Medication for anxiety for children

Updated April 17, 2017

There are different anxiety disorders that affect children. Anxiety left untreated in children progresses and becomes more severe when the child reaches adulthood. Cognitive behavioural therapy is the usual treatment for anxiety in children but sometimes medication is also prescribed in order to treat the disorder.


Selective serontin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, such as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and Luvox, are sometimes used to treat anxiety in children and adolescents. Tricyclic antidepressants such as Elavil and Tofranil and benzodiazepines such as Ativan and Klonopin are not used often because of side effects like weight gain with tricyclics and dependency issues with benzodiazepines.


Dizziness, tiredness and upset stomach are common side effects from SSRIs and often lessen after taking the medication for a week or longer.


The Food and Drug Administration warns that the use of antidepressants may increase suicidal thoughts and behaviour in small amount of children and adolescents. The risk is highest when the treatment first begins and when changes in dosing is made.

Management of Medication

Children who are taking medication for anxiety should be seen by their doctor on a regular basis in order to track the effectiveness of the medication.

Time Frame

After one week of taking antidepressant medication for anxiety there may be some improvement in symptoms. After four to six weeks the medication should reach maximum effects and definite improvement should be noticeable at this time.

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About the Author

Priscilla Benfield is a writer whose articles can be found on many sites, including Helium, Associated Content and Firehow. She enjoys writing about many different topics and also enjoys writing poetry and sharing original recipes.