Avatar universal

supplements for anxiety?

Hello, any recommendations on over the counter supplements or vitamins to naturally help with anxiety and or insomnia?
4 Responses
Sort by: Helpful Oldest Newest
Avatar universal
Supplements I've found to help me with my anxiety, depression and insomnia are, Fish oil, magnesium and as I'm anemic iron. Also, a good multivitamin could be useful over all. These don't completely eliminate symptoms, but it does lessen them to the point where I can use coping stratagies to  deal with them.
Helpful - 0
973741 tn?1342342773
I hope you come back and talk to us. What prompted the question? Are you going through a rough time?  
Helpful - 0
Hello, unfortunately yes I was going through, and still going through a rough time in regards to insomnia and anxiety. I'm hanging in there but still dealing with it from time to time.
I have the same now. I sleep very bad and have a lot of  anxiety
973741 tn?1342342773
Hello.  I like this question.  So, insomnia ruins everything, doesn't it?  I have this often myself and it makes everything worse. The anxiety, the moods, the ability to cope, etc.  I just had a doctors appointment recently and my doctor told me that we need to be protective of our sleep.  She said something like Zquil is useful and that is over the counter.  Not a supplement but something to try.  My sister uses Tylenol pm.  The PM part has something that helps you fall and stay to sleep as well.  Many use melatonin as well for the purpose of sleep improvement.  

Here's an article on supplements for anxiety. https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety/supplements-for-anxiety.  the 5 HPT has been linked to improvement in anxiety specifically.  And there has been hype over the years about St. John's Wort.  Honestly, I would treat things like that just like a drug. It has benefits potentially but risks as well.  All supplements are like that.  They aren't side effect free just because they are natural.  You can ask your doctor as well for suggestions.  

Jury is still out regarding CBD oil.  I'm interested in learning what transpires clinically with this but to date, there aren't a lot of solid studies and just anecdotal info.  And truthfully, so many new shops and sellers that it is pretty hard to tell what isn't salesmanship and profiteering verses true data about something that might be helpful.  

I totally agree with Paxiled.  Lifestyle things can make a huge impact.  Good sleep  hygiene for example.  Keeping a journal throughout the day looking for triggers and trying strategies to overcome them can help.  Exercise is like medicine for many.  It keeps my son less stressed out and anxious, for sure.  Meditation.  Breathing exercises. Yoga.  Eating well.  All should help. And therapy.  Talking to someone can be so very important.  
Helpful - 0
Mom, St. John's wort isn't for anxiety, it's for depression.  Actually, it's mostly been used historically to treat nerve pain and as an anti-viral.  It's not likely to help a lot with anxiety.  The remedies you mention for sleep are for occasional insomnia, not chronic insomnia.  All medications for chronic insomnia will probably eventually make it worse.  As I said, medication is strong, but it's not safe.  As you said, natural medicine can also have some pretty bad side effects -- 5-HTP doesn't agree with a lot of people, making many more nervous just as serotonin-targeting antidepressants can.  But it's much safer because you can stop them much easier than you can medication, and that's a very important consideration.  Peace.
Also, CBD is a drug.  So are many "natural" supplements.  Although 5-HTP occurs naturally in a plant and that's where they get it, it doesn't occur isolated by itself.  Same with CBD.  So when we use natural substances isolated from the whole plant, it's more natural than a drug but not the way these things were traditionally used.  A lab is involved with modern scientific techniques necessary to isolate the substances and not centuries of experience using isolated substances.  Peace again.
CBD is not a drug in any useful sense, since the term applies both to one of the naturally occurring components of the  cannabis plant, and to a substance created by humans from the cannabis plant. The usual definitions of 'drug' apply just as well to food. This one's typical, and comes from the Australian government: "Drugs are substances that change a person’s mental or physical state. They can affect the way your brain works, how you feel and behave, your understanding and your senses. " All foods do exactly that. The only medically and scientifically sound, useful and non-pejorative definition of 'drug' would need to include that it is a compound manufactured by human beings for use as a medicine. So, opium is not a drug, but heroin is. The term 'drug' is now largely a highly politicized term of condemnation for substances that mainly or exclusively change how an individual thinks or feels and experiences sensations. It has no place in science or medicine for this reason. The only halfway useful term to use in place of 'drug' for non-political purposes is 'pharmaceutical'.  A pharmaceutical is a distinct substance created by human beings from another substance or substances that is used in the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of disease and for restoring, correcting, or modifying organic functions. By this definition, cannabis is not a drug, but alcoholic spirits are, as are beer and wine. Or, to repeat, opium is not a drug, heroin is. Cannabis is not a drug, CBD extract also is not, but CBD isolate is. Psylocybin is not a drug, LSD is. Even this definition of 'drug' is burdened by some ambiguity, as the case of alcohol makes clear. But it is much less ambiguous than the entirely political kind of definition that would include opium, cannabis or psylocibin in the category 'drug'.
Avatar universal
First, over the counter really refers to pharmaceutical products that don't require a prescription.  Supplements range from taking food in pill or powder form to taking things that are produced in a lab.  

