what kind of natural medicine i can take for anxiety?

I have been treated for anxiety for many years and i take lorazepam as needed and it make me feel drowsiness i don’t want to get hook on lorazepam, so i am looking for some natural medicine to take for anxiety do any one know the best natural medicine for anxiety?

6 comments

  • Pharmacy

    Hi Joe,
    I am a fourth year pharmacy student and work in a retail setting where I have had this question asked before, “What is the best natural medicine to treat anxiety?” I understand you have been diagnosed with anxiety for some years, treated with lorazepam and is concerned about feeling drowsy and developing an addiction.
    There are five types of anxiety disorder: general anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), obsessive compulsion disorder (OCD), panic disorder (PD) and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Were you formally diagnosed? Do you know which type of anxiety you were diagnosed with (GAD is the most common)? If not, what are some of your symptoms? Do you have any other health conditions? Have you taken any natural remedies for your anxiety before? Where you ever tried on another anti-anxiety medication? Do you take any other medication/ herbals besides lorazepam?
    Anxiety attacks may be induced by taking some types of drugs, environmental stressors, physical trauma and hormonal imbalances. Drugs that may trigger an attack – include Benadryl, diet pills and stimulants such as caffeine and pseudoephedrine (found in several cough and cold products) – should be avoided. It is also important that you try to minimize stressors by implementing relaxation techniques, such as, meditation, massages, yoga and aromatherapy.
    Conventional medicines used to treat anxiety are: tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin- norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and sedatives. TCAs are infrequently used due to their extended side effect profile. SSRIs and SNRIs are widely used to correct the abnormal balance of neurotransmitters that potentiate anxiety. They work by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin or both serotonin and norepinephrine respectively. The sedatives (include the drug you are using lorazepam) work quickly at reducing the symptoms of anxiety and are used for a short term as a bridge to longer acting medications (TCA, SSRI/SNRI). The sedatives work by increasing the effect of another neurotransmitter GABA, which regulate both norepinephrine and serotonin. These drugs are indicated based on the spectrum of the disorder you have. The only drug that is FDA approved to treat all spectrums is Paxil (SSRI).
    Many people turn to natural alternative treatment options for the same reasons as you. There are several drugs available: 5-HTP, L-tryptophan (becomes 5-HTP in the body), St. John’s Wort, SAMe, Kava Kava, Passionflower, Theanine and Valerian root. Studies have shown that many of the natural drugs exert effect on the various neurotransmitters similarly to the conventional drugs. But the biggest hindrance with natural drugs is the lack of adequate evidence in terms of their safety and efficacy profiles which makes it difficult to make a recommendation.
    Being natural does not mean that they are without side effects. Most of these products are associated with sedation and drowsiness which was one of the concerns you mentioned. L-tryptophan is linked to a fatal neurological condition called eosinophilia myalgia. Intoxication of the liver has been reported in patients on Kava Kava and Valerian root. St. John’s wort and SAMe interact with several other medications. For example, if taken with other antidepressants may cause serotonin syndrome which is a potentially fatal reaction that affect the central nervous system (CNS). Alarmingly, there are reports of worsening anxiety in patients who take these natural products. Don’t use any of these products if you are taking other medications without speaking to your physician or pharmacist first.
    I recommend that you speak with your physician about trial on one of the other classes of drug I mentioned. Good luck!

    Reference:
    1.Natural Medicines in the Clinical Management of Anxiety. Pharmacist’s Letter. Available at: http://pharmacistsletter.therapeuticresearch.com/ce/ceCourse.aspx?cs=STUDENT&s=PL&pc=11-109&pm=0&quiz=1&searchid=44569498&ceid=CE4245127#references. Accessed Jan 6, 2014.
    2.Micromedex 2.0 Online. Micromedex Online Website. Available at: http://www.micromedexsolutions.com/micromedex2/librarian/ND_T/evidencexpert/ND_PR/evidencexpert/CS/E953EB/ND_AppProduct/evidencexpert/DUPLICATIONSHIELDSYNC/97F554/ND_PG/evidencexpert/ND_B/evidencexpert/ND_P/evidencexpert/PFActionId/evidencexpert.GoToDashboard?docId=445110&contentSetId=100&title=Paroxetine+Hydrochloride&servicesTitle=Paroxetine+Hydrochloride&brandName=Paxil. Accessed Jan 7, 2014.
    3.Anxiety Disorder. WebMD Website. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/mental-health-anxiety-disorders. Accessed Jan 7, 2014.
    4.Natural Medicine Comprehensive Database. Natural Medicine Online. Available at: http://naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com. Accessed Jan 8, 2014.

