Best Medication for Anxiety
Feelings of unease or even fear are a normal response to challenging situations, such as a driving test, exams, financial worries or a visit to the doctor. Scientists say that anxiety evolved to help us cope with threats, forming part of the fight-or-flight response that prepared prehistoric human beings to face or run away from danger by triggering physiological changes. But don’t worry we have got the best medication for anxiety for you.
Normally, when the immediate challenge has passed, the anxiety eases. However, anxiety that persists or occurs with no obvious cause can interfere with everyday activities. You may start to avoid situations that make you anxious.
If you have severe anxiety, life can become difficult. You may feel low, tired and irritable and find it hard to concentrate; you may also have physical symptoms such as sweating, palpitations (the heart beating faster than normal), trembling, dizziness and feeling faint. You may have panic attacks or a persistent non-specific sense of apprehension.
The tendency to anxiety may be genetic, but major upsets, day-to-day worries and an unhappy childhood can also play a part. An imbalance in the chemicals in the brain may be another factor. Overactivity of the thyroid gland can lead to feelings of anxiety. This is treated with medication and/or surgery.
Table of Contents
- Best Medication for Anxiety
- Top 6 Medicine Solutions – Best Medication for Anxiety
- Best foods
- Worst foods
- Best supplements
Top 6 Medicine Solutions – Best Medication for Anxiety
1. Follow a low-GL diet and supplement chromium
The state of anxiety is associated with raised levels of the stress hormones adrenalin and cortisol. When your blood sugar dips (often a rebound from blood sugar highs) it promotes the release of adrenal hormones. Stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine cause the same reaction. The first step towards reducing anxiety, therefore, is to balance your blood sugar by eating a low-GL diet containing slow-releasing carbohydrates eaten with protein and to avoid, or at least considerably reduce, your use of stimulants and alcohol (see below). This alone has a major effect in reducing anxiety.
The mineral chromium helps to even out blood sugar by making you more sensitive to insulin – that’s the hormone that keeps blood sugar level even. It is particularly effective in those with symptoms of depression associated with sugar cravings and feeling tired and oversensitive. If that sounds like you, try supplementing 200mcg of chromium twice a day, with breakfast and lunch. Its a good medication supplement for anxiety.
2. Stop taking stimulants and reduce alcohol
The reason we use stimulants is to increase adrenal hormones and with them the feelings of energy and motivation. But the more you have, the more you need until you can’t function without them – feeling ‘flat. It takes only a few days to recover your natural energy by eating a low-GL diet and taking the right supplements.
If you are prone to anxiety and feeling stressed, the worst thing is to consume lots of caffeine, so step one for reducing anxiety is to become caffeine-free. The highest amounts of caffeine are found in strong coffee and high-caffeine energy drinks. There’s also some in tea, but tea is more calming due to the presence of an amino acid called theanine. So it is better than coffee, but you still need to limit your intake to two weak cups a day.
Nicotine is another stimulant, and quitting smoking is essential for reducing levels of anxiety, even though you may have become addicted precisely because a cigarette helped you to calm down.
Alcohol, at least for the first hour after drinking it, is a relaxant because it switches off adrenalin by promoting gammaaminobutyric acid (GABA) (see below). This is why it is a highly effective way to unwind. But, similar to nicotine, the effect of using alcohol on a daily basis is the opposite.
You become more stressed. Also, alcohol disturbs the normal dreaming cycle and the net effect is that you wake up more tired and irritable, in need of more caffeine in the day, then alcohol again in the evening. It’s a vicious cycle. To reduce anxiety, it is important to drink lightly and even take a break from alcohol altogether for a couple of weeks.
3. Supplement GABA and taurine
GABA is the main inhibitory or calming neurotransmitter in the brain. It not only switches off stress hormones but it also helps promote serotonin, thereby affecting your mood. For these reasons, having enough GABA in your brain is associated with feeling relaxed and happy, whereas having too little is associated with anxiety, tension, depression and insomnia.
As well as being a neurotransmitter, GABA is also an amino acid. This means that it’s a nutrient and, by supplementing it, you can help to promote normal healthy levels of GABA in the brain.
There is one problem, however. In the EU, GABA has been classified as a medicine, making it no longer available over the counter in the UK. You can buy GABA supplements on the internet from countries such as the US, however, If you are able to buy it, supplement GABA 500–1000mg once or twice a day, to act as a highly effective natural relaxant.
