If you are one of the 264 million people worldwide living with an anxiety disorder, you may be willing to try almost anything to escape overwhelming symptoms like insomnia, fatigue, irritability and difficulty concentrating. However, some drugs your doctor might prescribe can be habit-forming, which may be dangerous if you have any of the risk factors for addiction. What are some non-addictive ways to manage your anxiety with medications?
Best SSRIs for Panic Disorder
While benzodiazepines and antipsychotics can bring relief from your anxiety symptoms and help you feel less panicky and on edge, these prescription medications may bring unwanted side effects. One concern you might have is that you could become physically or psychologically dependent on these medications, especially if you have ever struggled with substance abuse before.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors are two types of FDA-approved antidepressants that also help people with anxiety. As alternative remedies to antipsychotics and benzos, SSRIs and SNRIs can treat issues like:
- Forms of depression, such as major depressive disorder, seasonal affective disorder and the depressive phases of bipolar disorder
- Anxiety disorders, such as GAD, panic disorders, phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Suicidal thoughts
How Do SSRIs and SNRIs Work?
SSRIs and SNRIs are two examples of drugs that work by affecting neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that carry messages in your brain. SSRIs increase serotonin levels, while SNRIs boost serotonin and another chemical called norepinephrine. Essentially, both types of drugs enhance the availability of these neurotransmitters in your brain.
Pharmaceutical companies manufacture SSRIs under name brands such as Prozac, Paxil and Lexapro, while name-brand SNRIs include Cymbalta and Effexor.
Though anxiety and depression are complex mental health conditions stemming from multiple factors, changes in brain chemistry are leading causes of these issues. For example, if your serotonin levels are too low, you could experience a loss of energy and enthusiasm. An increase in serotonin may make you feel less physically and psychologically active or aroused, easing your stress and helping you relax and sleep.
All-Natural Ways to Manage Anxiety Without Drugs
If you have an individual or family history of substance abuse and are hesitant to take any medications to remedy your anxiety, there are several leading ways to treat anxiety and panic disorders without resorting to prescription drugs.
- Exercise: Becoming physically active provides a host of physical and mental benefits, including improved sleep quality, higher energy levels, an improved outlook on life and better cardiovascular health. Some evidence indicates exercise is as effective as prescription antidepressants, especially if you take it outdoors.
- Meditation: Practicing meditation can be an excellent way to get your anxiety under control. Irrational ideas are a hallmark of anxiety disorders. Meditating gives you an outlet to manage these thoughts by recognizing and accepting them as they arise.
- Equine therapy: Building a trusting relationship with another living being can be extremely rewarding. Getting to know a horse’s moods and personality by looking after its needs will help you learn to regulate your emotions and set healthy boundaries.
- Talk therapy: Sometimes, anxiety self-perpetuates because it doesn’t have an outlet to escape. Talking through your feelings is beneficial when you feel overwhelmed, hopeless or on the verge of a panic attack.
Find Relief From Lifelong Anxiety
At Canyon Crossing, our women’s-only programming offers comprehensive care where you can receive treatment for your anxiety disorder and any co-occurring substance use issues surrounded by non-judgmental, compassionate people. Learn more and verify your insurance by reaching out to us today.