Anxiety and Depression Medications

Anxiety and depression medications are commonly prescribed to help with symptoms relating to both mental health disorders.

Table of Contents

Overview of Anxiety and Depression

Medications to treat anxiety and depression are frequently combined with other forms of therapy, such as psychotherapy and brain stimulation therapies. The most frequently administered anxiety and depression medication is antidepressants. Studies have shown that antidepressants are effective in treating adults with mild to severe depression. In a study, most participants reported symptom improvement within six to eight weeks of starting an antidepressant.1

Two of the most prevalent mental health issues in our society are anxiety and depression. Although the two disorders may have similar causes, symptoms, and treatments, there are also significant differences. Anxiety is the feeling of excessive worry and fear, whereas depression is characterized by a strong sense of grief, despair, and apathy. Those who suffer from anxiety frequently feel on edge all the time, those who suffer from depression may feel numb and withdraw from society.

anxiety and depression medications

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Can You Have Anxiety but Not Depression?

Since depression and anxiety are two separate mental health illnesses, it is possible to have one but not the other. Since both conditions are commonly co-occurring, there is also a chance that an anxiety disorder can cause depression.2

What Are the Main Causes of Anxiety and Depression?

There is no single cause of anxiety or depression, but the following are risk factors that increase the chances of developing both conditions:
  • Experiencing traumatic or stressful events, such as the death of a loved one or job loss
  • A history of anxiety, depression, or other mental disorders in biological relatives
  • Substance abuse and heavy alcohol consumption
  • Medical conditions, such as heart disease, chronic pain, and cancer
  • The use of certain medications such as corticosteroids

What Drugs Are Used to Treat Anxiety?

Medication is used to treat acute and chronic anxiety disorders. These anxiety and depression medications can offer momentary relief but have serious side effects and safety concerns. Common side effects of anxiety medications include loss of appetite, nausea, and insomnia. Some of the most widely prescribed anxiety drugs will be detailed below.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that influences mood, hunger, sleep, memory, and sexual desire. SSRIs are commonly used antidepressants for anxiety and depression. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors function by raising serotonin levels in the body. SSRIs can be used for long-term treatment and may take several weeks to begin working.

Selective Serotonin & Norepinephrine Inhibitors (SNRI)

SNRI is a distinct class of antidepressants that may be recommended if SSRIs don’t reduce your anxiety. The SNRI functions by elevating the serotonin and noradrenaline levels in the brain.


The most frequently administered anxiety medication is benzodiazepines, also referred to as tranquilizers. Benzodiazepines help individuals relax physically and mentally by slowing down the nervous system.

They are particularly helpful when taken during a panic attack or similar intense anxiety attack. However, benzodiazepines can be addictive and should not be used for long-term treatment. Benzodiazepines are used to treat 55% to 94% of individuals with anxiety disorders in the United States.3


Buspirone, also marketed under BuSpar, is an anxiety medication with modest sedative properties. This medication lowers dopamine and raises serotonin in the brain, just like SSRIs do. Buspirone may take up to a few weeks to start working effectively, and it is less sedating and has little to no withdrawal effects. It is majorly effective for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).


Lorazepam is a benzodiazepine that functions to reduce anxiety symptoms. Benzodiazepines are central nervous system (CNS) depressants, which are anxiety medications that slow down the nervous system. Lorazepam will make individuals feel calmer and less anxious. The effects of lorazepam tablets and liquid manifest after twenty to thirty minutes. It takes about an hour to attain its peak sedative effect and often lasts six to eight hours.

What Drugs Are Used to Treat Depression?

There are several drugs used in the treatment of depression. Antidepressants are a key part of treating depression and they aim to relieve symptoms and prevent recurrent depressive episodes. Depression medications’ side effects may range from mild to severe. The following are major drugs used in the treatment of depressive disorder:

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

SSRIs are prescribed as first-line medications for depression due to their benefits and side effect balance. A serotonin imbalance might trigger depression, but by reducing serotonin reuptake in the brain, these depression medications treat the symptoms of depression.4

Selective Serotonin & Norepinephrine Inhibitors (SNRIs)

By altering the neurotransmitters that brain cells use to communicate, SNRIs can reduce depression. Like most antidepressants, SNRIs treat depression by altering brain chemistry and facilitating communication across brain circuits that control mood. SNRIs help to increase serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain.

