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How are antidepressants used to treat generalized anxiety disorder?

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Antidepressants, particularly the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are widely used to treat and prevent a variety of anxiety disorders. Examples of SSRIs that are commonly used to treat chronic anxiety include citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), and sertraline (Zoloft). The antidepressants duloxetine (Cymbalta) and venlafaxine (Effexor), SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) which act on the brain chemicals serotonin and norephinephrine, and some of the tricyclic antidepressants like imipramine (Tofranil), may also help. Antihistamines (such as hydroxyzine) and beta-blockers (such as propranolol) can help mild cases of anxiety as well as performance anxiety, a type of social anxiety disorder. Antidepressants such as SSRIs or SNRIs or tricyclics need to be taken daily whether or not you have anxiety on that particular day, as prescribed by your health care provider. Antihistamines or beta-blockers are usually taken only when needed for anxiety, or immediately before an anxiety-provoking event (for example, taking propranolol shortly before giving a speech). Finally, certain anticonvulsant medicines, such as gabapentin (Neurontin) and pregabalin (Lyrica), are also beginning to show value in treating some forms of anxiety in initial research studies.

SOURCES: 

Starcevic, V. , Oxford University Press, 2005.  Anxiety Disorders in Adults: A Clinical Guide

American Psychiatric Association: , 2000.  Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders4th Edition

Journal of Clinical PsychiatryNew Perspectives for Treating GAD , , 2004.

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg on February 11, 2017

WAS THIS ANSWER HELPFUL

SOURCES: 

Starcevic, V. , Oxford University Press, 2005.  Anxiety Disorders in Adults: A Clinical Guide

American Psychiatric Association: , 2000.  Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders4th Edition

Journal of Clinical PsychiatryNew Perspectives for Treating GAD , , 2004.

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg on February 11, 2017

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