Antidepressants For Anxiety: Do They Help?

Anxiety may respond well to treatment. Your doctor might suggest prescription medication for your anxiety—here’s what to know about some of the most commonly prescribed types of medication.

Types of Antidepressants

Antidepressant medications may work by influencing neurotransmitters. These medicines may get used for treating anxiety symptoms, but they often take 4 to 6 weeks to get visible healing done.


Tricyclics work, like SSRIs, work for treating many anxiety disorders, excluding obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Instances of tricyclics used for anxiety are:

  • Clomipramine (Anafranil)
  • Imipramine (Tofranil)

Tricyclics are old drugs that get prescribed less often, as new drugs cause fewer side effects.

Side effects of tricyclics can include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Weight gains
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Urinary retention
  • Constipation

Side effects may frequently be controlled by altering the dose or switching to other tricyclics.


Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) get prescribed for treating panic disorder.

MAOIs that are FDA approved for treating depression but used off-label for anxiety are:

  • Phenelzine (Nardil)
  • Tranylcypromine (Parnate)
  • Selegiline (Emsam)
  • Dicarboxamide (Marplan)

Like tricyclics, MAOIs are old drugs that trigger more significant side effects than new drugs. Some side effects are:

  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia

Types of Anxiety Medications SSRIs and SNRIs

SSRIs and SNRIs often form the prime main medication treatments for anxiety. They typically work well for many people as they have developed solid safety profiles. These medications, however, may require four to six weeks to accumulate within your body gradually. They can trigger nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting, resulting in low sodium levels. For a minor percentage of users, they cause sexual side effects.

Examples of SSRIs utilized to treat anxiety are:

  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)

SSRIs may trigger various side effects, but many users tolerate these without issues. Side effects are:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Sexual Dysfunction

SNRI’s include Duloxetine (Cymbalta), Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), or Venlafaxine XR (Effexor XR).

Consult with your doctor if you experience any concerns over any specific side effects.


Vistaril refers to an antihistamine that may be used to treat anxiety PRN medication (as an and when required)

  • Pros

You may consume Vistaril, when necessary, for temporary anxiety relief, like before surgery.

  • Cons

It may lead to dizziness, dry mouth, constipation, or blurred vision.


Buspar raises your levels of the elevating neurotransmitter Serotonin and Dopamine.

  • Pros

To relieve anxiety, it improves your sense of contentment.

  • Cons

It may result in dizziness or drowsiness, and nausea.

Abilify and Seroquel

Abilify and Seroquel refer to antipsychotic drugs which treat some types of mental health and mood disorders and can be used as add-on treatment for difficult to treat anxiety.

  • Pros

They get to work fast so you can feel better in several days.

  • Cons

They may render you exhausted, but that might be good when you have trouble sleeping. They might cause spasms, dry mouth, and involuntary body movements.


Benzodiazepines are tranquilizers common examples include Diazepam (Valium), Alprazolam (Xanax) and Lorazepam (Ativan).

  • Pros

They may provide you with instant relief.

  • Cons

You may just use them temporarily as you may grow dependent on them and develop resistance to them.


The beta blocker Propranolol is used to treat social anxiety.

  • Pros

You might utilize them to reduce anxiety before stage performances or public speeches.

  • Cons

It might trigger low blood pressure and dizziness.