Anti anxiety Medications

Anti anxiety Medications

The mental illness most commonly affecting people in the United States today is anxiety. More than 12% of all people today will suffer from an anxiety disorder during their lifetime. Treatment for anxiety disorders requires both an anti anxiety medication and therapy.

Anxiety medications help to control your anxiety both now and for the long term. Some of the drugs are used for severe anxiety and others work for all anxiety disorders. Benzodiazepines, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and beta-blockers are all possible types of anti anxiety medication. Buspirone or BuSpar is used particularly to treat anxiety. It is at times thought of as an antidepressant, but is not related to other classes of medications. Buspirone is to be taken for the long-term and takes effect in 2-3 weeks of use.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

The most commonly used anti anxiety drug is from the SSRI or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors class. SSRIs are chiefly antidepressants, but may also be effective in treating anxiety as well. Drugs that affect the brain chemicals, norepinephrine and serotonin, can also be used for anxiety patients.

SSRIs are not addictive and can be taken long-term. After taking SSRIs for 2 to 4 weeks, a decrease in anxiety should be noticed. SSRIs work on the following disorders:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder  
  • Panic disorder
  • Social phobia
  • OCD or Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Also other older antidepressants, for example monoamine oxidase inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants, are sometimes used as antianxiety medicine.  Due to the high side effect risk, however, they aren’t regarded as a good first choice drug.


Benzodiazepines, common antianxiety drugs, usually are taken only for a short time of no more than six weeks. They can also be used to treat severe episodes such as panic attacks. Benzodiazepines or the slang name “benzos” are usually used in combination with other antianxiety drugs like SSRIs.

Benzodiazepines can cause abuse, dependence, and withdrawal.  If benzos are used, they should be monitored carefully by the prescribing physician.  They are not recommended for people who have had alcohol or drug abuse problems.

Benzodiazepines are used to treat many types of anxiety such as:

  • Adjustment disorder
  • Situational anxiety
  • Panic attacks


Antipsychotic Anxiety Medication

The word “antipsychotic” means that the medication is used in treatment of psychosis. But antipsychotics are useful in other ways and taking this drug does not necessarily mean that a psychosis is present. Antipsychotics are sometimes used with other anxiety drugs to increase their effectiveness.  Antipsychotics can also be taken by themselves, but they are usually not the first choice.

Antipsychotics are given as long-term treatments and are mostly used for a generalized anxiety disorder. New (atypical) and old (typical) antipsychotics are taken as anxiety drugs.  However the typical or older antipsychotics have more side effects.

Antipsychotics can have life-threatening side effects such as:

  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome
  • Movement disorders of the muscles
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Weight Gain
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Stroke
  • Hypertension and hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Cardiac electrophysiological abnormalities and Cardiac conduction resulting in death


Blood Pressure Drugs and Beta-Blockers

These drugs for blood pressure and beta-blockers were developed to lower blood pressure. They were made to be started when anxiety appears, but can be still felt up to a week later. Beta-blockers are also useful in treating anxiety.  They are still being tested, but have shown their performance ability for treating situational performance anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.


Anticonvulsants are occasionally given as anxiety medicines. They increase a brain chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which calms down the central nervous system.



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