Vortioxetine and Vilazodone

The antidepressants vortioxetine and vilazodone hydrochloride are used to treat major depressive disorder. Vortioxetine is a serotonin receptor agonist and antagonist that inhibits serotonin reuptake and directly activates receptors to treat depression. It is used for the treatment of adult patients with major depressive disorder.

Tetracyclic Antidepressants

Among the first antidepressants created were tricyclic and tetracyclic antidepressants, also known as cyclic antidepressants. They are effective, although they have been mainly replaced with other depression medications with fewer negative effects. They also operate by balancing neurotransmitters to relieve depression symptoms.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)

MAOIs function by preventing the breakdown of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. Because of their interactions with prescription medications and some foods, they are more challenging for people to take than most antidepressants. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors work to improve various depression and other nervous system diseases.

N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor Antagonist

N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist rapidly reduces suicidal ideations and depressive symptoms. NMDA in any form, including oral, intravenous, and even intranasal routes, has been shown to quickly reduce suicidal behavior in depressive patients. Ketamine is a non-competitive NMDA antagonist and a derivative of PCP, which was found to produce rapid and persistent antidepressant effects.

Side Effects of Depression and Anxiety Medications

Some anxiety and depression medications have side effects. Although antidepressant side effects can initially be problematic, they typically improve over time. The following are common side effects of most anxiety and depression medications:
  • Blurry vision
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Sleep problems
  • Tremors
  • Weight gain

Alternative Home Remedies for Depression and Anxiety

Some individuals prefer non-drug treatments to help them control their depression and anxiety. For milder forms of depression, alternative home remedies may be helpful, and combining natural treatments with more conventional medical treatments is safe. Consult your doctor about any complementary or alternative therapies that might be effective for you.
The following are basic alternative home remedies for depression and anxiety:


Yoga involves doing specific physical postures and breathing exercises with meditation aids. Different practices exist; some are not advised for those with particular medical issues. An analysis of studies revealed that yoga therapy benefits people with severe depression and other medical issues.5


Meditation is sometimes referred to as achieving an altered state of awareness. Slowing one’s rushing thoughts through meditation can help control tension and anxiety. Numerous types of meditation, including mindfulness, may be beneficial. In therapy, mindfulness-based meditation is becoming more and more common.

Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises that increase the amount of air that enters your body, such as deep breathing, can help you relax and relieve stress and anxiety. Taking deeper, slower breaths from your stomach can relax the nervous system. Deep breathing requires practice and will not be immediately beneficial.

Physical Exercise

Different types of exercise can help you relax and reduce your symptoms of depression. Exercise is an excellent way to release anxious energy and boost your vitality, balance, and flexibility. It’s a simple and safe way to improve your health.


In acupuncture, tiny needles are placed into certain body areas called acupoints. Complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, are frequently used as an alternative or supplement treatment with standard therapy for individuals with depression. In a systematic review, acupuncture showed clinically significant improvements in reducing the symptoms of depression.6

Get Help for Depression and Anxiety at Profound Treatment

If you are struggling with depression or anxiety, you are not alone. Through proper assessment, specialized treatment plans and therapies, and coping skills development at Profound Treatment, you can overcome depression and anxiety disorder. We will provide you with high-quality, comprehensive, and personalized care.

Best medication for anxiety and depression


Even though anxiety and depression are prevalent mental health problems for many individuals, they can be effectively addressed with counseling and medication. With the help of treatment programs, you can learn how to feel, act, and think in situations that can cause anxiety and depression.
Profound Treatment offers the following therapeutic modalities for treating depression and anxiety:
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical-behavioral therapy
  • Psychodynamic therapy

Dual Diagnosis

In some circumstances, a person with depression or anxiety may turn to drugs or alcohol as a coping method. The staff at Profound Treatment will assist you in identifying the underlying causes of your mental disorder. Once we know the cause, our experts will start developing medication therapies to assist you in managing your anxiety or depression symptoms and attaining sobriety.


People in recovery from addiction, depression, or anxiety are provided aftercare, which is an ongoing therapy program after attaining initial sobriety. Aftercare might take the form of inpatient rehabilitation or comprehensive outpatient rehab programs.

Profound Treatment’s programs for aftercare offer ongoing guidance, therapy, and a secure environment for personal growth. A person can remain actively involved in their ongoing depression and anxiety disorder and addiction rehabilitation by developing an aftercare plan. Reach out to learn more and begin healing.

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