Improving Diet — Effective Valium Alternatives
Diet plays a critical role in the time-tested traditions of medical treatment in the fields of cardiology and endocrinology, for example. The emerging field of nutritional psychiatry similarly emphasizes the crucial role of nutrition in mental health treatments. Lab-testing can highlight deficiencies and an improved diet can supply the body with what it needs for optimum performance.9,10
Firth et al in their 2020 British Medical Journal study called “Food for Thought” provide insights on how foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, reduce inflammation and may have a neuroprotective effect. Low glycemic foods can have a positive effect on mood, energy, and other benefits. Processed carbohydrates can worsen depressive and anxiety symptoms so should be avoided. If you are looking for safe and simple Valium alternatives, improving the diet is a good place to start.11,12
Organic Food, Personal Products
Processed food and personal care products are often cloaked in colorful packaging and clever wordplay that could obscure the unhealthy chemicals used in their production. Making more prudent food, hygiene, and cosmetics choices could serve as very helpful Valium alternatives for people suffering from mental health issues. While labeling helps to enlighten the consumer, commercial industries still practice just about as much as they can get away with when it comes to additives that could actually be neurotoxic. While some persons are more sensitive to additives and chemical exposures than others, a simple, safe approach is to consume unprocessed organic products as much as possible.12
The microbiome refers to the digestive system, where a friendly army of microorganisms help break down food to produce energy for the whole body, to protect against pathogens and disease, to manufacture vitamins, hormones, amino acids, and neurotransmitters, and to carry out uncountable other functions vital to health and vitality. However, a starving army can’t fight for long. A dysfunctional microbiome is a recipe for trouble including “leaky gut,” (letting escapee bad bacteria roam around to create mayhem), increased anxiety, depression and a host of other undesirable outcomes. A healthy microbiome is so key to mental wellness it has been coined the “gut-brain axis” as it directly supports healthy neurochemistry. One of the easiest, yet most effective Valium alternatives is to consume probiotics, fermented foods, and other sources of living microbiota, and to add vegetables to the diet. Your army of healthy gut bacteria love to binge on vegetable fiber. A healthy, well-fed microbiome is a happy microbiome and is crucial for mental health.6,13,14
Glutamate is the prime excitatory neurotransmitter in the body. As a stimulant, it can play a key role in many pathologies, including Fibromyalgia, and psychiatric disorders that can arise with disturbed and dysregulated signaling. Glutamate can mediate pain. But in excess levels, it can worsen pain, depression, and anxiety.17 Like many complex agents that are involved in human health, it is neither “good” nor “bad” but like an orchestra, each instrument needs to be in perfect tune with all the other instruments. A balance between them is required to correctly regulate various systems, organs, and interchanges in the human body, The correct balance between neurotransmitters is what keeps things working. Too much or too little glutamate can be bad, in part, because it can affect and be affected by other neurotransmitters, in a domino fashion. Studies like Miladinovc et al’s “Overview of Glutamatergic Dysregulation in Central Pathologies.” suggest a correlation between too much glutamate and negative mental health symptoms. Such modifications to diet can be effective as an alternative to Valium or other drugs.15
Glutamate is naturally occurring in many foods, and in this state, mostly bound to other proteins, is not thought to produce the harmful effects of “free” glutamate molecules that are the components of MSG. Dr. Dave Steenblock suggests that a healthy body produces enzymes that break down excess glutamate. Where the health is already compromised, this break-down process may fail to compensate for the excitatory effects of glutamate, and symptoms like anxiety may present.18
Diet can help restore the balance and correct such dysregulation, as well as supplementation that can help restore a natural balance including adequate enzymes. To avoid over-consumption of “free” glutamates such as foods laden with MSG, it is recommended to find out the various names given to MSG that may be present in processed foods.16
When deciding on Valium alternatives, being mindful of food and beverage additives deserves serious consideration. Research by Choudhary et al has revealed that Aspartame may elevate some major chemicals in the brain or blood, including cortisol, phenylalanine, and aspartic acid. Several outcomes are concerning because the increased plasma levels of cortisol can inhibit the production and distribution of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. This complex domino effect also involves the release of damaging free radicals that can subject the brain to oxidative stress, leading to neurobehavioral adverse effects. This risk surely warrants further research, but so far, abstinence seems the best option.23
There are many ways to correct the diet to avoid blood sugar spikes and dips, and many symptoms that are often mistaken for psychiatric conditions. Diet can have mood-stabilizing effects and positive improvements on depression.5,24 Correcting and optimizing the diet is an excellent choice as an alternative to Valium. Clients at Alternative to Meds enjoy the benefits of delicious meals and snacks that are designed using orthomolecular principles.
