What Drugs are Prescribed for Anxiety?

What Drugs are Prescribed for Anxiety?

Tuesday, May 30th, 2023

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What Drugs are Prescribed for Anxiety?

Tuesday, May 30th, 2023

What Drugs are Prescribed for Anxiety?

Anxiety, although a natural reaction to stress, can transform into an oppressive burden when these feelings become constant and interfere with daily life. Recognizing this as an anxiety disorder is the first step towards managing these symptoms. At Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services, a center renowned for its extensive expertise in treating substance use disorders, sexual addiction, and psychiatric disorders, we understand the complexities of these conditions. The professionals at Pine Grove often recommend a combination of psychotherapy and medication for managing anxiety disorders. Below, we discuss various types of drugs prescribed for anxiety, the scenarios where medication might be indicated, and potential risks.


The most commonly used medications include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Fluoxetine (Prozac) and Sertraline (Zoloft), and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), such as Venlafaxine (Effexor) and Duloxetine (Cymbalta). These medicines work by altering the balance and availability of serotonin and norepinephrine neurotransmitters in the brain, and have been instrumental in many of our patient’s treatment plans at Pine Grove.

Beta Blockers

Originally developed for treating heart conditions, beta blockers can also be used off-label for anxiety. Drugs like Propranolol (Inderal) and Atenolol (Tenormin) help to relieve symptoms like rapid heart rate and trembling by blocking the effects of adrenaline. These medications have proven effective in managing symptoms associated with certain anxiety disorders.

Off-Label Medications

While the primary treatment for anxiety typically involves SSRIs, SNRIs, and in some cases, benzodiazepines, healthcare professionals also sometimes use other medications off-label to manage anxiety symptoms. “Off-label” means the medication is being used in a manner not specified in the FDA’s approved packaging label, or insert. However, it’s essential to note that off-label prescription is common and legal, and can be extremely beneficial in certain cases.

  1. Antihistamines: Often used for allergies, antihistamines like Hydroxyzine (Vistaril, Atarax) can also be used off-label to manage anxiety. They have sedative properties and can help reduce symptoms of anxiety, particularly in acute situations.
  2. Atypical Antipsychotics: Certain atypical antipsychotics like Quetiapine (Seroquel) are sometimes prescribed off-label for their calming and sedative effects, which can help manage severe or treatment-resistant anxiety.
  3. Buspirone: Originally developed for treating generalized anxiety disorder, Buspirone (Buspar) is sometimes used off-label for short-term relief of acute symptoms of anxiety.
  4. Gabapentin and Pregabalin: These medications, typically used for neuropathic pain and in some cases for seizure disorders, have also shown efficacy in managing symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder.
  5. Certain Antidepressants: Tricyclic antidepressants like Imipramine (Tofranil), and certain types of SSRIs and SNRIs not initially intended for anxiety treatment, can be used off-label for this purpose.

Risks of Some Medications

Benzodiazepines, while providing quick relief from acute symptoms of anxiety, should be used with caution due to the risk of dependency and withdrawal symptoms. Alprazolam (Xanax) and Lorazepam (Ativan) are commonly prescribed examples of this class of medication. This is why Pine Grove’s team of experts always carefully assesses each patient’s case, ensuring the medication recommended is the most appropriate for their unique circumstances.

When is Medication Recommended for Anxiety Treatment?

Anxiety medication is typically recommended when symptoms are severe and interfere with daily life, and when therapy alone does not alleviate these symptoms. However, medication is often just one component of a comprehensive treatment plan that Pine Grove’s professionals tailor to each individual. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and other evidence-based practices form the backbone of these personalized treatment plans.

Inpatient Treatment for Anxiety

Since opening our doors in 1984, Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services has become Mississippi’s largest drug and alcohol treatment center, offering comprehensive and individualized programming for a variety of psychiatric and addictive diseases, including anxiety disorders. Our expert team can determine the right medication for your unique needs and monitor side effects during your treatment – a key benefit of our inpatient anxiety treatment program.

While living with anxiety can feel isolating, remember that you are not alone. Countless individuals have successfully managed their anxiety and lived fulfilling lives with the right treatment and support. Reach out to the Pine Grove team today to learn more about our comprehensive approach to anxiety treatment and explore the pharmacological options available to you.