Although there are many prescription medications for anxiety there are many people who wish to find other options to treat their anxiety. One of the potential issues with taking prescription medications and especially anti-anxiety meds is that there may be undesirable side effects or withdrawal symptoms. Another problem is that there are some anti-anxiety medications which may be habit forming especially those medications which fall under the category of benzodiazepines such as Xanax or Valium. In addition, if you use some of these prescription anti-anxiety medications, they may not work as well over time and you end up having to keep increasing the dosage. These reasons and more make some people look to “natural” treatments for their anxiety.
There are some precautions, however, that you need to think about when looking to supplements and herbal remedies to treat the symptoms of your anxiety disorder. Here are just a few things to think about.
Precautions when taking natural supplements to treat anxiety:
• Just because it is natural doesn't mean there won't be any side effects. And one of the problems with the natural supplements is that you do not get a list on the bottle of any possible side effects primarily because they may be unknown.
• Most natural supplements are not FDA approved and this means that sometimes fillers are used which may be useless or even harmful additives. Unlike prescription medications that go through a rigorous safety and effectiveness evaluation, herbal remedies and supplements have no such evaluation. The safety and effectiveness is left up to the manufacturer.
• Due to the lack of scientific studies on many of these supplements, the possibility of drug interactions may be unknown. If you are taking multiple prescription drugs as well as supplements you may be brewing a dangerous cocktail of substances without knowing.
• The lack of regulations for supplements also might mean that the herbal product does not contain enough of the active ingredient to make it effective.
• Natural supplements may not be strong enough to help with moderate to severe anxiety symptoms and you could be losing valuable time when you could be taking something more effective for you.
The bottom line is that you need to do your homework and research any supplement you are thinking about taking. Not only that, you need to tell your doctor what vitamins and supplements you are taking in addition to any prescription medications so that they can tell you (if they know) about any possible adverse interactions.
In order to help you make an informed choices about your supplements we have some links to resources which provide information about the various herbs, vitamins, and supplements. Resources to find information about supplements: