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Sunday, October 04, 2009 panther, Community Member, asks

Q: What non benzodiazepine alternatives are effective for anxiety?

My friend was recently diagnosed w/ early onset alzheimers disease. He has been taking clonopine and lexapro for anxiety and should eliminate the clonopine b/c of the cognitive effects. But he relies on it to help and reluctant to give it up w/o an effective alternative.

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Answers (3)
Eileen Bailey, Health Guide
10/ 4/09 8:14pm

Thank you for your question and welcome to AnxietyConnection.com.

 

There are many different medications available to treat anxiety. Frequently, antidepressants are used to treat anxiety disorders. Whether this would be best for your friend would be impossible to say. However, you can discuss this with his physician.

 

Anxiety Drug Information

 

Eileen

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10/ 7/09 12:21am

hI

Effectiveness means different things to different people.

 

Valerian root extract is effective as a daytime sedative and for sleep, work your way up on dosage of extract (tincture or standardized extract capsules) .Not effective as a tea as hot water is poor at extracting active constituents and the heat will destroy Valerian alkaloids.

 

GABA as pure aminoacid with a common vitamin mix to aid in transport. See GABA complex and look for a pure amino acid form with the vitamins. Go to Lomarlabs.com for info on amino acids.

 

Theanine, similar to GABA ,found in tea and available in pure form.

 

Lemon Balm (Bee Balm) Melissa officinalis= good for anxiety and for depression, mild and nutrient rich.

 

Chamomille,  make it stronger than normal. ##

 

KAVA KAVA , USE STANDARDIZED EXTRACT, SOMEWHAT LIKE BUSPAR...A DAY TIME SEDATIVE W/O SEDATION

 

SKULLCAP...look at a few herbals, there is more than one type. Good for Pain.

 

MAGNOLIA BARK,  USE A STANDARDIZED EXTRACT

 

MISTLETOE (DANGER-LOOK INTO THIS FIRST) GOOD FOR PAIN, ARTHRITIS...

 

TEA (BLACK, GREEN, WHITE,...) real tea not herbal tea, has small amount of caffeine and antioxidants along with Theanine.

 

Caffeine is not always contraindicated. I have conducted research on caffeine and anxiety and there are at least 3 personality (biotypes) . Some people find caffeine aggitating and unpleasant, others find it calming, others find it lifts mood and increases possitive lift. Too much caffeine is different for each person, but almost everyone can get overly jazzed.

 

LINDEN (Tilia in spanish) relaxing and lower blood pressure.

 

Coffee......see Caffeine above and remember it is like but not identical to TEA.

 

Passion Flower Herb.........as tea (tissane), extract, caps....try it, safe, mild and often effective

 

HOPS Flowers....extract, tea, beer, a good standby herb to mix with other herbs.

 

California Poppy.....mild, a poppy but not an opium poppy. Good safety profile and some people find pain relief.

 

Vervain.........

 

Try the herbs in teas on the grocery store shelf. SleepyTime, Relaxing, OM blend etc...they are good formulas and you can try several until you find the ones you like.

 

Just the act of sitting down and sipping a hot cup of herbal tea, TEA, or Coffee can become a very relaxing time-out. Take a few minutes to sip the brew in a nice cup or mug. It is nice to use this ritual (add in a few minutes meditation, breath work, daydreaming, sit outside, watch a favorite show or listen to music.......make it yours. What is in the cup, how you enjoy it, your time out!!!!!!!

 

More on this later......this is my field. doc Scotty

 

 

 

HERBS BREWED AS TEAS SHOULD BE MADE WITH A SMALL HANDFULL OF HERB OR SEVERAL TEA BAGS, USE BOILING WATER IN A TEA POT OR BOWL. LET STEEP FOR 15 MINUTES. HERBS ARE EFFECTIVE BUT THEY ARE NOT PHARMACEUTICALS! THE BOTTLE OF CAPSULES WILL GIVE YOU DOSAGE BUT IN ALMOST ALL CASES 3-5 CAPS 3-5 TIMES A DAY, 1 OR TWO CAPS WILL DO NOTHING BUT IT LOOKS BETTER TO AMERICANS' WHO ARE USED TO 1-2 CAPS/TABS etc..

 

 

 

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freeworlB, Community Member
11/13/10 12:23am

Unfortunately, for your friend the options are very limited.  Over the last twenty years there have really been no knew developments in the anti-anxiety medicaiton field with the exception of the newer SSRI's that also work on norepinephrine. These medications became very commonly used because they helped patients with both depression and anxiety thought to almost allways co-exist.

 

I believe for patients experiencing average anxiety attacks over short periods of time that are more situational than organic in nature they do offer some help at higher doses.  Beware, however the higher the dose, the more profound and common the side effect profile becomes. So talk straight up to the doctor, pharmacist and always have someone know you have started taking them to monitor you as you adjust to the new med and each dosage titration.

 

On the other hand for patients who have serious and life limiting anxiety or panick attacks there just are not many options other than benzodiazipines including xanax, clonipin, ativan and so on.  These drugs differ in how quickly they take effect, how long they stay in the system, sleepiness (some are used strictly as sleeping drugs), and thier side effects.

 

The big drawback with any benzo for the true anxiety patient who will likely be on them for longer periods of time are their addictive qualities, tolerance (where your body needs a higher dosage to accomplish the same outcome and, the danger of patients trying to go off of them cold.  Patients should be highly cautioned that going "cold turkey" off any benz can result in siezure.  Also, a strong mention against combining these agents with even small levels of alchol.

 

There have been a few drugs over the last years that claimed comparable effectiveness without the addictive quality but I have yet to hear personal feedback suggesing this is so and have not seen them pop in the market place.

 

So if your friend decides to move forward and discontinue using clonipine they should do so under a well managed and carefully outlined plan by thier health care provider team.

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By panther, Community Member— Last Modified: 08/13/12, First Published: 10/04/09