Treatments for Anxiety Disorders: Medication
There are six major types of anxiety disorders - generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder and social anxiety disorder. The symptoms vary and so different medications may need to be used for each disorder.
Anxiety disorders are generally treated with medication, psychotherapy or both at the same time. Sometimes co-existing conditions occur alongside anxiety disorders, such as depression or substance abuse.
Medication will not cure anxiety disorders but they can help to keep them under control while the person works on the problem with therapy. Common anxiety medications are antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs and beta-blockers. SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, include such antidepressants as Prozac and Zoloft. They have a few side effects initially such as slight nausea or jitters, but they tend to subside over time.
Older medications like tricyclic antidepressants (Tofranil and Anafranil for example) are sometimes used. But they can cause dizziness, dry mouth and weight gain.
MAOIs, the oldest class of antidepressants, include Nardil and Parnate, and are prescribed for panic disorder and social phobia. Side effects include not being able to eat a variety of foods and beverages that contain tyramine.
Anti-anxiety drugs such as benzodiazepines have few side effects, but are usually only used in the short-term because people build a tolerance to them. Klonopin, Ativan and Xanax are examples.
Beta-blockers, such as Inderal, can prevent physical symptoms which accompany certain anxiety disorders, particularly social phobia.