Millions of people struggle with some form of anxiety. According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, 6.8 million adults are affected by generalized anxiety disorder. However, only 43% of these adults are receiving treatment. You’re here because you suspect you have anxiety, but maybe you haven’t been to the doctor or don’t want to turn to prescription medication quite yet. We’re going to discuss over the counter anxiety medication and some natural treatments that are available. Cleaning up your diet and avoiding processed foods and sugars can help. Sunlight in your eyes in the morning is great, along with exercise.
Are OTC Anxiety Meds Available?
There is no such thing as over the counter anxiety medication. Most medications used to treat GAD and other anxiety disorders require a prescription from a health professional because they alter brain chemistry.
However, there are certain supplements, vitamins, and practices you can incorporate to help you manage anxiety and symptoms that come with it, like insomnia and restlessness.
Natural Anxiety Treatments
Research shows that certain vitamins and supplements can help manage anxiety symptoms. Here are some of the most commonly available ones you should consider:
Magnesium is an important mineral that our bodies need to function. Many adults aren’t getting the amount of magnesium they need, and with this lack of nutrients, anxiety may be exacerbated. It could possibly lead to muscle tension, and magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer, decreasing restlessness and even irritability. It is very important to get the right type of magnesium as different salts have different absorption and effects.
If you struggle with insomnia due to anxiety, you might want to consider adding melatonin into your nightly routine. Melatonin is the hormone that regulates when we feel tired and ready to sleep. If your mind is racing and you can’t relax to fall asleep, taking a few milligrams of melatonin may be the key to getting a restful night of sleep. Melatonin is a hormone and while we used to recommend it more in the past, recent research has given us pause on how often and how much melatonin should be used. Dosages vary between 1 and 10 mg, 3 mg should really be the maximum dose, if at all.
One supplement that has risen quickly in popularity for anxiety treatment is CBD, or cannabidiol. This is a cannabinoid that derives from the cannabis plant, and no, it’s not the same thing as THC, or the psychoactive component, of the plant. CBD works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system in our bodies, and this system controls all kinds of functions, including the same one that triggers anxiety. People have reported an improvement in anxiety after a few weeks of taking CBD, so it may be something to consider trying.
Another alternative to over the counter anxiety medication is 5-Hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP. This supplement actually has proven to increase serotonin levels in the brain, which most people with anxiety don’t produce enough serotonin. This chemical controls appetite, mood regulation, and other important functions. It is important before starting this to check interactions with antidepressants that work on our serotonin system.
If you want to further decrease your anxiety, you could incorporate relaxation techniques along with some of these supplements. Mindful meditation helps keep your mind in the present and recognize when thoughts start to have too much power.
Breath work also brings your mind to the present by focusing on your breath, and by physically breathing in this way, your heart rate slows and blood pressure reduces. Of course, exercise reduces anxiety by releasing endorphins and other chemicals.
Sometimes incorporating techniques and taking supplements still aren’t enough to treat anxiety, especially if you truly have a disorder. This is because the amygdala in your brain releases too many hormones, so your body needs the brain altering help these prescription medications provide. Please consult a physician before trying to treat anxiety yourself.
Although there aren’t any over the counter anxiety medications you can take, the supplements and treatments may be a good solution for you. If you have spoken with your doctor and they believe these alternative treatments would be beneficial for you, there’s no better place to pick them up than our drug store! Reach out to us to see if we have what you need, and come by to get it in person!