Medication to reduce your anxiety

Did you know that when you experience acute stress due to anxiety, your brain registers it in the same way as physical pain? It’s a very real problem and one that deserves to be taken seriously. If you’ve tried all the self-help exercises in the book and therapy just isn’t helping in the way you need, it may be time to try medication. The good news is that there are lots of different options out there today. You won’t necessarily get the results you’re hoping for from the first one you try, but sooner or later you’re likely to find something that makes a big difference.


When a patient first asks a doctor for help with anxiety, the first medicine the doctor suggests is, of course, tranquilizers. Traditionally, this has meant benzodiazepines, which have the advantage of starting to work very quickly. They’re fantastic for helping people through acutely stressful situations like bereavement, and they mean that if it has taken you a while to feel able to seek help, you can get the instant relief you need. Because they slow down your nervous system, however, they can make it dangerous to drive and difficult to work. Some people find that they’re sleepy all the time when taking them. They’re also addictive and they interact dangerously with several other kinds of medication, as well as with alcohol.

An increasingly popular alternative is buspirone (also known as BuSpar), which doesn’t work straight away – you may have to wait as long as two weeks – but it doesn’t have the same side effects and isn’t very addictive. It’s worth noting that any kind of tranquilizer can upset your digestive system, but you may be able to use other drugs to fix that.

SSRI and SNRI medication

SSRI medication increases the level of serotonin in your brain, helping you to feel more relaxed and at ease, while SNRI medication boosts both serotonin and a chemical called noradrenaline. These groups of medicine include well known drugs like Prozac, Zoloft and Celexa. It usually takes several weeks  for them to start working so you will need to be able to cope in the meantime, plus there’s a possibility that your dose will need to be adjusted. Once you have found the right one and settled onto the right dose for you, you’ll find that they’re very effective. Like tranquilizers, they can cause digestive problems, but these tend to fade over time. Drinking more than a small amount of alcohol can stop them from working properly. Unfortunately, they reduce sexual function in some people, and that’s a side effect that usually remains for as long as they’re being used, but many people decide that they’re worth it.

Natural medicine

There are a number of natural treatments that have traditionally been used for anxiety, but it’s important to remember that natural doesn’t mean safe or free from side effects, so you should make sure that you do your research before taking them. You shouldn’t take natural anti-anxiety medicines at the same time as prescribed ones because they often work in similar ways and you could end up overdosing as a result.

One of the most popular natural treatments for anxiety is St John’s wort. It has a soothing effect without the unpleasant side effects common with prescription drugs, but it does interact with a lot of other medicine, sometimes dangerously. Another popular option is valerian, which helps with general relaxation and sleep but can leave you feeling sleepy all the time and struggling to concentrate. You shouldn’t take either of these if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you’re taking contraceptive pills.

Some people find that cannabis helps them, however, it can interfere with concentration if you eat or smoke it (and obviously smoking carries health risks). That is far less of an issue if you use a medicinal extract or try CBD spray – you’ll also find that CBD spray is a highly convenient option, because you can carry it around discreetly and use it as needed.

Get more out of your medicine

Anxiety is closely connected to general metabolic health, so whichever form of medication you choose, you’ll get more out of it if you have a regular daily routine that includes healthy exercise. It’s important to stay well hydrated and to eat healthily. This will help to shift your body into a state where it functions more smoothly, without sleep problems and without the emotional spikes that make anxiety worse.

Although it might seem impossible, you can overcome your anxiety with the right treatment. There’s something out there that works for almost everyone, and once you find it, you’ll have the energy to sort out long-term problems so you can attain a state of improved mental health that will last.