10 Tips to Limit Your Reliance on Anxiety Drugs

Some people are reluctant about taking prescription anti-anxiety medicine; they might not want to feel dependent on a drug, or perhaps they are embarrassed by a perceived social stigma of taking medicine for a mental issue. Regardless, these days, many people are seeking holistic, non-prescription drug remedies for a variety of symptoms to either replace or lessen their dependence on pharmaceuticals.

Such an approach allows individuals to participate in their own healing, rather than just following a doctor’s advice. Also, a non-drug-related approach may yield a considerable cost savings, and it allows individuals to avoid potential drug side effects. But perhaps the most compelling reason to limit pharmaceutical treatments for anxiety is the sense of self-empowerment and self-confidence that comes from being in control and being able to address anxiety on your own.

If you’d rather not depend on or would like to lessen your reliance on prescription anti-anxiety medication, consider the following tips:.

1. Take Only When Necessary

If your prescription allows, only take your anxiety medication when in certain stressful situations. Don’t take medications daily, even if you like the relaxed feeling you get. Use your medications reservedly.

2. Know How to Stop or Taper Off

If your medication is prescribed for daily use, ask your doctor about discontinuing the medication or tapering it off. Each medication has its own protocol, so follow your doctor’s professional advice on lowering your dosage or stopping medication.

3. Dependence Doesn’t Help

When you take your anxiety medication, tell yourself that this is not a cure; it’s simply an aid until you learn other methods of dealing with your anxiety. Dependence on any medication is never the goal of optimum health.

4. Tell Yourself You Can Handle It

How you talk to yourself makes a difference. If you tell yourself you can’t do something, then you can’t. Tell yourself that millions of people manage anxiety without medications, and you can too. Even if you haven't been able to handle your anxiety in the past, each new day holds new possibility for change. You can learn to shift your mindset toward positive, hopeful, helpful thoughts and away from fear. It takes some work to be aware of your thoughts and redirect them, but it is possible.

5. Consider Therapy

Anxiety can be debilitating, and sometimes it helps to seek outside treatment. Just talking to a therapist or counselor can help lower anxiety levels; furthermore, therapists can also offer solutions and strategies in coping with the anxiety you have that you may not have thought of before.

6. Join A Group

Your local community may have many group therapy options, from AA groups, anxiety groups, to other support groups. Talking with and relating to people going through the same issues as you can be helpful and inspiring.

7. Exercise

Exercise causes your body to create more of your brain's “happy chemicals,” or neurotransmitters, called endorphins. These make you feel better. Also, focusing your mind on exercise may help take your mind off of your worries, giving you a little vacation from your stress. But exercise has other beneficial side effects too; it can help you look better, thus giving you confidence. It can also allow you to be social, where you could meet people doing physical activities or at the gym. Finally, exercise can help improve your sleep, which helps lessen anxiety as well.

8. Quit Caffeine and Sugar

Caffeine and sugar are powerful agents with considerable impact on the human body. We take them for granted since they are so common in our lives, and so we don’t treat them as carefully as we should. Both sugar and caffeine can wreak havoc on a person’s energy balance, sense of calm, and sleep. If you choose not to quit caffeine completely, drink your last caffeinated drink at 11 a.m., then switch to decaf.

9. Try Natural Remedies

Your local grocery store offers natural remedies, from teas to herbal tablets. These products are usually non-habit forming -- the teas can be pleasant tasting -- and are both easily found and portable. Try a relaxing tea at night before bedtime, along with your favorite relaxation activity. As with any drug, make sure you consult your doctor before taking any homeopathic medicine, as it can interfere with other medication.

10. Teach Yourself to Relax

One of the very best things you can do to quell your anxiety is to teach yourself to relax. Use either a prerecorded meditation, record your own, or find a relaxing activity you can do anytime and any place. The relaxing activity doesn’t need to make you sleepy, but it should leave you feeling calm, peaceful, and able to rest should you choose to. Identify at least three relaxing activities, and use at least one daily.

Anxiety can be lessened by the actions you take and the decisions you make. You do have that control. But remember, whether you seek to try natural approaches to easing anxiety or whether medication is desired, you should discuss your anxiety levels with a doctor who can monitor it, as anxiety can get worse if left untreated.

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