What are the anxiety medications for police officers?

This blog answers questions about: What are the anxiety medications for a police officer? What are some other ways police officers can manage their anxiety? What are the therapy options for anxiety that police officers can use? What is Anxiety? What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety? 

What are the anxiety medications for a police officer?


Several medications that police officers can consider with the help of their medical health practitioners for anxiety are:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Benzodiazepines

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a type of antidepressant that medical health practitioners can prescribe to police officers with anxiety.

Doctors can also prescribe SSRIs to individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Many doctors consider selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors to be the first-line drug treatment for anxiety.

SSRI’s work for anxiety by stopping those nerve cells in the brain that reabsorb serotonin which plays a role in mood regulation.

Examples of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) for anxiety are:

  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)

SSRIs begin to show their effect within six weeks however police officers must understand that these medicines do not work for every person in a similar manner that is it might show effects for some while it might not for others.

Police officers can take SSRIs for up to 12 months to treat their anxiety issues and then gradually decrease their dosage with the help of the doctor’s advice.

SSRIs are not habit-forming and do not lead to dependence after long-term use.

Some side effects of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI)

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Weight gain
  • Feeling restless
  • Agitation
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Sexual problems
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Upset stomach

Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)

Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are another class of antidepressants that help in treating anxiety in a police officer.

Doctors usually prescribe these even to treat depression and some chronic pain conditions.

SNRIs work by reducing the brain’s reabsorption of serotonin and norepinephrine.

Examples of serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are:

  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • Venlafaxine (Effexor XR)

SNRIs can be taken by police officers after consulting their doctors based on their dosage and duration.

SNRIs take several weeks to come into effect. They are not habit-forming and do not lead to dependency after long-term use.

Some side effects of selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are:

  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Weight gain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Sexual problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Excessive sweating
  • Upset stomach

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)


Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are antidepressant drugs that can be prescribed to police officers for their anxiety. Doctors can also prescribe these for people suffering from depression.

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) might work for some individuals on whom other medications do not work to provide them relief with their anxiety.

Some examples of Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are:

  • Amitriptyline (Elavil)
  • Imipramine (Tofranil)
  • Nortriptyline (Pamelor)

Police officers must consult their mental health practitioners before taking these as many practitioners prefer SSRIs instead of tricyclic antidepressants because of the side effects that they cause.

Some side effects of tricyclic antidepressants are:

  • Constipation
  • Blurry vision
  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Increase in appetite
  • Sweating
  • Low blood pressure
  • Lightheadedness
  • Increase in appetite
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Weight loss or weight gain


Benzodiazepines are a type of sedative drug that helps to reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety such as tensed muscles. They also help in bringing about a sense of relaxation and these are quick medicines that bring relief within a few minutes.

Some examples of Benzodiazepine are:

  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)

Though Benzodiazepines are effective within the short run doctors rarely prescribe these two police officers or any other individuals because they become less effective over time and can be addictive.

Benzodiazepines also carry a black box warning. A black box warning is a serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration FDA.

A black box warning alerts the doctors and patients about the dangerous effects of the drug.

Unlike other antidepressants, benzodiazepines might also cause withdrawal symptoms which include depression, sleep problems, sweating, and seizures.

Some side effects of benzodiazepines are:

  • Loss of memory
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty with balance and coordination
  • Upset stomach
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Blurry vision

What are some other ways police officers can manage their anxiety?

Identify and acknowledge the triggers

The most significant strategy that can be used to control one’s anxiety is by identifying and acknowledging those triggers.

Being able to recognize what makes an individual anxious makes them better equipped to take action.

Relaxation techniques


Even though anxiety can be bought under an individual’s control it cannot be predicted. In such situations, it is necessary that an individual actively carries out relaxation techniques.

These might include meditation, yoga, and deep breathing which helps to reduce the intensity of anxiety within a short period.



A key to reducing the frequency and intensity of anxiety attacks could be spending time with close family and friends.

The kind of emotional and practical support provided by these social and personal groups help the person feel connected and aid in distracting one’s mind from negative and recurring thoughts that lead to anxiety.

Apart from friends and families, individuals can also consider speaking to groups of people that are experiencing similar problems.

