Medications for Panic, PTSD, and Crisis
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Medications for Panic, PTSD, and Crisis



According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, at some point in their lives, approximately 6 percent of the U.S. population will have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD). Roughly 4.7 percent of adults will struggle with panic disorder at some point in their lives as well, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.


Panic attacks, PTSD, and other mental health crises are all common mental health conditions that can have serious, long-term effects. They’re severely misunderstood by much of the population, though, which holds some people back from getting the care they need and deserve.


For those who are uninformed about these conditions, their symptoms, and their treatment options, the answers to the following frequently asked questions are good places to start.



Table of Contents

(click on a question to be directed quickly)

What are commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medications?
What Medications are commonly prescribed for PTSD or Panic?
Can an online Psychiatrist prescribe anxiety medications?
Which medications are used as mood stabilizers?
Are drugs like Klonopin and Xanax good to use?
What medications are prescribed if someone is in a mental health crisis?





What Are Commonly Prescribed Anti-Anxiety Medications?


There are several medications professionals prescribe to those who need help treating anxiety and managing anxiety disorders. The following are some of the most commonly prescribed treatment options:


  • Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Klonopin, Valium): Benzodiazepines are fast-acting drugs that slow down the central nervous system and produce a sense of calm quickly after they’re taken.
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRIs (Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro): SSRIs are antidepressants that increase the availability of serotonin in the brain and produce a sense of calmness.
  • Buspirone: Buspirone is a relatively new anti-anxiety drug that increases serotonin and decreases dopamine.
  • Beta-Blockers (Inderal, Tenormin): Beta-blockers are drugs that block the effects of norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is a hormone that plays a role in the body’s fight-or-flight response.



What Medications Are Commonly Prescribed for PTSD or Panic?


Per the American Psychological Association, when it comes to treating PTSD or treating panic disorders, SSRIs can be effective symptom management options. However, the following are some other commonly prescribed options for people with PTSD or people who struggle with panic disorder:


  • Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors or SNRIs (Cymbalta, Pristiq): SNRIs are drugs used in the treatment of PTSD that increase the availability of serotonin and norepinephrine (norepinephrine imbalance can worsen PTSD symptoms).
  • Atypical Antipsychotics (Abilify, Clozaril, Risperdal): Atypical antipsychotics are medications that influence the balance of serotonin and dopamine in the brain; they help with hyper-arousal and other re-occurring PTSD symptoms.



Along with these medications, benzodiazepines can also be useful to those who are struggling with symptoms of a panic attack. They provide fast relief and can help the person to feel calmer and more in control.



Can an Online Psychiatrist Prescribe Anxiety Medications?


The American Psychiatric Association states that online forms of cognitive-behavioral therapy are just as effective as in-person therapy.


As long as the therapist is qualified and licensed, they can provide a great deal of support to their clients from afar. After all, they can still consult the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and make suggestions, so their expertise is still valid and useful.


The same applies to online psychiatrists. They are allowed to prescribe anxiety medications virtually, and their guidance and recommendations can be just as effective as those made by an in-person psychiatrist.


It’s worth noting, though, that there are a few exceptions to this rule, primarily when it comes to controlled substances like Xanax and other benzodiazepines. Because these medications are known to be habit-forming, patients are required to see a psychiatrist or physician in-person, rather than making an appointment online.



Which Medications Are Used as Mood Stabilizers?


According to the University of Michigan Health, mood stabilizers are medications that help to treat mania. They’re meant to prevent dramatic mood swings associated with bipolar disorder, and they can also treat mood issues and depression linked to disorders like schizophrenia.


The following are some of the most commonly prescribed mood stabilizers:


  • Carbamazepine (Brand name Equetro, Tegretol): This is an anticonvulsant that is used to treat seizure disorders like epilepsy as well as bipolar disorder.
  • Divalproex (Brand name Depakote): This is an anticonvulsant that is used to treat seizure disorders, bipolar disorder, and migraine headaches.
  • Lamotrigine (Brand name Lamictal): This is an anticonvulsant that treats seizure disorders and the depression aspect of bipolar disorder.
  • Lithium (Brand name Lithobid): This is a psychiatric drug that treats bipolar disorder, major depression, and decreases the risk of suicide in these conditions.

Panic and PTSD Medication



Are Drugs like Klonopin and Xanax Good to Use?


Benzodiazepines like Klonopin and Xanax are beneficial because they calm the Central Nervous System (or CNS). This helps to minimize the physical symptoms of panic attacks and makes it easier for those with PTSD or panic disorder to calm down.


People who are struggling with panic or PTSD should know, though, that both of these medications are habit-forming and are not meant to be used on a long-term basis. They may come with serious side effects, including drowsiness, confusion, light-headedness, poor balance, dizziness, muscle weakness, and memory problems.



What Medications Are Prescribed if Someone Is in a Mental Health Crisis?


According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the term “mental health crisis” refers to any situation in which an individual puts themselves at risk of hurting themselves or hurting others. A situation also falls into the mental health crisis category if the person’s condition prevents them from being able to care for themselves or function in society.


Lots of issues can cause or contribute to a mental health crisis, including high levels of stress, physical illness, work or school difficulties, changes in one’s family situation, experiencing a traumatic event, and substance abuse.


Sometimes, medications are recommended to those who are going through mental health crises. The specific medication offered will vary depending on your symptoms, your current diagnosis (if you have one), and the medications you’re currently taking.


That being said, the following are some of the most commonly prescribed medications to those dealing with mental health emergencies:


  • Haloperidol (​​Haldol Decanoate): This is a sedative that is often administered to those who have been hospitalized for mental health crises.
  • Lorazepam (Lorazepam Intensol, Ativan): This is an antiseizure drug that can also help to relieve severe anxiety.
  • Antidepressants: Antidepressants, including SSRIs and SNRIs, may be prescribed to those who are hospitalized to prevent future mental health crises.






American Psychiatric Association (2017).

American Psychological Association (2017). Medications for PTSD.

National Alliance on Mental Illness.(2018). Navigating a Mental Health Crisis.

National Institute of Mental Health. Panic Disorder.

United States Department of Veterans Affairs. PTSD: National Center for PTSD.

University of Michigan







Disclaimer: ALL IN Therapy Clinic aims to improve people’s lives. We do this through providing effective mental health counseling by passionate professionals. Inspired by this, we write content for your own education. Also, our content is researched, cited, reviewed, and edited by licensed mental health professionals.  However, the information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Additionally, it should not be used in place of the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.






Written and reviewed by

Dr Kyle Zrenchik, PhD, ACS, LMFT

Dr. Kyle Zrenchik is the Co-Founder of ALL IN, the Creator of the Couples Erotic Flow model for treating sexual issues in individuals and couples, Designer of the Deep Dive programs at ALL IN, and is one of the most well-respected couples counselors in the Twin Cities.

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