Anxiety Medications (cont.)
Gary D. Vogin, MD
Dr. Vogin is a board-certified general internist, having completed his residency in internal medicine at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia in June 1994. Before deciding on internal medicine, Vogin prepared for a career in pathology and was Outstanding Transitional First Year Graduate at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N.J., in 1991.
In this Article
- What are anxiety medications and how do they work?
- For what conditions are anxiety medications used?
- Which anxiety medication is used depends on the specific diagnosis
- Are there differences among anxiety medications?
- What are the warnings/precautions/side effects of anti-anxiety medications?
- What are some drug interactions for anti-anxiety drugs?
- What are some examples of anxiety medications?
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:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Panic disorder (PD)
- Social anxiety disorder (SAD).
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 posttraumatic stress disorder.
- Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are used in treating panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and general anxiety disorder. One tricyclic, 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 posttraumatic 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 posttraumatic stress disorder.
- Buspirone (BuSpar), an anti-anxiety drug, is used in the treatment of general anxiety disorder.
- Another group of anti-anxiety drugs known as benzodiazepines is used to treat general anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder.
- Antihistamines can be used to treat general anxiety disorder.
- Beta-blockers are used to treat performance anxiety, a kind of social anxiety disorder, and sometimes for panic disorder.
- Alpha-blockers are used in treating posttraumatic 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 respond partially to another medication.
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