Can I Manage Anxiety Without Benzodiazepines?

An anxiety disorder can have a tremendous impact on your quality of life. Most people who have ever experienced serious social anxiety, PTSD, or panic attacks struggle to understand just how drastically these conditions can affect everyday life. However regular use of a controlled substance like benzodiazepines often comes with a host of other concerns. 

In this article, Cottonwood Tucson examines alternative ways to effectively manage anxiety without benzodiazepines or other potentially addictive medications.

Can You Manage Anxiety without Medication?

The short answer is maybe. What we can say, however, is that most people can manage anxiety without benzodiazepines. Benzos are effective at countering anxiety symptoms, however, dependence and addiction can be a problem for people who need anxiety relief daily. 

You may find that a non-narcotic medication can help you manage your anxiety effectively, so they are worth considering. You may also find it possible to manage anxiety without any medicine at all. As always, consult a medical professional before making any changes to your medication regimen or anxiety management plan. 

Common Questions About Managing Anxiety with Benzos

What are Benzodiazepines or Benzos?

Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that act on the central nervous system. They include medicines like Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin. They are primarily used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and certain other conditions. They work by slowing down brain activity, helping to reduce nervousness, induce sleep, relax muscles, and prevent seizures. However, they can cause drowsiness and, with long-term use, may lead to dependence and abuse. 

Why Do They Use Benzodiazepines for Anxiety?

Benzodiazepines or benzos are used for anxiety because they are proven effective at counteracting the symptoms of conditions like Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) or PTSD. Benzos generally have fewer side effects than barbituates which were the drug of choice in the past to treat anxiety

Why Shouldn’t I Take Xanax or Klonopin for Anxiety?

First, you should always follow your doctor’s orders, especially when it comes to managing anxiety with medication. Regular use (daily or almost daily) of benzos will lead to physical dependence, even when medication is taken exactly as prescribed. 

Some people do not want to be dependent on any medication unless it’s medically necessary. Others may find they develop a tolerance and need more and more of the medication to get the desired effect. Finally, some people develop a substance use disorder when taking benzos or other habit-forming controlled substances. 

How Can I Stop Taking Benzos for Anxiety?

If you are currently taking any benzodiazepine regularly, prescribed or not — you must never abruptly stop taking it. Benzo withdrawal can be fatal in some cases. Even if it is not fatal, benzo withdrawal symptoms without a proper medical detox are extremely unpleasant. The best and safest way to stop taking benzos for anxiety is to enter a medical detox program or, have your doctor structure a titration program for you and follow it precisely. 

Managing Anxiety Without Benzodiazepines

If you want to avoid using benzos to manage your anxiety, we have good news for you. The range of options for anxiety relief without addictive medication is broader than ever. As both anxiety diagnoses and substance use disorders have climbed in the United States — so has the demand for safer anxiety treatment. 

Here are some examples of ways to manage anxiety without benzodiazepines:

Non-Narcotic Medications That Relieve Anxiety Symptoms 

Several non-narcotic prescription drugs can be helpful in managing certain symptoms of anxiety disorders. These are worth investigating if you are trying to manage anxiety without benzodiazepines or any controlled substances.

  • BuSpar (buspirone):  BuSpar is a non-narcotic medication that acts on dopamine and serotonin. Unlike benzos, it has no sedative properties and it is not addictive which makes it an attractive choice for long-term anxiety treatment. 
  • Vistaril (Hydroxyzine): Vistaril is an antihistamine that can also be used to treat anxiety due to its sedative properties, offering an alternative to benzodiazepines for short-term anxiety management. It can be used on a long-term basis, however it can lose effectiveness if taken for too many days in a row. 
  • SSRIs and SNRIs: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors like Prozac, Wellbutrin, and Celexa are types of antidepressants that can also treat anxiety disorders. They work by altering the brain’s chemical balance to improve mood and reduce anxiety

Managing Anxiety without Medication

Many people prefer to take as few prescription medications as possible for a variety of reasons and we certainly understand that sentiment. As a holistic anxiety treatment center, we fully support the responsible exploration of alternative remedies with the support and knowledge of a medical professional. 

Herbal Remedies for Anxiety

Some natural herbs and minerals can aid in reducing anxiety symptoms. Always ask your doctor before taking any supplements because they can interfere or interact with prescription medicines. 

Some examples of natural anxiety remedies include:

  • Valerian root
  • Chamomile
  • Ashwagandha
  • Magnesium

Meditation Instead of Medication for Anxiety

Meditation in various forms has been practiced by humankind for thousands of years. The physical and mental health benefits of meditation are proven and well-documented.

Some popular forms of meditation shown to help relieve anxiety include:

Holistic Anxiety Treatment in the Desert Southwest

Coping with an anxiety disorder can be very challenging — but you are not alone. Anxiety disorders such as GAD, panic disorder, or PTSD can be managed to restore peace and tranquility to your life.

Cottonwood Tucson’s private residential treatment program offers holistic care for anxiety disorders. If you’re trying to manage anxiety without benzodiazepines or find your current treatment isn’t enough — we can help. 

Our facility sits on 35 sprawling acres in the foothills of Arizona’s majestic Sonoran Desert. Cottonwood Tucson’s treatment program is nationally recognized as one of the very best in the country.

You and your loved ones deserve the type of expert, innovative care that only Cottonwood Tucson can deliver. Let’s begin a conversation about how we can help, today. Call us anytime at  (888) 727-0441.

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