting and can be effective in a matter of hours. This makes them perfect for situations where rapid relief is required (such as on an airplane or before giving a presentation in public).

They are addictive, and it is recommended to only prescribe them for a maximum of 4 weeks at each time. They also lose their effectiveness after a period of time.

One of the main reasons benzodiazepines are so popular is that they are efficient and have minimal side effects compared to their predecessors like barbiturates and meprobamate. They are fast in the onset of action and are very useful as anxiolytics (anti-anxiety), sedatives, anticonvulsants and as muscle relaxants.

Benzos are often blamed for the negative perceptions of anxiety that developed in the 1970s and 1980s, including the stigmatization of anxiety and the perception that benzodiazepine treatment causes physical dependence. Despite this, benzodiazepines continue to play a major part in the treatment of anxiety disorders, particularly when they are combined with psychosocial interventions like cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapies.

Benzos may interact with other medications, causing undesirable side effects, such as drowsiness and disorientation. It is important to inform your doctor about any prescription, nonprescription or herbal medicines you currently use or are planning to take. You can determine which medications are safe to take with benzodiazepines through the British National Formulary A-Z list of medication interactions.


Antidepressants can ease anxiety and other mental health issues. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, antidepressants — like SSRIs and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) — can help reduce chronic travel anxiety treatment disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorders and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The FDA has approved antidepressants to treat other health conditions, including eating disorders, bipolar disorder, and certain types of pain.

Most doctors recommend SSRIs as the first-line treatment for anxiety, however these drugs may not be effective for all people. If these antidepressants don’t work, the doctor may try an older form of medication called a tetracyclic or tricyclic antidepressant. They include amitriptyline, nortriptyline and Clomipramine. They’re less common than newer antidepressants, yet they’re still accessible. You may also ask your physician to prescribe the sedating antidepressant trazodone(Desyrel), at lower doses in case you are experiencing anxiety or sleep problems.

Nefazodone, also referred to as Ferdinand (Cymbalta), and duloxetine may also be helpful. These drugs are also available in generic form. If they aren’t working, your physician might suggest a antidepressant that is sedating, mirtazapine (Remeron) or the antipsychotics quetiapine and olanzapine.

Other medications for anxiety disorders include beta blockers, which decrease the blood pressure and heart rate by preventing the action of adrenaline. These drugs are not usually used to treat anxiety by themselves however they can be effective if combined with psychotherapy.

Psychological therapy can help you to change negative thoughts and behaviors that can cause anxiety. It can help you learn to manage your anxiety and develop coping strategies. Based on your specific condition, you might undergo exposure or cognitive behavioural therapy. Cognitive behavioural therapy assists you to overcome negative thoughts, fearful thoughts and to overcome the fear of situations that cause anxiety. Exposure therapy involves increasing the anxiety provoking situations until they become manageable. It can be done in a group or on your own. In both instances it takes time to demonstrate results. Some people find that a combination of medication and psychotherapy is the best option. However, others find that meds alone are sufficient to control their symptoms. Discuss with your doctor how you manage your symptoms.

Other Medications

While antidepressants and benzodiazepines are the most commonly prescribed treatments for anxiety, other medications can help alleviate your symptoms too. Beta blockers and antihistamines are often prescribed to ease anxiety.

These medications correct an imbalance in the brain’s chemicals and can alleviate your symptoms by reducing or blocking signals that cause you anxiety and stress. But, they’re not an all-in-one solution. You’ll have to take steps to reduce anxiety, such as exercises relaxation techniques, relaxation techniques and psychotherapy.

Your doctor may initially prescribe one of the “first first” anxiety medication, which includes SSRIs and SNRIs. They are the most effective medicines for treating anxiety disorders, according to research studies. SSRIs are usually found in sertraline (Zoloft) and the fluoxetine, citalopram and escitalopram. These medications may have mild side effects, like insomnia or nausea, but they usually subside within 4-8 weeks. They aren’t addictive and they do not increase the likelihood of suicidal ideas.

The benzodiazepines alprazolam (Xanax) as well as Clonazepam (Klonopin), and diazepoxide (Valium) offer immediate relief from panic attacks and anxiety However, they can cause negative effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, memory and coordination issues, as well as dependence. They’re less well-known than the barbiturates of the past, but they’re just as effective.

Antihistamines like Vistaril (hydroxyzine), were developed to relieve allergies however, they’re also used to reduce anxiety symptoms. Hydroxyzine blocks the histamine receptors in the brain and may cause the body to relax. It is not a controlled substance and therefore does not carry the same risks of addiction as benzodiazepines.

Another kind of medication that can help with anxiety is a group of medications called anticonvulsants, which have been shown to relieve anxiety by inhibiting the release and production of dopamine and serotonin. They might be prescribed in combination with other medications or as a short-term treatment for anxiety. Your doctor will examine your medical history and symptoms to determine if these medications are suitable for you. They’ll also discuss how long you should be taking them and any potential side effects. Anxiety medication is only available through prescription, so a psychiatrist will be required to prescribe it.

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