September 5


Anxiety Meds: Who Can Prescribe Them and How to Get Them Easily

By Joshua Turner

September 5, 2023

Anxiety is a common mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It can cause fear, worry, and nervousness and interfere with daily activities. Fortunately, several types of medications are available to help manage symptoms. But who can prescribe them?

The answer to this question is not straightforward. In the United States, only licensed medical professionals can prescribe medication. However, the specific type of medical professional who can prescribe them may vary depending on the state in which you live.

This article will explore the different types of medical professionals who can prescribe drugs and the various factors that may impact this decision.

Key Takeaways

Understanding Anxiety

Anxiety is a natural stress response and a normal part of life. However, when it becomes excessive, it can interfere with daily activities and cause significant distress. Anxiety disorders are mental health conditions characterized by extreme and persistent feelings of fear and worry

The symptoms can vary from person to person, but some common symptoms include: Restlessness

  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep disturbances

The disorders can be classified into different types, such as:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder: Characterized by excessive and persistent worry about everyday things, such as health, finances, and family
  • Panic disorder: Characterized by sudden and unexpected panic attacks, intense periods of fear and discomfort
  • Social phobia and specific phobias: Characterized by an intense fear of social situations and interactions.

These disorders are treatable, and treatment options are available, including medication and therapy. However, medication for these disorders should always be prescribed by a qualified healthcare professional, such as a psychiatrist or a primary care physician knowledgeable about using prescriptions.

Types of Anxiety Medications

These include antidepressants, benzodiazepines, buspirone, beta-blockers, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Antidepressants are often used to treat anxiety disorders, as they can help regulate the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. Some commonly prescribed antidepressants include Lexapro, Paxil, Zoloft, and Prozac.

Benzodiazepines work by enhancing the effects of a neurotransmitter called GABA, which helps to calm the brain. Commonly prescribed benzodiazepines include alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan), and clonazepam (Klonopin).

Buspirone is a non-benzodiazepine that works by binding to serotonin receptors in the brain, which can help reduce symptoms. Buspar is a common brand name for buspirone.

Beta-blockers are a type of medication that can be used to treat the physical symptoms, such as rapid heartbeat and sweating. They work by blocking the effects of adrenaline, which can help reduce symptoms. Propranolol (Inderal) is a commonly prescribed beta blocker for anxiety.

SSRIs are an antidepressant that can also be used to treat anxiety. They work by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain, which can help improve mood and reduce symptoms. Some commonly prescribed SSRIs include citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), and paroxetine (Paxil).


Who Can Prescribe Anxiety Medication

Generally, doctors, psychiatrists, and nurse practitioners are authorized to prescribe it. Psychologists, on the other hand, cannot prescribe them but can provide therapy and counseling to patients with disorders.

Doctors, physicians, and nurse practitioners are primary care providers who can diagnose and treat them. They can prescribe anti-anxiety drugs to help manage the symptoms. Not all doctors are comfortable prescribing drugs for these disorders, and some may refer their patients to a psychiatrist for further evaluation and treatment.

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating mental health disorders, including anxiety disorders. They are licensed to prescribe them, including anti-anxiety medications, to help manage the symptoms. Psychiatrists can also provide therapy and counseling to their patients.

Psychiatric nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses with additional mental health training. They can diagnose and treat mental health disorders, including disorders, and are licensed to prescribe drugs.

Side Effects and Withdrawal Symptoms

Common side effects include dizziness, sweating, fatigue, and weight gain. It’s important to note that not everyone experiences side effects, which may disappear after a few weeks.

Withdrawal symptoms can occur when someone stops taking them. Symptoms include shaking, restlessness, nausea, confusion, headache, and insomnia. They can be severe, so it’s important to gradually reduce drug use under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Dependence on medication can also occur, especially if someone takes it long. Withdrawal symptoms can indicate dependence, so talk to a healthcare professional if you’re concerned.

