Other Antidepressants Used To Treat Anxiety Disorders
In addition to SSRIs, several other types of antidepressants are commonly prescribed to treat depression. These include serotoninnorepinephrine reuptake inhibitors , monoamine oxidase inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants .
SNRIs work similarly to SSRIs. In addition to increasing the amount of serotonin in your brain, they also block the reabsorption and therefore increase the level of norepinephrine a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating alertness, attention, memory and other functions. SNRIs used to treat anxiety include:
Duloxetine. Sold under the brand name Cymbalta®, duloxetine is an SNRI thats used to treat general anxiety disorder. Our guide to duloxetine provides more information on how duloxetine works as a treatment for depression, anxiety and other conditions.
Venlafaxine. Sold under the brand name Effexor®, venlafaxine is used to treat a range of anxiety disorders, from generalized anxiety disorder to social anxiety disorder and panic disorder.
Some monoamine oxidase inhibitors may be effective as treatments for certain anxiety conditions, such as social anxiety disorder and panic disorder. MAOIs are older antidepressants that were first discovered in the 1950s by clinical researchers.
Most MAOIs are not approved by the FDA to treat anxiety. However, they may be prescribed by your healthcare provider for off-label use if other treatments arent effective. MAOIs sometimes used to treat anxiety include phenelzine, selegiline and tranylcypromine.
Medications For Anxiety: An Overview
Medications designed to treat anxiety are called anxiolytics, or anti-anxiety drugs. Theyre some of the most widely used medications in the United States, with 8.3 percent of all American adults as of 2013 prescribed either a sedative, hypnotic or other type of anti-anxiety medication.
Several different classes of medications are used to treat anxiety. Many anxiety disorders are treated using medications called benzodiazepines. Other drugs used to treat anxiety disorders include antidepressants, beta-blockers and azapirones like buspirone.
Because no two people are the same, theres no one-size-fits-all medication prescribed to treat anxiety. If you have an anxiety disorder, your healthcare provider may prescribe one or several drugs based on your symptoms, general health, lifestyle and other factors.
Use Journaling To Process Things
Journaling is a technique that has been used to help cope with anxiety for a long time. With anxiety, the mind often fails to process emotions and events in a healthy and coherent manner. Journaling these feelings and events can help the brain slow down and process the individual components. While journaling may make the emotions feel sharper at first, it can also help reach resolution and catharsis.
Regular journaling can help to reduce or prevent heightened anxiety, although the impact varies between people. Some studies have sought to take journaling into the digital age and have tested online positive affect journaling. Like other studies of journaling as an anxiety coping mechanism, the online PAJ study found that people reported some improvement in symptoms after sufficient time using this technique.
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Quick Tip: Take A Purifying Breath
- Inhale into a soft belly, taking in light, love, and healing energy. Picture this as clear, bright, or sparkling. Feel yourself becoming brighter as you fill with light and joy.
- Exhale fully, releasing any negative states or feelings. You may picture it as darkness or a fog. If you have anger, fear or sadness, breathe them out. If you have tension, anxieties, or worry, release them as you exhale.
Warnings For Other Groups
For pregnant women: Safe use of amitriptyline/chlordiazepoxide during pregnancy has not been established. The chlordiazepoxide component of this drug has been shown to increase the risk of negative effects to the fetus. This risk is higher during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Talk to your doctor if youre pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should only be used if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk.
For women who are breastfeeding: Amitriptyline/chlordiazepoxide may pass into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breastfed. Talk to your doctor if you breastfeed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication.
For seniors: The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, a higher amount of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.
If youre over the age of 65 years, you may be at a higher risk of confusion and sedating side effects from this drug.
For children: This medication hasnt been studied in children.
When to call the doctor
All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:
- the severity of your condition
- other medical conditions you have
- how you react to the first dose
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Coping Support And Resources
In addition to your prescribed treatment, you may want to join a support group. It can be very helpful to talk with other people who are experiencing symptoms similar to yours. Its good to know that you are not alone. Someone else with similar symptoms can understand what youre going through and offer support and encouragement. Being part of a group can also help you develop new social skills.
Your community will likely have several support groups, either for your specific disorder or for anxiety in general. Check with your medical professionals to learn what resources are available in your area. You might ask your:
- mental health provider
- primary doctor
- county mental health services agency
You can also participate in support groups online. This may be a good way to start if you have social anxiety disorder or feel uncomfortable in a face-to-face group setting.
Treatment of diagnosed anxiety is often multi-disciplinary. This means you may see one or all of the following medical practitioners:
- primary care physician
List Of Benzodiazepines Used For Anxiety
Benzodiazepines are very widely used, with tens of millions of prescriptions in the United States alone. Study data indicates that most benzodiazepine use is highest in older people. Common benzodiazepines include:
Alprazolam. Sold as Xanax, alprazolam is the most widely prescribed benzodiazepine medication in the United States, with tens of millions of prescriptions written for it annually. Its prescribed to treat a diverse range of anxiety and panic disorders.
