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What is the difference between an anti-anxiety drug and an anti-depressant drug?

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Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 11:50 AM on Aug. 13, 2010 in Health

Answers (10)
  • I can't tell you the pharmacological difference, but since anxiety and depression often go hand in hand, treating one often treats the other.
    SWasson

    Answer by SWasson at 11:51 AM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • I'm kind of confused about this too. I have (or had, rather) anxiety, but not depression. I take Celexa for the anxiety, but it's also an antidepressant. It works, though, and I don't hardly have any anxiety anymore.
    LovingSAHMommy

    Answer by LovingSAHMommy at 11:53 AM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • There is a HUGE difference. Anti-Anxiety drugs are downers... Anti-Depressant drugs are uppers... Anxiety is an "over active" mood disorder and Depression is an "under active" mood disorder... They are opposites. And so are the drugs which treat them - Although they do tend to come hand in hand for many people.
    SabrinaMBowen

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 11:54 AM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • I don't know that technical difference either but I do know that I am not depressed, just anxious. I feel great otherwise, able to handle my day and enjoy my life. But since I am having an "issue" with something lately I have been very anxious. My stomach is in knots, I feel unsettled and nervous. Therefore my doc gave me .5 of Xanax. Depression is a whole other ballgame where you don't want to do normal everyday functions.
    Orionsgirl

    Answer by Orionsgirl at 11:55 AM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • Celexa is technically a "mood stabilizer" it's meant to bring your chemical levels in to a "normal" range. SO it does tend to get used for both. But it never worked for either one on me...
    SabrinaMBowen

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 11:56 AM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • Different types of drugs act on different receptors. Some of the commonly used anti-depressants are part of a group called SSRIs-Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. They help to increase the amount of serotonin that is allowed to "circulate" if you will in the brain. Other types of anti depressants may target norepinephrine.

    Anti anxiety medications target other chemicals and receptors.

    Another difference between most types of anti depressants vs anti anxiety meds is the amount of time it takes for there to be a therapeutic dose in the system--ie: when you get relief. Many antidepressants can take 4-6 weeks to get to a therapeutic level. Anti anxiety meds like Xanax, Valium or Klonopin are fast acting--you will "feel" them in as little as 15-20 min. Some people are prescribed those types of meds for use as needed--say if you're prone to anxiety attacks.

    Usual disclaimers apply. Talk to your doctor.
    BuddyRoo

    Answer by BuddyRoo at 11:59 AM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • Anti anxiety- are usually benzos--- ativan valium xanex they are central nervous system depressants

    Meds for depression come from a plethora of chemicals Lexapro which actually increases your serotonin is really the only 'true' antidepression for primary depression (the kind which is a medical diagnosis and something is actually wrong with you as opposed to I broke up with my SO , my child died, I have a terminal illness those are not primary depression-- they are tertiary and so are treated differently by trial and error -- although I have a personal preference fore paxil
    MELRN

    Answer by MELRN at 12:01 PM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • Well, there's a big difference between Anxiety and Depression even though they often occur together. And like Sabrina said Anxiety meds are "downers" and Depression meds are "uppers".
    jessicarae787

    Answer by jessicarae787 at 12:10 PM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • Most anti-anxiety meds are a form of sedative/barbituate and are highly addictive.

    Anti-deprssants work full time to stimulate the body's production and absorption of seratonin.

    It takes about a week for anti-depressants to begin working effectively. Anti-anxiety meds kick in almost immediately.
    Micksbabe

    Answer by Micksbabe at 12:39 PM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • Anxiety comes more in the form of worrying a lot, freaking out about things that might happen, it can cause sweating and palpatations. It is something that can cause an attack that comes on very sudden just by simply going to the grocery and being anxious that there are so many people around.
    Depression is more of something that affects your overall mood all the time.
    They usually go hand in hand.
    There are a lot of anti-anxiety drugs that act immediately and can be addictive such as xanax but the better ones such as Buspar are not habit forming but take a little longer to work.
    hsmominky

    Answer by hsmominky at 11:07 PM on Aug. 13, 2010

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