Anti-anxiety Drugs

While your doctor may prescribe anti-anxiety drugs to counter anxiety, medication is most often a temporary solution. For complete anxiety cure, it’s important to treat its underlying cause, since long-term drug dependence is not something you want ruling your life. Different forms of medication will work for different people, and it’s imperative to discuss the available options with your doctor as well as the pros and cons of any medication prescribed. Non-drug treatments for anxiety including cognitive behavioral therapy and other techniques, such as reciprocal inhibition have slower, but better results in the long run. There are a number of drugs that are available, and their prescription will vary depending on your doctor’s diagnosis. Such drugs are also known as anxiolytics, a term which is used to describe medication for the associated symptoms disorders. Most commonly, they work by slowing down the central nervous system. The following is a list of the most commonly prescribed medicines.


Often shortened to Benzo, or BZD, this drug is prescribed for the treatment of severe anxiety disorders. They work by enhancing the effect of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, which in turn act as sedatives, reducing anxiety and promoting muscle relaxation. They can be short, intermediate, or long-acting in nature. Long-acting benzodiazepines are generally preferred for anxiety treatments. Side effects of these drugs are a cause for concern, as in the case of withdrawal symptoms that are faced on cessation of the usage of benzodiazepines. Examples of these drugs include the following (trade names in brackets):

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

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s)

These are drugs that increase the extracellular levels of the neurotransmitter seretonin in the brain, by inhibiting its reabsorption. SSRI antidepressants are widely used in the treatment of depression, insomnia, and also premature ejaculation. Typically higher doses of these prescription drugs are used to treat anxiety disorders. SSRI’s like clomipramine are also used for dogs, generally occurring as a result of separation anxiety. Examples of SSRI’s include the following:

  • Citalopram (Celexa, Cipramil, Citox)
  • Dapoxetine (Priligy)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro, Cipralex,)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft, Lustral, Serlain)


Azapirones are traditionally preferred over benzodiazepines because of the lower risk of dependence that they inspire. They are also lacking in sedative qualities, which sometimes hampers their effectiveness in benzodiazepine users who come to associate relief from anxiety with the sedative effect of drugs and medication. Examples of azapirones include the following:

  • Buspirone (Buspar)
  • Tandospirone (Sediel)
  • Gepirone (Ariza, Variza)


Although the effects of this drug may take up to a week to manifest, pregbalin is considered among the best anti-anxiety supplements because of its ability to consistently treat anxiety disorders without the body developing tolerance to it. It is also the least likely candidate for drug abuse, and does not have extreme sedative qualities like benzodiazepine. In addition to the above, the following is a list of drugs displayed by trade name:

  • Centrax
  • Dalmane
  • Paxipam
  • Restoril
  • Serax
  • Inderal
  • Tenormin
  • Marplan
  • Nardil
  • Parnate
  • Desryl
  • Effexor
  • Luvox
  • Faverin
  • Paxil
  • Serzone
  • Adapin
  • Anafranil
  • Elavil
  • Janimine

Side Effects

All such drugs have been known to give rise to serious side effects on prolonged use. They have also been known to cause paradoxical reactions, such as increased levels of anxiety, aggressive behavior, irritability, hallucinations, and rage. Dependence on the medication, one may require additional therapy, which practically makes their usage counter productive – however, they can and do provide short-term relief. Alternative treatments for anxiety include holistic medicine, meditation techniques for anxiety, and cognitive behavior therapy, which can help in treating the root cause of anxiety disorders, thereby reducing the risk of drug dependence.