Skip to content

Hydroxyzine For Anxiety, How It Works, Side Effects & Dosage

This article provides an overview of hydroxyzine as a treatment option for anxiety. Exploring its mechanism of action, potential side effects, and appropriate dosage, this comprehensive guide aims to shed light on the use of hydroxyzine in managing anxiety disorders. By understanding its benefits and considerations, individuals and healthcare professionals can make informed decisions regarding the use of hydroxyzine in anxiety treatment.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem in the United States. More than 30% of people will have one at some point in their lives. A lot of people deal with anxiety without taking medicine, but having a severe or long-lasting anxiety disease can lower your quality of life. Various medications are available for treating anxiety, and one commonly prescribed medication is hydroxyzine, an antihistamine type.

We will talk about how hydroxyzine helps with anxiety, as well as its typical side effects, safety concerns, and times when you should see a doctor.


How To Use Hydroxyzine

Hydroxyzine treats itching caused by allergies by stopping the body from making histamine, a natural chemical released during allergic reactions. It can also be used briefly to deal with anxiety or to make people sleepy or calm down before or after surgery.

To use Hydroxyzine, you should take it by mouth, with or without food, three or four times a day, as directed by your doctor. If you use the liquid form, be careful when measuring the dose with a spoon or a unique measuring tool. Do not use regular utensils because they could lead to wrong amounts.

The recommended amount depends on the person’s age, health, and how well they respond to treatment. For kids, the dose might also depend on how much they weigh. Please don’t increase the amount or take it more often than the directions say to.


Side-Effects of Hydroxyzine For Anxiety

The following side effects may occur: drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, constipation, or dry mouth. If these symptoms persist or worsen, promptly inform your doctor or pharmacist. To alleviate dry mouth, consider sucking on sugarless hard candy or ice chips, chewing sugarless gum, hydrating with water, or using a saliva substitute.

Your doctor has prescribed this medication because they’ve determined that its benefits outweigh the risk of side effects. Many individuals using this medication don’t experience severe side effects. Notify your doctor immediately if you experience severe side effects such as mental/mood changes (e.g., restlessness, confusion, hallucinations), tremors, or difficulty urinating.

While rare, a severe allergic reaction to this medication may occur. Seek immediate medical assistance if you notice symptoms such as rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, or breathing difficulties.

Common Side EffectsDrowsinessDizzinessBlurred visionConstipationDry mouth
Less Common But Serious Side EffectsMental/mood changes (e.g., restlessness, confusion, hallucinations)Shaking (tremor)Difficulty urinatingSeizuresRapid/irregular heartbeat
Severe dizzinessFainting
Seek immediate medical attention if you encounter severe side effects like seizures, rapid/irregular heartbeat, severe dizziness, or fainting.

Hydroxyzine For Anxiety Warnings

Before using hydroxyzine, inform your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it, cetirizine, levocetirizine, or have other allergies. This medication may contain inactive ingredients that cause allergic reactions or other issues. Seek advice from your pharmacist for more information.

  • Discuss your medical history with your doctor or pharmacist, especially if you have conditions such as breathing problems (like emphysema or asthma), high eye pressure (glaucoma), high blood pressure, kidney or liver problems, seizures, stomach/intestinal issues (such as ulcers or blockages), overactive thyroid, difficulty urinating (e.g., due to an enlarged prostate).
  • Hydroxyzine may cause a heart rhythm condition (QT prolongation), which rarely leads to severe, even fatal, fast/irregular heartbeat and other symptoms requiring immediate medical attention like severe dizziness or fainting.
  • Low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood may raise the risk of QT prolongation. This risk can increase with specific drugs (e.g., diuretics/”water pills”) or conditions like heavy sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting. Discuss safe hydroxyzine use with your doctor.
  • This medication may cause dizziness, drowsiness, or blurred vision. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can exacerbate these effects. Avoid driving, operating machinery, or performing tasks requiring alertness or clear vision until you can do so safely. Refrain from alcoholic beverages. Consult your doctor if you use marijuana (cannabis).
  • Before undergoing surgery, inform your doctor or dentist about all products you use, including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products.
  • Liquid forms may contain sugar and alcohol. Use caution if you have diabetes, liver disease, or other conditions requiring dietary substance limitations. Seek advice from your doctor or pharmacist regarding the safe use of this product.
  • Children may be more susceptible to side effects, experiencing excitement rather than drowsiness.
  • Older adults may be more sensitive to side effects like drowsiness, confusion, constipation, difficulty urinating, or QT prolongation. These effects can heighten the risk of falls.
  • During pregnancy, use this medication only if necessary. Discuss potential risks and benefits with your doctor.
  • It is uncertain whether this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

Hydroxyzine For Anxiety Interactions

Drug interactions can change how your medicines work or make you more likely to have significant side effects. This information does not cover all drug conflicts that could happen. Make a list of all the things you use, like herbal products, prescription and over-the-counter drugs, and share it with your doctor and pharmacy. Do not start, stop, or change the amount of medicines you take without your doctor’s permission.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you also use alcohol, marijuana (cannabis), sleep or anxiety drugs (like alprazolam, lorazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants (like carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine), or other drugs that make you sleepy, like opioid pain or cough relievers (like codeine, hydrocodone), alcohol, or other antihistamines (like diphenhydramine, promethazine).