Toxins, Heavy Metals, and Anxiety Symptoms
Environmental medicine is another Valium alternative used at Alternative to Meds Center.
If a person accidentally gets a poisonous substance in their eye, for example, the protocol is not a prescription for sedatives. The protocol is to flush the poison out of the eye as soon as possible, and as thoroughly as possible.25
When bioaccumulation of environmental toxins is found through lab testing, the protocol at Alternative to Meds is to flush out the toxins. And, if a person had developed anxiety or other symptoms after their exposure, and was prescribed sedatives, we can help the person gently taper off the drugs as part of treatment. But the toxins still need to be cleared out. Toxins impair physiological function and have been shown to create a detrimental effect on mental health as well.26
Lead, Cadmium, Anxiety, and PTSD
Hanninen et al’s 1998 study on the effects of occupational lead exposure demonstrated a decline in several features of cognitive ability after various levels of lead exposure. Some participants had been exposed to lead in a workplace setting some 10 years prior to the test. The researchers concluded there is a high risk for long-term or even permanent impairment of CNS function after exposure to lead.27 Orisakwe’s comprehensive 2014 review of 60 articles on lead and cadmium in relation to psychiatric symptoms found that exposures to lead and cadmium were followed by a similar set of symptoms. The authors noted that blood samples showed little to no lead but the bone analysis showed significant toxic accumulations.19 A recent case study in 2020 by Casselman et al details the case of an active-duty military officer with elevated anxiety, irritability, and other neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with high levels of lead measured in bone, where little to none showed in blood tests alone. The authors concluded that a greater level of suspicion is warranted in assessing psychiatric symptoms related to lead poisoning, especially in the military population where toxic exposures could occur more frequently, possibly mimicking PTSD symptoms. This is a good example of alternatives to Valium that would be much more effective than a prescription drug.28
Based on existing evidence, detoxification after lead and cadmium exposure would offer a logical and highly beneficial Valium alternative treatment.
Mercury and Psychiatric Symptoms
A growing body of evidence shows a link between mercury exposure and neurological symptoms for which drugs are commonly prescribed to treat. Blood tests can show short-term and high-level exposures, and urine tests are effective for long-term exposures. Heavy metals may not show up in a blood or urine test without a provoked chelation challenge, which can give a more accurate profile of the body burden of such neurotoxins.
There are many ways that mercury exposure can occur, such as inhaling mercury vapors from dental amalgam, working in industrial environments such as gold mining, or eating high quantities of mercury-contaminated fish.29
Mercury is a neurotoxin. The psychiatric symptoms linked to exposure include anxiety, depression, insomnia, emotional lability, morbid shyness, fatigue, and anorexia as well as physiological symptoms, such as corrosion of the skin, delirium, paralysis, headaches, and kidney, lung, or other organ impairment. Testing for and clearing out mercury accumulations from the body is a wise Valium alternative since mercury is so prevalent around the globe. The WHO lists mercury as one of the top 10 chemicals of major concern in public health.30
Physical Treatments for Anxiety and Insomnia
Sharpe et al’s randomized study on the therapeutic value of massage found significant improvements in anxiety, depression, positive well-being, and general health in older adults.31
There is really no comparison to prescription drugs that are “advertised as superior,” yet massage is a safe, highly effective alternative to Valium or other drugs. Therapeutic massage is not only pleasurable, but it comes without the risk of side effects, dependency, or addiction.
