by Ryan from CalmClinic.com
I lived with anxiety for all of my youth and most of my adult life. I barely left my house, I would nearly faint at the hint of stress, and at some points I felt as though I had a wasted life.
It took every ounce of energy to overcome my anxiety, and while I'm considerably better today, it's something that I still struggle with regularly.
In the beginning, I looked for a quick fix. My hope was to find a solution that would cure my anxiety overnight.
I went to my doctor, and he prescribed me various medications. It wasn't long before I realized they were not for me – and not necessarily ideal for most people suffering from anxiety.
The issue is not that prescription medicine is inherently bad. After all, medicinal research has come a long way, and many of today's modern medications are valuable for combatting very problematic health issues.
The issue is that it is not the best choice for anxiety – especially when there are better options available. There are several reasons these medications are not ideal:
For these reasons, it's best to use some type of alternative treatment that doesn't numb all anxiety, while also reducing the symptoms of anxiety.
Luckily, there were herbal supplements that can help – herbal supplements that did not come with any of the above issues.
Kava is perhaps the most well-known herbal supplement, and one that has received a considerable amount of research for its anti-anxiety properties. It needs to be taken as directed and can interact with some medications, so always talk to your doctor before trying kava as an herbal supplement, but the kavalactones in kava have a unique ability to drastically reduce moderate anxiety like no other herbal supplement available.
Kava was my personal favorite anxiety supplement. I didn't have to take it every day, but when I did I experienced a noticeable decrease in my anxiety symptoms.
Interestingly, I still had some mental anxieties (meaning, my worries did not melt away) but in a way I was glad. I didn't want a medication to make me some fearless warrior, since some fear in life is a good thing. Kava made living with anxiety completely manageable, without really changing who I am.
Kava tastes terrible though, so be warned it's not the most fun herb to take.
Passionflower is a lite version of kava. Its extract is not as powerful, and not generally recommended for severe anxiety, but may be very useful for mild anxiety and stress. Passionflower is believed to promote GABA balance, which relaxes the boy and is useful for stress and anxiety.
Passionflower was honestly not my favorite, but I like to recommend it because others swear by it.
I have a feeling my anxiety was more severe than passionflower is meant for. But for others that deal with just daily stress and anxiety, it may be ideal, especially because kava is harder to find.
Valerian root is generally used as a sleep aid, but that is because it is believed to have sedation properties. Sedation is a valuable relaxation tool as well, because the sedation from valerian root is not as harsh or severe as prescription sedatives.
Valerian may not be the best herb for daytime stress, because the sedative properties may make it hard to focus on work, but for those that simply need a relaxation break to help with their anxiety it can be quite valuable.
Sleep issues were not really my problem. I would almost argue that anxiety was causing me to sleep too much, as I experienced a great deal of fatigue after anxiety attacks.
But there's no denying that stress would often keep me awake, and Valerian was really effective at helping me fall back to sleep.
Anti-anxiety medications have their place, especially if you are living with severe anxiety and you are unable to find an herbal remedy or lifestyle change that can relieve the intense stress.
But for most people, their anxiety is at least mildly manageable, and they're simply in need of something that eases the stress. For these, herbal remedies and lifestyle changes make much more sense, and are a better choice for day to day anxiety.
About the Author: Ryan Rivera was a former anxiety patient that struggled for years to control his anxiety symptoms. He now contributes to a website on anxiety management that can be found at www.calmclinic.com.