Medication for Anxiety: A Complete Guide

Pensive woman holds pills doubting whether to take medicines at home. Healthcare, self-medicating
Viorel Kurnosov/istockphoto

As you probably know from personal experience, anxiety can be a lot of things — a cause of insomnia, a roadblock to living your best life or a demon you have to fight off if you want to accomplish your most intimidating goals.


And it’s often the case that to overcome anxiety, you’ll need some help in the form of therapy, lifestyle changes or medication.


For some people, cutting back on the caffeine and downloading a meditation app may be enough to shift the balance of power, but for millions of people with more serious struggles, an anxiety medication is a safe and effective option for loosening the grip of fear on your life.


Do you want to try anxiety medications? Are you already in the process of getting a prescription for one? Great. Here's the information you’ll want to know before swallowing that first capsule or tablet.


Below, is a list of medications currently used to treat anxiety, along with information on each medication’s therapeutic effects, side effects and more.


Here you'll find the basic stats on everything on the market for the treatment of anxiety. Before that, however, there are some top-line facts you should know about these medications.

Anxiety Medications: An Overview

Anxiety disorders are very common, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. An estimated 31.1 percent of all American adults will experience some form of anxiety disorder during their lives, and many of those people could benefit from one of the many tested, proven medications for anxiety on the market right now.


These medications go by a few names — they’re sometimes called anxiolytics, or anti-anxiety drugs. Anxiety medications may even fall under other medication categories, like antidepressants.


Types of anxiety pills include:

  • Antidepressants

  • Benzodiazepines

  • Beta-blockers

  • Other medications, like buspirone

As a whole, anxiety meds are some of the most widely used medications in the United States — in 2019, nearly 16 percent of American adults were prescribed some type of psychiatric medication. These medications all work in slightly different ways to reduce the severity of anxiety symptoms and help you enjoy an easier, less stressful daily life.


Medications don’t “cure” anxiety like some instant health pill from the future. In order for them to keep working, you have to continue taking them, but they can reduce or even eliminate the symptoms of anxiety that prevent you from asking that person out, quitting your job for a new career path or simply leaving your house to run errands.


To understand how each class of medication helps to reduce your symptoms of anxiety, read on.


(Related: 5 Ways to Quiet Your Mind)



Antidepressants for Anxiety

Believe it or not, one of the most common ways of medicating anxiety is by using a medication for another type of mental health condition — depression. 


Certain antidepressants are prescribed to treat anxiety because they target the neurotransmitters responsible for the feelings and symptoms that characterize anxiety disorders.


Most antidepressants can often take several weeks to begin treating anxiety symptoms, which means they’re not the quickest option out there and aren’t usually used for relief of acute panic attacks or other short-term anxiety symptoms. But because of their overall safety track record, antidepressants are generally used for long-term treatment and management of chronic anxiety.



Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are one of the most popular types of antidepressants today, and they’re often used to treat anxiety disorders.


Serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating important things like your mood, ability to concentrate, memory, ability to relax, appetite and ability to sleep.


People affected by anxiety and depression are believed (at least in part) to have altered levels of serotonin.


SSRIs, which first came onto the market in the 1980s, work by blocking the reabsorption of serotonin into your brain. This increases the levels of serotonin on hand and can lessen anxiety symptoms.


While they’re not considered addictive and are not abused (unlike benzodiazepines), SSRIs have a variety of potential side effects that you should be aware of before using any medication of this type for an anxiety disorder.



List of SSRIs Used to Treat Anxiety

In the United States, several SSRIs are prescribed to treat anxiety disorders. Common SSRIs used to treat anxiety include:

  • Sertraline. Sold under the brand name Zoloft, sertraline is a widely used SSRI that’s primarily prescribed to treat depression. It’s also used to treat anxiety disorders, including social anxiety disorder and panic disorder.

  • Escitalopram. Also sold under the brand name Lexapro, escitalopram is prescribed to treat several anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and panic disorders.

