Anxiety: Treatment with medications

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Learn about the most common anxiety medications for children and teens.

Key points

  • SSRIs may work by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain to reduce depression and anxiety.
  • SSRIs usually take two to four weeks to start working. They should be taken for at least six months to a year after a person starts feeling well.
  • Common adverse effects of SSRIs include nausea or stomach aches, headaches and restlessness. Most children and teens tolerate SSRIs well without significant problems.
  • SSRIs are effective for treating moderate to severe anxiety in children and teens, especially when combined with talk therapy. If SSRIs do not work, other medications may be used in certain circumstances.
Last updated: February 2nd 2016