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over the counter anti-anxiety medication alternative

Alternatives to Anti-Anxiety Medications

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Everyone experiences stress and anxiety on a given day. For some people, this stress and anxiety is just a minor speed bump during their daily activities. For others, this anxiety is severe and lasts a long amount of time before it’s debilitating. The events of the last year have certainly led to more stress and anxiety in our lives. Thus, an individual might take an over-the-counter anti-anxiety alternative. 

Many people who suffer from extreme anxiety turn to anti-anxiety medications. Some might even look to anxiety medication over the counter. While these medications are effective, they also come with side effects that can cause more severe issues down the line. 

For those who don’t want to rely on medication to treat their anxiety, there is a likely over-the-counter anti-anxiety medication alternative. In this blog, we will take a look at some of these alternatives to anti-anxiety medications. This includes some great holistic treatment options that we have available at Montare Behavioral Health

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress. The American Psychological Association defines anxiety as an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure. Things like job interviews, the first day of work or school, or having to give a presentation can cause anxiety and stress. 

While some anxiety is ok and even normal, some people are constantly anxious all the time. When levels of anxiety reach a point where it becomes debilitating or affects your everyday life, this can be more than just your run-of-the-mill anxiety. This can mean you suffer from an anxiety disorder which might result in needing to be prescribed medication.

Are There Risks To Taking Anti-Anxiety Medications?

Anti-anxiety medications have been proven to be effective in treating anxiety disorders. Such medications also allow people to live their lives without anxiety taking control. There are some risks associated with these medications though. 

Additionally, some of the side effects associated with anti-anxiety medication can be concerning. This is especially true when it comes to the side effects of potential memory loss or even overall brain activity. 

In fact, studies have shown that long-term use of anti-anxiety medications can increase the risk of dementia by over 50%. Additionally, prolonged use of benzos can lead to a reduced brain capacity. This, in turn, can give the brain an overall toxic-looking appearance when studied. 

Are There Alternative Options Out There For Treating Anxiety?

There are alternatives out there for people with anxiety that don’t want to rely on anti-anxiety medications. Many of these alternatives are all-natural. Let’s take a look at some of these alternatives.

Essential Oils

Essential oils have been around for thousands of years. They’ve been particularly widely used in Eastern medicine for generations. 

When it comes to treating anxiety, two specific types of essential oils have proven to be effective. They are vetiver and lavender. 

Vetiver is an herb that is native to India. It has soothing and uplifting properties, which is why it is known as the “oil of tranquility”. Just a few drops of vetiver essential oil to the skin or in the bath can quickly relax the body and mind and reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, and nervousness. Lavender oil, one of the most popular essential oils in the world, also works wonders for helping calm anxiety. 

Lavender oil can be ingested in capsule form. People can also apply lavender oil to the body or include it in their bathwater. People can effectively use lavender essential oil to deal with anxiety, sleep deprivation, and depression. 


Meditation is a great way to unwind and relax. Another benefit of meditation is that it can be done anywhere, anytime. 

It might be good for people that are new to meditation to start off with some guided meditation. Luckily, modern technology now allows individuals to do guided meditation without having to be in the same room as another person. 

People can even lookup meditation videos on YouTube or even listen to meditation podcasts. Once you get the hang of it, you can pretty much meditate anywhere. For example, it’s possible to meditate in the car, at your desk, in the park, or at the beach. 

Essentially, you can meditate anywhere that you can spend a few minutes with your eyes closed as you focus on your breathing. Meditation is a great way to relax the body and mind.

Change Your Diet

Believe it or not, some of your stress and anxiety can be directly tied to what you eat. This is because sugar and refined carbs that are commonly found in processed foods can create a sugar imbalance in the brain. This can, in turn, cause you to experience sugar highs and then subsequent sugar lows that intensify one’s anxiety. Thus, people with anxiety should try to avoid foods like pastries, sodas, fast food, fried food, and processed meat. 

Try Vitamins and Natural Supplements

Instead of just relying on the anxiety medications that your doctor prescribes you, there are other alternative anxiety medications that you can try. For example, there is an over-the-counter anti-anxiety medication alternative. 

Other types of alternative anxiety medications include taking certain vitamins and natural supplements such as:

  • Kava Root – Kava is non-hypnotic. While it might cause some mild drowsiness or even diarrhea it has been proven to be effective in treating anxiety.
  • Valerian Root – Valerian root has been found to naturally increase the amount of GABA in the brain, much in the same way a benzo-like traditional anti-anxiety medication would. GABA is what helps regulate nerve cells and ultimately calm anxiety.
  • Magnesium – Magnesium does many great things for the body, one of which is helping to calm the nervous system. It also helps promote a strong GABA function. Magnesium deficiency is common amongst adults which can oftentimes contribute to high stress and anxiety levels. Taking a magnesium supplement can help to relieve some of that stress and anxiety naturally, but it’s important not to take too much magnesium as too much can lead to diarrhea.
  • 5-HTP – 5-HTP is synthesized from tryptophan, an amino acid commonly found in turkey. Tryptophan acts as a mood stabilizer, which is part of the reason why you feel so sleepy after eating all that turkey on Thanksgiving. Taking 5-HTP can help increase your serotonin levels which is something in your body that naturally calms you down and reduces the symptoms associated with anxiety. 
  • Vitamin B – Vitamin B is another great way to naturally reduce stress and stabilize your mood. B6 specifically is effective at dealing with symptoms associated with anxiety. In addition, B6 can help balance blood sugar levels, maintain a healthy nervous system, and boost your overall mood.


Altering your lifestyle can be a great way to help cut down on anxiety and stress. Some people’s anxiety is so debilitating though that simply altering their lifestyles isn’t enough.

Such people need something “stronger” than vitamins or a change in diet to treat their anxiety. 

One tool that people with severe anxiety can use to treat their mental health conditions is psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is a great way to reprogram the brain so that you can live your life without your stress and anxiety taking over. 

One of the most successful forms of psychotherapy is cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT. CBT helps people identify the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that make them anxious and then change them. During CBT sessions, people will also work on techniques to help calm their bodies and minds and relieve some of their anxiety.  

Are You Looking For An Over the Counter Anti-Anxiety Medication Alternative?

Having to constantly live with debilitating anxiety and stress is no fun. 

Here at Montare Behavioral Health, we know that medication isn’t right for everyone. For some, a more holistic approach to relieving anxiety is better. If you or someone you know is suffering from stress and anxiety and could benefit from an over-the-counter anti-anxiety medication, contact us today.