What are the most anxious moments that we experience during the course of our life? Seeing a loved one in pain and waiting for the bad times to pass by are some of the challenging situations that everyone faces. The common thread to such experiences is that there is a precipitating event that causes you to fear and feel concerned. But sometimes, these attacks of anxiousness come without any trigger event. A person suffering from chronic anxiety disorder may feel trapped and have an exaggerated view of his problems. The symptoms include shaking, insomnia, dizziness, blurred vision, fast heartbeat, fatigue, stomach problems, etc. However, the symptoms may vary person to person.
There are many prescription drugs available for anxiety, like Valium, Xanax, Ativan and Tranxene. But these can lead to addiction after long-term use. Therefore, they should be taken only when it is recommended by a qualified doctor. A few of the over the counter anxiety relief medications are mentioned below:
Valerian: It's a tall, fern-like plant which is hailed for its sedative properties. In some countries like Germany, United Kingdom, Belgium and Switzerland, the root of Valerian is widely used as an over the counter medication for insomnia. However, studies done to prove the effect of Valerian for anxiety disorders are not fully conclusive in spite of some evidence from clinical trials. It is said that Valerian affects the same nerve receptors like a few of the prescribed anxiety drugs. This herb is also prescribed by doctors in European countries in case of moderate anxiety disorder instead of Valium or Xanax. It also helps in soothing out the withdrawal phase if you are discontinuing antianxiety or anti-depressant drugs. However, consult your doctor before switching to Valerian or discontinuing your prescribed medicine.
You can consume Valerian in different forms like capsules, powder or syrup. It's intake can cause dizziness and drowsiness, so avoid driving and operating heavy machinery. While on Valerian, the consumption of alcohol should be monitored strictly. Pregnant women, people using prescribed drugs, infants or anyone who is suffering from kidney problem etc. are advised not to use Valerian for anxiety or any other related problems. Since this herb is not FDA approved for medicinal use, the potential risks involved are not fully studied. Therefore, do not use it before consulting your health care provider. Cases of contaminated Valerian roots with toxic metals have been known to occur. Hence, it's best to buy Valerian from a reliable source only.
Primal Calm: It's a dietary supplement which is formerly called Proloftin. According to their website, it contains anti-natural ingredients like Phosphatidylserine, L-Theanine, Magnolia Bark, Rhodiola and Beta-Sitosterol which aid in reducing stress levels in the body. This product also claims to influence stress levels positively in just 30 minutes to 2 hours of its intake and can also last for a whole day. It is also supposed to be non-drowsy and non-stimulant supplement with little or no side effects.
Primal Calm replenishes vitamin B in the body which acts to restore the body's ability to fight stress and strain. It can be easily bought from any chemist without any prescription as it is a vitamin supplement. Two capsules are recommended every day with food for reducing anxiety. Although this product has received mainly positive reviews from the users, the downside of Primal Calm is its price. However this product, available at $49, is quite expensive for a dietary supplement.
Benadryl: Benadryl is an anti-allergic medication which can also be used as an anxiety medication. Over the counter stress medications are few, as their indiscriminate use can have serious problems. Benadryl is often used for many ailments like insomnia, nausea, anxiety, loose motions etc., other than common cold and cough. It has been misused by people because of its doping effect. The generic name of this medicine is diphenhydramine which has antihistamine properties, and is also used as an anti-cholinergic drug.
People consuming Benedryl in order to reduce anxiety levels have noticed a tolerance to it after regular use. Its effects on people vary. However, common side effects are grogginess, drowsiness and disturbance in sleep patterns after discontinuing its usage.
Passiflora Incarnata: Popularly known as passion flower, it has been considered as a cure for anxiety attacks since ancient times. The Native Americans used to make tea with passion flower for relieving hysteria, insomnia, epilepsy and other ailments. This herb contains MAOI - Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor which stabilizes mood spikes of an individual. The flavonoids present in passion flower effectively work on the brain cells responsible for anxiety.
Anxiety medications like passion flower can be easily bought over the counter. Its side effects may include nausea, vomiting, headache, drowsiness, slow reaction etc. Therefore, it is advisable to use this herb only when you are not operating any heavy machinery or driving.
Chamomile: This herb is extracted from the Chamaemelum nobile, either from its white flowers or its plume-like leaves. The use of chamomile is known to relieve tension and agitation. It can be consumed in the form of tincture, tea, capsules or even powder. The dosage has to be carefully prepared, as an overdose of chamomile can result in swelling of body parts, irregularities in menstrual cycles, itchiness, breathing problems, etc.
If you are allergic to daisy plant family (e.g. marigold, daisy, chrysanthemum etc), then you should avoid chamomile usage for any purpose. Similarly, people with bleeding disorders and pregnant women also face a considerable amount of risk with chamomile ingestion.