The best treatment for anxiety usually is a combination of psychotherapy and medication.
When your primary care doctor or licensed mental health professional develops a treatment plan to help you cope with living with anxiety, there are different recommendations they may make, including medication, therapy—or both.
However, it is often difficult to find a successful treatment right away, and you may need to try different combinations before you discover what works best for you.
A type of talk therapy, called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) gets the best results for anxiety. CBT will help you learn skills for dealing with anxiety and the things that trigger it. If you have been avoiding certain things due to anxiety, you will learn through therapy how to overcome these symptoms and incorporate the activities back into your daily life.
When we understand what is driving our anxiety, we're in a better place to cope with anxiety in a healthy way.
You can also consider mindfulness and mindfulness-based therapy (MBT).
Types of medications often prescribed to treat anxiety include:
Antidepressants (SSRIs—selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors—such as Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro and/or SNRIs—serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors—such as Cymbalta, Pristiq, and Effexor XR)
Buspar or Buspirone
Benzodiazepines (such as Xanax or Ativan)
Antidepressants are among the best choice to treat anxiety. Specific medications doctors may prescribe, include Effexor (venlafaxine), Lexapro (escitalopram), and Cymbalta (duloxetine). Antidepressant medications will need to be taken daily and long-term. They may not produce results for a few weeks.
Buspar or Buspirone is a an anti-anxiety medicine that affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with anxiety.
Benzodiazepines are not a standard option, but doctors sometimes prescribe them. It’s important to note that they are habit-forming sedatives for many individuals.
If your doctor does decide to prescribe benzodiazepines, it will typically be for short-term use only. If you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, let your doctor know as you should avoid taking this medication.
To help determine if you have symptoms of an anxiety disorder, take our 2-Minute Online Anxiety Assessment.
If you suspect you might be living with an anxiety disorder, be sure to talk with your primary care physician and/or a licensed mental health counselor about your concerns.
The Monarch Directory by SimplePractice can help you find a licensed therapist near you who specializes in anxiety.
You can choose to browse therapists and counselors who accept your insurance.
Each therapy provider’s page on Monarch lists their hourly fees directly underneath their areas of specialty. Many therapists listed on Monarch also allow you to book telehealth video sessions and free initial 15-minute consultation appointments.