According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety is the most common mental health condition, impacting the lives of 40 million American adults. While many people are prescribed prescription medications to treat their anxiety symptoms, some may turn to herbal alternatives to use in place of — or in addition to — other treatments.
But before you add one of these products to your regimen, know that these supplements aren’t subject to the same scrutiny as prescription medications to prove their safety and effectiveness. And most importantly, they may cause serious side effects and interactions if not used carefully under medical supervision.
In this article, we’ll review seven natural remedies that you may see on the pharmacy shelf, and what’s currently known about their safety and effectiveness in helping with anxiety symptoms.
How is anxiety typically treated?
There are several different anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, and social anxiety. Prescription medications and psychotherapy — or a combination of the two — are commonly used as treatment.
Several prescription medications are FDA-approved for anxiety disorders. Each medication class works by affecting different chemicals in your brain that are thought to be associated with anxiety.
Examples of medications used to treat anxiety disorders include:
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like escitalopram (Lexapro) and paroxetine (Paxil)
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) like duloxetine (Cymbalta)
Benzodiazepines like alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), and lorazepam (Ativan)
SSRIs and SNRIs are considered first-line medications for generalized anxiety disorder. Benzodiazepines and buspirone are both considered second-line treatment options.
Psychotherapy can also complement prescription medications. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) — a type of talk therapy — looks to help people with anxiety understand and work through their thoughts and behaviors. CBT is considered a first-line treatment option for GAD.
If you’re experiencing anxiety, it’s best to talk to a healthcare professional about your treatment options — especially if your symptoms are severe or interfering with your daily life.
Prescription medications and psychotherapy can help many people manage their anxiety symptoms. But if you’re interested in trying natural alternatives, SHOP NOW