Alternative to Meds Center offers trainer-led Yoga sessions, which are one of our most popular therapeutics. Smith et al’s randomized controlled trial published in 2007 compared the benefits of Yoga with relaxation. Yoga was found more effective than relaxation in improving mental health during a 6-week phase of treatment, and after 6 weeks, the results of both relaxation and Yoga were equally beneficial for mental health symptoms such as stress and anxiety.32
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine
Acupuncture has seen a huge rise in popularity in the West as an alternative to Valium or other prescription drug treatments for stress and anxiety.
Pilkington et al’s review of 12 controlled trials found evidence of positive benefits for anxiety neuroses and generalized anxiety disorders, making acupuncture treatment an extremely trusted Valium alternative.33
Valium Alternatives: Supplements
Passionflower ( Passiflora )
Akhondzadeh et al’s research published In 2001 in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics showed that passionflower ( Passiflora incarnata ) and the benzodiazepine oxazepam had equal efficacy in treating generalized anxiety disorder. The use of passionflower had the advantage over oxazepam of not impacting work performance, making it a safe and effective benzodiazepine or Valium alternative.34
A study out of Poland by Nowakowska et al in 1998 concluded that Kava may be a useful alternative for Valium or other synthetic anxiolytics, and recommended more research be completed. In 2010 Sarris et al’s comprehensive review of the medical literature on Kava notes that the sedation effects of this plant extract (mainly found in the root) result from modulating GABA, and restricting dopamine and noradrenaline reuptake. One safety concern is noted in a Poison Control Center fact sheet, noting that liver damage has occurred in a small number of cases. Thousands of years of common use in the Pacific Island regions have not shown any increase in liver toxicity. It is not clearly understood why the 11 cases reviewed showed signs of liver damage, but the Poison Control Center recommends moderate use be undertaken, and only by those persons without underlying liver conditions, and not using Kava at the same time as medications that have been proven to impact the liver.35,36
GABA is available as an over-the-counter natural supplement as reported in published research by Abdou et al, that reduces anxiety and increases relaxation.37 As a natural relaxation and sleep aid, GABA showed moderate efficacy, making it a possible alternative to Valium without the liability of problematic side effects or dependency issues.38
Remember that dark turkey meat you had last Thanksgiving and that urge to nap post-meal? Yes, that was the taurine and other amino acids. Significant levels of Taurine are also found in shellfish and chicken. Henry Emmons MD in Natural Mental Health, notes taurine is an amino acid that eases anxiety. He also notes that taurine reduces psychiatric symptoms related to excess glutamate.39 Taurine is an effective alternative to Valium that is available over-the-counter as well as naturally occurring in foods that are high in protein.