  • Paroxetine. Also known as the brand name drug Paxil (and others), paroxetine is prescribed to treat social anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder and several other anxiety-related medical conditions.

  • Fluoxetine. Sold under the brand name Prozac, fluoxetine is approved for treating certain forms of anxiety, namely OCD and panic disorder. Healthcare professionals might also prescribe fluoxetine off-label for generalized anxiety disorder.

  • Fluvoxamine. Sold under the brand name Luvox, fluvoxamine is prescribed for social anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

  • Citalopram. As a generic and under the brand name Celexa, citalopram is prescribed off-label to treat anxiety disorders, including social anxiety disorder, panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Citalopram is also used as an off-label treatment for certain eating disorders, including binge eating disorder.


Other Common Antidepressants for Anxiety

In addition to SSRIs, several other types of antidepressants are commonly prescribed to treat depression. These include:

  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)

These are just some of the many antidepressants on the market today.


And now, onto the details about these three big alternates.


Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

As the name suggests, SNRIs work similarly to SSRIs, with one key change (yes, the one letter). In addition to increasing the amount of serotonin in your brain, they also increase the level of norepinephrine — a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating alertness, attention, memory and other mental and physical functions.


SNRIs used to treat anxiety include:

  • Duloxetine. Sold under the brand name Cymbalta, duloxetine is an SNRI that’s used to treat generalized anxiety disorder.

  • Venlafaxine. Sold under the brand name Effexor, venlafaxine is used to treat social anxiety disorder, panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are older antidepressants that were first discovered in the 1950s by clinical researchers. While they don’t have a starring role in the anxiety treatment series now streaming in your local pharmacy, some MAOIs may be effective as treatment for anxiety conditions such as social anxiety disorder and panic disorder.


Like other antidepressants, MAOIs work by boosting your brain’s level of certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. While effective, they’re more likely to cause side effects and drug interactions than newer antidepressants used to treat anxiety.


Most MAOIs are not approved by the FDA to treat anxiety. However, they may be prescribed by your healthcare provider for off-label use if other treatments aren’t effective.


MAOI antidepressants that may be used to treat anxiety disorders include phenelzine, selegiline and tranylcypromine.


If you’re prescribed a MAOI, your healthcare provider may require you to carefully monitor your use of other medications and consumption of certain foods to avoid interactions.

Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs)

Last but certainly not least, some tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are used to treat anxiety disorders. Tricyclics are also an older class of antidepressants first developed in the 1950s. They work by increasing the levels of certain mood-related neurotransmitters in your brain, and are used to treat anxiety disorders. TCAs for anxiety include:

  • Clomipramine

  • Doxepin

  • Imipramine

Older antidepressant medications like tricyclic antidepressants typically have a higher risk of side effects than the more modern SSRI and SNRI medications. Because of this, they’re rarely used as first-line treatments for anxiety. So if you’re prescribed one of these, it’s likely because the SSRIs and SNRIs didn’t work for you.



Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are some of the most widely used medications in the United States, with tens of millions of users nationwide, with data from clinical studies indicating that benzodiazepine use is highest in older people. They’re a class of medications used to treat anxiety disorders, and some are also prescribed as sleeping pills for the short-term treatment and management of insomnia.


Benzodiazepines reduce anxiety, relax muscles and promote sedation. They’re almost exclusively prescribed for short-term use because over the long term, benzodiazepine use can lead to dependence and abuse. If they’re used for longer periods of time, they can be almost impossible to stop because of severe withdrawal symptoms. Some doctors feel that the long-term risks are so great that it’s best not to use them at all.


The good news is that, for the short term, they can be literal life savers. Benzodiazepines typically start working very quickly — their anti-anxiety effects may come on in less than an hour. They work so well (short-term) that many people don’t want to stop taking them. That’s one reason why they can be so dangerous.


Benzodiazepines work by increasing the effects of a neurotransmitter called gamma-amino butyric acid, or GABA. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter — its job is to decrease activity in the neurons to which it binds. This can cause you to feel less anxious, stressed and fearful.


