What Are the Top 10 Medications for Anxiety

People with consistent and severe anxiety might benefit from medication.
Anti-anxiety medication can help them recover swiftly and rapidly.
These medicines assist in the healing process of the patient.
They help the person feel calm by soothing the mind — the body can relax and return to feeling good when a person feels calm.
A psychiatrist or mental health professional can help and guide you to getting better.
They give advice on relaxing and coping with stress and anxiety and prescribe medication when it’s needed.
If you are experiencing anxiety, please visit Mind Restorative to get assistance and guidance.

How Do Medications Treat Anxiety?

Anxiety disorders are caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain – mainly serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.
Medications can help restore this chemical balance.
The most common types of medications used are:

  • SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) like Prozac and Zoloft. SSRIs increase serotonin levels in the brain, which can help reduce anxiety symptoms.
  • SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) like Effexor. SNRIs affect both serotonin and norepinephrine.
  • Benzodiazepines like Xanax. Benzos stimulate the release of GABA, a chemical that has a calming effect. They are only meant for short-term use.
  • When someone takes an antidepressant, it works slowly over weeks to change brain chemistry. As chemical levels normalize, negative thoughts and physical symptoms of anxiety lessen.

To get more better and suitable treatment, please contact us.
We help patients experiencing depression and anxiety as best as we can.

Medication for Anxiety and Depression

The following is a list of the best medication for anxiety and depression.

1. Benzodiazepines

How It Works: These drugs mainly act by raising levels of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA in the brain and spinal cord. The raised GABA induces relaxation and relieves anxiety.
Examples: Xanax (alprazolam), Ativan (lorazepam), and Valium (diazepam).
Side Effects: Aggression, irritability, memory impairment, feeling disoriented, sleep disturbances, unsteadiness, drowsiness, confusion, and dizziness.

2. Beta-blockers

How It Works: Beta-blockers (also called beta-adrenergic blockers) work by antagonizing the effects of epinephrine at beta receptor sites in the body, which slows the heart rate and decreases blood pressure responses to stress, exercise, or danger.
Examples: Zabeta (bisoprolol), Sectral (acebutolol), and Inderal (propranolol).
Side Effects: Disturbed blood lipid, difficulty sleeping, trouble breathing, cold hands or feet, fatigue, and weight gain.

3. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

How It Works: SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) are a class of medications that work by selective inhibition of the reuptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin by neurons in the brain.
This increases the level of serotonin in the synaptic cleft leading to improved mood and reduced levels of anxiety products.
Examples: Celexa (citalopram), Prozac (fluoxetine), and Lexapro (escitalopram).
Side Effects: Sexual dysfunction, agitation, restlessness, nervousness, blurred vision, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, drowsiness, disturbed sleep, and headache.

4. Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

How It Works: They block the reuptake of serotonin by nerve cells, increasing levels in the brain.
By inhibiting the reabsorption of serotonin released into synapses, they improve mood and relieve anxiety. The increased serotonin levels have these positive effects.
Examples: Celexa (citalopram), Prozac (fluoxetine), Lexapro (escitalopram).
Side Effects: Sexual dysfunction, nervousness, restlessness, agitation, blurred vision, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, drowsiness, disturbed sleep, and headache.

5. Azaspirodecanedione

How It Works: While the specific mechanism of action for buspirone is unknown, evidence suggests it acts as a partial serotonin (5-HT1A) receptor agonist in the brain.
Examples: Vanspar or Buspar (buspirone).
Side Effects: Difficulty breathing, swelling over the face, rashes, hives, allergic reactions in some people, excitement, nervousness, nausea, disturbed sleep, dizziness, drowsiness, and headache.

6. Tricyclic Antidepressants

How it Works: They reduce levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine while increasing levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, restoring the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain. TCAs increase neurotransmitter levels in the brain to treat conditions like depression and pills for flying anxiety are also included in it.
Examples: Sinequan (doxepin), Elavil (amitriptyline), and Tofranil (imipramine).
Side Effects: Postural hypotension (fall in blood pressure on standing), increased heart rate, hives, rash, blurred vision, weight gain, constipation, and dry mouth.

7. Antihistamines

How It Works: They block certain receptor types in the brain, having a calming effect. Antihistamines work by blocking histamine receptors in the brain which can reduce anxiety. The sedating effects occur due to the blockade of histamine H1 receptors in the brain.
Examples: Sominex (diphenhydramine) and Atarax or Vistaril (hydroxyzine).
Side Effects: Menstrual disturbances, appetite loss, low blood pressure, blurred vision, nervousness, increased heart rate, dry nose/mouth/throat, confusion, and drowsiness.

