Intense or persistent anxiety may be a sign of a disorder, even though it is normal to experience anxiety at times. There are medications available for treating anxiety disorders. This anxiety medication over the counter can be taken on its own or in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
Anxiety medications types
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
- Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
- Tricyclic antidepressants
1. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
A selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor is typically prescribed to people who suffer from anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), even though they are an antidepressant. The first-line treatment for anxiety medication is SSRIs, according to one article. Serotonin is a chemical that plays an important role in mood regulation, and SSRIs prevent neurons from reabsorbing it in the brain.
2. Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
There is also a class of antidepressants known as serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), which treat depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. However, SNRIs are not as effective at treating OCD as they are at treating anxiety, according to the ADAA. By reducing serotonin and norepinephrine reabsorption in the brain, these medications work.
3. Tricyclic antidepressants
Doctors prescribe SSRIs instead of tricyclic antidepressants since they cause fewer side effects. Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are an older class of antidepressants. However, certain people, especially those who have not found relief from other medications, may benefit from TCAs. Medications like these increase the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain by blocking the reabsorption of serotonin and norepinephrine.
In addition to reducing anxiety symptoms, benzodiazepines are also known for promoting relaxation and reducing tense muscles. A person may feel the effects sooner than 2 hours after taking their dose. Due to their addictive nature and ineffectiveness over time, benzodiazepines are rarely prescribed by doctors for short-term issues. Doctors should not prescribe benzodiazepines for over six months due to these risks. When people fear flying, they may take benzodiazepines to manage their short-term anxiety. People can take benzodiazepines while taking an SSRI for 2–4 weeks before the SSRI starts working.