The Best Non-Addictive Anxiety Medication Options for Teenagers & Adults

"Even prescription medication does not solve the underlying issues from which anxiety stems; these drugs only help to control the symptoms."
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When a person with anxiety seeks help from their doctor, chances are they’ll be prescribed anti-anxiety medication. This might be an SSRI like Lexapro or Prozac, or a short-term benzodiazepine like Xanax or Valium. While these medications can be helpful for many, they do not cure anxiety. Instead, they work by suppressing symptoms, some at the cost of other side effects that may be harmful in the long-term, such as drug addiction and dependency. 

What many don’t know is that there are a number of behavioral changes you can make to dramatically reduce anxiety with or without medication. At Brillia, we promote a holistic approach, which uses medication as a means to control symptoms while instilling healthy habits like following a nutritious diet and getting adequate sleep. As such habits become second nature, you’ll eventually need less of a medication because you will be empowered to face anxiety triggers safely and effectively on your own.

Read on to find out what precautions should be taken when starting anti-anxiety medication and what non-addictive options are available. And explore Brillia’s holistic 5-Pillar plan, which combines medication with healthy lifestyle habits for long-term success. 

Signs of Anxiety in Teens & Adults

Before you can figure out how to best treat your anxiety, it’s helpful to know what it looks like. The American Psychological Association describes anxiety as an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure.1 Though occasional anxiety is a normal part of life, when a person feels excessively and persistently anxious, these feelings can interfere with their daily life and potentially cause long-term health problems. Persistent anxiety may also be a sign of an anxiety disorder.

In teens, anxiety might look like this:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Poor academic performance
  • Social withdrawal
  • Sudden weight gain or weight loss
  • Panic attacks

In adults, anxiety symptoms include:

  • Feeling excessively nervous, tense, or restless
  • Having a sense of impending doom
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Physical sensations like sweating, shallow breathing and increased heart rate
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Avoiding situations that trigger anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Being easily fatigued 

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How to Know When to Take Medication 

While medication can be highly effective for some, it is not the only solution. Even prescription medication does not solve the underlying issues from which anxiety stems; these drugs only help to control the symptoms. 

There are numerous studies that show the effectiveness of healthy lifestyle choices and relaxation techniques when it comes to reducing anxiety long-term. For instance, according to Harvard, a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits can help support a healthy gut, which is important since a large percentage of our serotonin receptors are found in the lining of the gut.2 Serotonin is  a crucial chemical for increasing mood and decreasing anxiety and is often targeted in prescription anti-anxiety drugs 

There is also evidence that proper sleep can help protect against anxiety. Studies show that a sleepless night could raise anxiety levels by as much as 30 percent.3

Talking to a counselor or therapist about your anxiety can also make a world of difference. Studies show that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may be as effective or more effective than other forms of psychological therapy or psychiatric medications.4

If you make lifestyle adjustments and still find that you need support, or if you are too depleted by anxiety to even consider such adjustments, you may be a good candidate for anti-anxiety medication. But keep in mind that there are numerous options when it comes to such medications, including non-prescription medication.

Are Most Anxiety Medications Addictive? 

Doctors do not typically consider SSRIs like Lexapro or Prozac or SNRIs like Cymbalta or Pristiq to be addictive because they do not cause a euphoric rush like some other drugs. However, if a tolerance is built with continued use, the dose of these drugs will need to increase over time. The physical dependence of these drugs is also evidenced in their documented withdrawal symptoms.5 

Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Insomnia or nightmares
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Irritability
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Nausea
  • “Brain zaps” or electric shock sensations in the head

When it comes to benzodiazepines like Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin, addiction is highly possible. From 2005 to 2015, prescriptions for benzodiazepines increased by 50 percent and continue to rise.6 

According to Dr. Sumit Agarwal, an internist, primary care physician and researcher at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston who authored a study on outpatient benzodiazepine prescriptions, told NPR, “I don't think people realize that benzodiazepines share many of the same characteristics of opioids.”7 In addition to confirming their addictive quality, he said, “They cause you to have slower breathing; they cause you to be altered in terms of mental status. And then, eventually, [they] can cause overdose and deaths.” In fact, studies have illustrated a steep rise in mortality rates from overdoses involving benzodiazepines — from 0.6 in 100,000 people in 1999 to 4.4 in 2016.8

Finding Non-Addictive & Effective Anxiety Medication 

In addition to talk therapy and implementing healthy lifestyle habits like following a nutritious diet, getting adequate sleep, and practicing mindfulness, there are effective non-addictive anxiety medications to consider. One such medication is Brillia, available for children as young as five as well as adults.

Brillia is a non-prescription homeopathic medication clinically proven to reduce anxiety symptoms without harsh, synthetic chemicals or harmful side effects. Its active ingredient consists of antibodies to the brain-specific S100 protein (S100B), an important regulator of various different intracellular and extracellular brain processes. By regulating the S100B protein in the body, the medication effectively helps to reduce symptoms from occurring in the body without affecting any other systems in the body or masking the personality in any way. As a result of this regulating effect, the levels of feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin also normalize, which are the same chemicals SSRIs and SNRIs are designed to target.

Unlike many prescription drugs, Brillia’s dosage doesn't need to be increased over time to be effective as the body will not build up a tolerance to the medication. You can start or stop at any time without having to adjust to the medication or deal with withdrawal symptoms. Even more, Brillia does not have contraindications; the medication can be taken in addition to any prescription drugs or supplements without any adverse effects. Brillia will also not cause drowsiness, lethargy or depression, nor will it affect appetite or cause any weight changes. There is no “coming off” of Brillia should you decide to stop or take a break as it does not alter blood chemistry.

At Brillia, we know that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to managing anxiety. Prescription medication may be the right path for you or your child, but it’s not the only one. We suggest starting with a gentler option first to avoid potential side effects and dependency. 

Find out more about how Brillia works and explore more resources on reducing anxiety through lifestyle adjustments at the Brillia(nce) Resource Center.

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References: 1https://www.apa.org/topics/anxiety, 2https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-strategies-to-ease-anxiety-201604139441, 3https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326926, 4https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/patients-and-families/cognitive-behavioral, 5https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/expert-answers/antidepressant-withdrawal/faq-20058133, 6https://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/benzos-prescription-rates-20190124/, 7https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/01/25/688287824/steep-climb-in-benzodiazepine-prescribing-by-primary-care-doctors, 8https://nida.nih.gov/research-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates

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