  • Try not using anything

  • Chicago Mike

    You have some different options.

    Magnesium
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201106/magnesium-and-the-brain-the-original-chill-pill

    Magnesium is a mineral that naturally helps to relax the body. It is good for both mind and body.

    L-Theanine
    http://www.suntheanine.com/research/l-theanine-relieves-positive-activation-and-anxiety-symptoms-in-patients-with-schizophrenia-and-schizoaffective-disorder-an-8-week-randomized-double-blind-placebo-controlled-2-center-study/

    It is an amino acid found naturally in green tea. If taken as a supplement it can be very calming and relaxing as the scientific studies show.

    Niacin
    http://www.doctoryourself.com/anxiety.html

    Niacin also known as vitamin B-3 is another excellent option. Here is a quote from the link: "Niacin in appropriate doses acts as a natural tranquilizer and induces relaxation or sleep."

    Lavender
    http://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/article_content.asp?article=289
    An essential oil that you can inhale and helps you to stay calm and relaxed. Lots of different ways to incorporate it into your life including candles or baths.

    Exercise is a excellent and free way to help a person suffering from anxiety.

    There are many more options (including teas and essential oils), but hopefully this is a good starting point for you.

  • The most natural way would be to learn a relaxation/meditation technique. There are lots of free downloadable MP3 files you could try, its like learning any skill, you get better with practice. You could also look for some self help material which help you understand your anxiety better. Improving your general health and fitness also helps develop resilience. For herbs, you could try.
    A tea made with Lemon Balm a quite pleasant night time drink. (if you can buy the dried herb it much cheaper than other sources.)
    Camomile tea – but doesn’t taste as nice.
    Passiflora or Valerian are stronger sedatives but get these in capsules they taste horrible.
    Some people use L Tryptophan at night, (a milky drink has lots of this)
    You are right to avoid any benzodiazepine like lorazepam they are terrible drugs, if you need prescription drugs anti depressants also work and are safer.

  • Shauna

    THis is not so much a medicine, but rather something to explore in taking care of the anxiety, period.

    Many autoimmune diseases, which are often missed by doctors, can cause anxiety as a symptom. You may want to look up anxiety, symptom, an autoimmune, and see what comes up. Check if anything you experience might match symptoms. Celiac disease and hypothyroidism are two I can think of that can cause this.

    Another thing to look at is allergies. The substances released when mast cells degranulate (due to an allergic reaction) cause anxiety. So if you have any low level allergies, even hay fever, it can actually cause anxiety. This is what I’ve recently been through, finding out that my anxiety has been due to undiagnosed allergic reactions, for over 20 years!

    So getting tested for allergies may be helpful. Going on an elimination diet can help sometimes, too, as some folks suffer from anxiety, even very severe anxiety, due to food intolerances. There are not tests for these (except lactose and fructose intolerance), aside from an elimination diet and food journal to track foods and how you feel.

  • do you exercise? get your heart rate up at all? work up a sweat?
    that would be your best bet to burn off the stress, increase oxygen, and feeling of well being so you will sleep better as well…..outside of that….there is 5htp at health food stores and st johns wort combined also at health food stores….how ever, you could compile a list
    and work on them by process of elimination…because, what works for one does not work for another

    also, pdr of herbs, amazon books
    encyclopedia of natural healing, amazon books
    one earth herbal sourcebook, amazon books
    also search at [ naturalnews.com ]

    best wishes and congrats for getting off pharmaceuticals

Leave a Reply