Interested in starting your healing journey? Speak with an admissions counselor now
We're Hiring!
Apply for Jobs Now

Are There Any Non-Addictive Anxiety Medications?

Anxiety disorders are among some of the most common mental health issues in America. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, over 40 million people (or 19.1%) suffer from an anxiety disorder in the United States.[1]

While anxiety can be managed with therapy, it often requires medication to recover. Some people need to stay on medication long-term to manage their anxiety, while others only need short-term assistance. Either way, medication can be extremely helpful in managing severe symptoms of anxiety disorders like panic attacks.

Unfortunately, some anxiety medications are addictive. If you are a recovering addict or simply want to stay away from habit-forming drugs, it’s important to be aware of your options.

Some of the most common anxiety medications, called benzodiazepines, are addictive. However, there are several non-addictive alternatives out there. For example, you could take a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) like Flouextine to treat your anxiety disorder. You could also use beta blockers or antihistamines like hydroxyzine.

In this article, you will learn:

  • Which types of anxiety medications are addictive
  • Which anxiety medications are non-habit-forming
  • Where to find help for benzodiazepine addiction

Which Anti-Anxiety Medications Are Addictive?

Whether you have panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), your doctor might have recommended medication. Medication can be extremely helpful in managing symptoms of anxiety like racing thoughts, increased heart rate, and panic attacks. However, some of these anxiety medications pose a risk of addiction and physical dependence.

Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that slow down activity in your central nervous system to induce relaxation. They can also cause a euphoric and relaxed high when abused.

Common types of benzodiazepines prescribed to treat anxiety conditions include:[2]

  • Valium (diazepam)
  • Xanax (alprazolam)
  • Halcion (triazolam)
  • Ativan (lorazepam)
  • Klonopin (clonazepam)

While these medications can provide short-term relief for anxiety, taking them long-term will result in a substance use disorder. Even if you avoid misusing them, you will become physically dependent after some time. This means stopping their use could result in serious withdrawal symptoms, including seizures.

Options for Non-Addictive Anxiety Medications

If you are interested in using medication to treat your anxiety, you should try the non-addictive types before you begin using benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines should be a last resort for treatment-resistant anxiety symptoms like panic attacks. That said, most of the non-habit-forming anxiety medications will resolve your symptoms just as well as benzodiazepines do.

The types of non-addictive anxiety medications include:

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

The first line of treatment for anxiety disorders is usually SSRIs. These medications are considered antidepressants, however, they can resolve symptoms of anxiety by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain.[3]

Examples of SSRIs used to treat anxiety include:

  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Citalopram (Celexa)

Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

SNRIs are another type of antidepressant that works to treat the symptoms of anxiety at the same time. These medications work by stabilizing the serotonin and norepinephrine inhibitors in your brain.[4]

Examples of SNRIs used to treat anxiety include:

  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • Venlafaxine (Effexor)

SNRIs are non-addictive and can help you manage your anxiety by improving your mood, reducing racing thoughts, and improving physical symptoms of anxiety like panic attacks. If you also deal with depression, these medications can help you manage the symptoms of that as well.

Beta Blockers

Beta-blockers are traditionally used to treat heart conditions, as they reduce blood pressure by lowering adrenaline. However, their ability to decrease adrenaline also makes them effective for anxiety conditions.

The most effective beta-blocker for anxiety is called propranolol (Inderal).[5] It is often used for situational anxiety, such as before performing in front of a crowd or speaking at an event. If you have a condition like social anxiety, it can be used before an event that would cause you to panic.


Buspirone (BuSpar) is considered an anxiolytic medication. These medications reduce anxiety by targeting neurotransmitters in the brain like dopamine, serotonin, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).[6]

If you are looking for non-addictive anxiety medication, buspirone might be perfect for you. It does not create a high and is not considered a drug of abuse, making it safe to take on a short or long-term basis.


Hydroxyzine (Vistaril) is an antihistamine, which means it is primarily used to treat allergic reactions. However, antihistamines can also relieve anxiety. Hydroxyzine works to treat anxiety by blocking histamine receptors, which can cause a sedative effect that calms you down during stressful events.[7]

That being said, there is a downside to hydroxyzine. It makes a lot of people feel sleepy, which might not make it ideal for daytime anxiety. If you struggle with insomnia caused by anxiety symptoms, Hydroxyzine could be a good solution for you.

Get Connected to Treatment for Anxiety Medication Addiction

If you or a loved one began taking benzodiazepines to treat your anxiety, you might have developed an addiction. Suppose you find yourself having a hard time controlling how much benzodiazepines you take, experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you cannot take them, and dealing with cravings. In that case, you are most likely suffering from a substance use disorder.

Thankfully, drug rehab programs like Mandala Healing Center can help you recover from anxiety medication addiction. We can also replace your medications with a non-addictive option like SSRIs or beta blockers. Additionally, you will receive therapy that resolves your addiction and helps you manage your anxiety disorder at the same time.

Contact us today to learn more about anxiety medication addiction treatment. We can help you regain control over your life.


  1. The National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH): Any Anxiety Disorder
  2. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA): Benzodiazepines
  3. Psychiatry Online: Pharmacotherapy for Anxiety Disorders: From First-Line Options to Treatment Resistance
  4. National Institutes of Health (NIH): Serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) in anxiety disorders: a comprehensive review of their clinical efficacy
  5. National Institutes of Health (NIH): Propranolol for the treatment of anxiety disorders: Systematic review and meta-analysis
  6. National Institutes of Health (NIH): Buspirone
  7. National Institutes of Health (NIH): Efficacy and safety of hydroxyzine in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder: a 3-month double-blind study