As someone who has always been open and perhaps, overly honest about my lifelong battle with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, depression and panic attacks, I find it crucial for those who suffer with mental health conditions like myself to discuss their experiences and ways of coping, whether it be through prescription medication, cognitive behavior therapy or natural supplements. I applaud those who, like myself, are candid about their own experiences and committed to revoking the archaic notion that those suffering from a mental illness of any kind, renders a person “crazy.”
I’ve learned that aside from talk therapy and taking my SSRI medication, incorporating supplements to manage stress levels can make a major difference in your mental wellbeing. Whether you suffer from the occasional work-related stress or are struggling with a chronic anxiety disorder, taking calming vitamins and supplements may help (of course, please do make sure to consult your doctor before taking anything new—whether it’s all-natural or not).
Unfortunately, anxiety can manifest itself in a number of different forms—biologically, physiologically and cognitively. Some of the most uncomfortable symptoms can include insomnia, muscle spasms, excessive sweating, high blood pressure and difficulty concentrating. While many psychotropic medications for anxiety and depression pose the risk of dependence and withdrawal symptoms—not to mention the oftentimes, inevitable slew of side effects—there are some dietary and herbal supplements that may help calm your nervous system with these drawbacks.
It’s essential to mention here that if your symptoms are interfering with your life significantly or you’ve been diagnosed with a clinical anxiety disorder, it’s always best to consult a professional to discuss the appropriate treatment options for your condition and overall health, but these natural remedies may work to reduce some of your symptoms.
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Magnesium is a mineral that fosters a well-functioning immune system, promotes healthy blood pressure levels, and can help to strengthen muscles–including the heart. Magnesium is also been associated with boosting mood, as well. It works as a drug-free muscle relaxant, and for me, it’s one of the only remedies that helps to reduce stress-induced muscle tension and spasms.
L-theanine is an amino acid that occurs naturally in green tea. I love to take this during the daytime when I need something calming because not only is it non-drowsy, but it also works synergistically with caffeine to help improve focus without giving you the jitters. Studies have found that it reduces anxiety by improving alpha wavelength activity, and promoting faster synthesis of GABA (a neurotransmitter that modulates stress) in the brain. Most people notice a relaxed mood after 40 minutes after taking the supplement.
Passion flower extract has been used for ages as a natural treatment for anxiety and depression symptoms. It’s believed that it helps to increase a neurotransmitter called GABA in the brain, which helps calm the central nervous system by reducing the activity of certain brain cells. Passion flower is also commonly used to soothe other anxiety and stress symptoms like insomnia and muscle tension.
Ashwagandha has been used for ages thanks to its natural, yet effective anti-inflammatory and anti-stress benefits. It contains two chemicals called alkaloids and lactones, which are believed to function like hormonal precursors that assist the body with replacing essential vitals, while also offering support to the adrenal and central nervous systems.