Medication For Anxiety And Depression
There are many medications for anxiety and depression that are available for patients experiencing both disorders.
Danielle Plummer, Pharm.D., says that antidepressants can treat panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and phobias. Dr. Shelton adds that the medications are also somewhat effective for OCD, and less so for PTSD, which are technically not anxiety disorders.
Dr. Plummer says that the treatment depends on which anxiety disorder a patient has. For generalized anxiety disorder , both SSRIs and SNRIs are first in line, she says. She added that the most commonly prescribed medications to treat both depression and anxiety are SSRIs and SNRIs.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are a class of medications that have a broad therapeutic range. They can be used to treat some anxiety disorders, depression, or, in some cases, both at the same time. SSRIsblock the reuptake, or reabsorption, of serotonin. As a result, SSRIs increase serotonin in the brain.
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors are a class of medication that are similar to SSRIs because they too inhibit reuptake and increase the level of serotonin. Unlike SSRIs, they also increase norepinephrine, which is considered a component of our brains stress response.
Which Drugs Interact With Tcas
- TCAs may inhibit the antihypertensive effect of clonidine . Therefore, combining TCAs with clonidine may lead to dangerous elevations in blood pressure.
- TCAs may affect the heart’s electrical conduction system. Combining TCAs with drugs that also affect the heart’s conduction system may increase the frequency and severity of an abnormal heart rate and rhythm.
- Combining TCAs with carbamazepine may result in lower TCA blood levels because carbamazepine increases the breakdown of TCAs, potentially reducing their effect.
- TCAs may increase the blood pressure elevating effect of epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine, phenylephrine, and dobutamine.
- Cimetidine may reduce the breakdown of some TCAs, for example, amitriptyline , increasing the level of the TCA in the body, and potentially leading to increased side effects. As mentioned previously, TCAs should not be combined with MAOIs.
Is Depression Always Treated With Antidepressants
Not all people with depression need to take antidepressant medicines. Mild depression can often be treated with psychological therapies and lifestyle adjustments . Moderate to severe depression is more likely to respond to antidepressant medicines, or a combination of medication, psychological therapy and lifestyle changes.
Factors that your doctor will consider when working out whether antidepressants may be of benefit include:
- how severe your depression is
- your past medical history
- your current medical problems and other medicines being taken
- whether any antidepressant medicines have worked for you in the past and
- the side effects you might be likely to experience.
Ssri And Snri Side Effects
- Dependence or withdrawal
Your doctor will work with you to determine whether these side effects outweigh the potential benefit of an anxiety medication. If you are having trouble with any side effects from a medicine youre on, talk to your health care provider or chat with a doctor on K about different medication options.
How To Use Fluoxetine Oral
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually once daily in the morning. If you are taking this medication twice a day, your doctor may direct you to take it in the morning and at noon.
If you are taking fluoxetine for premenstrual problems, your doctor may direct you to take it every day of the month or just for the 2 weeks before your period through the first full day of your period. To help you remember, mark your calendar.
If you are using the liquid form of this medication, measure the dose carefully using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. To reduce your risk of side effects, your doctor may direct you to start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day.
Keep taking this medication even if you feel well. Do not stop taking this medication without first consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when the drug is abruptly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased.
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What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Anti
Like other medications, anti-anxiety medications may cause side effects. Some of these side effects and risks are serious. The most common side effects for benzodiazepines are drowsiness and dizziness. Other possible side effects include:
- Trouble sleeping
Anti-anxiety medications may cause other side effects that are not included in the lists above. To report any serious adverse effects associated with the use of these medicines, please contact the FDA MedWatch program using the contact information at the bottom of this page. For more information about the risks and side effects for each medication, please see
The Goodtherapyorg Position On Psychotropic Medication
As the leading advocate for healthy psychotherapy, we are approached daily by people who want advice about psychotropic medication. The most common question people have is whether GoodTherapy.org recommends medication to deal with mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, and others. “Should I take medication for _______” is one of the most frequent queries we receive. In all instances we recommend that site visitors discuss medication with their health care providers. GoodTherapy.org is not authorized to make recommendations about medication or serve as a substitute for professional advice. Nonetheless, we aim to provide useful resources about medication to our visitors and clearly outline our position on the use of medication for mental health purposes.