Diagnosis and Treatment Plan

A healthcare professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, will thoroughly evaluate if a patient has an anxiety disorder. This evaluation may include a physical exam, psychological evaluation, and discussion of the patient’s symptoms and medical history.

Once a diagnosis has been made, the healthcare professional will work with the patient to create a treatment plan. This plan may include medication, therapy, or a combination of both. Treatment aims to reduce symptoms and improve the patient’s quality of life.

Therapy can also be a vital component of treatment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common type of therapy used to treat disorders. CBT focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to it.

Non-Medication Treatments

There are also non-medication treatments that can be helpful. Therapy, or talk therapy, is one such option. A therapist can help you identify the root causes of your condition and give you tools to manage it. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a specific type of therapy that has been shown to be particularly effective for it.

Lifestyle changes can also be helpful. Exercise, for example, has been shown to reduce symptoms. Eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep can also be beneficial. Additionally, support from friends and family can be invaluable.

These treatments may not be sufficient for everyone with anxiety. However, they can be an excellent first step for those who are hesitant to try meds or have mild to moderate symptoms. It’s also worth noting that medication and non-medication treatments can be used together for maximum benefit.


Interactions with Other Substances

It’s necessary to know the potential interactions between anxiety meds and other substances, such as alcohol and supplements. Combining it with alcohol can increase the medication’s sedative effects, making it more difficult to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination. It can also lead to dizziness, drowsiness, and impaired judgment.

Certain supplements, such as St. John’s Wort, can interact with anxiety medication and reduce its effectiveness. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking any supplements while on meds.

Some meds can interact with other prescriptions. For example, benzodiazepines can interact with certain pain meds, increasing sedation and respiratory depression. Inform your healthcare provider of all meds to avoid potential interactions.

Role of FDA in Anxiety Medication

The FDA helps regulate the prescription of anxiety medication in the United States. The FDA is responsible for ensuring that all medicines are safe and effective for their intended use. This includes anxiety drugs, which healthcare professionals commonly prescribe to help individuals manage their symptoms.

The FDA conducts extensive testing and research on these meds before approving them. This includes clinical trials to determine the safety and efficacy of the drug, as well as ongoing monitoring to ensure that the medicine continues to be safe and effective over time.

The FDA also guides healthcare professionals on the appropriate use of drugs. This includes information on dosing, potential side effects, and drug interactions. Healthcare professionals must follow these guidelines when prescribing it to their patients.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of healthcare provider can prescribe anxiety medication?

Healthcare providers who can prescribe them include psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and primary care physicians. However, the type of drug prescribed may vary depending on the healthcare provider’s specialty and expertise.

Can a regular doctor prescribe anxiety medication?

Yes, a regular doctor, also known as a primary care physician, can prescribe them. However, they may refer you to a specialist, such as a psychiatrist, if your symptoms are severe or if they feel that you would benefit from specialized care.

Can urgent care clinics prescribe anxiety medication?

Urgent care clinics may be able to prescribe them for short-term relief of symptoms. However, they are not equipped to provide ongoing management or specialized care for anxiety disorders. Follow up with a healthcare provider for continued treatment.

What are some alternatives to Xanax for anxiety medication?

Some alternatives to Xanax include other benzodiazepines, such as Valium or Klonopin, and non-benzodiazepine, such as buspirone or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Discuss the potential benefits and risks of each prescription with your healthcare provider.

How do I know if I need medication for anxiety?

Suppose you are experiencing symptoms that interfere with your daily life, such as excessive worry, irritability, or panic attacks. In that case, talking to your healthcare provider about drug options may be helpful. However, it should not be the only treatment for the condition, and consider therapy and lifestyle changes.

What type of specialist should I see for anxiety medication?

A psychiatrist is a specialist trained in diagnosing and treating mental health disorders, including anxiety disorders. They may be best equipped to provide specialized care for individuals with severe or complex symptoms. However, primary care physicians and other healthcare providers can prescribe them and provide ongoing management for anxiety disorders.

You might also like