Understanding What Anxiety Medication Feels Like

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If you’ve ever wondered, “What does anxiety medication feel like?” you’re not alone. Many individuals experience anxiety issues, and numerous people rely on medications to help control their symptoms. In this blog post, we will explore the various types of anxiety medications available and provide insight into what it feels like to take them.

From recognizing the effects of these medications on your body and mind to understanding potential side effects, our comprehensive guide will help you make informed decisions about your treatment options. Additionally, we’ll discuss alternatives to medication, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, and offer guidance on how best to communicate with your prescribing doctor regarding any concerns or questions you may have.

By deepening your knowledge of the effects of anxiety medications, you can effectively manage and improve your mental health.

Table of Contents:

Recognizing Anxiety Medication Effects

what does anxiety medication feel like

Anxiety medications are designed to help individuals cope with their mental health issues by alleviating symptoms and improving overall well-being. Therefore, you must be aware of these medications’ physical and psychological effects to make a sound decision regarding your treatment plan. This section will discuss how anxiety medication works and what you can expect.

Physical Effects of Anxiety Medications

The primary goal of anxiety medication is to reduce the physical symptoms associated with anxiety disorders, such as rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, trembling or shaking, sweating, dizziness, or lightheadedness. In addition, these medications affect neurotransmitters in the brain that regulate mood and stress response.

  • Benzodiazepines: Benzodiazepines like Valium (diazepam), Xanax (alprazolam), and Ativan (lorazepam) act quickly on the central nervous system to produce a calming effect by enhancing the activity of GABA – an inhibitory neurotransmitter responsible for reducing neuronal excitability throughout the nervous system (source). This class of drugs is typically prescribed for short-term use due to their potential for dependence.
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs):  SSRIs like Prozac (fluoxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), and betPaxil(paroxetine) work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, which helps regulate mood and reduce anxiety (source). SSRIs are often considered safer than benzodiazepines and have fewer unwanted effects.
  • Buspirone: Buspirone is a non-benzodiazepine medication that affects serotonin levels in the brain. It has a slower onset of action than benzodiazepines but can be an effective long-term treatment option for generalized anxiety disorder (source).

Psychological Effects of Anxiety Medications

In addition to physical relief, anxiety medications aim to improve psychological well-being. These medications can help a person feel more tranquil, less irascible or worked up, and better equipped to concentrate on daily activities. However, it’s important to note that these medications do not offer a definitive solution for anxiety disorders; they merely alleviate symptoms. Other treatments, such as CBT, focus on addressing the underlying causes.

Anxiety medications can affect each person differently based on dosage, individual body chemistry, and co-occurring mental health conditions. Some people may experience immediate relief from their symptoms, while others might require several weeks before noticing any significant improvements.

Suppose you’re considering starting an anxiety medication regimen or changing your current prescription plan due to lackluster results or unwanted side effects. In that case, it’s crucial to discuss your concerns with your doctor so they can help guide you toward the most appropriate treatment options for your unique needs.

Knowing the potential effects of anxiety medications is essential to make an informed decision about your treatment. So, next, let’s examine the various medications utilized to address anxiousness.


Anxiety medication works by reducing physical symptoms and improving psychological well-being. Benzodiazepines can quickly induce a soothing effect, while SSRIs stimulate serotonin production in the brain. Discussing concerns with your doctor to find the most appropriate treatment options for individual needs is essential.

Types of Anxiety Medications

what does anxiety medication feel like

Anxiety disorders can be treated with various medications, each working differently to help manage symptoms and improve overall well-being. Understanding the different types of anxiety medications is crucial for finding the right treatment plan tailored to your needs.


Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are two common antidepressants for anxiety disorders. By increasing serotonin and norepinephrine, SSRIs and SNRIs help regulate mood to reduce anxiety.


Benzodiazepines, such as Valium or Xanax, are sedative-hypnotic drugs that act on the central nervous system to produce a calming effect. They provide rapid relief from acute anxiety symptoms but should only be used short-term due to their potential for dependence and addiction.


Beta-blockers, usually prescribed for hypertension, can also be beneficial in dealing with the physical manifestations of anxiety, such as trembling or a quickened pulse. In addition, they are often prescribed for situational anxiety, like stage fright or fear of public speaking.


