Anxiety Disorders

Frequently Asked Questions

26. What types of anti-anxiety medications are used to treat anxiety disorders?

Benzodiazepines are a type of anti-anxiety medication sometimes used to treat anxiety disorders in older adults. Benzodiazepines include clonazepam (Klonopin), which is used for social phobia and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD); lorazepam (Ativan), which is used for panic disorder; and alprazolam (Xanax), which is used for panic disorder and GAD.

The most common side effects for benzodiazepines are drowsiness and dizziness. Other possible side effects include upset stomach, blurred vision, headache, confusion, grogginess, and nightmares. In older adults, they can also increase the risk for falling any may cause memory problems.

Buspirone (Buspar) is an anti-anxiety medication used to treat GAD. Unlike benzodiazepines, however, it takes at least two weeks for buspirone to begin working.