GABA is also thought to regulate emotion, memory, thinking and certain essential biological functions. By increasing the effects of GABA, benzodiazepines essentially slow down certain activity in the brain to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.


List of Benzodiazepines for Anxiety

Common benzodiazepines for anxiety include:

  • Alprazolam. Sold as Xanax, alprazolam is the most widely prescribed benzodiazepine in the United States. It’s used to treat a large range of anxiety and panic disorders.

  • Chlordiazepoxide. As brand name Librium and a generic, chlordiazepoxide is typically used to treat anxiety and certain symptoms of alcohol/drug withdrawal.

  • Clonazepam. Better known as Klonopin, this medication is sometimes prescribed for anxiety disorders like panic disorder, as well as for seizures.

  • Clorazepate. Sold under the brand names Tranxene and Gen-Xene, clorazepate is prescribed to treat a range of anxiety disorders.

  • Diazepam. Also known as Valium, diazepam is another widely prescribed benzodiazepine that’s used to treat anxiety disorders, panic attacks, seizures (typically in combination with other drugs) and drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

  • Estazolam. Sold under the brand name Prosom, estazolam is typically prescribed as a treatment for insomnia, including insomnia caused by anxiety.

  • Flurazepam. Available as Dalmane, Flurazepam is a benzodiazepine derivative that’s primarily used as a short-term treatment for insomnia.

  • Lorazepam. Sold under the brand name Ativan, lorazepam is a benzodiazepine used for anxiety in some cases.

  • Oxazepam. As a generic and the brand names drugs Serax and Zaxopam, oxazepam is used to treat anxiety and certain symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

Other benzodiazepines, such as temazepam and triazolam (available as Halcion), are used as sleep aids and aren’t widely prescribed for anxiety.

Benzodiazepine Side Effects

Benzodiazepines can cause side effects, including some that may affect your alertness, physical health and daily life.


Common side effects of benzodiazepines include:

  • Drowsiness

  • Confusion

  • Headache

  • Upset stomach

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Tremors

In some cases, benzodiazepines may cause breathing issues, including respiratory depression (failure of the lungs to exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen properly).


When taken in the evening, particularly when used to treat anxiety-related insomnia, it’s common for some benzodiazepines to cause a next-morning “hangover” effect.


Most benzodiazepines are only recommended for short-term use. When used for the long term, treatment with benzodiazepines can lead to dependence, addiction and abuse.


Due to the potential of dependence and abuse, it’s important to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions closely if you’re prescribed benzodiazepine medications.


These anti-anxiety medications can also cause withdrawal symptoms if they’re stopped suddenly, especially if you’ve been taking one at a high dose for a while.


If you’re prescribed any type of benzodiazepine, do not abruptly stop taking it without first talking to your healthcare provider. They’ll tell you how to safely reduce your dosage and stop using your medication without developing withdrawal syndrome.


(Related: Does Adderall Help With Anxiety?)


Beta Blockers for Anxiety

Beta blockers are a class of medications that are used to reduce blood pressure. They’re often prescribed to manage heart conditions, such as angina, irregular heartbeat and heart failure, or to increase heart function in people who’ve recently had a heart attack.


Certain beta blocker medications are also effective at treating the physical symptoms of anxiety disorders, such as tremors.


Although they aren’t approved by the FDA as medications for anxiety, your healthcare provider may prescribe a beta blocker off-label if you’re affected by anxiety in stressful situations.


Beta blockers work by blocking the effects of epinephrine, or adrenaline, a hormone responsible for controlling your fight-or-flight response. By blocking the effects of epinephrine, beta blockers slow your heartbeat and improve blood flow throughout your body.


Beta blockers may be particularly helpful for treating the symptoms of performance anxiety — a form of anxiety that’s related to speaking, acting or performing in front of others in certain social situations.


Like benzodiazepines, beta blockers start working quite quickly to treat the physical symptoms of anxiety. For example, propranolol, a widely used beta blocker, usually starts working less than one hour after it’s taken.