Buspirone is an anti-anxiety medication that works by affecting neurotransmitters in the brain. It is less sedating than benzodiazepines and has a lower risk of dependence, making it suitable for long-term use in treating generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

Treatment Considerations

  • Collaborating with your healthcare provider to find the most appropriate medication and dosage for your situation is essential. Combining therapy with medication can be more beneficial than using either approach alone.
  • Anxiety medications may take several weeks to become fully effective; patience and adherence to treatment plans are crucial during this time.
  • Combining therapy with medication can lead to better outcomes than using either approach alone. For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and pharmacological treatments for anxiety disorders are particularly effective.

In addition to these primary medications, other options may be recommended depending on individual circumstances and specific diagnoses. Always consult a qualified medical professional before starting any new treatment plan for managing anxiety symptoms.

Discussing with a medical professional which medication may be suitable for one’s specific needs and symptoms is essential when selecting an anxiety drug. In addition, before beginning any treatment plan, the typical side effects of anxiety medications should also be discussed.


Various medications, such as antidepressants, benzodiazepines, beta-blockers, and buspirone, can be prescribed to treat anxiety disorders. Each drug works differently to manage symptoms and improve overall well-being. It is crucial to work closely with a healthcare provider to find the right type and dosage of medication that best suits individual needs. Combining therapy with medication can lead to better outcomes than using either approach alone.

Common Side Effects

what does anxiety medication feel like

Awareness of the potential common and uncommon side effects is essential for managing them effectively and communicating any concerns to your doctor. It’s essential to be aware of these potential side effects to manage them effectively and communicate any concerns to your doctor.

Possible Physical Side Effects

  • Drowsiness: Many anxiety medications, particularly benzodiazepines and sedating antidepressants, may cause drowsiness or fatigue. This drowsiness or fatigue may become less noticeable as the body adjusts to the medication.
  • Nausea: Some individuals might experience nausea when starting an anxiety medication. Drinking plenty of water and taking medicine with food can help alleviate this symptom.
  • Dizziness: Feeling lightheaded or dizzy is another possible side effect of certain anxiety medications. Standing up slowly from a sitting position may help reduce this sensation.
  • Weight changes: Anxiety medications like SSRIs and SNRIs have been known to cause weight gain in some people, while others might experience weight loss. Monitoring your diet and exercise routine can help mitigate these changes.

Potential Psychological Side Effects

  • Mood swings: Some individuals might notice mood fluctuations when they start taking an anxiety medication; however, this typically subsides after a few weeks once their body has adjusted to the new treatment regimen (Mayo Clinic). 
  • Sexual dysfunction:  A decrease in libido or difficulty with sexual performance is a potential side effect of some anxiety medications, particularly SSRIs. If this becomes problematic, speak to your doctor about alternative treatment options.
  • Increased anxiety: Paradoxically, certain medications might initially increase anxiety feelings before alleviating symptoms. This typically subsides within the first few weeks of taking the medication (Harvard Health Blog).

It is essential to bear in mind that not all people will have these adverse reactions, and many find comfort from their anxiousness through medicine with no significant issues. However, knowing possible side effects can help you manage them more effectively and ensure open communication with your healthcare provider.

Side effects of anxiety medications may differ between individuals but can include drowsiness, headache, nausea, and insomnia. Despite the potential for quick relief, it is essential to consider long-term consequences before taking any medication.


Anxiety medication can cause physical and psychological side effects such as drowsiness, nausea, mood swings, and sexual dysfunction. It is imperative to be mindful of the possible consequences so that you can adequately manage them and inform your physician about any worries. Not everyone will experience these side effects, but monitoring your body’s response is crucial for successful treatment.

Long-Term Effects

Taking anxiety medications for an extended period can positively and negatively affect your body and mind. Therefore, you must be aware of the possible long-term effects, which may affect your choice regarding continued or discontinued medication use.

Potential Benefits

  • Reduced Anxiety Symptoms: With consistent use, many people experience a significant reduction in their anxiety symptoms, allowing them to lead more fulfilling lives.
  • Better Sleep: Some anxiety medications can help improve sleep quality by reducing nighttime worry and racing thoughts. Check out this Sleep Foundation article for more information on how treating anxiety can improve sleep.
  • Increase in Confidence: As individuals gain control over their anxious feelings, they often report increased self-confidence and improved social interactions.

Potential Risks

  • Dependency: Some anti-anxiety medications (particularly benzodiazepines) risk physical dependence if used for an extended period. This dependency may result in withdrawal symptoms when suddenly trying to stop the medication (source). Therefore, always consult with your doctor before stopping any prescribed medication.
  • Tolerance: Your body might develop tolerance towards certain anxiety medications after prolonged usage, which could require higher doses or switching medicines altogether to maintain effectiveness.
  • Cognitive Impairment: Anxiety medications like benzodiazepines can sometimes cause cognitive impairment, including memory issues and difficulty concentrating. This study discusses the potential long-term mental effects of benzodiazepine use.
  • Emotional Blunting: Some individuals report feeling emotionally numb or disconnected while on anxiety medications, which may impact their overall quality of life.

