September 3, 2015
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Anxiety Medications (cont.)

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For what conditions are anxiety medications used?

Anxiety medications are used either alone or in combination with psychotherapy to treat a number of different disorders all classified as “anxiety disorders.” These include:

Which anxiety medication is used depends on the specific diagnosis:

  • Antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are used to treat panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, general anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are used in treating panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and general anxiety disorder. One tricyclic, clomipramine (Anafranil), may also be used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • The antidepressants known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are used for panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Other antidepressants, including the serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), are used for panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, general anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Buspirone (BuSpar), an anti-anxiety drug, is used in the treatment of general anxiety disorder.
  • The benzodiazepines are used to treat general anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder.
  • First-generation antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine, can be used to treat general anxiety disorder.
  • Beta-blockers, such as propranolol, are used to treat performance anxiety, a kind of social anxiety disorder, and are sometimes used for panic disorder.
  • Alpha-blockers, such as prazosin, are used in treating post-traumatic stress disorder, specifically for nightmares.
  • Other drugs, such as anticonvulsants and antipsychotics are used as augmentation therapy to increase the overall response to therapy when symptoms persist after receiving treatment with first-line anti-anxiety drugs.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/30/2015


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