One thing to note about beta blockers is that they only treat the physical effects of anxiety, not the underlying psychological cause. However, if you’re standing in front of an audience, and the medication is keeping your heart rate steady while also preventing you from trembling and sweating, you’ll probably feel more confident.


As such, they’re usually just prescribed to treat moderate or severe anxiety that only occurs in certain situations, such as anxiety related to public speaking or other stressful situations.

Beta-Blockers for Anxiety

Beta blockers used to treat anxiety include:

  • Propranolol. Propranolol is a common, widely prescribed beta blocker that’s often used off-label to treat performance anxiety. If you often experience the physical symptoms of anxiety while speaking, interviewing or auditioning, this medication may help.
    Propranolol has been used in the United States for more than 40 years.

  • Atenolol. Atenolol is a slightly longer-acting beta blocker than propranolol. Although it’s not officially approved to treat anxiety, it’s occasionally used off-label to treat the physical symptoms associated with performance anxiety.

Like other prescription medications, beta blockers may cause side effects. Common side effects of beta blockers include:

  • Fatigue

  • Dizziness

  • Nausea

  • Constipation

  • Bradycardia (slow heart rate)

  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)

Beta blockers can also interfere with certain other medications, including medication for heart disease and other conditions.


To avoid these side effects and interactions, you’ll need to discuss your general health and use of other medications with your healthcare provider before using any type of beta blocker to treat anxiety.


Other Medications for Anxiety

Most cases of anxiety that require medications are treated using benzodiazepines, antidepressants or beta blockers, often in combination with behavioral therapy. However, several other types of medication are also used to treat anxiety. Seroquel, an antipsychotic, is used off-label.


Other medications for anxiety include:

  • Antihistamines. Some antihistamines have a calming effect, making them an effective option for mild to moderate anxiety. They can also help to promote sleep — a common difficulty for people with anxiety. Hydroxyzine, sold under the brand name Vistaril, is occasionally used as a short-term treatment for anxiety.

  • Anticonvulsants. Anticonvulsant medications, such as gabapentin and pregabalin, may help to treat symptoms of certain anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder. In many states, gabapentin and pregabalin are controlled substances because they can be habit-forming. It’s best to try other options first.

  • Buspirone. Buspirone is an azapirone medication that’s used to treat certain anxiety disorders, though it does have some limitations. Like SSRIs, buspirone may take several weeks of treatment to produce a noticeable improvement in the symptoms of anxiety.

Final Thoughts on Medications for Anxiety

One of the worst things about anxiety is the recurring feeling of being overwhelmed, so it's unfortunate that the list of options shared above may have been very overwhelming to read.


If you can’t tell from the walls of text you just finished scrolling through, there are a wide range of common anxiety medications, from antidepressants to benzodiazepines to beta blockers and more. Knowing what will help you is really a healthcare professional’s job, so leaning on your provider for guidance is crucial if you’re trying to get anxiety under control.


Before or after having a conversation with them, keep the following things in mind to stay focused on what really matters:

  • There’s no “one-size-fits-all” drug that’s best for everyone.

  • Some medications are used for specific types of anxiety disorders — your unique diagnosis will determine what your options are.

  • It’s important to closely follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider regardless of what you take, and be aware of potential side effects.

  • Talk to your healthcare provider before making any changes to your routine or dosage, or discontinuing any medication. Let them know if adverse effects, like weight gain, are causing more problems than they seem to be solving.

  • Psychotherapy, habits and lifestyle changes can often help to treat anxiety whether you’re taking medication or not.

  • Many of these habits, such as meditation, self-care and techniques for promoting relaxation and stress management, can be practiced at home.

There are so many options that choosing can seem daunting. Make the only right choice — ask for help today.


