Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatment & Medications

List of some Anxiety Medications for Anxiety Disorder

The term anxiety includes feelings of unease, fear and worry. Though, it is normal to feel some sort of anxiety at times, persistent or intense anxiety may suggest an anxiety disorder. According to many big surveys, up to 34 percent of people feel some type of anxiety disorder in their lifetime. Medicines are available to deal with anxiety disorders. Physicians may prescribe medicine alone or along with cognitive behavioural therapy or any other type of effective therapy.

Medications for Anxiety Disorder

Many drugs can treat anxiety disorder. The 4 major types of drugs used for anxiety disorders are:

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

Though, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) are a kind of antidepressants, medics commonly recommend them to individuals suffering from anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Healthcare experts consider selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors to be the first-line treatment for anxiety. They work by obstructing nerve cells present in the brain from resorbing serotonin, a chemical which plays an essential role in the regulation of mood. Some examples of SSRIs include:

  • sertraline
  • paroxetine
  • fluvoxamine
  • fluoxetine
  • escitalopram
  • citalopram

Usually, these drugs start to take effect within two to six weeks, however they don’t work for everybody. Generally, individuals take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for up to twelve months to get relief from anxiety, then slowly reduce the dose. Keep in mind that these medicines are not habit-forming, entailing they do not generally lead to dependence. People should speak with their medic before they start decreasing or ending their medication.

Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors are another type of antidepressant that relieves anxiety and depression. Doctors may also recommend them to alleviate chronic pain conditions. These drugs work by decreasing the brain’s capacity to reabsorb the chemicals, norepinephrine and serotonin. Some examples of serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors for treating anxiety are:

  • venlafaxine
  • duloxetine

Similar to SSRIs, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors can take many weeks to produce their effects.


Benzodiazepines are a kind of sedative medicine that decreases the physical symptoms or signs of anxiety like tense muscles. These medications also encourage relaxation. Usually, the effects of benzodiazepines take place in a few minutes. Some of the examples include:

Although, they are very productive for short term problems, medical care experts rarely recommend benzos because they tend to become less effective with the passage of time and could be addictive. Due to these dangers, experts suggest that physicians do not recommend the constant use of benzos for more than one month. Some people may consume benzos to get relief from short term anxiety. People who have a fear of flying might take benzodiazepines before a flight. On the other hand, individuals may take a benzo along with SSRI for some weeks till the SSRI takes effect.

Tricyclic Antidepressants

Tricyclic antidepressants are an older type of antidepressant drug. Though, they may be productive for the treatment of anxiety and depression, medics often suggest SSRIs instead, because they cause fewer negative effects. Tricyclic antidepressants might be useful for some individuals, particularly if other medicines do not give relief. Some of the examples of tricyclic antidepressants include:

  • nortriptyline
  • imipramine
  • amitriptyline

Other Medicines for Anxiety

Many other drugs might help treat anxiety, though doctors usually only recommend them if SSRIs or similar medications do not work. Other medicines for treating anxiety include:


This anti-anxiety drug may treat long or short-term symptoms of anxiety. Buspirone works more slowly when compared to benzodiazepines. It might not treat all forms of anxiety disorder. Buspirone has a low risk of dependency and causes few side effects.


It is a common medicine for people suffering from heart conditions and high blood pressure. Nevertheless, medics may prescribe beta-blockers off-label for certain anxiety conditions. Beta-blockers reduce the overall effects of norepinephrine, implying they could ease some of the physical signs of anxiety. Some of the beta-blockers examples are Inderal and Tenormin.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors are the earliest kind of antidepressant. Healthcare experts may prescribe monoamine oxidase inhibitors off-label to deal with the symptoms of social phobia and panic disorder. Some of the examples include:

  • selegiline
  • phenelzine
  • isocarboxazid
  • tranylcypromine

Side Effects

Antidepressants and other medicines for treating anxiety have the possibility to cause negative effects in some individuals. But the adverse effects subside or get eliminated after a few weeks. If the effects don’t wear off, see your doctor immediately. Some physicians may suggest taking anxiety drugs with food to reduce the occurrence of adverse effects, or consuming them before bedtime, as long as the medication does not intervene with sleep.

Some of the side effects of SSRIs are upset stomach, sleep problems, erectile dysfunction, nausea, headache, gaining weight, restlessness, feeling agitated, dry mouth, fatigue, blurry vision and dizziness. The negative effects of SNRIs are somewhat similar to SSRIs and include upset stomach, more than usual sweating, problems while sleeping, sexual problems, loss of appetite, nausea, weight gain, increased blood pressure, headache, dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness and constipation.

Side effects change among tricyclic antidepressants as they work in diverse ways. Potential side effects of tricyclic antidepressantsinclude weight gain or loss, constipation, tremors, excessive sweating, erectile dysfunction, low blood pressure once a person stands up, light-headedness, increased appetite, drowsiness, dry mouth, difficulty in urinating and blurry vision. Some of the negative effects of benzos are upset stomach, problems with balance, speech or coordination, loss of concentration or memory, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, confusion and blurry vision.

Keep in mind that benzodiazepines also have certain risks. For instance, they could cause physical dependency even a limited period of use. Furthermore, withdrawal from benzos may lead to seizures, sweating, sleep problems, depression and anxiety. More severe dangers of taking benzodiazepines might include overdose, particularly in combination with alcohol or opioid drugs, motor vehicle accidents or mishaps as they could affect an individual’s ability to drive, hip fractures, cognitive decline and addiction.

Some of the harmful effects of beta-blockers are weight gain, sleep problems, shortness of breath, low blood pressure, extreme tiredness, depression, cold feet and hands.

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