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Anxiety Medication: List Types And Uses
At some point or another, you have probably experienced anxiety symptoms like racing thoughts, sweaty palms, or shortness of breath. Anxiety is the bodys way of responding to stress, so it is normal to feel physically or mentally anxious from time to time. However, if fear and worry are persistent and interfere with your everyday life, you could be experiencing an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., impacting 40 million adultsthats more than 18% of the population. There are a number of treatment options for anxiety, including anxiety medication.
List Of Benzodiazepines Used To Treat Anxiety
Benzodiazepines are commonly used to treat short-term anxiety or for acute anxiety episodes. They are not typically used long-term due to concerns about benzodiazepine tolerance, dependence and abuse. A list of benzodiazepines includes:7
- Alprazolam approved for GAD, panic disorder used off-label for agoraphobia with social phobia
- Chlordiazepoxide approved for anxiety
- Clonazepam approved for panic disorder used off label for anxiety
- Diazepam approved for anxiety
- Lorazepam approved for anxiety disorders
- Oxazepam approved for anxiety
How To Find The Best Cure For Anxiety And Depression
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What If I Dont Want To Take Antidepressants
Psychological therapy is often used together with antidepressants to treat depression. For people with mild or moderate depression, psychological treatment alone may be appropriate. Your doctor will discuss with you the most appropriate treatment for you based on your symptoms, preferences and past history.
Remember that depression is a serious illness, and without appropriate treatment it can have a serious impact on your health. In severe cases depression can be life-threatening. Antidepressants are sometimes needed to help relieve your symptoms and for you to make a full recovery.
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List Of Antidepressant Drugs For Anxiety
Antidepressants are typically the first choice treatment for anxiety. Antidepressants are taken long-term. A list of common, modern antidepressant anxiety medication that works on the brain chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine includes:2,3,4
- Citalopram off label for panic disorder, social phobia and trichotillomania
- Duloxetine approved for generalized anxiety disorder
- Escitalopram approved for GAD
- Fluoxetine approved for OCD and panic disorder
- Fluvoxamine – approved for OCD in children and adults
- Paroxetine approved for obsessive-compulsive disorder , panic disorder, social phobia, GAL and posttraumatic stress disorder
- Sertraline approved for panic disorder, PTSD, social phobia and OCD
- Trazodone off label for panic disorders
- Venlafaxine – approved for GAD, panic disorder and social anxiety disorder in adults
What Are Antipsychotics
Antipsychotic medicines are primarily used to manage psychosis. The word psychosis is used to describe conditions that affect the mind, and in which there has been some loss of contact with reality, often including delusions or hallucinations . It can be a symptom of a physical condition such as drug abuse or a mental disorder such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or very severe depression .
Antipsychotic medications are often used in combination with other medications to treat delirium, dementia, and mental health conditions, including:
Long-term use of typical antipsychotic medications may lead to a condition called tardive dyskinesia . TD causes muscle movements, commonly around the mouth, that a person can’t control. TD can range from mild to severe, and in some people, the problem cannot be cured. Sometimes people with TD recover partially or fully after they stop taking typical antipsychotic medication. People who think that they might have TD should check with their doctor before stopping their medication. TD rarely occurs while taking atypical antipsychotics.
Antipsychotics may cause other side effects that are not included in this list above. To report any serious adverse effects associated with the use of these medicines, please contact the FDA MedWatch program. For more information about the risks and side effects for antipsychotic medications, please visit .
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What Can I Expect
To receive medications for PTSD, you will need to meet with a provider who can prescribe these medications to you. Many different types of providers, including your family provider and even some nurses and physician assistants, can prescribe antidepressant medications for PTSD. You and your provider can work together to decide which antidepressant medication may be best for you.
In general, the four different SSRIs and SNRIs listed above appear to work equally well for PTSD. Once you fill your prescription, you will begin taking a pill at regular time each day. It may take a few weeks before you notice the effects of the medication. It is important to continue to take it even if you do not notice changes right away. You will meet with your provider every few months or so. Your provider will monitor your response to the medication and change your dose, if needed.
How K Health Can Help
Anxiety and depression are among the most under-reported and under-treated diseases in America. Nearly 20% of adults in the U.S. suffer from mental health illness with fewer than half receive treatment. Our mission is to increase access to treatment for those suffering in silence.