Glycine is found in protein-rich foods like fish, meat, legumes, and dairy products. It can also be purchased as a non-prescription supplement. Glycine has been found useful in treating OCD and body dysmorphic disorder. Because it suppresses excitatory neurotransmitters it has a calming effect. As a Valium alternative, glycine is non-addictive, does not carry side effects, and is useful for anxiety, panic disorders, and other conditions.40
Niacinamide is a variant of the B vitamin, niacin. Medical info in Hospital News reports niacinamide’s anti-anxiety effects are comparable to benzodiazepines, making it an excellent Valium alternative. It is thought that in anxiety, neurotransmitters are commonly unbalanced and niacinamide possibly modulates them back into balance.41
L-lysine L-arginine as Alternatives to Valium
The body is a complex, beautifully designed wonder! Thousands of systems, in millions of ways, interact in alignment and harmony in a healthy body. There could never be a one-shot-fix for as complex a problem as disabling anxiety and other symptoms. However, in a Japanese study it was found that in as little as one week, a combination of L-lysine and L-arginine significantly reduced symptoms of chronic anxiety and stress. This is hopeful news for many who suffer these egregious symptoms, and are looking for alternatives to Valium or other medications for help.49
Magnesium — Effective Alternative to Valium
According to Boyle et al’s research in 2017, approximately 70% of Americans and French adults have insufficient magnesium in their diets, leading to various negative health outcomes, one of which is mood disorders. The researchers concluded that in human studies, a magnesium deficiency led to depression and suicidal behavior. In rat studies, magnesium deficiency led to elevated anxiety. A safe and healthy strategy is to use nutritive magnesium as an alternative to Valium to address these symptoms.43
Low-THC cannabidiol or CBD has been increasingly studied in recent times since the substance has been legalized for medical use almost everywhere. A paper by Blessing et al was published in 2015 that cited CBD as an effective treatment for generalized anxiety, panic disorders, social anxiety disorder, OCD, and PTSD. We cannot think of many (if any) medications that have been proven effective for such an amazing range of anxiety/mood disorders, without sedation, and with such an excellent safety profile. Recreational use of high THC content marijuana is NOT recommended as it can have adverse effects such as the very psychiatric symptoms that Valium was prescribed to treat.50
Studies such as the one by Garzon et al 2009 demonstrate that melatonin works better than a placebo to improve sleep and reduce symptoms such as depression and anxiety. Other plus factors are that it is not addictive, and it is safe for all ages, unlike conventional hypnotic drugs.51
Tryptophan / 5-HTP
Studies have shown the clinical effectiveness of 5-HTP.which is the intermediate metabolite of the essential amino acid L-tryptophan. L-tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin. Birdsall demonstrated that 5-HTP is useful in treating a wide variety of conditions, including depression, binge eating, chronic headaches, insomnia, and fibromyalgia. For these reasons, 5-HTP could be an alternative to Valium or other medications for relief.45,52
Another study (Kahn et al) showed that tryptophan was moderately effective in the reduction of a set of 90 symptoms relating to anxiety disorders. 5-HTP is an over-the-counter supplement that contains tryptophan which is also a precursor to melatonin. Bravo et al did a comparison trial involving cereal enriched with tryptophan in a group of older adults and found the enriched cereal group had significant improvements in sleep and mood.53,54
A study by Frontiers in Neuroscience valerian recognized Valerian extract worldwide as an effective herbal sedative, although there is a lack of definitive research to authenticate the herb’s anxiolytic effects at a therapeutic level of efficacy.42
A rat study by Murphy et al in 2006 showed that valerian root extract had significant anxiolytic effects, as in a reduction of anxiety in the animals, and suggested more research is needed to determine the exact mechanisms involved.55
Toxic Mold Syndrome
Tests and research have shown that persons who have been exposed to toxic mold can suffer neurological impairment resulting in short-term memory loss, deficits in hand-eye coordination, and other reactions. Other studies on toxic mold exposure have also demonstrated symptoms such as memory loss, insomnia, anxiety, depression, confusion, and others.46,56-58 Clearing out the home or workplace could be of great benefit and even a highly effective Valium alternative where these exposures are causing bad reactions. More on the subject can be found by reading the book called “Mold Warriors: Fighting America’s Hidden Health Threat” by Ritchie C. Shoemaker.60
Good Sleep Hygiene
Schecter et al’s 2018 controlled trial on blocking nocturnal blue light found evidence that exposure to blue light prior to bedtime may contribute to sleep issues, and that the use of blue light blocking spectacles for a period of time before sleep improved sleep quality.48
Other healthy sleep habits include these suggestions from the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project: 61
- Keep a regular bedtime, even on weekends or during vacations.
- Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep.
- Go to bed when sleepy. If you are unable to sleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed.
