Anxiety can cause major problems in your everyday life due to symptoms such as rapid heart rate, heavy sweating, insomnia, and restlessness. While there are various ways to cope with and manage anxiety, one common way is the use of medication, especially for people with anxiety disorders with immense symptoms. Unfortunately, the only medications for anxiety are prescription and can not be bought over the counter. There is no such thing as over-the-counter anxiety medication. Anxiety medication alters the brain which is why it is a controlled substance and something you have to obtain from a doctor. On the other hand, there are things you can take that are not prescription that is not necessarily anxiety medications, and can be purchased over the counter. These things can have similar effects that can alleviate some symptoms of anxiety and stress but it is not the same as prescription anxiety medication.
- Magnesium- Many times anxiety can be exacerbated by a lack of important nutrients. Anxiety causes the body to remain in a tense state, causing us to experience things like muscle tension. Magnesium supplements have been proven to reduce anxiety because of their nervous system relaxant effects. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer so it may decrease the experience of restlessness or irritability. This may provide you with some relief, even if it doesn’t relieve you of your symptoms altogether.
- Herbal supplements- Some herbal supplements have been found to be effective against symptoms of anxiety. Herbal supplements like passionflower, chamomile, and kava have been shown to be helpful. The use of lavender in aromatherapy has also been shown to reduce anxiety. Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that uses natural plant extracts to promote health and well-being. It is important to use caution when using these herbal supplements and should consult your doctor if you are considering using these products.
- Melatonin- Insomnia, trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, is a common symptom of anxiety. Melatonin is a hormone created by the pineal gland that helps your body know when it’s time to sleep and wake up. At night, the body creates more melatonin to assist with sleeping and levels drop when the sun rises. Taking melatonin may increase your sleep, diminishing another symptom of your anxiety.
- 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)— 5-HTP is a supplement known to increase serotonin levels. Serotonin is used to regulate mood, appetite, and other important functions. Studies have shown that by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain, they should be able to decrease anxiety symptoms. 5-HTP is not found in foods and would have to be taken as a supplement. There can be side effects to taking these supplements, so please consult your doctor before including them in your diet.
While anxiety medication, as well as other things described above, can be helpful in decreasing or eliminating symptoms of anxiety, it is not a cure. Medication is not a magic pill that makes your anxiety go away. The medication only rids you of the symptoms but not the root. To really address anxiety takes more than just medication, but insight, self-reflection, and coping skills in order to discover what causes your anxiety and how to change the way you feel and think. This is not to say that medication is not helpful, especially depending on the severity of your symptoms. Just remember, it is not the only way, and the best prognosis usually requires both methods in the long term.
At Clarity Clinic, we have highly trained staff who specialize in psychotherapy and psychiatry services. To learn more about how we can support your mental health, call Clarity Clinic on (312) 815-9660 or schedule an appointment today.