When is the right time to take medication for my anxiety?

Medication can help you curb extreme anxiety and fear . When it has taken a worse turn, it can cripple you. Medication can help with calming your brain so it would be functional to get you through an important task. But for it to work the way it’s intended to and to curtail the possible side effects, it needs to be taken at the right time of the day.



Tranquilizers, such as benzodiazepines, are centrally acting. It works by slowing down the transmission of impulses so you can feel its calming and relaxing effects.  It is fast acting and is particularly useful when you need an immediate result, but it has side effects.

Aside from being an addictive substance, its tendency to slow down brain activity means it can cause you to feel sleepy, make your thoughts foggy and your movements uncoordinated. It is also metabolized slowly; using it regularly can result to “oversedation” and can make you feel and appear like you’re drunk. This is why tranquilizers are best taken at night before bedtime and its use must be closely watched by the prescriber to prevent development of dependency on it.



Many medications usually prescribed for depression are being used to treat anxiety. These include SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), TCAs (tricyclic antidepressants), MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors), and SNRIs (Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors). These work by increasing the levels of feel-good hormones or neurotransmitters that regulate circuits in your brain that affect emotions.

These have a small risk for developing dependency or addiction. These medications, however, are slow acting and cannot be relied upon during a panic or phobic attack. Like other medications, it comes with side effects, such as insomnia or difficulty sleeping and staying asleep OR they can make you sleepy and tired. If any of these are prescribed to you, note that you must see IF it is best taken in the morning and not close to bedtime OR if it makes you tired, to only take close to bedtime.



This is a relatively new anti-anxiety drug. It works like a mild tranquilizer, but is slow-acting and works on the level of your neurotransmitters like an antidepressant. Its advantage over a tranquilizer is the fact that it is less addictive and it is less sedating, so it doesn’t impair your brain functions and coordination. Drowsiness and insomnia are possible side effects. Depending on the nature of your job or activities, your prescriber may advise you to take it a particular time of the day when it will be safest and best for you.


Beta Blockers

Beta blockers are medications typically used to treat hypertension and coronary problems. It is prescribed to treat anxiety by hindering the effects of the stress hormone called norepinephrine. It works by slowing down symptoms of anxiety or “calming your nerves” – sweating, fast heart rate, a trembling voice, shaky hands and dizziness. These are usually prescribed to manage phobias such as performance anxiety and social phobia. This is usually only used before a specific anxiety-producing situation, such as before a performance, interview or delivering a speech), however your psychiatrist or Mental Health Nurse Practitioner may want you to use more frequently, depending on your specific needs.

Medications are a great help in managing your anxiety. We at Living Well Psychiatry in Fayetteville, NC on Raeford Road will make sure that you understand the nature of the medications we prescribe for you. This will help you take it at the right time of the day so that functionality is optimally attained without causing you added risks and discomforts.

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