You can start controlling your anxiety and depression and get access to the treatment you need with K Health. Starting at $12/month get prescriptions for mental health medications plus unlimited doctor visits through the K Health app. Start your free assessment here.
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
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Are There Other Medication Options For Ptsd
There are other medications that may be helpful, although the evidence behind them is not as strong as for SSRIs and SNRIs . These include:
- Nefazodone A serotonin reuptake inhibitor that works by changing the levels and activity of naturally occurring chemical signals in the brain.
- Imipramine A tricyclic antidepressant which acts by altering naturally occurring chemicals which help brain cells communicate and can lift mood.
- Phenelzine A monoamine oxidase inhibitor which inactivates a naturally occurring enzyme which breaks down the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine.
What Are Side Effects Of Antidepressants
Antidepressants that belong to the same class of antidepressant produce similar side effects. Antidepressants may cause withdrawal symptoms if abruptly discontinued. Withdrawal symptoms include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, irritability, sleep disturbance, nightmares, psychosis, and seizures. All antidepressants have a warning about use in children and adolescents. Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thinking, and suicidal behavior in short-term studies in children and adolescents with depression and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of antidepressant in a child or adolescent must balance this risk of suicide with the clinical need for the drug. Patients who are started on therapy should be closely observed for clinical worsening, suicidal thoughts or unusual changes in behavior.
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Ssris: The Most Frequently Prescribed Antidepressants
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are the most commonly prescribed antidepressant class.
These are the SSRIs currently approved by the FDA to treat depression:
Although MAOIs can sometimes help people who do not respond to other antidepressants, they are not widely used today because of their potential side effects and interactions with certain foods and beverages as well as other drugs.
For example, for people taking MAOIs, ingesting large amounts of the compound tyramine could cause dangerously high blood pressure.
You may also experience serious reactions if you take an MAOI with various medications, including:
- Other prescription antidepressants
- Cold and allergydrugs
- Herbal supplements
On rare occasions, MAOIs and other serotonin-containing drugs can cause a potentially life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome. You may be at risk if you take too much of a serotonin-containing antidepressant, or if you combine an MAOI with another prescription antidepressant, certain pain or headache medications, or St. Johns wort .
How Is Depression Treated
Depression is treatable with high rates of success. Treatments may include:
- Antidepressants, such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors , Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors , tricyclic antidepressants , monoamine oxidase inhibitors .
Responses to antidepressants vary, and most antidepressants take 4 to 6 weeks for full effect. About 50% of patients respond to the first treatment, whereas others may have to try a few different types of antidepressants before they find the best one for them.
There are several things you can do to help with your symptoms as well, such as:
- Setting realistic and daily goals
- Developing strategies to work through crises situations
- Developing coping and problem-solving skills
- Learning how to develop positive relationships
- Replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.
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How Long Will I Have To Take Antidepressants
If you are prescribed antidepressant medicines, it is very important that you follow your doctors instructions so that you have the best chance of a full recovery. Your doctor might recommend that you take antidepressants for what appears to be a long time usually at least 6 to 12 months. You should follow this advice, and do not stop taking the medicine as soon as you begin to feel better. Your symptoms may return if you stop the medicine before your doctor recommends.
If youve had depression that has come back after stopping treatment in the past, your doctor may recommend staying on antidepressants for longer than 12 months. Some people find that they need to keep taking antidepressants long term to stop their symptoms returning, but many people are able to control their symptoms with lifestyle measures and psychological therapies after stopping antidepressants.
List Of Tricyclic Antidepressant Drugs For Anxiety
An older type of antidepressant called a tricyclic antidepressant is also sometimes used to treat depression. Tricyclics act on more chemicals in the brain and are more likely to cause side effects so they are not typically a first choice treatment. A list of tricyclic antidepressants used to treat anxiety includes:5
- Clomipramine approved for OCD
- Desipramine off label for panic disorder
- Doxepin off label for GAD
- Imipramine – off label for panic disorder
Another powerful, older class of antidepressants is also used to treat anxiety. These monoamine oxidase inhibitors are not first choice treatments but may be useful where other treatments have failed. A list of monoamine oxidase inhibitors used to treat anxiety includes:6
- Isocarboxazid off label for social phobia
- Phenelzine off label for panic disorders and social phobia
- Selegiline off label for social phobia
- Tranylcypromine off label for social phobia
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