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When Is It Time to Try Medicine for Anxiety?

Signs that you need anxiety medication
Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology

Wafaa Amjad Dar



Medical Disclaimer
The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient’s unique health circumstances and needs.Read more

Anxiety is often a normal reaction to stress. But when it becomes disproportionate to the situation or lasts long after the stressor has passed, it may evolve into an anxiety disorder. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America [1*] , anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in the U.S., affecting 19.1% of adults every year. Symptoms range from mild to severe and can include feelings of dread, difficulty concentrating, and physical manifestations like a racing heart or digestive issues.

In this article, we will explore various aspects of anxiety treatment, starting from non-pharmacological options to medication that may warrant for indications of certain anxiety disorders. We will reveal the signs when you might ask your healthcare provider if it’s time to start anxiety medication.

Start your journey to a calmer tomorrow. Schedule an online appointment.

Is Medication Always the Answer for Anxiety?

Anxiety basically serves as a survival mechanism that prepares us for confronting danger. And even if this helpful emotion becomes an anxiety disorder, medication isn’t always necessary. It depends on the severity of symptoms. For some people, physical and psychological symptoms of these conditions can be managed through lifestyle changes, mindfulness, or psychotherapy. However, in some cases, if anxiety disorder affects daily functioning significantly, medication can become an option worth considering. Below, we’ll review these cases in more detail.

First Steps in Treating Anxiety Disorders

Before prescribing medication, healthcare providers typically recommend a variety of non-pharmacological interventions to manage anxiety symptoms. These may include:

A combination of these methods often works to manage anxiety well, but if symptoms persist, medication may be advised.

When to Consider Taking Anxiety Medication

While experiencing anxiety occasionally is a natural part of life, for some individuals, it becomes a chronic issue that interferes with daily activities, relationships, and overall well-being. These are the signs that you need anxiety medication:

  • You feel constantly restless or on edge. When anxiety becomes so pervasive it impacts your daily life, leaving you constantly restless or on edge.
  • You experience physical effects. Be attentive to the symptoms like heart palpitations, digestive issues, or chronic headaches that stem from anxiety.
  • You have trouble sleeping. Anxiety often interferes with sleep quality. You may find yourself lying awake at night due to stress or intrusive thoughts.
  • You feel immobilized with fear. Anxiety levels may become so high that you find it difficult to leave the house or engage in social activities.
  • You begin to have relationship problems. Anxiety can strain relationships when therapy and lifestyle changes are not enough.
  • You cannot concentrate. Chronic anxiety can hamper your ability to focus on tasks and impair concentration.

Have you noticed any of the above-mentioned signs or other symptoms of anxiety getting worse? Contact us to treat anxiety symptoms online.

Signs to start anxiety medication

Which Anxiety Medication Is Right for You?

There are various types of medication [5*] used to treat anxiety that a healthcare professional may consider, each with its pros and cons, depending on the individual’s specific symptoms and needs .

  • Benzodiazepines, like Xanax (alprazolam [6*] ), provide quick relief but are generally not suitable for long-term treatment due to the potential for dependence.
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs [7*] ), such as Prozac (fluoxetine) and Zoloft (sertraline), are commonly used but may take a few weeks to become fully effective.
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs [8*] ). Examples include Effexor (venlafaxine) and Cymbalta (duloxetine), which are used for long-term treatment.
  • Buspirone. Buspar is used for chronic anxiety, it is less commonly prescribed than SSRIs and benzodiazepines.

There are other medications that may be prescribed off-label to treat anxiety. Pregabalin, such as Lyrica, is one example; it is typically used for neuropathic pain and as an antiepileptic drug but has also been found effective as an off-label treatment of generalized anxiety disorder [9*] . Tricyclic antidepressants [10*] , like Elavil (amitriptyline), are another less commonly used option due to the side effect profile but can be considered for some cases of anxiety.

Your healthcare provider will consider your medical history, symptoms, and potential interactions with other medications you are taking before prescribing anti-anxiety medication.

