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Can You Buy Anxiety Medication Over The Counter?

writtenByWritten by: Leah McCabe
Leah McCabe

Leah McCabe

Leah likes writing about health and science subjects. Through her writing she hopes to help people of all backgrounds have equal access to information and quality healthcare.

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October 28, 2021 Read Time - 6 minutes

Is Anxiety Medication Available Over The Counter?

No, you cannot buy anxiety medication over the counter. Anxiety pills are prescription medications and you will need to have a consultation with a doctor before you can obtain them.

Some anxiety medications have the potential for abuse and are therefore classified as controlled substances. You will need to see a doctor in person to get a prescription for any controlled substances such as Xanax, Valium, and other benzodiazepines.

That said, there are anxiety medications available that you can get prescribed from an online doctor if you qualify. Book an appointment with a PlushCare doctor to get diagnosed and prescribed a treatment plan for your anxiety. If our doctors think that you may benefit from a prescription after an online medical evaluation, they will electronically send one to the pharmacy of your choice.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.


What Is An Anxiety Disorder?

An anxiety disorder is a medical condition marked by increased feelings of panic, fear, or anxiety. Generally, anxiety disorders include excessive worrying about activities and events, especially those which should be routine or ordinary.

It’s important to know that anxiety is a normal reaction in human beings. Anxiety and stress exist to help make us more alert and attentive to matters of high importance. Feeling stressed is a normal part of being human; however, excessive stress may inhibit your ability to live a fulfilling or even happy life.

Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental disorders, and they come in many different forms. The American Psychiatric Association estimates that 30% of adults experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their life. Fortunately, anxiety disorders are treatable, and growing awareness for mental health is making it easier for people to find the care they need. 

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Some of the different types of anxiety disorders include:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

General anxiety disorder encompasses the anxiety you’ve probably experienced at some point in your life. It involves persistent and excessive worry that interferes with your daily routine.

Symptoms of restlessness, fatigue, inability to concentrate, or trouble sleeping are all common when experiencing general anxiety.

It is important to note that these symptoms are common for the average person, and are qualified as a disorder when they continue to inhibit normal function for extended periods of time.

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is marked by recurrent panic attacks. Panic attacks include an overwhelming combination of physical and mental distress. 

Symptoms include:

  • Sweating
  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath or rapid breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Fear of losing control
  • Chills or hot flashes
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Feeling light-headed, dizzy, or faint
  • Nausea
  • Fear of dying
  • Feeling detached or alone

Panic disorder typically arises around the ages of 22-23. Panic attacks may occur with other mental disorders such as PTSD or depression. Panic attacks may happen for a variety of reasons, and they can begin unexpectedly with no imminent threat. 

Social Anxiety

Social anxiety is when a person has an intense fear of being criticized, embarrassed, or humiliated in everyday social situations. It is natural for a person to be nervous in uncomfortable social settings; however, social anxiety is an intense feeling of fear often coupled with physical symptoms:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Stammering when trying to speak
  • Trembling
  • Nausea or diarrhea

These physical signs may be easy to hide from others, so it can be hard to tell when someone is experiencing intense social anxiety.

People with social anxiety may try to avoid social situations altogether. These include:

  • Meeting unfamiliar people
  • Eating in front of others
  • Talking on the phone
  • Performing in front of others
  • Attending social events
  • Public speaking
  • Asserting yourself at work

If you’re someone experiencing social anxiety, you may find it hard to seek help. Everyone experiences social awkwardness and nervousness; however, accepting that you shouldn’t have to live with an intense fear of social situations is the first step to finding treatment. 

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD is a mental disorder in which a person has ongoing unwanted thoughts and fears that cause anxiety. These thoughts might be considered silly or excessive, but even so, the person must relieve their anxiety by carrying out specific behaviors.

Specific Phobias

A person may feel extremely fearful about a particular object or situation. There are many different types of phobias, and they range from common to rare or irrational.

How To Get Anxiety Medication

Are there over the counter anxiety meds? You cannot get anxiety medication over the counter, and there is no over the counter anxiety medication for anxiety and stress. However, there are still several options available for those seeking treatment for their anxiety. 

Here’s how to get anxiety medication:

Talk To Your Doctor

If physical symptoms of an anxiety disorder are present, the first thing you should do is talk to a doctor. They will recommend treatment ranging from lifestyle changes to therapy, and it can never hurt to get a professional opinion first.

Make Lifestyle Changes

Trying out practices such as meditation, better sleeping habits, increasing physical exercise, or experimenting with herbal treatments can all help people find relief from anxiety before seeking formal help. 

Seek Therapy

When it comes to mental health, therapists are the professionals. PlushCare offers online therapy for individuals 18 years and older. You can book an online appointment with a top online therapist by clicking here.

Ask About Anxiety Medication

If considered necessary after an online  medical evaluation, your doctor may write you a prescription for medication to treat your anxiety.

With PlushCare, you can consult one of our trusted doctors via phone or video chat to see if anxiety medication is right for you. While our doctors cannot prescribe controlled substances, they commonly prescribe antidepressants which are a proven effective method for anxiety treatment.

Some common anxiety prescriptions our doctors write are for:

  • BuSpar
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Sertraline
  • Paxil
  • Celexa
  • Zoloft
  • Amitriptyline
  • Cymbalta
  • Prozac
  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.


What is the Best Natural Anti Anxiety Medication?

While you cannot get anxiety medication over the counter as a patient, some natural remedies have been shown to improve anxiety.

  • Exercise is known to reduce anxiety by burning off the stress hormone cortisol and promoting the release of endorphins, a feel-good chemical.
  • Kava is an herbal supplement that should only be taken with the go-ahead from your doctor as it may interact with other medications and substances. That said, there is limited evidence that it lowers anxiety levels.
  • CBD oil is in the news a lot these days for its calming effects. While research is limited, there is evidence that it can help you relax.
  • 5-HTP, L-Tryptophan, or Sam-e are supplements that may boost levels of serotonin in the brain. Increased serotonin has been linked to lower anxiety levels. That said, more research is needed.

Read More About Anxiety Medication


PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

American Psychiatric Association. What Are Anxiety Disorders? Accessed September 23, 2021, at

National Institute of Health. The Age of Onset of Anxiety Disorders. Accessed on September 23, 2020, at

Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Facts and Statistics. Accessed on September 23, 2020, at

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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