Deciding About Medication for Anxiety

Health Writer

Anxiety medications help to reduce symptoms, however, they do not cure the anxiety. There are also a number of non-medication treatments, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, that has been shown to be effective for anxiety disorders. Because of this, it is frequently a difficult decision on whether to begin a regimen of medication.

In addition, there are many different medications available for the treatment of anxiety disorders. The medications work in different ways, and each have different side effects. Deciding which medication is right for you can be a daunting task.

Talking with your doctor is the first step in determining if medication might be right for you. However, which medication and the correct dose is over a matter a trial and error. You cannot know how you will react to a medication until you try it. You also will not know which side effects you will experience and how severely they will impact your life.

Some of the questions you can ask yourself (and your doctor) to help you decide if medication is right for you:

  • The severity of your anxiety attacks, does it warrant medication?
  • Are there other treatments available that are just as effective in reducing symptoms?
  • Will you need to avoid certain foods and beverages while taking the medication?
  • Should you take cognitive-behavioral therapy or another type of therapy in addition to the medication?
  • What are the side-effects of the medication and will you be able to tolerate them?
  • Will other illnesses, including mental disorders, be impacted by this medication?
  • Will this medication interfere with other medications you may be taking?
  • Are you pregnant or considering getting pregnant?
  • How long will you be expected to be on this medicine?
  • What will it cost and how much will your insurance cover? Can you afford the medication?

Medications for anxiety are often started at a low dose and then increased as needed to find the dose that will work best for you. This normally requires you to stay on a medication for a period of time to determine if it is effective in decreasing your symptoms of anxiety.

In addition to antidepressants, which must be taken on a daily basis in order to be effective, another type of medication is anxiety medicine that can be taken to prevent an anxiety episode or attack. For those people that do not want to take medication every day, this type of medication may be better for some people.

No matter whether you decide to take medication on a daily basis, take anxiety medication as needed or to forego medication and work with non-medication treatments, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, it is important that you talk with your doctor and continue follow up treatment to make sure you are able to enjoy your life.