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Taking Medication for Anxiety

Your doctor has given you medication for anxiety. You may not know much about the different types of medication out there. You’re concerned about possible side effects and problems reported in the news about some of the medications. What are the risks, the side effects and the benefits of taking medication for anxiety?

First, Let’s Talk about Antidepressants

Originally, antidepressants were use to just treat depression. It was discover though that the drug could also help people with anxiety disorders. Therefore, to treat panic disorders Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro, Paxil or Celexa can be prescribed. To treat generalize anxiety disorders, Effexor or Wellbutrin is use sometimes. These medications start at a low dose and then gradually increase. The side effects can be varied such as nausea, insomnia, anxiety, restlessness, weight gain and more. Tofranil is a tricyclic antidepressant and is used both for GAD (General Anxiety Disorder) and panic disorders. Anafranil is used for the treatment of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Both of these medications are started at low dosages. If more is needed, then the dosage is increased over a period of time.

MAOIs also Use for Treatment of Anxiety

These drugs are Nardil, Parnate, and Marplan. When you are prescribing any of these drugs you have to be careful to avoid certain foods and other medications that can interact dangerously with them in your body.


Other types of medications for anxiety are Benzodiazepines. These do work more quickly than antidepressants. For social phobia and GAD, Klonopin may be prescribe for you. Ativan is used to treat panic disorders. Xanax is also use to treat both panic disorders and GAD. Buspar is use to treat GAD but it takes 2 weeks to begin to work. One of the issues with Benzodiazepine drugs is that they can be addicting. If taken over a long period of time, the drug tolerance builds up and you may need a higher and higher dose to achieve the same effect. Most doctors, therefore, will prescribe these medications for anxiety for short periods of time. Other more common side effects of these drugs are drowsiness and dizziness. There may also cause an upset stomach, blurred vision, headaches and nightmares.


Beta-blockers are other medicines for anxiety use. This medication will block some of the physical systems of anxiety-like trembling and sweating. The side effects of this medication are fatigue, cold hands, dizziness or weakness. These are having on a short term basis too and should stop slowly and under your doctor’s supervision.

You and Your Doctor

If you choose to take a medication for anxiety, talk to your doctor; tell your doctor about your concerns. See if together you can come up with a medication which works for you and has little if any side effects. It’s your body, your voice and you have a right to hear.

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