Anxiety affects millions of people every year, and anxiety disorders are considered to be the most prevalent of mental illnesses. Statistics show that in the United States, some 40 million adults grapple with an anxiety disorder every year — over 18 percent of the total adult population. It’s estimated that around 25 percent of children in the U.S. struggle with anxiety, too.
For many people, the first line of treatment provided to them by their doctor will be a prescription drug, as usual. But the truth is that there are many natural alternatives, which are just as effective and boast fewer side effects (if any).
The Xanax controversey
Xanax and its generic counterparts are some of the most commonly prescribed prescription drugs, and are part of the “benzodiazepine” class of drugs. Benzodiazepines are used to treat anxiety — but they come with some serious consequences. Even so, doctors write 44 million prescriptions for Xanax alone every year — and many of those prescription holders will find themselves in rehab, thanks to a budding benzodiazepine addiction.
Narconon reports that rehab admission rates for people with a benzodiazepine addiction nearly tripled between 1998 and 2008. This coincides with an increase in prescription rates as well: CDC data shows the number of adults using a benzodiazepine increased 67 percent over 18 years, from 8.1 million prescriptions in 1996 to 13.5 million in 2013.
Additionally, the researchers say that the quantity of filled prescriptions increased during the same time frame.
The outlook for Xanax and its pharma cousins is even bleaker today: Studies show that the death toll from these drugs has been increasing over the last several years. Benzodiazepine addiction has been overshadowed by the devastating opioid addiction epidemic — yet, these pharmaceuticals are responsible for over 30 percent of prescription drug overdoses. In either case, Big Pharma is ultimately to blame — especially when it comes to Xanax.
Not only has Xanax been glamorized to an alarming extent, it is well-known that tolerance to Xanax builds up quickly. This means people need more of the drug to produce the same “effect” over time — sometimes, in just a matter of weeks.
The risk of addiction is so high that the National Institutes of Health has stated that Xanax shouldn’t be used in patients for more than a few months — yet many people end up on the drug long-term.
There are so many natural alternatives to help treat anxiety, prescribing addictive, potentially lethal drugs is downright criminal.
Natural methods for overcoming anxiety
There are many options for natural anxiety relief. Amino acids, in particular, are believed to be very useful in this regard: By bolstering production of neurotransmitter GABA, amino acids taurine and L-theanine both have the potential to reduce anxiety. Attenuating GABA, the “brain calming chemical,” is actually exactly how Xanax works. Studies have shown that L-theanine can fight anxiety as well as the drug.
A number of vitamins and minerals are known to help reduce anxiety and promote overall mental health. These include B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium and zinc.
Many herbs are known to help reduce anxiety. Chamomile, passionflower, valerian, and lemon balm all have a place in the plant-based medicine arsenal, and are known for promoting relaxation. Recent studies suggest these herbs help support GABA production. But two of the most potent anxiety-relieving herbs are kava and and gotu kola.
Beyond supplements, there are a host of other tricks for relieving anxiety. Avoiding caffeine is a big one, as lots of people find it worsens anxiety. Getting plenty of sleep, frequent exercise and employing a regular meditation or yoga practice can also help quell feelings of anxiousness.
See more coverage of the dangers of psychiatric drugs at PsychDrugs.news.
Sources for this article include:
- The “root” of your problems: How valerian root can help with anxiety and sleep
- Nicotine, anxiety, depression, stress – What’s the formula for escaping the dopamine roller coaster?
- Drink your worries away? Researchers look into resveratrol as a means to reduce depression and anxiety
- Curb your anxiety by drinking a cup of matcha green tea