What Will A Psychiatrist Prescribe For Anxiety

Are you plagued by anxiety and wondering what a psychiatrist might prescribe to help ease your symptoms? Look no further, as this article “What Will A Psychiatrist Prescribe For Anxiety”, provides a concise overview of the various medications commonly prescribed by psychiatrists for anxiety. Whether it’s the popular selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), benzodiazepines, or other alternatives, you’ll gain valuable insight into the different treatment options available to you. So, sit back, relax, and let’s explore what a psychiatrist might prescribe for anxiety.

Medications for Anxiety

If you’re struggling with anxiety, your psychiatrist may recommend medication as part of your treatment plan. There are several types of medications that are commonly prescribed for anxiety, each with its own unique mechanisms of action and benefits. In this article, we will explore the different classes of anxiety medications and the specific drugs within each category.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

SSRIs are a class of medications commonly prescribed for anxiety disorders. These medications work by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain, which is a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood. By preventing the reuptake of serotonin, SSRIs help to improve symptoms of anxiety and promote feelings of calmness.

Common SSRIs prescribed for anxiety include:

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Citalopram (Celexa)

Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

SNRIs are another class of medications that can be effective in treating anxiety. Like SSRIs, SNRIs work by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain. However, they also target norepinephrine, another neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation. By inhibiting the reuptake of both serotonin and norepinephrine, SNRIs can help alleviate anxiety symptoms.

Common SNRIs prescribed for anxiety include:

  • Venlafaxine (Effexor)
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)


Benzodiazepines are a class of medications that work by enhancing the effects of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which helps to calm the central nervous system. These medications provide rapid relief from anxiety symptoms and are often prescribed for short-term use or during acute anxiety episodes.

Common benzodiazepines prescribed for anxiety include:

  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)

Tricyclic Antidepressants

Tricyclic antidepressants, despite their name, can also be effective in treating anxiety disorders. These medications work by increasing the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin and norepinephrine. Tricyclic antidepressants are often prescribed when SSRIs or SNRIs have not provided sufficient relief.

Common tricyclic antidepressants prescribed for anxiety include:

  • Amitriptyline (Elavil)
  • Nortriptyline (Pamelor)
  • Imipramine (Tofranil)
  • Clomipramine (Anafranil)

Atypical Antipsychotics

Atypical antipsychotics are typically used to treat psychotic disorders, but they can also be prescribed for anxiety in certain cases. These medications work by blocking dopamine and serotonin receptors in the brain, reducing the activity of these neurotransmitters. By doing so, atypical antipsychotics can help relieve symptoms of anxiety.

Common atypical antipsychotics prescribed for anxiety include:

  • Quetiapine (Seroquel)
  • Aripiprazole (Abilify)
  • Risperidone (Risperdal)
  • Olanzapine (Zyprexa)


Beta-blockers are a class of medications commonly used to treat high blood pressure and certain heart conditions. However, they can also be effective in reducing the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as rapid heart rate and trembling. Beta-blockers work by blocking the effects of adrenaline, a stress hormone that contributes to anxiety symptoms.

Common beta-blockers prescribed for anxiety include:

  • Propranolol (Inderal)
  • Atenolol (Tenormin)
  • Metoprolol (Lopressor)

What Will A Psychiatrist Prescribe For Anxiety

Additional Medications for Anxiety

In addition to the aforementioned classes of medications, there are a few other options that your psychiatrist may consider for treating anxiety.


Buspirone is a medication used specifically to treat anxiety disorders. It works by binding to serotonin and dopamine receptors in the brain, which helps to reduce anxiety symptoms. Buspirone is often prescribed as a longer-term treatment option and does not carry the risk of dependence or addiction associated with benzodiazepines.


Gabapentin, originally developed for the treatment of seizures, can also be an effective medication for anxiety. It works by increasing the levels of an inhibitory neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Gabapentin is often used as an off-label treatment for anxiety disorders.


Similar to gabapentin, pregabalin is a medication that primarily targets seizures. However, it has also proven to be effective in treating generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Pregabalin works by binding to calcium channels in the brain, ultimately reducing the release of neurotransmitters involved in anxiety.


Hydroxyzine is an antihistamine medication that has sedating and anxiolytic properties. It can be prescribed for short-term relief of anxiety symptoms or for the management of anxiety-related insomnia. Hydroxyzine works by binding to histamine receptors, which helps to reduce anxiety and induce relaxation.

What Will A Psychiatrist Prescribe For Anxiety


In addition to SSRIs, SNRIs, and tricyclic antidepressants, other classes of antidepressants can also be effective in treating anxiety disorders. These include:

  • Bupropion (Wellbutrin)
  • Mirtazapine (Remeron)
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • Venlafaxine (Effexor XR)

Antidepressants work by regulating the levels of various neurotransmitters in the brain, helping to improve mood and reduce anxiety symptoms.

