Best Non-Habit Forming Anxiety Medications That Actually Work

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"The ultimate goal is to use medications to help control symptoms while learning how to adjust to healthier lifestyle choices, which will help you control symptoms on your own."

Non-Habit Forming Anxiety Meds

In 2020, the FDA announced it would require manufacturers of benzodiazepines, some of the most popular anti-anxiety medications, to list the risks of addiction, abuse, physical dependence, and withdrawal on the various drugs' labels.1 Though these drugs can be helpful for those when prescribed appropriately, data shows these drugs are commonly prescribed in the U.S. for periods longer than recommended and carry a high risk of adverse side effects, including death.

Though popular, these types of drugs are not the only medicinal option for individuals struggling with anxiety. This article will explore some of the best non-habit forming and non-addictive anxiety meds and what you can expect when taking these medications.

Establishing a Foundation for Medicinal Support

Before we discuss the various medicinal options that exist for anxiety, we think it’s important to share our stance on prescription medication. At Brillia, we recognize the value in prescription anxiety medications and we know that they are helpful for many. But they shouldn’t be seen as a solution. And we encourage you to view these medications as a last resort after other gentler routes have been explored. 

The ultimate goal is to use medications to help control symptoms while learning how to adjust to healthier lifestyle choices, which will help you control symptoms on your own. This includes healthier habits like those discussed in Brillia’s holistic 5 Pillars, which consist of proper nutrition, adequate sleep, controlled screen time, and mindfulness techniques. As these habits become second nature, you will eventually need less and less of any medication. Many children and adults report an improvement in symptoms like anxiety, stress, irritability, and restlessness when making and committing to strategic lifestyle changes at home. 

And yet other options offer even more support, from vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements to traditional talk therapy. Whether you choose to use medication or not, prioritizing whole-body health through your daily habits should always be your first step, as it sets a solid foundation for ongoing support. Even the best anxiety medication is no match for a healthy lifestyle.  

What are Controlled Substances vs. Non-Controlled Substances for Anxiety?

Controlled substances and non-controlled substances differ in their legal classification and regulation, primarily based on their potential for abuse and dependency. Here are some key differences:

  • Controlled substances: These drugs are regulated by the government due to their potential for abuse or addiction. They are categorized into different schedules (I to V) based on their perceived risk. Examples include certain prescription medications, illicit drugs, and some over-the-counter medications.
  • Non-controlled substances: These substances have a lower risk of abuse or dependency and are not subject to the stringent regulations imposed on controlled substances. Many over-the-counter medications, dietary supplements, and some prescription drugs fall into this category.

Some of the non-habit forming anxiety medications below are controlled substances and some are not. We’ll share the classification for each.

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Controlled substance: No

Prescription status: Non-prescription

Brillia is a non-prescription medication clinically proven to reduce symptoms of anxiety, hyperactivity, inattention, impulsivity, irritability, and restlessness without harsh, synthetic chemicals or harmful side effects. Its active ingredient consists of antibodies to the brain-specific S100 protein (S100B), a key regulator of various different intracellular and extracellular brain processes. Brillia gently and impactfully attaches to the S100B protein without affecting any other systems in the body to promote calmness and clarity without masking the personality, affecting the appetite, or altering blood chemistry. As a result of this regulating effect, Brillia normalizes levels of feel-good monoamines (dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin); these are the same chemicals targeted by some prescription anti-anxiety and antidepressant drugs, only Brillia can achieve this stabilization without any off-target side effects.

Brillia comes in two formulations: Brillia for Children for ages 5-18 and Brillia for Adults. No official diagnosis is needed to take the medication. Brillia is not habit forming and users do not build a tolerance to the medication, requiring dosage increases to remain effective. Brillia can also be added to your regimen if you’re already taking other medications or supplements, because the medication does not have contraindications. 

When used in combination with the healthy lifestyle habits we mentioned in the previous section, the 5 Pillars, Brillia presents an option that promotes self-regulation over time. As you become accustomed to the lifestyle habits in our plan, you will eventually need less and less of any product to reduce your anxiety. But if you still need support, you can continue to take Brillia as long as it is providing support. 


Controlled substance: No

Prescription status: Prescription required

Buspirone is a medication approved for the short-term treatment of anxiety. It works by regulating the levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain, which is said to relieve anxiety without causing sedation or impairment.2 It is not typically considered a first-line treatment for anxiety because it can take up to a month to work.3 Side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, and lightheadedness.4

Tricyclic Antidepressants

Controlled substance: No

Prescription status: Prescription required

Commonly prescribed for major depressive disorder (MDD), tricyclic antidepressants inhibit the reuptake of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine, which makes more of it available in the brain. This is thought to regulate mood, attention, and sometimes pain.5 Side effects may include constipation, dry mouth, and dizziness.6


Controlled substance: No

Prescription status: Prescription required

Propranolol belongs to a class of drugs known as beta blockers, which are typically prescribed for heart conditions. However, they are also commonly used for anxiety due to their ability to mitigate physical symptoms associated with the fight or flight response, such as a rapid heartbeat and trembling. While not designed for prolonged use, beta-blockers can be beneficial when taken preemptively before anxiety-inducing situations, like public speaking or flying. Some potential side effects may include headaches, fatigue, cold hands and feet, nausea, and stomach pain.7


Controlled substance: Yes

Prescription status: Prescription required

Pregabalin is a nerve pain medication and anticonvulsant that is related to the calm-inducing brain chemical GABA. It works by calming hyperactive nerves in your body and dampening the fight or flight response to emotionally charged visual stimuli.8 Pregabalin is classified as a Schedule V controlled substance, which is the lowest schedule for abuse potential. Potential side effects include dizziness, dry mouth, drowsiness, nausea, swelling, and weight gain.9 

Hydroxyzine Pamoate

Controlled substance: No

Prescription status: Prescription required

Hydroxyzine is an antihistamine medication that is commonly used to reduce anxiety. What sets it apart from other antihistamines is that hydroxyzine influences both histamine and serotonin, resulting in a somewhat calming effect. Its effects occur rapidly as well, with most individuals sensing its effects within 30 minutes. Potential side effects include drowsiness, dry mouth, constipation, and headaches.10

What are SSRIs and SNRIs?

Controlled substances: No

Prescription status: Prescription required

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are two types of antidepressants that increase the amount of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. SSRIs elevate serotonin levels in the brain, whereas SNRIs raise both serotonin and norepinephrine levels. These effects are thought to promote a balanced mood and potentially counteract symptoms of anxiety. The most common side effects of SSRIs are sexual dysfunction, nightmares, fatigue, sweating, and hot flashes.11  SNRIs can cause all the same side effects as SSRIs in addition to constipation, nausea, change in appetite, dry mouth, and physical weakness.12 Because everyone responds to medication in different ways, in some cases these drugs can also cause anxiety in some people instead of reducing it, so close monitoring is required.

How to Know When to Go On Anxiety Medication

If you have made healthy lifestyle changes in efforts to manage your anxiety more effectively but still need more support, the next step is to seek additional support from therapy and explore medications. We recommend opting for a non-prescription option like Brillia first to see if you can get the help you need without resorting to prescription medication. This can help you avoid the side effects of prescription medication. If you’re not sure, ask your doctor about the options available to you or contact our Customer Care Team at

Find more resources on managing anxiety and achieving whole-body health at the Brillia(nce) Resource Center.

Brillia is always here to help you shine brigher.

References: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
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