Carefully read the labels on all of your medicines, especially allergy or cough-and-cold drugs, because they may contain ingredients that make you sleepy. Talk to your doctor about how to safely use these items.

The side effects may worsen if you use diphenhydramine cream, lotion, or spray on your skin, along with other antihistamines.

Hydroxyzine is a lot like cetirizine and levocetirizine. While you are on hydroxyzine, do not take these other drugs.

This drug could affect some lab tests, like allergy skin tests and urine corticosteroid levels, leading to wrong test results. Ensure that everyone in the lab and your doctors know you are taking this drug.

How Does Hydroxyzine Work For Anxiety?

Hydroxyzine, the active ingredient in medications such as Atarax, belongs to a class of drugs called antihistamines. While it primarily treats allergic reactions, hydroxyzine can also be prescribed off-label for anxiety due to its sedative and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties.

The exact mechanism of hydroxyzine’s action in treating anxiety is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve multiple effects on various neurotransmitter systems in the brain.

  • Histamine Blockade: Hydroxyzine blocks the effects of histamine, a substance involved in the body’s immune response. Hydroxyzine blocks histamine’s activity in the brain by blocking histamine receptors, which can help alleviate anxiety symptoms.
  • Sedation: Hydroxyzine has soothing properties, which can induce a calming and sleep-inducing effect. This sedation can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
  • Anticholinergic Effects: Hydroxyzine also exhibits anticholinergic effects by blocking the action of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter in the brain. This can contribute to its anxiolytic properties.
  • GABA Modulation: It is believed that hydroxyzine may indirectly affect the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) system in the brain. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps regulate anxiety and promotes a sense of calm. By modulating GABA activity, hydroxyzine can have anxiolytic effects.

The use of hydroxyzine for anxiety is considered off-label, meaning it is not the FDA-approved indication for this medication.

How Fast Does Hydroxyzine Work For Anxiety?

The onset of action of hydroxyzine for anxiety can vary among individuals. Generally, hydroxyzine takes effect within 30 minutes to 1 hour after ingestion. However, the full therapeutic benefits may take longer to become noticeable.

Hydroxyzine’s soothing properties can immediately relieve anxiety, helping individuals feel calmer and more relaxed. The sedative effects can contribute to the quick onset of action. However, the duration of action can also vary, with the results typically lasting about 4 to 6 hours.

It’s crucial to remember that hydroxyzine is not a long-term solution for anxiety disorders and is often used as a short-term or as-needed treatment. The timing and effectiveness of hydroxyzine for anxiety may differ depending on various factors such as the individual’s metabolism, dosage, and overall health.

What Should You Know Before Taking Hydroxyzine?

Before you take hydroxyzine, you need to know certain things. Doctors usually only give hydroxyzine for short periods to help with anxiety. It can be used by itself or with daily anxiety medicines like buspirone (Buspar) or escitalopram (Lexapro). While waiting for the longer-term medication to work, hydroxyzine can help with anxiety feelings for a short time.

Because it can cause allergic reactions, hydroxyzine might not be the first drug that is recommended for short-term anxiety. As with other antihistamines, it can make you sleepy and less aware. People in some groups, especially those aged 65 and up, may feel the effects more strongly. In this case, people who are having trouble with nervousness might want to try other medications that are easier to handle.

Is Hydroxyzine Addictive?

Hydroxyzine is an antihistamine, a class of drugs that are not customarily considered addictive. When used as directed for short-term alleviation of anxiety, it often does not lead to addiction or dependence. To reduce the likelihood of adverse effects, taking this medication exactly as your doctor directs is essential. Consult a medical professional if you have any worries about developing an addiction or dependency.

Ryan Zofay forming a circle and hugging friends.

End the Emotional Pain. Get Your Life Back.

Feeling Depressed, Anxious or Struggling with Mental Health Illness? Get Safe Comfortable Mental Health Dual Diagnosis High-Quality Therapy From Counselors That Care. Begin Your Recovery Now.

Hotline (855) 940-6125
The appropriate dose of hydroxyzine for anxiety can vary depending on factors such as the severity of symptoms, individual response, and other medical considerations.
The appropriate dose of hydroxyzine for anxiety can vary depending on factors such as the severity of symptoms, individual response, and other medical considerations.