This article originally appeared on Forhers.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

More from MediaFeed:

How to Take the Anxiety Out of Asking for Antidepressants - And What You Should Know Before Starting Antidepressants

How to Take the Anxiety Out of Asking for Antidepressants - And What You Should Know Before Starting Antidepressants

<p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">When you’re depressed, seemingly small tasks or activities like brushing your teeth, cooking your favorite carbonara or grabbing after-work drinks can feel like an enormous hurdle. And mustering the strength — and vulnerability — to ask for help in your darkest moments can feel nearly impossible. </p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Whether you’ve been marinating in a two-week funk or have been struggling with severe <a href="https://www.forhers.com/blog/depression-types-symptoms-causes-more" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:depression;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">depression</a> for years, you are not alone. Worldwide, nearly 300 million adults suffer from this mental health disorder.</p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Fortunately, there are coping strategies and treatment plans that can help make living with this disease feel less debilitating. Along with mental health resources like <a href="https://www.forhers.com/blog/what-is-talk-therapy" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:talk therapy;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">talk therapy</a>, antidepressant medication is one of the most effective treatments healthcare providers recommend.</p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">But how do you get it? What kind of antidepressant is right for you? And how do these prescription drugs work? We’ll unpack these questions and more below.</p><span class="copyright"> tommaso79/istockphoto </span>
<p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">While not as quick as adding a pair of shoes to your online shopping cart, <a href="https://www.forhers.com/blog/who-can-prescribe-antidepressants" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:getting prescribed antidepressants;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">getting prescribed antidepressants</a> isn’t as difficult as you might think. But to get these meds, you <i>do</i> need to have a prescription from a healthcare provider.</p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">There are a few ways to go about this: </p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><ul><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><b>Talk to your primary care provider. </b>Based on your symptoms (and any other coexisting medical conditions you might have), a primary care provider (PCP) can direct you to the right kind of medication. In addition to medication, your PCP may also recommend other forms of treatment, like <a href="https://www.forhers.com/blog/types-of-group-therapy" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:group therapy;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">group therapy</a> or psychotherapy.</p></li></ul><ul><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><b>Get a referral from a therapist or psychiatrist</b>. A <a href="https://www.forhers.com/blog/finding-a-therapist" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:therapist;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">therapist</a> cannot prescribe <a href="https://www.forhers.com/blog/depression-medications" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:depression medication;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">depression medication</a>, but a psychiatrist or a psychiatric nurse can. Making an appointment with a therapist is a good starting point because they can provide coping strategies based on your symptoms of depression in addition to connecting you with a psychiatrist.</p></li></ul><ul><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><b>Utilize online telehealth platforms.</b> If you don’t feel like making the trip to the doctor’s office (understandable!), you can also <a href="https://www.forhers.com/psychiatry" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:get antidepressants online;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">get antidepressants online</a>, along with support through <a href="https://www.forhers.com/primary-care" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:telehealth primary care;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">telehealth primary care</a> platforms like Hers. </p></li></ul><p><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Lastly, over-the-counter alternatives might offer benefits when taken with prescription antidepressants.</p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">A handful of the most popular ones include: </p><ul><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">St. John’s wort</p></li><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Omega-3 fatty acids</p></li><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan)</p></li><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">SAMe (S-adenosyl-L-methionine)</p></li></ul><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">While some research speaks to the effectiveness of the above supplements, it’s important to point out that there’s still uncertainty regarding factors like taking the correct doses and how those doses interact with other medications.</p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Some experts are against using OTC supplements because active ingredients vary by brand and individual batches, delivering unpredictable results.</p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">If you decide to dip your feet into the over-the-counter antidepressant alternative pond, it’s worth saying this: OTC antidepressants aren’t technically antidepressants, and they’re not a replacement for seeking professional help.</p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">When in doubt, always talk to a healthcare provider.</p><span class="copyright"> PeopleImages/istockphoto </span>
