Effective treatments for anxiety and depression include psychotherapy and medication therapy with drugs, such as serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, benzodiazepines and tricyclic antidepressants, explains the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. A common form of psychotherapy is cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are a class of drugs effective in treating both mood and anxiety disorders, as the Anxiety and Depression Association of America explains. They prevent nerve cells in the brain from reabsorbing serotonin, which causes the mood-improving chemical to be more readily available in the brain. SSRIs can help reduce symptoms of all types anxiety disorders, but patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder often need higher doses to see benefits. The downside of SSRIs is that they sometimes produce weight gain, insomnia and sexual dysfunction.
Doctors commonly prescribe serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, or SNRIs, to treat generalized anxiety disorder, notes the ADAA. This class of drugs increases levels of both norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain by preventing their reabsorbtion. Potential negative effects of SNRIs include headaches, stomach discomfort and blood pressure increases.
Benzodiazepines, such as lorazepam and clonazepam, are useful for managing anxiety symptoms on a short-term basis, states the ADAA. They work by reducing tension in muscles and inducing relaxation; however, they are not ideal for patients requiring long-term solutions because patients can develop a tolerance to them, resulting in the need for higher and higher doses to achieve symptom relief.