Normal Hydroxyzine Dose For Anxiety

The appropriate dose of hydroxyzine for anxiety can vary depending on factors such as the severity of symptoms, individual response, and other medical considerations. It is essential to follow the dosage prescribed by your healthcare professional. That being said, here are some standard dosage guidelines for hydroxyzine in the treatment of anxiety:

  1. For adults: The typical starting dose of hydroxyzine for anxiety is 25 mg to 50 mg taken orally, three to four times daily. Your healthcare provider may adjust the dosage based on your response and individual needs.
  2. For older adults or those with liver or kidney impairment: Lower doses may be prescribed to account for potential drug metabolism or clearance changes.

These are general dosage recommendations, and individualized dosing may vary. Always consult your healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage based on your specific situation, including any other medications you may be taking and your overall health. They will consider your unique circumstances to provide the most suitable treatment plan for managing your anxiety.

Hydroxyzine Max Dose For Anxiety

The maximum dose of hydroxyzine for anxiety can vary depending on factors such as individual response, tolerance, and the guidance of a healthcare professional. Higher doses may increase the risk of side effects, particularly sedation and drowsiness.

Typically, the maximum recommended daily dose of hydroxyzine for anxiety in adults is around 100 mg to 200 mg per day, divided into multiple doses throughout the day. However, this dose can vary based on individual circumstances and should be determined by a healthcare professional who can evaluate your specific needs and monitor your response to the medication.

It is crucial to follow your healthcare professional’s guidance and never exceed the prescribed dosage without consulting them first. They will consider your overall health, medication interactions, and any other relevant factors to determine the appropriate maximum dose for your anxiety treatment.

First-class Facilities & Amenities

World-class High-Quality Mental Health Services & Behaviroal Health Substance Abuse Treatment

Rehab Centers Tour

Renowned Mental Health Centers. Serene Private Facilities. Inpatient Rehab Programs Vary.

Mental Health Helpline (855) 940-6125

Proven recovery success experience, backed by a Team w/ History of:

  • 15+ Years Experience
  • 100s of 5-Star Reviews
  • 10K+ Recovery Successes
  • Low Patient to Therapist Ratio
  • Comprehensive Dual-Diagnosis Treatment
  • Complimentary Family & Alumni Programs
  • Coaching, Recovery & Development Events
  • Comfortable Onsite Medical Detox Center
  1. Is Atarax For Anxiety?

    Yes, Atarax is commonly prescribed for anxiety. It contains the active ingredient hydroxyzine, which has soothing and anxiolytic properties that can help alleviate anxiety symptoms.

  2. Is Vistaril For Anxiety?

    Vistaril is another brand name for hydroxyzine, often prescribed for anxiety. Like Atarax, Vistaril contains hydroxyzine, which can help manage anxiety symptoms due to its sedative and anxiolytic effects.

  3. Does Hydroxyzine Help With Anxiety?

    Yes, hydroxyzine can be effective in reducing anxiety symptoms. It acts as an antihistamine with sedative properties and has anxiolytic effects. It helps promote relaxation and can alleviate symptoms of anxiety.

  4. What Is The Vistaril Dosage For Anxiety?

    The Vistaril dosage for anxiety varies depending on individual needs and responses. Typical starting doses range from 25 to 50 mg taken orally, three to four times daily. A healthcare professional should determine the dosage based on your condition and other factors.

  5. Is Hydroxyzine For Anxiety Dosage 10mg Good?

    The effectiveness of hydroxyzine dosage for anxiety varies among individuals. While 10 mg may be a lower dose, it can relieve mild anxiety. However, the appropriate dosage should be determined by a healthcare professional who can evaluate your needs and adjust the dose accordingly.

  6. What Is Hydroxyzine HCL 50 Mg Tablet For Anxiety?

    Hydroxyzine HCL 50 mg tablet is a commonly prescribed dosage for anxiety. It contains hydroxyzine and is used to alleviate anxiety symptoms due to its sedative and anxiolytic properties. A healthcare professional should determine the specific dosage and treatment plan based on your needs.

Get Help. Get Better. Get Your Life Back.

Searching for Accredited Dual Diagnosis Mental Health Centers Near You?

Even if therapy failed previously, or are in the middle of a difficult crisis, we stand ready to support you. Our trusted behavioral health specialists will not give up on you. When you feel ready or just want someone to speak to about counseling alternatives to change your life call us. Even if we cannot assist you, we will lead you to wherever you can get support. There is no obligation. Call our hotline today.

FREE 24/7 Dual Diagnosis Mental Health Services Hotline

Can Hydroxyzine Cause Anxiety?