In conclusion, weighing the potential benefits and risks associated with long-term anxiety medication use is crucial. Discussing your progress and concerns with your doctor will help you make informed decisions about your treatment plan.

The long-term impacts of utilizing anti-anxiety meds can differ from individual to person, but it is critical to be conscious of potential dangers and adverse reactions. Managing these side effects ensures the benefits outweigh adverse anxiety medication outcomes.


Long-term use of anxiety drugs can bring positive and negative outcomes, such as improved sleep and increased confidence versus dependency, tolerance, cognitive impairment, or emotional blunting; hence, discussing the pros and cons with a doctor before committing is essential. In addition, the potential benefits include reduced anxiety symptoms, better sleep, and increased confidence, while the risks may lead to dependency, tolerance, cognitive impairment, or emotional blunting. Therefore, before committing to any long-term use of anxiety medication, it is essential to consult with a doctor and consider all potential risks and benefits.

Managing Side Effects

Taking anxiety medication can sometimes have side effects, but there are ways to manage them effectively. Here, we’ll look at tactics for addressing the regular side effects of anxiety medications.

Acknowledge and Monitor Your Symptoms

First and foremost, it’s essential to acknowledge any symptoms you may be experiencing while taking your medication. Keep a journal or use an app like Moodpath to track your daily feelings. This information can help you and your doctor make informed decisions about your treatment plan.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Eating well-balanced meals, regular exercise, and practicing good sleep hygiene can contribute to managing side effects more effectively. For example, if weight gain is a concern while on anxiety medication, incorporating healthier food choices into your diet could help mitigate that issue.

  • Eat balanced meals: Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
  • Exercise regularly: Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week (CDC recommendations).
  • Sleep well: Establish a consistent bedtime routine and create a comfortable environment free from distractions (e.g., electronic devices).

Coping Strategies for Specific Side Effects

If you’re experiencing specific side effects related to your anxiety medication(s), consider implementing the following coping strategies:

  • Dry mouth: Drink water, chew sugar-free gum, or use a saliva substitute.
  • Nausea: Take your medication with food and avoid lying down immediately after taking it. Ginger or peppermint tea may also help alleviate nausea.
  • Dizziness: Stand up slowly from sitting or lying positions to minimize dizziness. If necessary, hold onto something for support while standing up.

Talk to Your Doctor About Adjusting the Dosage

If the side effects remain, consult your doctor to see if altering your dosage or switching to a different anxiety medication may be beneficial. They might suggest gradually changing the dose or switching to another anxiety medication with fewer side effects.

Working with your doctor or healthcare provider to find the best course of action for managing the side effects of anxiety medication is essential. Should the decision be made to stop taking medication, alternatives are available and should also be considered when looking at treatment options.


It is vital to be aware of and observe any reactions that may arise when taking anxiety medication. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help manage these side effects, but if they persist, talk to your doctor about adjusting your dosage or switching medications. Coping strategies such as drinking water for dry mouth or standing up slowly for dizziness can also be helpful.

Alternatives to Medication

If you’re hesitant about taking anxiety medication or are looking for additional ways to manage your anxiety, several alternative treatments are available. These methods can be used in conjunction with medication or as standalone options.

Natural Remedies and Supplements

Some people find relief from their anxiety symptoms through natural remedies and supplements. Some popular choices include:

  • Passionflower
  • Valerian root
  • Kava kava
  • Magnesium – helps regulate neurotransmitters that affect mood and stress response.
  • L-theanine– an amino acid in green tea that may promote relaxation without causing drowsiness. li > ul >

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

    An effective non-pharmacological treatment for anxiety is cognitive-behavioral therapy ( CBT ). This therapy identifies negative thought patterns and develops coping strategies to manage anxiety better. CBT can be undertaken with a therapist in an individual setting or as part of a group.

    Mindfulness and Meditation

    Exploring various meditation techniques, like body scans, loving-kindness, and deep breathing exercises, can help to alleviate anxiety by promoting a relaxed state of mind, boosting concentration, and raising self-awareness. There are various meditation techniques to explore, such as body scan, loving-kindness, and deep breathing exercises.