What Questions to Discuss With a Doctor?

When discussing if it’s time to go on anxiety medication, remember to ask your doctor:

  1. What are the potential side effects of the chosen medication?
  2. How long will it take for the medication to work?
  3. Is this medication addictive?
  4. Will this medication interact with other medications I am currently taking?
  5. What is the protocol for discontinuing the medication if it is not effective or causes adverse effects?

Anxiety Medication Is Not Your Only Option

Medication is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to treating anxiety. It is often most effective when combined with other treatments [11*] like therapy and lifestyle changes. Always consult a healthcare provider for a diagnosis and treatment plan developed right for you.

Taking medication for anxiety is a personal decision that should be made in consultation with your healthcare provider. Whether or not to take medication is ultimately your choice, and it is crucial to weigh the benefits against the risks.

Bottom Line

Anxiety medication is often considered a last resort after other treatments have been tried without success. However, it can be a useful and effective component of a comprehensive anxiety management plan, especially for those dealing with severe or chronic symptoms of anxiety. Medication can offer relief from acute stress disorder and can also serve as an ongoing treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and other forms of anxiety.

In any case, a consultation with a mental health professional is essential for receiving an accurate diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan. If you are unsure about where to start, consider speaking with a doctor at MEDvidi to get a professional outlook on your condition. Sign up and book a meeting with a qualified clinician.

Consult with a medical provider at MEDvidi for your personalized holistic treatment plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

The choice of treatment options depends on the medical condition, its severity, and the response to other treatments. Consult a healthcare provider for personalized advice.

To try anxiety medication, consult with a healthcare provider for an evaluation. They may recommend various tests and assessments to diagnose your condition accurately. Based on the findings, medication for anxiety treatment may be prescribed alongside other treatments like therapy.

The approach to managing anxiety—whether through coping strategies of cognitive-behavioral therapy or medication—depends on individual needs and the severity of symptoms. Some people benefit from non-medication methods, while others require medical intervention. A healthcare provider can help determine the best approach for each individual.

It is not possible to obtain anxiety drugs without a doctor’s prescription due to the potential risks and side effects of these medications. Always consult a healthcare professional before starting any medication and receive a prescription. MEDvidi providers are licensed to assess and diagnose anxiety disorders online as well as prescribe medications, including controlled substances.

The effects of anxiety medications can vary for different people, but many report reduced anxiety, a calmer demeanor, and improved overall well-being. Some may experience side effects after taking anxiety medications. It is important to monitor feelings and communicate with a healthcare provider.

If anxiety is not treated, it can escalate, leading to chronic stress, and physical health issues. It may also lead to a decline in quality of life, relationship problems, and an increased risk of depression or other mental health disorders.

Benzodiazepines, such as Xanax (alprazolam) or Ativan (lorazepam), are commonly prescribed for as-needed use to quickly alleviate acute anxiety or panic attacks. However, they should be taken under a doctor’s guidance due to potential side effects and dependence risk.

If you think you need anxiety meds, consult a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, which may include medication, therapy, or a combination of both.


11 sources
  1. Anxiety Disorders - Facts & Statistics
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  2. Cognitive-Behavioral Treatments for Anxiety and Stress-Related Disorders. (2021)
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  3. Mindfulness meditation: A research-proven way to reduce stress. (2019)
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  4. Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Anxiety. (2013)
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  5. Pharmacotherapy of Anxiety Disorders: Current and Emerging Treatment Options. (2020)
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  6. XANAX
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  7. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor treatment for generalized anxiety disorder: a double-blind, prospective comparison between paroxetine and sertraline. (2005)
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  8. Serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) in anxiety disorders: a comprehensive review of their clinical efficacy. (2010)
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  9. Pregabalin in generalized anxiety disorder: a placebo-controlled trial. (2003)
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  10. Anxiety disorders: a review of tricyclic antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. (2000)
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  11. Treatment of anxiety disorders. (2017)
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Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology

Wafaa Amjad Dar



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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.

This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.