Hydroxyzine is primarily used to treat anxiety and is not known to cause anxiety symptoms directly. However, as with any medication, individual responses can vary, and some people may experience certain side effects that could indirectly contribute to feelings of anxiety. These side effects are rare and not commonly reported, but they can occur in some individuals.

One possible side effect of hydroxyzine is paradoxical reactions, which are unexpected and opposite reactions to the medication’s intended effects. In rare cases, instead of experiencing sedation and relaxation, some individuals may experience increased agitation, restlessness, or even heightened anxiety. These paradoxical reactions are more likely to occur in children, older adults, or individuals with a history of substance abuse or psychiatric conditions.

The occurrence of paradoxical reactions with hydroxyzine is relatively rare. If you experience any unexpected or concerning symptoms while taking hydroxyzine, it is essential to consult with your healthcare professional. They can assess your situation, evaluate potential causes, and adjust your treatment plan.

Overall, hydroxyzine is widely prescribed for anxiety and is generally well-tolerated. Follow your healthcare professional’s prescribed dosage and instructions, and communicate any concerns or unusual symptoms you may experience during treatment.

We Level Up Fort Lauderdale Florida Anxiety Center

In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, our anxiety center offers diverse services tailored to meet the unique needs of individuals dealing with anxiety. We have several potential services available for you to explore:

  • Diagnostic Assessments: Our assessments are thorough and meticulous, ensuring accurate diagnosis and evaluation of anxiety disorders. We gather essential symptom information through interviews, questionnaires, and psychological evaluations to determine the most appropriate treatment strategies.
  • Individual Therapy: Our team of licensed mental health professionals provides personalized one-on-one therapy sessions. Utilizing evidence-based approaches such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), or mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), these sessions address specific anxiety symptoms, delve into underlying causes, and help develop effective coping skills.
  • Group Therapy: We offer group therapy sessions that create a supportive environment where individuals with similar anxiety concerns can come together. These sessions facilitate sharing experiences, learning from one another, and receiving support, ultimately reducing feelings of isolation and normalizing anxiety experiences.
  • Relaxation and Stress Management Techniques: Our center provides training in various relaxation techniques, including deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, and mindfulness meditation. These techniques equip individuals with valuable tools to manage stress, reduce anxiety, and alleviate physical manifestations such as chest pain.
  • Medication Management: Collaborating with psychiatrists or medical professionals, our team can evaluate and prescribe appropriate medications for anxiety disorders. We closely monitor medication effectiveness and address potential side effects to ensure optimal treatment outcomes.
  • Holistic Approaches: To complement traditional therapies, we integrate complementary and alternative treatments like yoga, acupuncture, or art therapy. These holistic approaches offer additional avenues for individuals to manage anxiety symptoms and promote overall well-being.

Our anxiety center is dedicated to delivering comprehensive and personalized care, supporting individuals on their path to overcoming anxiety and enhancing their quality of life.

Hydroxyzine is primarily used to treat anxiety and is not known to cause anxiety symptoms directly.
Hydroxyzine is primarily used to treat anxiety and is not known to cause anxiety symptoms directly.

World-class, Accredited, 5-Star Reviewed, Effective Mental Health Dual Diagnosis Programs. Complete Integrated Inpatient Rehab with Free Post Discharge Therapy Planning.

CALL (855) 940-6125

End the Emotional Pain Rollercoaster. Gain Stability & Happiness Through Recovery Treatment. Start Mental Health Counseling Today. Get Free No-obligation Guidance by Behaviroal Health Specialists Who Understand Mental Health Recovery.

Anxiety Disorder Facts & Anxiety Treatment Programs

YouTube video

Experience Transformative Recovery at the We Level Up Treatment Center.

See our authentic success stories. Get inspired. Get the help you deserve.

We Level Up Treatment Centers for Drug Alcohol Rehab Detox Behavioral Mental Health Dual Diagnosis Therapy We Level Up Treatment Centers for Drug Alcohol Rehab Detox Behavioral Mental Health Dual Diagnosis Therapy We Level Up Treatment Centers for Drug Alcohol Rehab Detox Behavioral Mental Health Dual Diagnosis Therapy
Hotline (855) 940-6125
Voluntarily testimonials from the We Level Up Treatment Center network vary. Not intended as a guaranteed treatment or outcome as each person's journey is unique.

Start a New Life

Begin with a free call to a behavioral health treatment advisor. Learn more about our dual-diagnosis programs. The We Level Up treatment center network delivers recovery programs that vary by each treatment facility. Call to learn more.

  • Personalized Care
  • Caring Accountable Staff
  • World-class Amenities
  • Licensed & Accredited
  • Renowned w/ 5-Star Reviews

We’ll Call You

Search We Level Up FL Hydroxyzine For Anxiety Resources