Medications for Anxiety

There are multiple medications that can assist with anxiety. All of these medications have potential side-effects and risks and you should discuss all these in detail with your medical provider before agreeing to take anything. Your primary care provider can usually start you on these medications so it may not be necessary to see a psychiatrist.

We do not recommend the use of quick-acting anxiety medications such as benzodiazepines.

These medications may alleviate immediate symptoms but they are highly habit-forming and you will likely need more over time to get the same effect.  They do not address underlying chemical imbalances that may lead to anxiety and as they leave the system, they can cause anxiety to feel worse than before.  For the elderly and people with other health concerns, these medications may increase confusion and may cause falls and injuries.

Most doctors treat anxiety with antidepressant medication if they determine medication is necessary.  If you struggle with anxiety and take and antidepressant, you may want to start with a very low dose and slowly increase it to avoid making anxiety worse.

Most antidepressants take 4-6 weeks to take effect. Pay attention to any differences in your mood and report them to your doctor. Monitor changes monthly using the GAD-7. This is a great tool to catch small improvements so you and your doctor know if the medication is working. You may need to change your dose several times before it is right and you might even have to try several medications before you find the right one for you. Be patient. You’re worth the effort.