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5 Herbs that Help Anxiety and Panic Disorder

For those of us who suffer from anxiety or panic attacks, we may want to try some other options when we need help aside from benzodiazepines. If we go see our psychiatrist, he is likely just going to give us a prescription for some Xanax and be done with it. But what if you don’t want to use prescription drugs? There are several herbal remedies that you can try.

1. Ginkgo Biloba

This herb is typically used in elderly patients because it enhances memory, but it also has other uses. And one of them is combatting anxiety. In a recent study, one group who were given ginkgo biloba and another group who were given benzodiazepines. The results showed that the two groups had roughly the same benefits.

2. Ashwagandha

In Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha is a popular herb. It is proven to relieve anxiety and protect the nervous system. There have been many studies that have confirmed this. In addition, other studies have shown that the herb is a great immune-system booster, and it also has anti-aging effects.

3. Brahmi

This is another herb that has been used in Ayurveda for centuries. It has been used for cognitive function and to treat anxiety. Brahmi improves the impulse transmission between the nerve cells that are in the brain, and it also is said to improve concentration and focus. It also increases the serotonin levels in the brain, which is how it is able to reduce anxiety.

4. Passionflower

Passionflower is native to the Southern United States, and it has been utilized for hundreds of years as a sedative. Passionflower is an herb that has been used for anxiety and shown similar results as benzodiazepines. It produces a calming effect in the brain by increasing levels of neurotransmitter GABA, and it is milder than many other herbs that are used for anxiety. It is safe to use along with other anxiety combating herbs.

5. L-Theanine
An amino acid that can be found in green tea, L-Theanine has been shown to reduce anxiety and improve mood. Buddhists have used this remedy for hundreds of years. They say it helps them to calmly meditate for hours.

There are many different solutions for anxiety other than Xanax or Valium. You just have to be open minded and give them a try. You will likely see results similar to those produced from prescription medications, as many studies have proven.

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Benzodiazepine Addiction: What You Need to Know

Many people who suffer from panic and anxiety will be prescribed benzodiazepines by their psychiatrist. This is the class of drugs that includes Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan. These drugs are also prescribed for sleep disorders as they are central nervous system depressants. When they are used long term, they are extremely addictive.

Types of Benzodiazepines

There are many different benzodiazepines that are currently prescribed in America, including:

  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Estazolam (ProSom)
  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
  • Flurazepam (Dalmane)
  • Clorazepate (Tranxene)
  • Temazepam (Restoril)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Midazolam (Versed)
  • Halazepam (Paxipam)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Oxazepam (Serax)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Prazepam (Centrax)
  • Quazepam (Doral)

Signs of Abuse

So what are the signs of benzodiazepine abuse or addiction?

A person who is abusing these medications may experience:

  • Drowsiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Amnesia
  • Unsteadiness while moving
  • Hostility
  • Poor coordination
  • Impaired judgment
  • Irritability
  • Vivid dreams
  • Confusion

Benzodiazepines can be deadly when combined with other drugs, especially opiates like heroin. And when benzodiazepines are taken in high dosages, they can lead to comas.

Long-term benzo abuse can be indicated if a person becomes detached or apathetic. If he or she is sedated most of the time and doesn’t seem to care about anything, they may be abusing benzos.

Benzodiazepine Recovery

If you or someone you know and love is addicted to Xanax, Valium, Ativan, etc., it is important to seek help. Many rehabilitation facilities will treat benzodiazepine addiction. You can also join a 12-step recovery group like Narcotics Anonymous or another recovery group like SMART Recovery. Many people are dealing with addiction to these drugs, and it’s quite a serious problem.

What is the Solution?

While we do acknowledge that sometimes benzodiazepines are the only answer for particularly debilitating panic attacks or severe bouts of anxiety, we believe one of the best ways to combat benzo addiction would be for psychiatrists and physicians to take a more holistic approach to the treating of anxiety. If fewer benzodiazepines are prescribed, abuse would dramatically decrease.

We know this will not change overnight. In the meantime, we invite those of you who do have anxiety or panic disorders to try natural solutions before trying medications like Xanax or Valium. These treatment methods are often much more effective as a long-term solution.

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