But note that although it is not addictive, this doesn’t mean that there are no side effects in large amounts. Up to 2g, a day has no reported downside; however, if you go up to mg a day, this can induce nausea or even vomiting and a rise in blood pressure. Therefore, use GABA wisely, especially if you already have high blood pressure, starting with no more than 1000mg a day, and do not exceed 3g a day. If you take it in the evening, it also helps you get to sleep.
Taurine is another relaxing amino acid, similar in structure and effect to GABA. Many people think taurine is a stimulant because it is used in so-called energy drinks, but it is not. It helps you relax and unwind from high levels of adrenalin, much like GABA.
Taurine is highly concentrated in animal foods such as fish, eggs and meat. Vegetarians are therefore more likely to be at risk of deficiency. Try 500–1,000mg of taurine twice daily. There are no known cautions or adverse effects at reasonable doses.
4. Take relaxing herbs — valerian, hops and passion flower
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is an excellent anti-anxiety herb. As a natural relaxant, it is useful for several disorders such as restlessness, nervousness, insomnia and hysteria, and it has also been used as a sedative for ‘nervous’ stomach. Valerian acts on the brain’s GABA receptors, thereby simulating the effects of the neurotransmitter GABA, which switches off adrenalin. This enhances the GABA receptors’ activity, offering a similar tranquillising action as the Valium-type drugs but without the same side effects. As a relaxant, you need to take 50–100mg twice a day, and double this amount 45 minutes before retiring for a good night’s sleep.
Since valerian increases the power of sedative drugs, including muscle relaxants and antihistamines, don’t take it if you are on medication for anxiety without your doctor’s consent. Valerian can also interact with alcohol, as well as certain psychotropic drugs and narcotics.
Hops (Hu mulus lupulus) are an ancient remedy for a good night’s sleep and probably included in beer for that reason. Hops help to calm nerves by acting directly on the central nervous system, rather than affecting GABA receptors. You need about 200mg per day, but the effect is much less than valerian and most effective when taken in combination with this and other herbs, such as passion flower.
Passion flower (Passiflora incarnata) was a favourite of the Aztecs, who used it to make relaxing drinks. It has a mild sedative effect and promotes sleep, in a similar way to hops, with no known side effects at normal doses. Passion flower can also be helpful for hyperactive children. You need about 100-200mg a day.
Combinations of these herbs are particularly effective for relieving anxiety and can really help break the pattern of reacting stressfully to life’s challenges.
5. Increase magnesium —the calming mineral
Magnesium is another important nutrient that helps you relax. It’s also commonly deficient and depleted by chronic stress. Magnesium not only relaxes your mind but also your muscles, and symptoms of deficiency include muscle aches, cramps and spasms, as well as anxiety and insomnia. Low levels are commonly found in anxious people, and supplementation can often help. You need to take about 500mg of magnesium a day.
Seeds and nuts are rich in magnesium, as are vegetables and fruit, but especially dark green leafy vegetables such as kale or spinach. 1 recommend eating these magnesium-rich foods every day, which should provide 200mg, and supplementing an additional 3oomg. If you are especially anxious and can’t sleep, take your magnesium in the evening, a couple of hours before bed.
6. Practise stress-reduction techniques
Some people need a little extra help to learn how to switch out of the adrenalin state. There are breathing and meditation techniques for this, as well as psychotherapeutic avenues to explore in dealing with the perceived stresses and causes of anxiety, and many of them can be extremely helpful. I have been particularly impressed by HeartMath techniques and also the effects of ‘vital energy’ exercises such as yoga, t’ai chi and Psychocalisthenics®.
- Dark green vegetables – kale, spinach
- Nuts and seeds, especially almonds and pumpkin seeds (rich in magnesium)
- Green tea (in moderation)
- Whole foods
- Caffeinated drinks
- Refined carbohydrates
- 2 x high-potency multivitamin-minerals providing B vitamins, 10mg zinc and 100mg magnesium
- 2 X vitamin C 1000mg
- 2 x essential omegas with fish-oil-derived omega-3, plus omega-6 from borage or evening primrose oil.
- 2 x GABA 500mg, taken on an empty stomach in the evening Or a formula containing glutamine, taurine, magnesium and herbs
- 2 x valerian 50-100mg
Don’t exceed 3,000mg of GABA, and consult your doctor before taking GABA or valerian if you are on tranquillising medication or sleeping pills. Also, do not combine with alcohol.