Conclusion What Will A Psychiatrist Prescribe For Anxiety

It’s important to note that everyone’s response to medications can vary, and finding the right medication and dosage may require some trial and error. Always work closely with your psychiatrist to determine the best treatment options for your specific needs. Remember, medication is just one component of a comprehensive approach to treating anxiety, and therapy and lifestyle changes may also be necessary for long-term management.

What Will A Psychiatrist Prescribe For Anxiety

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What is the most recommended drug for anxiety?

  • The most recommended drugs for anxiety often include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like sertraline and escitalopram, or benzodiazepines like lorazepam.

2. What is the first drug of choice for anxiety?

  • The first-line drug of choice for anxiety is typically an SSRI, such as sertraline or fluoxetine, due to their effectiveness and lower risk of dependence compared to benzodiazepines.

3. How would a psychiatrist treat anxiety?

  • Psychiatrists may use a combination of therapy and medications to treat anxiety. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medications like SSRIs or benzodiazepines are common approaches.

4. What is the safest anxiety medication?

  • SSRIs are generally considered safer for long-term use and have a lower risk of dependence compared to benzodiazepines, making them a safer choice for anxiety treatment.

5. How do I know if I need anxiety medication?

  • If your anxiety significantly impacts your daily life, relationships, or well-being, and other coping strategies haven’t provided relief, it may be time to consult a mental health professional to discuss the potential need for medication.

6. How to calm anxiety?

  • Calming anxiety involves various strategies, including deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, regular exercise, and seeking support from friends, family, or mental health professionals.

7. What are the top 3 anxiety medications?

  • The top three anxiety medications often prescribed are sertraline (Zoloft), escitalopram (Lexapro), and benzodiazepines like lorazepam.

8. Which antidepressant is best for anxiety?

  • SSRIs, such as sertraline and escitalopram, are often considered effective in treating anxiety symptoms while also addressing depression.

9. Is it better to see a psychologist or psychiatrist for anxiety?

  • Both psychologists and psychiatrists can help with anxiety, but psychiatrists can prescribe medication, while psychologists primarily provide therapy. The choice depends on individual needs and preferences.

10. Should I see a psychiatrist if I have anxiety? – Seeing a psychiatrist for anxiety can be beneficial, especially if your symptoms are severe or if medication is being considered as part of the treatment plan.

11. Do psychiatrists work with anxiety? – Yes, psychiatrists specialize in treating mental health conditions, including anxiety. They can provide assessments, therapy, and prescribe medications when necessary.

12. What is similar to Xanax but over the counter? – Over-the-counter options similar to Xanax include supplements like valerian root or melatonin, but it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before trying any new treatment.

13. Can you beat anxiety without medication? – Yes, anxiety can be managed without medication through therapies like CBT, lifestyle changes, mindfulness, and other coping strategies. However, the approach varies based on individual needs.

14. Is there a natural anxiety medication? – Some people find relief from anxiety with natural remedies like chamomile tea, lavender aromatherapy, or supplements such as passionflower. However, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider.

15. What does untreated anxiety feel like? – Untreated anxiety may manifest as persistent worry, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and disruptions in sleep patterns, significantly impacting daily life.

16. How do I ask my doctor for anxiety medication? – Expressing your symptoms and their impact on your life is key. Discuss your concerns openly, and ask your doctor about potential medication options, ensuring you’re well-informed about the benefits and risks.

17. Is it anxiety or ADHD? – Distinguishing between anxiety and ADHD requires a thorough evaluation by a healthcare professional. Symptoms overlap, and a comprehensive assessment can determine the most accurate diagnosis.

18. How I cured my anxiety with a vitamin? – While some individuals may find relief from certain vitamins or supplements, it’s essential to approach self-treatment cautiously. Consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your regimen.

19. What is the 3 3 3 rule for anxiety? – The 3 3 3 rule involves naming three things you see, hear, and feel in your surroundings, helping to ground yourself and alleviate anxiety.

20. What triggers anxiety? – Anxiety triggers vary but can include stress, trauma, genetics, or major life changes. Identifying triggers is crucial for effective anxiety management.

21. Is 25mg of Zoloft enough for anxiety? – The appropriate Zoloft dosage depends on individual factors. Your doctor will determine the starting dose based on the severity of symptoms and may adjust it over time.

22. How do doctors test for anxiety? – Doctors typically diagnose anxiety based on a thorough evaluation of symptoms, medical history, and sometimes psychological assessments. There isn’t a specific test, but discussions with a healthcare professional are key.

23. Is it hard to get anxiety medication? – Obtaining anxiety medication involves a discussion with a healthcare professional who will assess your symptoms and prescribe medication if deemed necessary. The process varies, but seeking help is an important step.

More on Medication to treat Anxiety here.