Our expert says:
PSYCHIATRIST: Anti-anxiety medicines are broadly divided into 2 groups. The one group is the anti-depressants (including the Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors-SSRI's- and the older Tricyclic anti-depressants) which take 4-6 weeks to help control anxiety and should be taken long-term over 9-12 months or longer.These work for both anxiety or depression. These medications are not addictive but nevertheless you should not stop them suddenly.
The other group of medicines which may be used for short periods to treat anxiety is the tranquillisers (benzodiazepines). Your doctor may prescribe these for you to use for 1-2 weeks when initially treating your anxiety or panic disorder. These medicines are addictive which means that you will need a higher and higher dose to feel the same calming effect and they will be difficult to come off as you may develop withdrawal symptoms when stopping them so they must not be used in high doses or for longer than a few weeks.
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