If your side effects are intolerable, don’t worry — you have several options.

Q&A Ask a PsychologistShare on Pinterest
Illustration by Ruth Basagoitia

Q: My doctor prescribed me medication for my anxiety, but I don’t like how the side effects make me feel. Are there other treatments I can do instead?

Anxiety medications come with various side effects, and each person reacts differently. But, if your side effects are intolerable, don’t worry — you have several options. First, try talking to your doctor and they may prescribe a different medication.

But if you want to try something else, studies suggest that cognitive behavioral therapy can be an effective treatment for anxiety.

By working with a trained psychotherapist, you’ll learn how to sift through your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in a more productive way. For starters, you may learn how to challenge your worrisome thoughts, and your therapist may also teach you relaxation techniques to help contain your anxiety. 

Also, research shows that physical activity can lessen symptoms of anxiety and depression, especially when used in conjunction with psychotherapy.

Exercises such as yoga and walking can be especially useful because they’re known to help with stress management by calming down the body’s nervous system. 

Listening to music can also help. Music is one of the oldest forms of medicine, and throughout the years researchers have discovered that playing an instrument, listening to music, and singing can help heal physical and emotional ailments by eliciting the body’s relaxation response. 

Similar to psychotherapy, music therapy comes in various shapes and sizes. Some people opt for group music therapy events, which are held at yoga studios and churches in your community. Others may work one-on-one with a trained music therapist. Merely popping in your earbuds and listening to your favorite tunes can also help lessen anxiety.

Juli Fraga lives in San Francisco with her husband, daughter, and two cats. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Real Simple, the Washington Post, NPR, the Science of Us, the Lily, and Vice. As a psychologist, she loves writing about mental health and wellness. When she’s not working, she enjoys bargain shopping, reading, and listening to live music. You can find her on Twitter.