Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, benzodiazepines and tricyclic antidepressants are often used to treat anxiety, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. These medications include citalopram and fluoxetine (SSRIs), venlafaxine and duloxetine (SNRIs), alprazolam and clonazepam (benzodiazepines), and amitriptyline (a tricyclic antidepressant).
Each of these types of medications treat anxiety in different ways, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. SSRIs block the reabsorption of serotonin by certain brain cells, leaving more serotonin in the brain to subsequently boost mood. SNRIs work similarly to SSRIs, but they target norepinephrine transmitters in addition to seratonin transmitters. Benzodiazepines work by decreasing muscle tension and encouraging relaxation, while tricyclic antidepressants block the absorption of serotonin and epinephrine in the brain, states WebMD.
According to WebMD, an anxiety disorder is a serious mental illness characterized by feelings of panic, fear and uneasiness, insomnia, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations. Other symptoms include nausea, dry mouth, muscle tension and dizziness. Various types of anxiety disorders include panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, phobias and generalized anxiety disorder.
Although the specific cause of anxiety disorders is not known as of 2015, they are often the result of multiple factors, such as changes in the brain and environmental stress, reports WebMD.