As for the question, it's not that simple.  Lots of people will tell you to take this supplement or that supplement for anxiety or insomnia, but natural medicine is usually done best by combining several supplements combined with lifestyle changes, such as therapy, meditation, exercise, dietary changes, etc.  Some do get some effects by taking one supplement, but most won't.  

If you don't know anything about natural medicine, it's best to either buy an array of books written on the subject and study it until you learn it, or go see a professional, such as an herbalist or naturopath.  

Know that different cultures around the world have developed very different methods and substances they have used through history -- Chinese medicine tackles the problem differently from Indian medicine which is very different from European medicine, so there's a lot of different ways and different supplements to try out there.  

A lot depends on how disciplined you are and how severe the problem is, because natural medicine often takes some time to work and to find what works.  And there's no guarantee it will work anymore there's a guarantee that drugs will work.  It takes trial and error just as taking antidepressants takes trial and error.  

A good book to get started with is Natural Highs by Hyla Cass, who last time I checked taught psychiatry at UCLA.  It's a decent if old overview of what's out there, though its focus is on the European tradition.  

Some common herbs that are used are passionflower, kava, and valerian to name just 3 for relaxation and sleep, 5-HTP for something more like an antidepressant drug -- this is what the body uses to make serotonin, along with B6 and Vitamin C and other co-factors -- and adaptogens such as holy basil and ashwagandha to balance the adrenal gland.  You see how different systems are targeted, not just one -- relaxants usually work on GABA just as benzos do, 5-HTP works on serotonin though in a very different way than ssris and snris, and things for the adrenals to tackle the cortisol problem.  

Hope this gets you started on your search, but remember, the world is full of plants and minerals and amino acids and so you almost never run out of new things to try if it doesn't work at first.  Good luck.  Oh, and also remember, don't expect natural medicine to be as strong as pharmaceutical medicine -- it's not, which makes it much safer but that doesn't mean safe, and usually much slower, though individuals vary a lot.  And if you're currently taking medication, be careful about combining natural medicine with drugs, as they usually are working on the same neurotransmitters.  Peace.
Helpful - 0
And, quality is crucial here.  Never buy from a company that only sells over the internet or by direct marketing -- if it's not on a store shelf, there's nobody to randomly buy it and test it.  Only buy from reputable companies, which means it will be more expensive.  If it's too cheap it's probably not pure and possibly not what you think it is.  Think of natural medicine as generic drugs -- generic drugs are cheap, and the companies who make them cut corners and often are found to have contaminants in them.  The FDA polices this, but finds a lot of violations.  Brand name drugs are too expensive for most of us to use, but they tend to be more reliable.  It's the same with natural medicine -- some companies are known for purity and reliability but because FDA has chosen not to get involved so we won't buy natural remedies and will use pharmaceutical products instead there's a lot of crap out there.  Chinese herbs can be particular bad if you don't know the company, because there's a lot of liver toxic stuff thrown in by shady purveyors.  Be careful out there.
Have an Answer?

You are reading content posted in the Anxiety Community

Top Anxiety Answerers
Avatar universal
Arlington, VA
370181 tn?1595629445
Arlington, WA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Find out what can trigger a panic attack – and what to do if you have one.
A guide to 10 common phobias.
Take control of tension today.
These simple pick-me-ups squash stress.
Don’t let the winter chill send your smile into deep hibernation. Try these 10 mood-boosting tips to get your happy back
Want to wake up rested and refreshed?