<p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">It’s totally normal to get down in the dumps, especially when you’re going through a rough patch, like a breakup or a job loss. But when those feelings become more intense and prolonged, you might start to wonder <a href="https://www.forhers.com/blog/do-i-need-antidepressants" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:if you need antidepressants;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">if you need antidepressants</a>.</p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Antidepressants are most commonly prescribed for people who have <a href="https://www.forhers.com/blog/types-of-depression" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:major depressive disorder;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">major depressive disorder</a> (MDD). MDD is described as feeling depressed, moody or <a href="https://www.forhers.com/blog/why-do-i-get-sad-for-no-reason" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:sad;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">sad</a> all, every day, for at least two weeks.</p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">For many, the first step in talking about mental health struggles begins with a primary care provider. While you might associate your PCP as that person who gives you your annual physical or writes a prescription when you get a gnarly sinus infection, they can actually be a great first stop on the train toward treatment. </p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">To make a diagnosis, a healthcare professional may ask you if you’re experiencing symptoms of MDD, such as:</p><ul><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Sleep disruption</p></li><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Weight gain or weight loss</p></li><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Trouble making decisions</p></li><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Feelings of worthlessness</p></li><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Suicidal thoughts or frequent thoughts about death</p></li><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Decreased energy, fatigue or feeling “slowed down”</p></li></ul><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Depression enters some people’s lives in waves depending on life circumstances. For others, the mental health condition might feel like a more permanent fixture — like a bad roommate who just won’t move out.</p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Your healthcare provider will likely want to know how long you’ve been experiencing these symptoms, their severity and how your symptoms are presented before making an official diagnosis.</p><span class="copyright"> nensuria/istockphoto </span>
<p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">When people talk about antidepressants, it may seem like they’re referring to one kind of pill that magically works for everyone. While that would definitely make things more convenient, it’s simply not the case.</p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">The reality is, there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment. There are multiple types of antidepressants, and each person responds to them differently.</p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">How long a person takes an antidepressant varies. Some people may need antidepressants for a relatively short period (like while <a href="https://www.forhers.com/blog/types-of-grief" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:grieving;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">grieving</a> the loss of a loved one), or they might need medication long-term, if the depression is chronic. </p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538182/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:These;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">These</a> are the <a href="https://www.forhers.com/blog/common-antidepressants" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:most common antidepressants;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">most common antidepressants</a> prescribed to patients:</p><ul><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)</p></li><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)</p></li><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)</p></li><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Bupropion</p></li></ul><p><br></p><p><i>(<b>Related</b>: <a href="https://www.forhers.com/blog/how-to-get-antidepressants" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:How To Get Antidepressants;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">How To Get Antidepressants</a>)</i></p><span class="copyright"> stefanamer/istockphoto </span>
<p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">The most commonly prescribed SSRIs include: </p><ul><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Escitalopram (Lexapro)</p></li><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Fluoxetine (Prozac)</p></li><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Sertraline (Zoloft)</p></li><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Paroxetine (Paxil) </p></li><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Citalopram (Celexa)</p></li></ul><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">SSRIs (short for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) boost your serotonin levels. Many healthcare professionals consider them a first line of treatment for major depressive disorder as well as anxiety disorders.</p><span class="copyright"> fizkes/istockphoto </span>
<p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">The most commonly prescribed SNRIs are: </p><ul><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Venlafaxine (Effexor XR)</p></li><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)</p></li><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Duloxetine (Cymbalta)</p></li><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Milnacipran (Savella)</p></li><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Levomilnacipran (Fetzima)</p></li></ul><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) are also responsible for increasing serotonin levels. They double up by targeting another neurotransmitter called norepinephrine.</p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Norepinephrine is like the PTA mom who has her hands full: She helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle, stimulates your cardiovascular system and is involved in your body’s fight-or-flight response, among other tasks.</p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Low levels of norepinephrine are linked to symptoms like lethargy and poor concentration. By targeting both serotonin <i>and</i> norepinephrine, SNRI medication can be effective in treating anxiety and depression.</p><span class="copyright"> ilona titova/istockphoto </span>