8. Antipsychotic Medications

How It Works: They change neurotransmitter levels in the brain, specifically affecting dopamine, acetylcholine, serotonin, and adrenaline. Antipsychotics work by regulating the activity of these key brain-signaling chemicals that impact mood, thoughts, and behaviors when experiencing anxiety disorders.
Examples: Abilify (aripiprazole), Risperdal (risperidone), and Seroquel (quetiapine).
Side Effects: Weight gain, constipation, palpitations, postural hypotension, sexual dysfunction, and drowsiness.

9. Alpha-blockers

How It Works: These medications block the action of the hormone norepinephrine in the brain, which helps relieve nightmares in people with post-traumatic stress disorder. By blocking the effects of norepinephrine, prazosin reduces trauma-related dreams that can plague those with PTSD.
Side Effects: Dizziness, constipation, diarrhea, blurred vision, tiredness, headache, and drowsiness.
Examples: Minipress (prazosin).

10. Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors

How It Works: By blocking the action of certain enzymes called monoamine oxidases (MAO) in the brain, levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine are increased. This happens because MAO normally breaks down these chemicals, but blocking its action raises levels, helping to relieve anxiety symptoms. MAOIs prevent the breakdown of important neurotransmitters in the brain.
Side Effects: Sexual dysfunction, pins and needles sensation, fluid retention, muscle pain, weight gain, trouble sleeping, drowsiness, nausea, and dizziness.
Examples: Parnate (tranylcypromine), Nardil (phenelzine), and Marplan (isocarboxazid).

Anxiety Medication Side Effects

There are always some pros and cons of anxiety medication prescriptions.
Therefore, it is essential that you are aware of the side effects of taking medications for anxiety.
These side effects are included as:
some common side effects of medications used to treat anxiety:

  1. Headaches sometimes occur as the body adjusts to a new medication, especially in the first few weeks of treatment.
  2. Feelings of nausea are a potential side effect, though usually temporary, with SSRIs, SNRIs, and some other anxiety meds.
  3. Low libido, erectile difficulties for men, and difficulty reaching orgasm are potential long-term side effects of SSRIs and SNRIs.
  4. Feeling dizzy can occur occasionally, especially in the first few weeks on a new medication or when doses are adjusted.
  5. Constipation, diarrhea, and indigestion are possibilities depending on the specific medication and individual.
  6. Weight gain or loss is a potential long-term side effect of certain anxiety meds like SSRIs, SNRIs, and antipsychotics.


In the above section, we have discussed and mentioned the top 10 best medicines for anxiety.
Remember that the medication that we listed above is according to the ranks and per usage.
You can take the medication that has been prescribed by the doctor.
So, it is better to consult the doctor first.
You can reach out to Mind Restorative to talk about the issues you’ve been experiencing.
Get help with your anxiety by exploring treatment options with us.


What is the most used drug for anxiety?

The most commonly used drug for treating anxiety disorders is benzodiazepines.
Examples include diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), and lorazepam (Ativan).

What is the first drug of choice for anxiety?

The first-line drug of choice for treating anxiety is usually an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) or SNRI (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) antidepressant.
Common SSRIs prescribed for anxiety include escitalopram (Lexapro) and sertraline (Zoloft).

When do you need anxiety medication?

Anxiety medication is commonly prescribed when anxiety symptoms are interfering significantly with daily functioning and quality of life.
Specifically, medications may be considered if anxiety is causing problems at work, school, or in relationships, and has persisted for several weeks despite lifestyle changes or counseling.

What is the best anxiety medicine with the least side effects?

The anxiety medication typically associated with the fewest side effects is buspirone (BuSpar).
Common side effects include nausea, lightheadedness, and headache, but they are usually mild and tend to diminish over time as the body adjusts.
Other options with relatively mild side effects include some SSRIs like fluoxetine (Prozac).

What works like Xanax but is not addictive?

Some non-addictive options that are sometimes used similarly to Xanax for anxiety relief include pregabalin (Lyrica), hydroxyzine (Vistaril), and buspirone (BuSpar).
These can help reduce anxiety symptoms without the same addictive risk as benzodiazepines like Xanax.

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