Anxiolytics: Anti-Anxiety Medications

anti anxiety medications

Listed below is a list of the most popular anti-anxiety medications (also known as anxiolytics) grouped by category:

Antidepressants

These drugs, particularly the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are most frequently prescribed by healthcare practitioners for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, because they are not known to be addictive. For additional information and facts about these medications and drugs, please see our articles on antidepressants.

Antihistamines

Brand names: Atarax, Benadryl. These mild sedatives can be used to calm periodic anxiety. They are used off label when used in this way.

Azaspirones

Brand name: BuSpar. This medication is utilized in the therapy of generalized anxiety disorder. It reportedly has fewer negative effects than the benzodiazepines and will not worsen the effects of alcohol. It works steadily for the duration of a period of two to four weeks and it should be stopped gradually and steadily.

Benzodiazepines

 Brand names: Ativan, Centrax, Dalmane, Klonopin, Librium, Paxipam, Restoril, Serax, Tranxene, Valium, Xanax. These medications are used to treat panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and social phobia. They’re quite habit-forming so long-term use is not encouraged. The addictive tendency of this type of drug can result in dependency and withdrawal reactions when stopped. If you have been takign these for more than two weeks, you should never stop taking them abruptly.  Instead, it is suggested that you taper off gradually. These medications should be taken with appropriate supervision by a health-related professional. Side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, headache, and nausea. Don’t take in combination with other medication without talking about potential hazards with your healthcare provider. Be careful when operating machinery or heavy equipment if you are taking these prescriptions.

Beta blockers

Brand names: Inderal, Tenormin. These cardiac drugs counteract the effect of adrenaline and alleviate certain anxiety symptoms, such as shaking, palpitations, and sweating. These medications should only be used under direct medical supervision, as they reduce blood pressure and slow the heartbeat. Beta blockers are non-habit forming but should not be taken with other pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, congestive heart failure, diabetes, vascular diseases, hyperthyroidism, and angina). They are meant to be used short term for anxiety and although sometimes prescribed to treat anxiety, they are not approved by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for that purpose.

For additional info on slight to moderate anxiety, as well as on natural techniques to alleviate both severe and generalized anxiety, read our other articles about anxiety and mood here.

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