    Regular exercise has been shown to improve mood, increase energy levels, and reduce stress. Aim to get in at least thirty minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise most days for the most significant psychological well-being advantages.

    Lifestyle Changes

    In addition to these alternative treatments, making certain lifestyle changes may also help alleviate anxiety symptoms:

    • Avoiding caffeine and alcohol consumption.
    • Eating well-balanced meals throughout the day.
    • Prioritizing sleep hygiene practices like establishing regular bedtimes/wake times.

Although medication may be the ultimate choice for treating anxiety, it is prudent to consider other management methods before deciding. Nevertheless, if medication is the most suitable choice for your circumstances, consulting a doctor is imperative to ensure safe and successful outcomes.

Talking to Your Doctor

Before starting or changing an anxiety medication regimen, discussing your concerns with your doctor is crucial. Before beginning or altering a regimen of anxiety medication, it is essential to converse with your doctor regarding any worries you may have; they can assist in elucidating the probable advantages and dangers related to diverse medications and guide you through making informed choices about your treatment plan.

A. Preparing for Your Appointment

To make the most of your appointment, take some time beforehand to prepare a list of questions or concerns that you’d like to address during the conversation. Some topics you might want to cover include:

  • The specific symptoms of anxiety that are causing distress
  • Potential side effects and long-term impacts of various medications
  • Alternatives to medication, such as therapy or lifestyle changes
  • Your medical history and any other medications you’re currently taking
  • Dosage adjustments and how often they should be made

B. Asking Questions During Your Appointment

During your appointment, don’t hesitate to ask questions about anything about anxiety medication that is unclear or concerning. Some example questions could be:

Questions To Ask About Anxiety Medication: – How do I know if this medication works? – What action should I take if there are intense effects? – Are there any interactions between my current medications and the prescribed anxiety medicine? – How long will it take before I start noticing improvements in my symptoms?

C. Monitoring Your Progress

Once you’ve started taking anxiety medication, you must inform your doctor about any changes in your symptoms or side effects. Regular check-ins can help ensure the treatment plan works effectively and adjustments can be made if necessary.

D. Adjusting Your Treatment Plan

Suppose your current anxiety medication is not providing the desired results. In that case, it’s essential to discuss this with your doctor, who may suggest adjusting the dosage, trying a different medication, or exploring alternative treatments such as CBT. They may suggest adjusting the dosage, trying an other medication, or exploring alternative treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

In conclusion,


Before starting or changing anxiety medication, you must talk with your doctor and prepare a list of questions or concerns. Regular check-ins can help ensure the treatment plan works effectively, and adjustments can be made if necessary. In addition, it’s essential to bring up any issues you may have with your present medication, as other options like CBT might help.

what does anxiety medication feel like

Frequently Asked Questions 

what does anxiety medication feel like

What it feels like to be on anxiety meds?

Anxiety medications can feel different for each person, but generally, they help reduce feelings of worry and fear. As a result, some people may experience a sense of calm or relaxation, while others might notice decreased physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat or sweating.

Can you feel anxiety meds right away?

Some anxiety medications may provide immediate relief, while others take time to build up in your system before showing noticeable effects. Benzodiazepines can offer quick relief within hours, whereas selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) typically require several weeks to become fully effective.

Can anxiety meds make you feel weird at first?

Some individuals might experience initial side effects when starting an anxiety medication. These can include dizziness, fatigue, headaches, or changes in appetite. However, most side effects are temporary and will subside as the body adjusts to the medication.

Does anxiety medication have symptoms?

Anxiety medications have potential side effects that vary depending on the drug used. Common side effects include drowsiness, dry mouth, nausea, and weight gain. It’s important to discuss any concerns with your doctor, who can help manage these symptoms if they occur.

How do anxiety meds affect you?

Anxiety medications affect neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for regulating mood and stress response. They help alleviate anxious thoughts and physical symptoms associated with excessive worry or panic attacks by promoting relaxation and improving overall mental well-being.


Overall, anxiety medication can provide relief for those struggling with anxiety disorders. The effects of the medication vary depending on the type of medication and individual reactions, but common side effects include drowsiness, nausea, and headaches. Long-term use may also have potential side effects that should be discussed with a prescribing doctor.

If you’re taking anxiety medication and having side effects, talk to your doctor about managing them or exploring alternative treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Remember that each individual’s reaction to anxiety medications can be dissimilar; what may work for one person might not prove efficacious for another.

If you’re looking for more resources on managing mental health issues like anxiety, check out Project: Rest Equations website, where we offer tips and tools to help improve your overall well-being.

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