Millions of people in the US suffer from anxiety disorders, which are the most frequent type of mental condition. You already know that having an anxiety disorder can have an effect on every aspect of your life. Anxiety can be devastating with signs including panic attacks, a fast heartbeat, shaking, and sweating. Although medication is an effective treatment option, you might be worried about developing an addiction if you’ve already struggled with substance use. The chance of developing into addiction can be significantly decreased by selecting a non-addictive anxiety medication.
Some anti-anxiety medications produce euphoria or a state of extreme excitement and pleasure. This powerful high may cause addictions, making you need more medication over time to feel the same way. Even if you haven’t experienced addiction, some anti-anxiety medications, such as benzos, have such a history of abuse that you might wish to avoid them. To be Non-Habit-Forming Anxiety Medication Alternatives should not flood your brain with dopamine, the neurotransmitter that gives you that high. Thankfully, some highly effective anti-anxiety drugs don’t have an addictive potential because they don’t induce euphoria. In addition, there are numerous therapy-based treatments for anxiety disorders that don’t use any sort of medication.
Alternatives to Benzodiazepines for Anxiety Medication But non-Addictive
Usually, benzodiazepines like Xanax are best used for only short periods of time. This is because there is a chance of adverse effects and benzo dependency, which can happen in as little as a few weeks to a month of consistent use. Once someone becomes dependent on a medicine, stopping it abruptly will result in benzo withdrawal symptoms and maybe rebound effects. It is crucial to find alternatives to benzodiazepines for anxiety because withdrawals from these drugs can be unpleasant and severe.
For the treatment of anxiety, benzos and other medications like Xanax 1mg are not provided over the counter. However, over-the-counter antihistamines like Benadryl and diphenhydramine have been indicated as temporary treatments for anxiety symptoms. The sedating side effects of over-the-counter antihistamines make them unsuitable for daily use, though there is probably no harm in taking one on occasion as a Xanax substitute. Additionally, any signs of anxiety should be examined with a mental health expert rather than self-medicating in case better solutions are available.
How does anxiety medication work?
Controlled anxiety drugs, like benzodiazepines, function by attaching to the GABA receptors in the brain. This effect relaxes you and helps to minimize anxiousness and muscle spasms.
Since they quickly induce tolerance in the body and brain and need higher doses to have the same effect, benzos are regarded as controlled substances. When you take these drugs on a regular basis, your body learns to depend on external methods of relaxation. As a result, you can feel anxious, tense, and irritated if you stop taking the medication.
Non-controlled medicines have a different effect on the brain. For instance, SNRIs work on serotonin and norepinephrine simultaneously, whereas SSRIs only have a gradual effect on the serotonin system. Benzodiazepines lose their effectiveness with time, whereas these drugs are safer for prolonged usage.
Non-Addictive medication for Anxiety
There are many distinct types of anxiety and several mental health therapies available. Before prescribing medicine, your doctor will take into account the type of anxiety you experience as well as any other physical or mental health concerns you may have. The list of best Non-Addictive Treatments for Anxiety with minimal to no abuse potential is shown below.
Drugs in the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor class were initially created to treat depression. It was discovered that these drugs reduced anxiety just as well, although still not better, than other types of medication. They function by raising the level of serotonin in your brain, which lifts your mood. They are especially beneficial in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) (OCD). SSRIs consist of;
- Sertraline (Zoloft)
- Fluoxetine (Prozac)
- Escitalopram (Lexapro)
- Citalopram (Celexa)
- Paroxetine (Paxil)
SSRIs, which are non-addictive anxiety drugs, have the disadvantage that it takes four to six weeks for you to start experiencing the full effects after taking them. If you abruptly stop taking them, they can also have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, including vertigo, nausea or vomiting, chills, shock sensations or “brain zaps,” and visual problems.
For conditions like panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors are appropriate. They are similar to SSRIs in that they increase serotonin but differ in that they also regulate norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that is associated with alertness and focus. Managing both of these has a significant, advantageous impact on mood. Examples include;
- Venlafaxine (Effexor)
- Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
The potential adverse effects of SNRIs include fatigue, appetite loss, and constipation in addition to those of SSRIs. Similar to SSRIs, SNRIs have withdrawal symptoms when you abruptly stop taking them.
Typically, beta-blockers are used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure). However, they are also occasionally used to treat anxiety, particularly the physical signs of anxiety like shaking or sweating. Atenolol and propranolol are two beta blockers that are frequently administered for this off-label purpose.
These medications function by interfering with the body’s two main messenger neurotransmitters, noradrenaline, and adrenaline. These chemical messengers, which are released when the body is anxious, are what result in certain undesirable side effects, including sweating, trembling, and an increase in heart rate. Beta-blockers work by inhibiting the effects of these chemical messengers, which lowers anxiety’s physical symptoms as well as some of its psychological symptoms.
Even though these pills don’t cause addiction, it’s typically not advisable to use them repeatedly over an extended period of time. Although they often don’t harm even after months or years of use, routine exams can assist ensure that they aren’t having an effect on your health. Particularly when taking beta blockers, a person should have their blood pressure tested more frequently.
Xanax and gabapentin, often known as Neurontin, share many similarities. They both function the same way and exhibit comparable side effects. The primary distinction is that, when used to treat GAD, gabapentin has a better risk-to-benefit ratio than Xanax. As a result, it might be a better option for GAD treatment than other addictive substances.
Similar to Xanax, gabapentin is only a second-line treatment for instances that are difficult to manage due to its severe side effect profile, abuse risk, and paucity of studies to support its usage.
Lifestyle Changes to eliminate Anxiety medication
Making lifestyle changes is a tried-and-true way to deal with chronic anxiety. Although modifying one’s way of life can help to deal better with anxiety, it may not be sufficient to treat severe anxiety disorders. Still, it will always enhance other anxiety treatments. Planning and managing sleep, nutrition, and exercise are just a few examples of lifestyle changes.
To put it simply, restorative sleep balances brain activity, which enhances function and lowers anxiety. Additionally, a diet high in nutritious foods and low in caffeine and sweets provide anxiety-relieving effects. Alcohol should be avoided or consumed in moderation in conjunction with a healthy diet to help manage the symptoms of anxiety. GABA, a neurotransmitter necessary for stable brain chemistry, is impacted by regular alcohol consumption. The most essential modification for lowering anxiety may be exercised. The brain releases feel-good hormones like serotonin and endorphins when you exercise. Exercises like yoga and various forms of meditation are particularly effective at improving mood and lowering stress.