Low-Cost Treatment

Often the cost of cognitive-behavioral therapy and prescription drugs deters people from getting the help they need.

Here is a list of resources that offer assistance in paying for treatment. Family physicians also may have information about low-cost treatment resources.

Therapy

While effective for treating anxiety disorders, cognitive-behavioral therapy, usually known as CBT, can be expensive, sometimes costing $100 or more per hour. Some therapists or clinics offer therapy on a sliding scale, which means that charges fluctuate based on income. Ask about a sliding scale or other payment options when you call or visit for a consultation. Find a Therapist near you.

Federally funded health centers can also be a good resource for those without health insurance or with a limited budget. You pay what you can afford, based on your income. Many of these centers include mental health services. Find a federally funded health center near you.

Some colleges and universities offer low-cost therapy for anxiety disorders and other mental health problems. Call the psychology, psychiatry, or behavioral health department and inquire about sessions with graduate students, who are supervised and can provide services at a lower cost as they gain counseling experience. Keep in mind that these sessions aren’t always open to the public; some departments may limit them to students of that college or university.

Prescription Drugs

Medication can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, but for people without health insurance, prescription drugs can be too expensive.

Medication must be prescribed and monitored by your physician. Do not adjust the dosage or frequency or stop taking it abruptly, even if cost is a factor, without first discussing it with your doctor.

Most pharmaceutical companies offer patient-assistance programs for uninsured patients. These programs provide prescribed medication at little to no cost. Contact companies directly about their patient assistance programs; eligibility varies.

Here are some pharmaceutical companies that offer patient assistance programs:

Forest (Now Allergan)

Lilly

Pfizer

Takeda

Generic drugs are a cheaper alternative to brand-name medications. Make sure your doctor writes your prescription in a way that allows for the generic version of the medication. There are medications that don’t yet have a generic version on the market because of patent protection. When a pharmaceutical company creates a new drug, until the patent expires, the company is the only one who can sell that drug. Pharmaceutical companies often give samples of their new drugs to doctors and clinics. Ask your doctor if they have any samples to give you. 

Buying medication online can be another cost-effective way to treat your anxiety disorder, but be cautious, there are hundreds of scams and illegal “pharmacies” online. If you order medication online, only use a licensed pharmacy with a licensed pharmacist on call to answer your questions. It’s illegal for a website to sell any medication without requiring a prescription. Also, be sure to read the privacy information on the pharmacy’s website. For more information, read the FDA’s consumer safety guide on buying prescription drugs online.

NeedyMeds is a 501(c)(3) national non-profit information resource dedicated to helping people locate assistance programs to help them afford their medications and other healthcare costs.  ADAA is partnering with NeedyMeds to provide information resource pages about various anxiety and depression-related disorders. NeedyMeds has provided this informational sheet with the most popular healthcare cost savings program.

Medicaid and Clinical Trial Information

If you are a U.S. citizen with low income, you may be eligible for Medicaid. Medicaid coverage includes mental health treatment costs; eligibility and services provided vary by state. If you are 65 years or older, you may be eligible for Medicare, which includes hospital and medical insurance and prescription drug coverage. Get more information about both of these government programs.

Before medications are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or before certain therapy methods are widely accepted as effective, they are tested on volunteers in a clinical trial. You can participate in a clinical trial, known also as a research study, but be aware that there are risks. Not all experimental treatments will be effective, and you may experience unpleasant or serious side effects. Eligibility, time commitment, and reimbursement vary. Search for a clinical trial on the ADAA website, or search the National Institutes of Health database.

Mental Health Apps

There has been a surge in mental health apps and telehealth therapy. Many mental health apps are free and if they do cost anything, it usually isn't as expensive as in-person treatment. Though mental health apps are convenient, they shouldn't be used as a replacement for professional care but rather as a supplement to your regular therapy sessions. Read more about mental health apps ADAA Mental Health Apps Resources.

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