Mental Health

What Are the Best Medications for Treating Anxiety and Depression?

Madeline Hlobik
Madeline Hlobik13 Sep 2021
Reviewed and Fact Checked ✔️

Every year, 18.1% of the United States adult population suffers from anxiety disorders, and 6.7% struggle with depression. Taking certain medications can be key to bettering the mental health of these individuals. Overall, benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, are best for treating anxiety disorders, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) antidepressants, like Celexa, are best for combatting depression. 

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Best Medications for Treating Anxiety

All individuals will most likely experience some anxiousness at some point in their lives. For some, the feeling may subside on its own or can be regulated by outside hobbies. However, for those with an anxiety disorder, your doctor may prescribe you a medication to help manage your symptoms. 

There are various categories of drugs, each with unique purposes, to combat anxiety. Some of these categories include:

  • Benzodiazepines
  • Anxiolytics
  • SSRIs Antidepressants

Typically though, benzodiazepines are most effective in treating anxiety disorders. Below are breakdowns of specific drugs within these categories. 

Alprazolam (Xanax): Best Benzodiazepine

Benzodiazepines are sedatives that are highly utilized in combatting anxiety disorders due to their fast-acting abilities and effectiveness in reducing physiological symptoms of anxiety such as muscle tension, sweating, and panic attacks. Most individuals report noticing symptom relief about 1 to 2 hours after taking Xanax and for an average of 11 hours.

Because Xanax is rather fast-acting, it is not used long term. Benzodiazepines such as Xanax are only used temporarily to treat anxiety, though, because they can cause drowsiness and be misused. Thus, you must follow the prescription directions provided by your doctor. 

Buspirone: Best Anxiolytic

Buspirone is unique in that it is used to treat both short-term and long-term anxiety symptoms. It does so by regulating chemicals in the brain that help to improve your mood. The only drawback to the usage of Buspirone is that it can take weeks for it to become fully effective.

It depends on the directions provided by your doctor; however, Buspirone will typically be taken two to three times a day. Unlike benzodiazepines, Buspirone can be taken for several months up to a year. Side effects of this medication include dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, and more.

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Madeline Hlobik

Madeline is a Senior at UCLA majoring in Human Biology & Society with a minor in Spanish. She's currently a Healthcare Research Analyst at Mira, writing content for the blog to help the public better understand certain medical issues, technologies, testings, and the importance of healthcare.

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