Research has found that more than half of people with bipolar disorder also have one or more anxiety disorders. Other people may not have enough anxiety symptoms to be formally diagnosed with an anxiety disorder but still need medication to manage their symptoms. Anxiousness, worry, agitation and insomnia, for example, are often experienced during bipolar depression and mixed episodes. Anxiety symptoms such as restlessness, worry and irritability may occur during mania and hypomania. Thus, it's common for bipolar people to have anti-anxiety medications prescribed.
Most of the anti-anxiety medications that are primarily intended to treat anxiety are called benzodiazepines. Many of these anxiety medications are also prescribed for other conditions such as insomnia and agitation, and some, including Ativan (lorazepam) and Klonopin (clonazepam) are used to help prevent seizures as well. Serax may be used to treat alcohol withdrawal. Other benzodiazepines used for anxiety are Librium (chlordiazepoxide), Valium (diazepam) and Xanax (alprazolam). Dalmane (flurazepam), Halcion (triazolam), and Restoril (temazepam) are also benzodiazepines but are used only as sedatives.
- Read more about benzodiazepines.
Other Anti-Anxiety MedicationsBuSpar is one of very few anxiety medications not related to the benzodiazepines. Note: Unlike the benzodiazepines listed above, but like the antidepressants listed below, BuSpar should not be taken at the same time as an MAOI antidepressant.
Many SSRI and SNRI antidepressants have a beneficial effect on anxiety. Also, some of the SSRI antidepressants are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat various anxiety disorders with or without depression. These include:
- Paxil (paroxetine) - major depressive disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder with or without agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Prozac (fluoxetine) - major depressive disorder, OCD, and panic disorder with or without agoraphobia.
- Zoloft (sertraline) - major depressive disorder, OCD, panic disorder with or without agoraphobia, PTSD, pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), social anxiety disorder
- Luvox (fluvoxamine) - OCD