Published on 19 September 2021

Over The Counter Anxiety Medications: Any Option?

Anxiety & Depression Over-The-Counter-Anxiety-Medications
Table of Contents

In the modern world, the ratio of people suffering from anxiety is increasing daily. According to the Our World In Data report, around 970 million people worldwide suffered from an Anxiety disorder in 2017. 

Anxiety issues stop the ability of a person to lead in everyday life. To alleviate this problem of constant worries, people seek help from medications to get immediate relief from their mental distress. In contrast, some people try to consult psychotherapists to treat anxiety with their proper instructions. 

There is a cognitive behavioral therapy where a psychotherapist tries to make the patient talk more about their anxiety in various sessions. But what is Anxiety? Why is it increasing in our day-to-day life? Let's see

What are OTC Medicines?

A medicine that anyone can buy directly from the counter is known as OTC medicine. It is also called a non-prescription medicine. Generally, most people prefer OTC medicines compared to prescribed ones. OTC medicines have Safety tips regarding how to use them. 

Why Do We Need A Prescription For Anxiety Medications?

Anxiety medication controls some substances that can affect the brain. It is essential to use it under a doctor's supervision only; taking Anxiety medications without the doctor's permission or too much consumption can cause severe issues like addiction, dizziness, etc.

Over-the-counter medications for anxiety may not be recommended because they don't solve the problem effectively. Anxiety is a disease that needs to change to make it go away, and this can only happen through coping with stressors rather than taking medication on its own. 

Medications dull anxiety but don't cure it. Taking the remedy for the rest of your life can also be dangerous and not ideal since drugs stop working after a year or so. So, it all depends on how you cope with anxiety.

Why Anxiety Medication Only With A Prescription?

Anxiety can't be expressed in words; for every person, stress is different; the common thing about fear is having a stressful life that makes you feel nervous or tense. 

There are various reasons why anxiety can hit you, such as poverty, less income, responsibilities, and mental pressures. Due to stress, people can't do their work correctly & to get rid of this situation, they often try to use over-the-counter medication. 

However, the medicines for anxiety are prescription-based and can't be bought over the counter. There's no such thing as "over-the-counter" Anxiety medications. It is way better to take a doctor's prescription for your benefit.

Potential for Abuse

According to Hasin D, Carpenter KM, McCloud S, Smith M, Grant BF, The Alcohol Use Disorder and Associated Disabilities, Interview Schedule (AUDADIS,) Drugs that treat anxiety can be abused and cause significant mental impairments. If these drugs were available over the counter, many people would attempt to take them off-label, which could pose too much of a danger. It can also affect their mental health. That's why it is not available in OTC medicines.  

Remember, these drugs directly affect your brain by altering neurotransmitter production and reception. Most of them cause significant dangerous side effects when you stop consumption suddenly, just like an alcoholic guy challenging himself to overcome alcohol addiction cause it's tough to overcome any addiction, not for an alcoholic guy but also for those who are addicted to any random things. Similar is the case with the withdrawal symptoms from quitting Anxiety medication.

Possible Severe Side Effects

Taking non - prescribed medicine without the proper guidance of a doctor can cause severe side effects that can harm your mental health and your body. 

A few years ago, some people took Benadryl medicine to treat their anxiety cause it gave fast results. Benadryl offers temporary solutions for stress. Still, after taking Benadryl for a long time, they had severe side effects such as rapid heartbeat, memory loss, allergy, etc.
So, we should take medicines as directed by the doctor.

Other Reasons To Avoid Prescription Medications

These medicines may provide some relief in the short term but may worsen if you use them for a long time. They create dependency and, thus, can be detrimental to your mental health as you will not have any other coping mechanism available when facing stress or pressure.

So if you stop taking these medicines, your ability to cope with anxiety will take a hit, and there's no guarantee it won't get worse.

Non- prescribed Anxiety medications are not recommended due to their low benefits and involve many risks without alternative treatment or medical supervision. Still, some people tried to get OTC medicines. So, will OTC medications for anxiety be available in the future?

Will Anxiety Medications Be Available Over The Counter?

An over-the-counter Anxiety medication might become available in the future. It is possible that Buspirone, an alternative to prescriptions like Valium and Xanax, may be made available without a prescription; however, it takes several days before you experience any effects with this drug as they are not as strong. But it is still not the right choice. There are currently no medications that meet the criteria for over-the-counter anxiety medication.

Over The Counter Medications For Anxiety

1. Magnesium

Mainly, you would get Magnesium from fruits and veggies; in the USA, most people don't get enough. In most cases, Magnesium is used by those with type 2 diabetes, chronic diarrhea, and who are addicted to alcohol cause they have low Magnesium.  

A role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression, according to some experts such as Littenberg B, Tarleton EK, MacLean CD, Kennedy AG, and Daley C (2017). Magnesium supplements have been proven to reduce anxiety because they are a nervous system relaxant. So, it would be an excellent option for those facing problems like depression, high-level stress, and tension. It's a natural muscle relaxer that decreases the experience of restlessness or irritability, even if it doesn't relieve you completely. It is also used by those who have less Magnesium in their diets.

