Nearly one in five Americans have been diagnosed with some form of anxiety disorder. These range from panic attacks and post-traumatic stress disorder to social phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorders.
Anti-anxiety drugs or antidepressants can curb symptoms that interfere with day-to-day life. And these drugs are big business. In 2013, Americans filled 48 million prescriptions for the benzodiazepine drug alprazolam (Xanax). Patients also picked up 27 million prescriptions for sertraline (Zoloft), an antidepressant drug that also helps some people with anxiety.