How does hydroxyzine treat anxiety symptoms?

Hydroxyzine is a medication commonly used to treat symptoms of anxiety. It is usually taken by mouth, and it’s mostly available as a capsule or tablet. In this post, we’ll explain how hydroxyzine works in the body to minimize the effects of anxiety.

Note: This information is not medical advice. Please consult your healthcare practitioner before starting a treatment or making changes to your treatment plan.

What type of medication is hydroxyzine?

Hydroxyzine is a histamine blocker, which means it stops a chemical released in the body called histamine from having certain effects. It’s commonly available under the brand names Atarax and Vistaril.

What is histamine?

Histamine is a chemical that is important for many different processes in the body, including in allergic reactions. When the body recognises something it is allergic to, certain cells release histamine, which leads to symptoms such as itching, redness, and rash.

How does a histamine blocker treat anxiety symptoms?

Hydroxyzine has sedative effects, which means that it tends to make people feel calmer, and sometimes even a little bit drowsy.

It’s because of these sedative effects that researchers and clinicians believe hydroxyzine reduces the symptoms of anxiety, because it helps mediate the body’s stress response in a state of anxiety so that we become more relaxed.

Hydroxyzine may also increase the available amount of a chemical called serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is involved in regulating mood and anxiety. Click here to view a study that summarises the current research and effectiveness of hydroxyzine for anxiety.

We hope this information helps you better understand why hydroxyzine might work to treat anxiety symptoms. If you think someone you know could benefit from reading this post, please share it with them. We’d love for our resources to reach those who need them.


Hydroxyzine properties (1) (2)

Anxiolytic effects of hydroxyzine


Olivia Holland
Medical Writer