The answer to the question of which is better for anxiety, Lexapro or Xanax, depends on several factors. First and foremost, no medication is the right choice for everyone. That’s because anxiety can have many different causes and manifestations, so you may need a different drug than someone else to treat your symptoms effectively.
But if we zoom out and look at this question from a more general perspective, there are some guidelines we can consider.
Lexapro is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which means it increases brain levels of serotonin by preventing its reabsorption into nerve cells. It’s often prescribed for depression and anxiety disorders, such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social phobia, and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
Xanax is classified as an anxiolytic drug because it helps reduce anxiety symptoms by blocking neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for producing them. It’s typically prescribed for panic attacks or other sudden fears that cause intense physical symptoms like rapid heartbeat or sweating.
Is Lexapro vs. Xanax better?
Lexapro and Xanax are both prescribed for anxiety disorders. They have similar mechanisms of action and side effects, but there are some differences in how quickly they work and how long their effects last.
Xanax is more effective for short-term relief of anxiety. It can take effect within 30 minutes and last for up to 6 hours. This can be helpful if you have a specific event or situation that causes you to feel anxious, but it may not be enough to manage symptoms on a regular basis.
Lexapro is often prescribed for depression and can take a few weeks to fully work. It typically starts working after 2-4 weeks, which can make it hard to determine whether or not it’s working right away.
Here’s what you need to know:
Xanax is a benzodiazepine (ben-zoe-dye-AZE-eh-peen), which means it works by binding to receptors in your nervous system, including those that are responsible for regulating anxiety and fear responses. These receptors are located throughout your brain and spinal cord, but they play a bigger role in regulating stress than they do in controlling pleasure-related activities like eating or sex.
Lexapro is an antidepressant known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It works by increasing levels of serotonin in your brain and helping transport it from one neuron to another—which can relieve symptoms such as anxiety, depression and insomnia.
When it comes to anxiety, Xanax and Lexapro are both effective treatments.
Xanax is a benzodiazepine that works by binding to GABA receptors in the brain. This causes the brain to produce more GABA, which reduces anxiety by slowing down how fast your brain processes information. Xanax can be taken as needed or on a daily basis for ongoing treatment.
Lexapro is an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) and works by blocking the reabsorption of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, sleep, and appetite. When you have low levels of serotonin, it can lead to depression and anxiety symptoms like irritability, panic attacks, and obsessive thoughts or behaviors. By increasing your brain’s available serotonin levels with Lexapro, you can reduce your symptoms of anxiety without having to worry about developing a tolerance or experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking it.