Set realistic goals

When an individual is feeling overwhelmed, setting goals and targets keeping in mind priorities can help resolve overwhelming feelings of fear or panic.

Setting goals provides structure and routine to an individual’s life reducing space for uncertainty which can be a major trigger for anxiety in many cases.

Take up new challenges

Apart from doing activities that an individual is usually fond of and has expertise in, trying new and challenging activities that put an individual outside their comfort zone in a healthy manner may help reduce the stress and anger temporarily.

Signing up for new activities also provides a path to meeting people with similar stories and concerns.

Lifestyle changes

An individual’s lifestyle plays a major role in their experience of anxiety. An unhealthy and busy lifestyle usually leads to unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, lack of adequate sleep.

A combination of a well-set diet, exercise, and sleep can help to regulate an individual’s mood and equip them with a favorable coping mechanism.

These coping mechanisms in turn help to get control over once anxiety concerns in a more adaptable manner.

lack of proper diet, sleep, and exercise can make an individual sluggish, dependent, moody and vulnerable to anxiety attacks.

Making journal entries

Last but not least having a journal to write down how a person is feeling and thinking when they are anxious helps them to reflect upon their thoughts and feelings.

Putting down one’s thoughts and feelings onto a paper helps to provide a sense of temporary relief.

In the case of journal entry, a person does not even have to fear being judged by another person regarding their thoughts and feelings.

What are the therapy options for anxiety that police officers can use?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps an individual to control their anxiety by using strategies like relaxation and breathing. It works on the principles of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is a kind of therapy in which an individual is exposed to a particular stimulus that they usually fear or are anxious about in a graded order.

As and when the individual gets comfortable with the situation or stimulus introduced or exposed to them with each session, individuals get more comfortable with a real-life situation that might have otherwise been a source for triggering anxiety.

Group therapy


It is based on the principle that when an individual interacts with other people who are suffering from the same fears they might not feel left alone or isolated. Group therapy usually involves a group of individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms and problems.


Anxiety can also be treated with the help of medication prescribed by a health care professional.

Though medication alone cannot help in reducing persistent anxiety it can help in restoring a sense of control and bring temporary relief. 

Online therapy  

In cases where reaching out physically to a professional is impossible or discomforting an individual can opt to seek help through the online medium. 

In this, the therapy sessions are carried out one-to-one over a video or audio call. Some individuals also prefer interacting with the therapist through text as well due to various reasons. One of the most common is the fear of being judged by the therapist or some personal hesitation. 

Online therapy can help individuals to regulate some aspects of their anxiety that aids individuals in carrying out a stress-free life over time

What is Anxiety?

Problems and resulting stress are usually accompanied by some common emotions like confusion, feeling at the edge, a sense of helplessness, and recurrent negative thoughts which can collectively be seen as an individual experiencing what’s commonly called  Anxiety. 

Every human has their unique ways of dealing with these difficult situations and the following emotions, some try to adapt to the circumstances and find the best and most comfortable solution while others try to find an escape route for the same, in both cases the main aim is usually to get over the uncomfortable emotions of anxiety. 

What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety ? 

Anxiety is characterized by a set of signs and symptoms such as:


  • Sweating
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sense of choking
  • Complaints of chest pain
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness
  • Fear of losing control over oneself and their environment
  • Fear of impending doom
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Increased heart rate

These symptoms vary in severity from person to person. 


Anxiety is a common condition that can affect many police officers during their lifetime. There are several types of medications that can help them treat their anxiety however the medication will work best when they are combined with other self-help strategies and therapy.

Frequently asked questions:What are the anxiety medications for police officers?

What is commonly used prescribed for anxiety? 

Benzodiazepines are the most widely used medications for anxiety. These help to relieve the symptoms of anxiety within a few miniutes. 

What are the 5 best medications for anxiety? 

  • Prozac or Sarafem (fluoxetine)
  • Celexa (citalopram)
  • Zoloft (sertraline)
  • Paxil, Paxeva, or Brisdelle (paroxetine)
  • Lexapro (escitalopram)

Which is the safest anti-anxiety drug?

  • Bupropion (Wellbutrin)
  • Citalopram (Celexa – SSRI)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil – SSRI)
  • Most Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium)




Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!