2. Herbal Supplements

Herbal supplements are also used to reduce anxiety. It helps patients feel more relaxed and calm through its natural work. It is also effective in aromatherapy treatments. Aromatherapy is an effective holistic treatment that uses plant extracts to promote health and well-being. 
Some studies have shown some positive effects on anxiety due to aromatherapy treatment. However, using it cautiously is essential, as it can be dangerous if not properly supervised by a doctor or medical professional.
 Following are some herbal supplements that are effective in treating anxiety: 

  • Kava,
  • Passionflower
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender,
  • Lemon balm

3. Melatonin

Many of us struggle to sleep peacefully due to anxiety. Melatonin is a hormone that helps your body know when it's time for rest and reduces some insomnia symptoms. Melatonin may help you fall into a deep slumber more quickly, resulting in less insomnia and decreasing Anxiety Symptoms. Many know that a peaceful sleep brings more energy, improving your mood towards work or anything else. 

4. 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)

5-HTP is a supplement known to increase serotonin levels, which is essential in regulating mood and appetite. Studies have shown that increasing the level of serotonin in the brain may decrease Anxiety symptoms. 5-HTP is a supplement that may be used as part of your diet. You could also face some side effects. Taking 5-HTP with other medications may cause serotonin syndrome, a condition where high serotonin levels are made in the brain. You should consult a doctor before including them in your daily routine.

5. CBD oil

CBD oil is a form of the cannabis plant (known as Cannabidiol). It usually works by interacting with endocannabinoids, essential in central nervous system development. It is taken from industrial hemp (a plant species), which contains minimal THC (a drug that causes the high).

Some cases have been found where people reported that it was very effective in treating anxiety after taking CBD oil for three weeks. But they also had some side effects too. Although it has not been approved for medical use by the FDA, CBD oil is often used to treat stress due to its apparent ability to reduce anxiety. However, there are some risks associated with this product that you should discuss with your healthcare physician before taking it.

6. Omega - 3 fatty acids

some cases have been reported where omega - 3 fatty acids reduce some symptoms of anxiety cause they quickly go through the brain cell membrane and connect mood-related molecules inside the brain. Mainly it is used to reduce heart disease and also improve mental health. 

7. Valerian root    

Valerian root is one of the oldest medicine, which has been used since the second century AD. In the 17th century, it became more famous in Europe. It is usually used to treat insomnia and anxiety. But it has mixed reviews about its results. Some users found improvement while taking valerian root, whereas others don't. Taking valerian root with other medications can cause severe side effects like liver damage. So it's helpful for you to take this medication per the doctor's guidance.

8. Ashwagandha 

Ashwagandha is an herb that is also used to treat anxiety. It's one of the trusted herbal medicines in ayurveda (an ancient system of medicine from old India). It works by balancing cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol level is a hormone that is created by your body during stress. 

9. Chamomile 

Chamomile is an ingredient that is mainly found in tea. A study that was taken in 2016 has shown that the consumption of chamomile in the long-term period can reduce symptoms of anxiety. More research should be needed for exact effectiveness.

10. L-theanine 

L-theanine is an amino acid mainly found in green and black tea. Sometimes it is also found in some mushrooms. It's also available in the form of tablets or pills. It is said that L- theanine is used to treat anxiety, but only after the doctor's assistance.

Other Activities Which Can Overcome Anxiety 

Exercise: Exercise is one of the most effective activities which refresh your mind. Even researchers have also proven that exercise can positively impact mental health. Doing regular exercise can make your mind free and relaxed from anxiety. 

Meditation: Meditation is an activity that generally keeps your mind calm. It works by relaxing your body to improve your mood. You can also cope with your stress with the help of meditation. According to data, around 275 million people do meditation in the world. 

Keep your mind relaxed: Start doing what you love to do cause it can give you pleasure and improve your mood. Listen to music, and start talking with your family or lovable ones. The more you will speak, the more your mind will be free. 

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

No over-the-counter anti-anxiety medicines are available as they do not get the legal criteria of pharmaceutical companies. That's why doctors suggest trying prescribed medication as directed by them. Still, there is some hope that OTC drugs might be made accessible for treating stress, but until then, other alternatives could help relieve stress.

You can also treat anxiety naturally without taking prescription medication. But it should be treated under the guidance of a doctor. It could help ease symptoms of anxiety and stress as they have similar effects to a prescribed one. However, it's not the same because you're avoiding natural chemicals in medicine.

Still, it would be best to consider authentic remedies for better results. You can also overcome your anxiety through exercises, meditation, and other activities that can improve your mood and behavior, reducing stress.

Anxiety medications relax your mind their work, but It doesn't cure anxiety completely. It all depends on how the drug works on your body.

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