Which Medications are Used to Treat Anxiety?
Treatment for anxiety disorders usually involve a combination of psychotherapy and medications. Medications are an essential part of the treatment plan, alleviating symptoms and allowing you to focus on the things you need to address in therapy.
As always, it is crucial to receive a proper diagnosis and to take medicines under the care and observation of medical and/or mental health professionals.
Which medications are used to treat anxiety? Here is a breakdown on some of the more popular meds prescribed for and effective in treating anxiety:
Benzodiazepines are sedatives that can help relax your muscles and calm your mind. They work by increasing the effects of certain neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that relay messages between your brain cells. Benzodiazepines help treat many kinds of anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder. Examples of these drugs include:
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Clonazepam (Klonopin)
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Lorazepam (Ativan)
Antidepressant medications work by affecting neurotransmitters. These drugs can be used to treat anxiety symptoms, but they usually take four to six weeks to produce noticeable effects. Types of antidepressants include—
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) work by increasing levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects mood, sexual desire, appetite, sleep, and memory. SSRIs are typically started at low doses that are gradually increased by your doctor. Examples of SSRIs used to treat anxiety include:
- escitalopram (Lexapro)
- fluoxetine (Prozac)
- paroxetine (Paxil)
- sertraline (Zoloft)
Tricyclics work as well as SSRIs do for treating most anxiety disorders except obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It’s thought that tricyclics work similarly to SSRIs. And like SSRIs, tricyclics are started at a low dose and then increased gradually. Examples of tricyclics used for anxiety include:
- clomipramine (Anafranil)
- imipramine (Tofranil)
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) are used to treat panic disorder and social phobia. They work by increasing the amount of certain neurotransmitters that regulate mood. MAOIs approved by the FDA to treat depression but used also for anxiety include:
- isocarboxazid (Marplan)
- phenelzine (Nardil)
- selegiline (Emsam)
- tranylcypromine (Parnate)
Beta Blocker Medications
Beta-blockers are most often used to treat heart conditions. They’re also used also to help relieve the physical symptoms of anxiety, especially in social anxiety disorder.
If you or someone you love battles anxiety, we understand what you’re going through. We can help.
Which medications are right for you?
The medications that will be right for you will be those prescribed, utilized and monitored as part of a broader, thoroughgoing treatment plan. Under the proper care, your symptoms of anxiety can be alleviated with medication, allowing you to focus on attaining the psychological and spiritual skills which will enable you to live beyond anxiety.
At Honey Lake Clinic, our experienced staff, licensed therapists, psychologists, and psychiatric specialists believe a faith-based approach, addressing all three spheres of our being—body, mind and spirit—is key to life-transformation.