Anxiety is a growing problem in our society, with more and more people experiencing feelings of fear, worry, and unease on a regular basis. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 40 million adults in the United States alone suffer from an anxiety disorder, making it one of the most common mental health issues among adults.
Anxiety has become increasingly common in modern life, but it’s also highly treatable. Unfortunately, many anti-anxiety medications can have severe side effects and can sometimes be addictive. Fortunately, there are several types of non-addictive anxiety medications available that can provide effective relief without the risk of becoming dependent on them. With the right information and treatment, you can find relief from anxiety without the risk of addiction.
Why is Anxiety Medication Addictive?
Not all anxiety medication is addictive. However, one commonly prescribed type of anxiety medication, benzodiazepines, is an addictive type of drug commonly sometimes used to treat anxiety, insomnia, epilepsy, and other medical conditions. They are among the most widely prescribed medications in the world, but their use is not without risks.
Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that target the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptor in the brain. They work by binding to GABA receptors, which then increases the effectiveness of GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that acts as a natural tranquilizer and sedative. This makes benzodiazepines very effective at treating anxiety disorders.
Despite the widespread prescription of benzos, long-term use can result in physical dependence and tolerance. Patients will need to take increasingly higher doses to achieve the same effect over time. If a person stops taking benzodiazepines abruptly after using them for more than 8-10 weeks, they may experience tremors, difficulty sleeping, panic, sweating, agitation, seizures, and even death.
In light of these side effects, it is important to be aware of alternative, non-addictive anxiety medication when it comes to treating anxiety disorders.
What Are The Benefits Of Non-Addictive Anxiety Medication?
The main benefit of using non-addictive anxiety medications is that they don’t produce physical dependence in the way that benzos do. This means that if you ever need to stop taking them, you won’t experience withdrawal symptoms like those associated with benzos or other addictive substances.
In addition, non-addictive medication therapies are often less expensive than benzodiazepines and may have fewer side effects. They may also be easier to obtain since some pharmacies don’t carry benzodiazepines.
Finally, non-addictive medications can often be combined with other treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and stress management. This approach helps to address the underlying causes of anxiety, which makes it more likely that you’ll be able to effectively manage your symptoms in the long run.
What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably experienced some form of anxiety at some point in your life. Anxiety is a feeling of tension, nervousness, and fear that can range from mild to life-threatening. It’s been estimated that approximately 50% of the population experience some degree of anxiety at some point in their lives.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is the most common type of anxiety disorder characterized by chronic and persistent worry about many different things. Common symptoms of GAD include:
- Feeling on edge all the time
- Being tense and stressed out even when there’s no reason to be
- Trouble concentrating
- Excessive worry about personal safety
- Difficulty sleeping
If you experience two or more of these symptoms regularly for more than six months, you may have GAD.
Fortunately, there are several effective, non-addictive treatments for GAD and other anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, to treat anxiety available today. Some examples include medication therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and stress management training programs. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses – it’s important to find the treatment approach that works best for you based on your specific symptoms and history.
Which Non-Addictive Anxiety Medication Is Right For Me?
If you’re struggling with anxiety, you know it can be difficult to live with. It can be tough to find the right medication to help you manage your symptoms and even tougher to stick with it.
There are a variety of different types of non-addictive anxiety medications available on the market today. Each has its unique benefits and drawbacks, so you must take the time to explore all your options before deciding. Here are some of the options:
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): SSRIs are a class of drugs that work by making more serotonin, one of the “feel-good” hormones, available to your brain. They are often prescribed for people with mild to moderate anxiety because they have few side effects and don’t generally cause physical dependence. Although these were drugs originally developed to treat depression, they have been used “off-label” to treat anxiety disorders for many years.
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs): TCAs are another class of drugs that work by increasing levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, two neurotransmitters that help regulate mood. They tend to be used for more severe cases of anxiety because they have more side effects than SSRIs.
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs): SNRIs work by increasing levels of both serotonin and norepinephrine, two other neurotransmitters that can help regulate mood. They are usually prescribed for people with more severe anxiety because they have fewer side effects than TCAs.
Buspirone: Buspirone is a drug that increases serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine levels. It has been found to be effective in treating generalized anxiety disorder, and it doesn’t cause physical dependence or serious withdrawal symptoms.
Beta-blockers: Beta-blockers are drugs that block the production of adrenaline, one of the body’s stress hormones. They are often prescribed for panic attacks or other forms of severe anxiety, but they can have serious side effects and can be addictive if used long-term.
In addition to nonaddictive anxiety medication options, a variety of non-medicinal treatments are available that may help you manage your anxiety without using drugs.
TMS Therapy and Non-Medication Alternatives
In addition to non-addictive medications, there are a number of other treatments that may help you manage your anxiety without resorting to drugs.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a noninvasive therapy that uses magnetic fields to stimulate areas of the brain associated with mood regulation. It has been found to be effective in treating depression, especially when it co-occurs with anxiety.
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) combines cognitive behavioral therapy principles with mindfulness techniques such as meditation and breathing exercises. It has been found to be an effective means of managing anxiety and is often recommended as an alternative to medication.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based form of psychotherapy that has been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of both disorders without relying on any drugs or medication at all.
Other alternatives include yoga, exercise, relaxation techniques, and acupuncture. Exercise can be therapeutic and may help to reduce symptoms through endorphin release. Healthy sleep habits can also aid in gaining restful sleep at night. Each of these can help reduce stress and improve your overall well-being, which in turn can help manage symptoms of anxiety.
Other Ways To Manage Anxiety Disorders
Now that you know more about non-addictive anxiety medications and other alternatives, here are a few tips to help you healthily manage your symptoms:
Take breaks throughout the day
When you’re feeling overwhelmed by your anxious thoughts, take a five-minute break every hour or so to walk outside or rest in a comfortable chair. This will help reset your mood and allow you to think more clearly later in the day.
Practice meditation or mindfulness techniques
These techniques have been shown time and time again to reduce stress levels and improve mental health overall. There are many different types of meditation that cater to everyone – find one that works best for you!
Caffeine is a common culprit when it comes to feeling anxious – drink plenty of water instead! It’s also important to keep track of food allergies if you’re worried about any potential side effects from medication therapy. Be sure also consult with your doctor if these dietary restrictions aren’t helping – sometimes they require additional medication therapy.
Exercise has physical benefits as well as mental ones – exercise releases endorphins, which have anti-anxiety properties, plus it helps regulate cortisol levels which can play a role in mood swings. If exercise isn’t an option due to weather conditions or other limitations, try stretching exercises such as yoga or tai chi instead!
Anxiety can be a debilitating condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Fortunately, there are many options for managing anxiety without resorting to addictive medications. Non-addictive medications like ketamine therapy, TMS therapy, and non-medication alternatives can help reduce anxiety symptoms and improve your quality of life. At Neuro Wellness Spa, we provide a range of treatments to help you manage your anxiety healthily and sustainably.