- I think it would be rare for a doctor to prescribe barbiturates for anxiety now-a-days. They are much more dangerous in overdose, more addictive/habit- forming, and have many more side effects compared to benzodiazepines. As to which benzo is the most effective, they are all effective for generalized anxiety when given in equivalent doses. Klonopin and Xanax are the two most common for panic disorder/agoraphobia, with Ativan coming in third. Personally, I like Klonopin the best. I didn't like how I felt on Xanax (unable to concentrate, too tired, etc.), and Ativan didn't really help me much. Klonopin helps me the most, and I feel the most normal on it. I also like that it's very long acting, it has a much longer half live than either Xanax or Ativan, that means less breakthrough anxiety and less doses per day.
This is a very individual thing. Someone will no doubt come along and say they like Xanax, Ativan, or Valium better. It all depends on what your doctor prescribes, and how well you do on it. It's not unusual for some people to try several of them before finding the one that works best for them. Again, a doctor (especially a psychiatrist) will usually have a pretty good idea what to try first after evaluating you.
How did your doctor say to take those 2mg Xanax??? That is an awful high dose for someone just starting a medication like that. I can tell you one thing, if you've never taken Xanax before, one 2mg tablet will knock you on your butt. I kid you not, Xanax is powerful. For someone with panic disorder, a doctor will usually start you on 0.25mg to 0.5mg a couple of times a day and see how it goes. Depending on condition and response, it can go from 0.25 two to three times a day, all the way up to 2mg three times a day. Some even go higher. But remember, short acting, high potentcy benzos like Xanax are very habit forming. The higher the dose and the longer you're on it, the more severe and protracted the withdrawl will be.
Anyone taking any of these medications should be under the care and supervision of a doctor experienced in thier use. These are very helpful medicines, even life savers for many, but they are not to be messed around with. BE CAREFUL!!!!!!