Chlordiazepoxide. Sold under the brand name Librium®, chlordiazepoxide is prescribed to treat anxiety and certain symptoms of alcohol/drug withdrawal.
Clorazepate. Sold under the brand names Tranxene® and Gen-Xene®, clorazepate is prescribed to treat a range of anxiety disorders.
Diazepam. Sold under the brand name Valium, diazepam is another widely prescribed benzodiazepine thats used to treat anxiety disorders, panic attacks, seizures and drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Estazolam. Sold under the brand name Prosom®, estazolam is typically prescribed as a treatment for insomnia, including insomnia caused by anxiety.
Flurazepam. Flurazepam is a benzodiazepine derivative thats primarily used as a short-term treatment for insomnia.
Oxazepam. Sold under the brand names Serax® and Zaxopam®, oxazepam is prescribed to treat anxiety and certain symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
Other benzodiazepines, such as temazepam and triazolam are used primarily as sleep aids and arent widely prescribed for anxiety.
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Alprazolam Ir Oral Tablet Vs Diazepam
Like alprazolam, diazepam is available as an IR oral tablet. Both medications are benzodiazepines. And theyre used to treat some of the same conditions, such as anxiety. But alprazolam and diazepam do have differences as well.
If youd like to know more about the similarities and differences between alprazolam and diazepam, see this comparison article. It discusses the brand-name versions of these drugs.
Talk with your doctor about which treatment is right for you.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
Although selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are a type of antidepressant, doctors can prescribe them to people with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder .
According to one article, doctors consider SSRIs to be the first-line drug treatment for anxiety.
SSRIs work by stopping nerve cells in the brain from reabsorbing serotonin, which is a chemical that plays a vital role in mood regulation.
Examples of SSRIs for anxiety include:
, but they may not work for everyone. People usually take SSRIs for 612 months to treat anxiety and then gradually reduce the dosage.
These drugs are not habit-forming, meaning that they do not usually lead to dependence.
People should consult a doctor or physician before they start reducing or stopping their medication.
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Try Herbal Tea Or Supplements
If you experience high anxiety levels, a warm cup of herbal tea could help in more than one way. The ritual of sitting still and drinking tea, as well as the consumption of warm liquid, can all help to calm and soothe the body. Add to this that research has shown some positive links between drinking some teas and reducing anxiety, and this anxiety home remedy begins to look even better.
Studies have selectively shown instances of herbal tea consumption being linked to a decline in experiences of anxiety. These studies have been limited in the scope of teas used and the demographics involved. However, many of them have provided significant data. One showed that lavender herbal tea could have a strong ameliorating effect on anxiety in older individuals. Another study is pursuing the long-term effects of chamomile on generalized anxiety disorders, with preliminary research showing some promise.
Type : Natural Anxiety Drugs And Side Effect Free Anxiety Treatments
Many of those with anxiety look for so called natural anxiety drugs or natural herbal treatments. Examples include:
Given all the possible side effects of anxiety, it is easy to see why most people would want to try a side effect free treatment first. Some, like Kava, actually do have research supporting the idea that it may reduce anxiety when used in the right doses, and it may be something you will want to consider.
BUT WORD OF CAUTION: One of the things that herbal supplement marketing companies do not tell you is that many of the side effects of anxiety medications are because the medication is working.
For example, most of the gastrointestinal issues caused by SSRIs are because there are also serotonin receptors in the stomach. Creating more serotonin in the body can help boost mood, but it may also stimulate receptors in the stomach, causing you to feel nausea or stomach discomfort.
The reason that most herbal and natural medications cause no side effect is because many, in all likelihood, dont do anything. It is currently impossible to increase serotonin in the brain without increasing serotonin elsewhere, and if you increase serotonin elsewhere, you may feel sick. Anxiety medication side effects are a result of them working, not because they are chemicals.
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Drug Interactions And Overdose
While benzodiazepines are relatively safe when taken only occasionally and in small doses, they can be dangerous and even deadly when combined with other central nervous system depressants. Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before combining medications.
Dont drink on benzodiazepines. When mixed with alcohol, benzodiazepines can lead to fatal overdose.
Dont mix with painkillers or sleeping pills. Taking benzodiazepines with prescription pain or sleeping pills can also lead to fatal overdose.
Antihistamines amplify their effects. Antihistaminesfound in many over-the-counter sleep, cold, and allergy medicinesare sedating on their own. Be cautious when mixing with benzodiazepines to avoid over-sedation.
Be cautious when combining with antidepressants. SSRIs such as Prozac and Zoloft can heighten benzodiazepine toxicity. You may need to adjust your dose accordingly.
Paradoxical effects of benzodiazepines
The benzodiazepines work because they slow down the nervous system. But sometimes, for reasons that arent well understood, they have the opposite effect. Paradoxical reactions are most common in children, the elderly, and people with developmental disabilities. They include:
- Increased anxiety, irritability, agitation, aggression, and rage
- Mania, impulsive behavior, and hallucinations
Foods That Help Or Hurt Anxiety
There are several types of medications used to treat anxiety disorders.
