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What is the best medicine for stress and anxiety

It’s normal to be anxious sometimes, whether it be from speaking in front of a crowd, taking an airplane flight or going on a job interview, all can trigger anxiety. But for a lot of people, anxiety isn’t just a once-in-a-while case of the jitters. It’s a mental health problem that affects how they function.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 million adults in the U.S., or more than 18 percent of the population, have anxiety disorders every year. Saurabh Jauhari, MD, a psychiatrist at Banner Health Center in Sun City West, AZ, said that for many people, fear of anxiety is more troublesome than actual anxiety. For example, your apprehension about a job interview can be worse than the anxiety you experience during the interview.

Fortunately, anxiety responds well to treatment. Your doctor may recommend a prescription medication for your anxiety—here’s what to know about six of the most commonly prescribed types of medication.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)

SSRIs and SNRIs are often the first-line treatment for anxiety. Common SSRI brands are Celexa, Lexapro, Luvox, Paxil, and Zoloft. Common SNRI brands are Pristiq, Cymbalta, and Effexor XR.

  • Pros: They are effective for a lot of people and they have a solid safety profile.
  • Cons: They can take four to six weeks to build up in your system. They could cause nausea, vomiting or diarrhea and could lead to low sodium levels. For a small number of people, they cause sexual side effects.


Vistaril is an antihistamine that can treat itching from allergies as well as anxiety.

  • Pro: You can take Vistaril as needed, for short-term anxiety relief such as before surgery.
  • Cons: It can cause dry mouth, dizziness, blurred vision or constipation.


Buspar increases your levels of the feel-good neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.

  • Pros: Along with relieving anxiety it can improve your sense of well-being and help you think more clearly and worry less.
  • Cons: It can lead to dizziness and drowsiness with nausea.

Abilify and Seroquel

Abilify and Seroquel are antipsychotic drugs that can treat a range of mental health and mood disorders by helping to balance certain brain chemicals.

  • Pros: They work quickly, so you can get relief within a few days.
  • Cons: They can make you drowsy, though that can be a benefit if you’re having trouble sleeping. They can cause spasms, dry mouth and involuntary body movements.


Benzodiazepines are tranquilizers—common types are diazepam (Valium), alprazolam ( Xanax) and lorazepam (Ativan)..

  • Pro: They can give you immediate relief.
  • Cons: You can only use them short-term since you can become dependent on them and build up resistance to them.

Beta blockers

The beta blocker Propranolol is approved for social anxiety.

  • Pros: You can take it to reduce anxiety before stage performances or public speaking. It doesn’t make you sleepy.
  • Cons: It can cause low blood pressure or dizziness.

With all these options, how can you choose?

Your doctor can recommend the best medication to help control your anxiety. There are different types of anxiety disorders, so different medications may be better choices for your type. Your doctor will also consider your other health conditions and medications, and whether you have a family history of responding better to a certain medication. Since you might be taking medication long-term, you may want to factor in affordability.

What other treatments can help manage anxiety?

Medications for anxiety are safe and effective and are good options for many people. But some people want to avoid medication, and some want to combine medication with other treatments. You can try:

  • Psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a first-line treatment for anxiety, and phobias can respond to biofeedback and exposure therapy.
  • Stress management techniques. You can learn breathing techniques and progressive muscle relaxation to reduce anxiety.
  • Lifestyle modifications. Getting enough quality sleep, exercising, and avoiding alcohol, illicit drugs and excessive caffeine can help reduce anxiety.
  • Support groups. Connecting with people who share your experiences can be valuable.

The bottom line

“Anxiety can be debilitating but it is treatable,” Dr. Jauhari said. With the right therapies, lifestyle changes, and medication, you can control your anxiety and you’ll be able to function well, be productive and live your life.

For a referral to a Banner Health mental health professional who can help treat your anxiety, visit

To learn more about anxiety and mental health issues, check out:

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In this article, learn about a wide range of natural and home remedies that can help with stress and anxiety.

In some cases, another health condition, such as an overactive thyroid , can lead to an anxiety disorder. Getting an accurate diagnosis can ensure that a person receives the best treatment.

