The first-line treatment for most anxiety conditions is psychotherapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, and/or supportive-expressive therapy. These therapies, along with lifestyle changes (like exercise and good sleep habits), are well-established and highly effective treatments for most anxiety conditions.
However, in some cases therapy alone is not effective, particularly if the patient is suffering from excessively high anxiety and/or its physical side effects. In those situations, anti-anxiety medications, in combination with therapy, are often necessary to help patients feel better.
There are four general classes of prescription medications used to treat anxiety disorders:
Examples of SSRI medications include:
Examples of SNRI medications include:
Examples of tricyclic antidepressants include:
Depending on the course of treatment, other medications are also sometimes prescribed, including MAOI's (monoamine oxidase inhibitors), anticonvulsants, and beta-blockers.
Like all drugs, anti-anxiety medications do have some side effects. Some common ones may include:
If you have recently been prescribed daily medication for an anxiety disorder, you may be concerned about adding the additional expense to your monthly budget. The good news is that there are many ways to manage a maintenance medication , or a prescription taken over a long period of time.
Start by having a conversation with your doctor and/or pharmacist about your concerns, and when it’s time to fill your prescription, remember to comparison shop for the best price. The FamilyWize Drug Price Lookup Tool makes it easy to find the lowest price for your medication before even driving to the pharmacy.
In addition to comparing pharmacy prices, using a prescription discount card can help you save money each time you fill your anti-anxiety medication.
If you have or think you may have an anxiety disorder, it is important that you work with a medical professional to get help. Medication, on its own, can only ease the symptoms of anxiety and fear. However, therapy is the only proven way to rewire the brain to better manage anxiety over time. Visit www.anxiety.org, adaa.org, or www.mentalhealthamerica.net to learn more about seeking treatment for anxiety disorders.
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