Anxiety Home > Anxiety Medications

Psychotherapy and medications are often used together to treat anxiety disorders. The major classes of medicines prescribed for anxiety disorders include antidepressants and anti-anxiety medicines. If your healthcare provider feels that medication may be helpful in your situation, a few different drugs and/or doses may be tried in order to find the best one for you.

Understanding Anxiety Medication Options

Medicines are one of the two options available for anxiety treatment (the other being cognitive-behavioral therapy). Although medications won't cure an anxiety disorder, they can keep the symptoms under control and enable you to lead a normal, fulfilling life.
The major classes of drugs used to treat anxiety disorders include:


Who Can Prescribe Medicines for Anxiety?

Psychiatrists or other physicians or healthcare providers that have prescribing rights (such as nurse practitioners or physical assistants in most states) can prescribe medicines for anxiety disorders. These prescribers often work closely with psychologists, social workers, or counselors who provide psychotherapy. In some states, laws have been passed that give psychologists (who are not medical doctors) the right to prescribe medications, but this still is a controversial and much-debated issue.
In any case, a healthcare provider can prescribe "controlled substances" (medications with significant abuse potential, including some anxiety medications) only if they are registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and have a DEA number. In some cases, a practitioner who operates under the supervision of a physician (such as a physician assistant) may use the physician's DEA number.


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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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