In fact, anxiety is among the most common mental health issues. In the United States, more than 18 percent of adults are affected by anxiety disorders each year.

Many people have chronic stress and anxiety. They face symptoms such as nervousness, agitation, tension, a racing heart, and chest pain.

Natural remedies are generally safe to use alongside more conventional medical therapies.

However, alterations to the diet and some natural supplements can change the way antianxiety medications work, so it is essential to consult a doctor before trying these solutions. The doctor may also be able to recommend other natural remedies.

1. Exercise


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Exercise may help to treat anxiety.

Exercise is a great way to burn off anxious energy, and research tends to support this use.

For example, a 2015 review of 12 randomized controlled trials found that exercise may be a treatment for anxiety. However, the review cautioned that only research of higher quality could determine how effective it is.

Exercise may also help with anxiety caused by stressful circumstances. Results of a 2016 study, for example, suggest that exercise can benefit people with anxiety related to quitting smoking.

2. Meditation

Meditation can help to slow racing thoughts, making it easier to manage stress and anxiety. A wide range of meditation styles, including mindfulness and meditation during yoga, may help.

Mindfulness-based meditation is increasingly popular in therapy. A 2010 meta-analytic review suggests that it can be highly effective for people with disorders relating to mood and anxiety.

3. Relaxation exercises

Some people unconsciously tense the muscles and clench the jaw in response to anxiety. Progressive relaxation exercises can help.

Try lying in a comfortable position and slowly constricting and relaxing each muscle group, beginning with the toes and working up to the shoulders and jaw.

4. Writing

Finding a way to express anxiety can make it feel more manageable.

Some research suggests that journaling and other forms of writing can help people to cope better with anxiety.

A 2016 study, for example, found that creative writing may help children and teens to manage anxiety.

5. Time management strategies

Some people feel anxious if they have too many commitments at once. These may involve family, work, and health-related activities. Having a plan in place for the next necessary action can help to keep this anxiety at bay.

Effective time management strategies can help people to focus on one task at a time. Book-based planners and online calendars can help, as can resisting the urge to multitask.

Some people find that breaking major projects down into manageable steps can help them to accomplish those tasks with less stress.

6. Aromatherapy

Smelling soothing plant oils can help to ease stress and anxiety. Certain scents work better for some people than others, so consider experimenting with various options.

Lavender may be especially helpful. A 2012 study tested the effects of aromatherapy with lavender on insomnia in 67 women aged 45–55. Results suggest that the aromatherapy may reduce the heart rate in the short term and help to ease sleep issues in the long term.

7. Cannabidiol oil


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CBD oil comes from the marijuana plant.

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a derivative of the cannabis, or marijuana, plant.

Unlike other forms of marijuana, CBD oil does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the substance that creates a “high.”

CBD oil is readily available without a prescription in many alternative healthcare shops. Preliminary research suggests that it has significant potential to reduce anxiety and panic.

In areas where medical marijuana is legal, doctors may also be able to prescribe the oil.

8. Herbal teas

Many herbal teas promise to help with anxiety and ease sleep.

Some people find the process of making and drinking tea soothing, but some teas may have a more direct effect on the brain that results in reduced anxiety.

Results of a small 2018 trial suggest that chamomile can alter levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.

9. Herbal supplements

Like herbal teas, many herbal supplements claim to reduce anxiety. However, little scientific evidence supports these claims.

It is vital to work with a doctor who is knowledgeable about herbal supplements and their potential interactions with other drugs.

10. Time with animals

Pets offer companionship, love, and support. Research published in 2018 confirmed that pets can be beneficial to people with a variety of mental health issues, including anxiety.

While many people prefer cats, dogs, and other small mammals, people with allergies will be pleased to learn that the pet does have to be furry to provide support.

A 2015 study found that caring for crickets could improve psychological health in older people.

Spending time with animals can also reduce anxiety and stress associated with trauma. Results of a 2015 systematic review suggest that grooming and spending time with horses can alleviate some of these effects.