<p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Tricyclic antidepressants (or TCAs) are a type of antidepressant developed in the 20th century. They’re among <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557791/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:some of the first;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">some of the first</a> prescription medications to be approved by the FDA.</p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Lots of people still use TCAs, though they’ve largely been replaced with other medications, like SSRIs and SNRIs. However, if you’re experiencing depression and those aforementioned meds aren’t cutting it, your healthcare provider might recommend TCAs as an alternative.</p><span class="copyright"> Hazal Ak/istockphoto </span>
<p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Bupropion is another antidepressant used for the treatment of depression as well as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It’s sold under the brand names: </p><ul><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Wellbutrin</p></li><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Wellbutrin SR</p></li><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Wellbutrin XL</p></li><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Aplenzin</p></li><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Forfivo XL (for major depressive disorder)</p></li></ul><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Bupropion belongs to a group of medications known as aminoketones. It impacts the way your body uses neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine to help regulate your moods. People with depression may have lower dopamine and norepinephrine levels, and bupropion works by increasing them.</p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">You might be surprised to learn that bupropion is also commonly used as a smoking cessation medication (sold under the brand name Zyban). <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470212/#:~:text=Bupropion%20is%20an%20antidepressant%20medication,affective%20disorder%2C%20and%20smoking%20cessation." rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Research shows;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Research shows</a> it can help reduce tobacco cravings and withdrawal symptoms in ex-smokers. So if you hear someone say they’re taking Wellbutrin to kick their smoking habit, this is what they’re referring to.</p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Unlike other antidepressants, bupropion is known to cause fewer and less severe <a href="https://www.forhers.com/blog/bupropion-side-effects" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:adverse;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">adverse</a> symptoms, like drowsiness, weight loss, weight gain and sexual dysfunction. </p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">It’s worth noting that many of these <a href="https://www.forhers.com/blog/common-antidepressants" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:common antidepressants;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">common antidepressants</a> don’t work instantly, and it may take some time for your body to adjust. Our <a href="https://www.forhers.com/blog/full-list-antidepressants-ssri-snri" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:full antidepressants list;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">full antidepressants list</a> goes over additional medication options, as well as more in-depth information on how they work.</p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><i>(<b>Related</b>: <a href="https://www.forhers.com/blog/depression-medications" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Depression Medications: A Complete Guide;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Depression Medications: A Complete Guide</a>)</i></p><span class="copyright"> stefanamer/istockphoto </span>
<p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Everyone’s mental health journey looks different. Your personal road to recovery may include antidepressants, and that’s perfectly normal.</p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">But if you start to feel overwhelmed, remember:</p><ul><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><b>A healthcare provider can help.</b> In order to get antidepressants, you first need a prescription. A healthcare professional can ask you about your symptoms to determine which antidepressant is right for you.</p></li></ul><ul><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><b>There are many types of antidepressants. </b>There’s no one-size-fits-all option when it comes to medication. What works for someone else may not work for you, and vice versa.</p></li></ul><ul><li><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><b>You have other support.</b> Support can look like leaning on loved ones, connecting with friends or spending time with a pet. It can also look like mental health services or resources, be it online therapy or anonymous support groups. The important thing is finding a system that works for you. </p></li></ul><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ">Seeking help for your depression can be scary, but your mental health is worth fighting for. Get started today.</p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><br></p><p class="pstyle__P-sc-bf6a21b7-0 fGEIGZ"><i>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.forhers.com/blog/how-to-get-antidepressants" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Forhers.com;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Forhers.com</a> and was syndicated by <a href="https://mediafeed.org/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:MediaFeed.org.;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">MediaFeed.org.</a></i><br></p><span class="copyright"> Valeriy_G/istockphoto </span>
<h2><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/other/6-signs-wellbutrin-is-working-for-your-depression-symptoms/ar-BB1laRqA" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:6 Signs Wellbutrin is Working for Your Depression Symptoms;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">6 Signs Wellbutrin is Working for Your Depression Symptoms</a><br></h2><span class="copyright"> AntonioGuillem/istockphoto </span>

Advertisement