Treating Anxiety Without Prescription Medication: What You Need to Know
Mental health is a growing concern in the United States, where 46 million adults experience mental health issues ranging from depression to anxiety each year. Anxiety is an especially alarming problem as it is quite common nowadays. Considering that anxiety and depression have been steadily on the rise in the last couple of years, it would be in your best interest to inform yourself on how to best deal with these issues.
One of the most common ways to address anxiety is through the use of prescription medication. And while you can’t really argue against the efficacy of prescription medication, it doesn’t come without its drawbacks. This is why we thought it would be useful to put together an article discussing how to treat anxiety without the use of medication. We understand that this sounds too good to be true but trust us when we say that there are alternatives when it comes to treating anxiety. If this is something that you want to learn more about, read on as we discuss everything that you need to know about treating anxiety without using medication.
What Are the Natural Treatments for Anxiety?
For individuals seeking a more natural treatment option to help them cope with their anxiety symptoms or to take alongside their conventional medicine regimen, here are a couple of natural treatments for anxiety:
- Mediation: The benefits of meditation are well-documented. Seeing as anxiety is connected to stress, finding a way to clear your mind and manage stress will be effective. If you are new to meditation, it may be easiest to start with guided meditations, which are often available on YouTube and podcasts. It is best not to worry about an overactive mind at the beginning. You may be surprised how a little meditation goes a long way after a few weeks, especially as you continue to practice regularly.
- Magnesium: Magnesium is essential for maintaining a calm mind because it helps regulate glutamate and GABA actions. Magnesium is vital for GABA function, so consider magnesium supplementation as a part of a treatment plan for anxiety disorders. Magnesium chelate, citrate, or chloride are the ideal forms to use because they are the most bioavailable and well-absorbed.
- Vitamin B-complex: Vitamin B6 can help reduce stress and stabilize moods. This isn’t all that surprising considering that one of the signs of vitamin B6 deficiency is anxiety itself. Vitamin B6 helps to boost mood and balance blood sugar levels, and it also maintains a healthy nervous system.
Aside from the alternatives that we’ve listed above, changing your diet and cutting back on sugar will also help you deal with anxiety. Eating foods containing sugar can lead to sugar highs and lows throughout the day, causing symptoms of anxiety and erratic mood swings.
It’s important to note that none of these alternatives are designed to get rid of your anxiety. These alternatives are not meant to replace medication but will help you be more flexible when it comes to how to treat anxiety. However, they will be effective for managing the symptoms.
What Is Anxiety?
Before anything else, it’s important that we’re all on the same page when it comes to anxiety. While it’s a word that gets thrown around a lot, some people may not know what exactly it is and what it means. To put it simply, anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress. It’s a combination of fear and worry that could be caused by a variety of factors. These factors might include a unique set of genetics and even brain chemistry.
Anxiety can be rather difficult to spot, as everyone is different when it comes to how they deal with mental health issues. Here are some common symptoms to be aware of:
- Increased heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Inability to concentrate
While anxiety can present itself in different ways for different people, it can often be characterized by having a butterfly feeling in the stomach, having panic attacks, having nightmares, or holding painful thoughts in one’s head.
Another thing that we have to talk about is the difference between everyday anxiety and anxiety disorders. While everyone feels anxious every now and then, anxiety disorders are a different matter altogether.
Here are some of the most common anxiety disorders:
- Panic Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Separation Anxiety
- Illness Anxiety
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Social Anxiety Disorder
What Are the Dangers of Using Medication?
If medication is so effective when it comes to treating anxiety, why then would you look for alternatives? While it is true that prescription medication helps treat the symptoms of anxiety and anxiety disorders, it can be quite harmful when misused. Now, we aren’t saying that medication is bad but it does come with risks and drawbacks.
One of the main dangers of abusing prescription drugs is addiction. This tendency is particularly high with drugs used to relieve pain, cure diseases, treat psychological disorders, and induce sleep. If you repeatedly take these drugs at high doses, your body may develop a tolerance to each one. In time, you will have to take increasingly higher doses to get the same pleasurable effect. While not all prescription medication is addictive, the ones commonly used for anxiety are.
To help you get a better idea of this, here are the most commonly used anxiety medications:
- Valium (diazepam): Diazepam, also known as Valium, is a medication used to treat anxiety. The medication increases the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is an important neurotransmitter in the central nervous system.
- Xanax (alprazolam): Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine that comes in both immediate-release and extended-release forms. It attaches to specific receptors in your brain and nervous system, producing a calming effect.
- Klonopin (clonazepam): Clonazepam is a medication that has an effect on your body’s GABA levels and also increases their activity. This results in a more relaxed state, which can help relieve anxiety, panic attacks, and sleep issues.
- Ativan (lorazepam): Lorazepam is a tranquilizing medication that treats anxiety symptoms. This is usually used by people who suffer from severe insomnia.
Most of the drugs listed above expose patients to a high risk of addiction. Valium and Xanax are commonly abused and are quite addictive when misused. If you do opt to take medication, be sure to consult with a medical professional. Be sure to follow their prescription in order to minimize the risk of addiction and abuse.
We hope this article proves to be useful when it comes to furthering your understanding of alternative ways to deal with anxiety. As you can see, you have a multitude of different options to choose from. Be sure to consult with your doctor before trying any of these alternatives, so they can advise you on how to approach treatment.