Anxiety disorders are one of the most common psychological illnesses that people face across the world. An estimated 31.1 percent American adults may experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives, states the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
There’s growing evidence of shared effects between emotions and physical functioning. Anxiety has been associated with several chronic physical illnesses, like cardiac disorders, chronic respiratory issues, and gastrointestinal problems. Untreated anxiety disorders can complicate the treatment of the physical disease, worsening the afflicted individual’s physical condition.
Studies have shown that more than one in six Americans took at least one drug to treat their anxiety in 2013. These drugs ranged from antidepressants to anti-anxiety drugs, like Xanax, which is the most prevalent anti-anxiety medication and the third most widespread psychiatric drug used all over the world to treat anxiety. Although prescription medications can benefit some patients suffering from chronic stress and anxiety, it’s not a possible option for several due to its side effects.
Side effects of Xanax
Psychiatric drugs like Xanax can have a number of side effects that range from unpleasant to life-threatening and may include:
- feeling weak, dizzy, drowsy, or confused
- disturbed digestion
- muscle weakness and fatigue
- change in appetite
- reduced sex drive
- blurred vision
- lack of mental clarity
- lethargy and brain fog
Besides the complications of prescribing Xanax, other factors like dependence, tolerance, withdrawal, rebound and abuse limit of the drug also restrict its use for long-term treatment of anxiety disorders, especially in patients battling an addiction to alcohol or drugs. Fortunately, Xanax is not the only worthwhile choice for anxiety treatment.
Kava- a substitute to Xanax?
In recent years, several herbal therapies have surfaced as a source of effective natural treatment for anxiety. These cost less and have reduced side effects compared to conventional prescribed pharmaceutical drugs.
The usage of ‘kava roots’ for stress and anxiety management has been around for some time. Kava (Piper methysticum) is a South Pacific psychotropic plant medicine that has anxiolytic activity. It is basically a psychoactive “tea”, made from the roots of a plant in the pepper family.
Today several extracts standardized in the biologically active constituents kavalactones are marketed both as herbal medicinal products for anxiety disorders and as dietary supplements to improve stress disorders, nervousness and restlessness.
Kava – benefits and side effects
While, review of studies conducted by Pittler and Ernst have found kava to be better than a placebo in reducing anxiety, a more recent research has also found that kava provides significant anti-anxiety benefits as well. However, concerns have been raised over the risks associated with the use of kava. High liver toxicity was reported in patients and other side effects were seen when high doses of the drink were taken over extended periods.
Nevertheless, taking pills, drugs or supplements, without medical advice can be dangerous. One must remember that self-help techniques may not provide complete relief in case a person is suffering from a chronic mental ailment like generalized anxiety disorder. It is important to get the problem diagnosed and treated in time, in order to prevent it from aggravating.
Seeking help for anxiety disorders
Anxiety disorders are different from an occasional bout of anxiety that occurs only when exposed to unfavorable conditions. Therefore, one should not ignore prolonged symptoms and seek immediate medical help as untreated anxiety can lead to performance issues at work, adversely affect relationships and reduce self-esteem, among others.
If you or your loved one is suffering from depression or anxiety, get in touch with the Anxiety Treatment Centers of California. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-972-9459 to find the best anxiety clinics in California. You can even chat online with our representative to understand how our evidence-based programs work in providing lasting recovery.