Within each of these categories, there are subgroups of drugs that work differently and have their own benefits, risks, and possible side effects.
Theyre supereffective in treating anxiety disorders, says Beth Salcedo, MD, the medical director of the Ross Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders and a past board president of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Its not known exactly how SSRIs work on serotonin to alleviate anxiety, says Dr. Salcedo, but what is known is that theyre not addictive like benzodiazepines are .
Its important to follow your doctors instructions when taking any prescription drug. Talk to your doctor if youre concerned about the side effects of a medication, or if the drug youre taking doesn’t seem to be alleviating your symptoms.
Other antidepressants that may be prescribed for anxiety include:
- Wellbutrin, Zyban, Aplenzin, Budeprion, or Buproban
- Tricyclic antidepressants, such as Amitid, Amitril, Elavil, or Endep Aventyl, Pamelor or Tofranil
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How To Treat A Substance Or Medication
If you have anxiety and think it could be caused by a medication or illicit drug, its important to reach out to a mental health provider for assistance.
You can get expert help for mental health by talking to your primary care provider, meeting with a psychiatrist or psychologist in your area, or by talking to a licensed psychiatry provider online using our psychiatry services.
Your mental health provider may recommend one or several of the following forms of treatment for anxiety to help you get relief from your symptoms and make progress towards recovery.
Ssri Antidepressants For Anxiety
Many medications originally approved for the treatment of depression are also prescribed for anxiety. In comparison to benzodiazepines, the risk for dependency and abuse is smaller. However, antidepressants take up to 4 to 6 weeks to begin relieving anxiety symptoms, so they cant be taken as needed. Their use is limited to chronic anxiety problems that require ongoing treatment.
The antidepressants most widely prescribed for anxiety are SSRIs such as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, and Celexa. SSRIs have been used to treat generalized anxiety disorder , obsessive-compulsive disorder , panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Common side effects of SSRIs include:
- Increased sweating
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Medication For Anxiety Disorders In Adults
NYU Langone psychiatrists often prescribe medication to manage anxiety disorders as well as coexisting mental health conditions, such as depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Our experts choose a medication based on your symptoms.
Medication can be a short or long term treatment option, depending on your symptoms and your response to treatment. Often, medication is used in conjunction with behavioral therapy or psychotherapy. A medication consultation with an NYU Langone psychiatrist enables you to ask questions about your treatment and discuss your concerns.
Top Five Depression And Anxiety Drug Myths
Always talk to your doctor prior to taking any supplements to treat depression, because these might have negative effects of their very own or may hinder or interact with other medicines you may be taking. Depression is a significant condition that might grow worse gradually depression and anxiety drug if left untreated. There are a number of all-natural means to combat feelings of depression if you do not wish to take prescription antidepressant medicine. These techniques can additionally be useful when used to enhance therapies that might include psychotherapy as well as medication.
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Medication Isnt Your Only Option For Anxiety Relief
Anxiety medication wont solve your problems if youre anxious because of mounting bills, a tendency to jump to worst-case scenarios, or an unhealthy relationship. Thats where self-help, therapy, and other lifestyle changes come in. These non-drug treatments can produce lasting changes and long-term relief.
Exercise Exercise is a powerful anxiety treatment. Studies show that regular workouts can ease symptoms just as effectively as medication.
Worry busting strategies You can train your brain to stop worrying and look at life from a more calm and balanced perspective.
Therapy Cognitive behavioral therapy can teach you how to control your anxiety levels, stop worrisome thoughts, and conquer your fears.
Yoga and tai chi Yoga and tai chi are mind-body interventions that engage you emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. Data has shown their efficacy for many different medical conditions, including anxiety.
Mindfulness and meditation Mindfulness is a state of mind where you learn to observe your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in a present, compassionate, and non-judgmental way. It often brings a sense of calm and relaxation.
Medications That Cause Anxiety
Medically reviewed by Jill Johnson, FNP
Anxiety is a common feeling of fear, uneasiness and worry. Its something we all deal with from time to time. However, for some people, anxiety can be a persistent, recurring issue that gets in the way of living a fulfilling, happy life.
If you have anxiety thats severe or doesnt get better over time, it could be a sign that you have an anxiety disorder.
Several different factors can cause or contribute to anxiety, including your exposure to stressful events, your history of mental illness and your physical health.
One potential cause of anxiety that many people arent aware of is medication. From common over-the-counter treatments to prescription drugs, several widely-used medications have been linked with anxiety symptoms and even clinically significant anxiety disorders. Below, weve discussed the link between medication and anxiety in detail and listed the drugs, supplements and other substances that are known to cause or aggravate anxiety.
Weve also talked about what you can do if youre prone to anxiety symptoms and think that medication or other substances could be to blame.
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