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that's a tricky question as there are several different classes of drug that can be used to treat anxiety. Antidepressants, especially SSRIs, can be used for generalised anxiety. A few years ago, I found paroxetine useful in dealing with social anxiety.
Antihistamines can be used for sporadic anxiety. There also Azaspirones (Buspar), Beta Blockers, and the lovely lovely (but addictive) benzodiazepines.
I have seen phenothiazines used to treat anxiety, such as thioridazine (melleril).
I don't need anything to treat anxiety, but I do take Bisprolol 2.5 mg daily following a heart attack a few years ago. This beta blocker does chill me out a bit, and causes me no drowsiness.
Different folks will have a different experience of each drug. If it is benzos that you are referring to, some are more sedating than others, and some have a longer half life (so you may be feeling the effects the next day).
Also, check out this thread: http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=28102
I have been recently prescribed Valium for intense anxiety. Mostly seeked it out because of overwhelming physical feeling from anxiety. Also because I tried (given to me) my mothers Xanax months before I seeked the script and that was my #1 issue as well, I wanted something that worked but didn't put me to sleep whenever I took it. .25 - .5mg of Xanax (Alprazolam) knocked me on my ass. Also, the doctor did not suggest me Valium, I did specific research of all the common benzo's and also other classed anxiety drugs and presented the Doc my information and specifically asked for Valium based on my conclusions. He ended up agreeing with the points I made regarding it.
I have found 1 - 3mg of Valium (Diazepam) works really well for my anxiety and takes away most if not all the physical feelings and racing mind mentality. 4 - 5mg can help if the physical feelings are reaching an overwhelming state. 6mg+ starts to give me that heavy feeling like I need to find something soft to fall on before I pass out. But I do find that 1 - 3mg doses I could still probably do any activity I normally did. Which was my ultimate goal in getting a far less potent benzo, anxiety reduction without the drowsiness. I also (from the same doctor) am prescribed Trazadone and take 50 - 75mg daily. Those have a drowsy effect attached to them so I can say with certaintly I feel like Valium is something very do-able and usable for a day-time, middle of the day, scenario and shouldn't cause excessive drowsiness. To make an example I was able to take 2mg and clean my house for 3 hours. I also am quite sensitive to drugs because a lot of people don't seem to have the response I do to these things at low doses. I was prescribed 90, 2mg pills, instructed not to take more than 3 a day or I would run out, but should also use them situationally. To take 2mg if I am quite sure something will be giving me anxiety in the near future, and told I should take 4mg if I am in the middle of overwhelming physical feelings anxiety related (my own wording). This seems like a great and workable plan for someone who deals with frequent and randomly timed anxiety.
Valium is one of the least potent benzo's and my doctor worried least about prescribing it in telling me addiction was more common with the more potent benzo's. I also reassured him that I never had pill addiction problems either, which is true, so I was glad I got something effective that wasn't with held but that is something to keep in mind if you do seek a benzo. You have to trust yourself to be responsible with your script. It is easy to want to get recreational when you have 90 Valium pills, but my God they do wonders for my anxiety, I have felt like a new person lately being able to ward off heavy anxiety when it is not wanted and getting in the way.