- Establish a bedtime routine that evokes relaxation.
- The bed is for only sleep and sex, not other activities, especially work or fighting.
- Design the bedroom to be relaxing and keep it at a cool, but comfortable temperature.
- Limit being exposed to electronics, EMFs, and blue light before bedtime.47,48,62
- A light snack vs a heavy meal before bed is a better choice.
- Exercise on a regular schedule throughout the week.
- Healthy food choices, whole, organic where possible.
- Caffeine drinks should be avoided later in the day/evening.
- Avoid alcohol before established bedtime.
- Limit fluids before bedtime.
Talk Therapy — an Effective Valium Alternative
There are many classifications of anxiety disorders. According to extensive medical research, they may all respond well to CBT, a specialized form of counseling that aims to help a person deconstruct old habits and create new strategies for mental wellness.1,4
It may be profoundly helpful to talk to a trusted counselor or support group, to stay positive. In fact, some studies have shown CBT produces superior therapeutic benefits compared to drugs
Studies have shown that CBT may have a superior therapeutic value over drugs, and the positive results may last much longer.59
Valium Alternatives vs Other Drugs
Valium dependence can develop very quickly. But abruptly stopping the drug is a high-risk venture due to severe withdrawal symptoms. Even a gradual withdrawal can be near impossible to tolerate.3
Physicians are largely untrained in medication withdrawal management, and the common response is to prescribe a different medication or multiple medications. This is unnecessary if one has been informed and has access to safe, gently Valium alternatives that can ease the withdrawal process. Alternative to Meds wants to help you get off your medication with minimal discomfort and the use of drug-free, non-habit-forming benzodiazepine alternatives can greatly assist the transition.
Valium, also known as diazepam, belongs to a class of medications typically prescribed for anxiety called benzodiazepines. Some of the common medications that may be prescribed as an alternative to Valium include antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors ( SSRIs ) like fluoxetine ( Prozac ), tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline ( Elavil, Endep ), monoamine oxidase inhibitors ( MAOIs ) such as phenelzine ( Nardil ), and other various medications used for anxiety such as buspirone ( Buspar ).
The above-mentioned antidepressants and other prescription medications used as alternatives to Valium carry many of the same side effect risks as Valium. They may even result in worsening anxiety, making an individual’s life even more difficult. Effective drug-free Valium natural alternatives exist such as counseling, nutritional therapy, supplementation, lifestyle change, detoxification, and a multitude of other healing therapies and activities offered at Alternative to Meds Center.
Holistic Valium Alternatives at Alternative to Meds Center
In order to manage anxiety without the side effects and problems associated with Valium, or other prescription drugs, it is logical to look for the underlying issues which originally led to Valium use. We search for and correct such underlying issues. Every person is different and requires their unique needs to be met in order to overcome anxiety, prevent anxiety attacks, improve sleep and energy, and so on.
An alternative treatment plan for anxiety may include talk therapy or counseling, dietary changes or nutritional therapy, herbal supplements or vitamins, exercise or physical activities such as equine-assisted therapy, relaxation techniques, massage, yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and others. There are many other effective therapeutic approaches to anxiety treatment besides numbing these symptoms with drugs. If you are not happy with the effects of Valium, we can help you get off this medication with the help of Valium alternative treatments, and provide you with the best available alternative methods. We focus on identifying and correcting the original problems that led to being prescribed Valium.
Use of Valium or other prescription drugs should not be stopped without consulting a medical professional.
Safe Alternatives to Valium
Valium or other prescription drugs can cause a residual build-up of toxins in the body. Until these toxins are removed and the essential nutrients that the body needs are given, the neurochemistry of the body may be unable to function properly. We provide comprehensive nutritional, vitamin, and supplement therapies.6-8 We use safe, proven alternatives as described above, to balance the body and stabilize the brain.
Neurochemical Rebalancing Through Neurotoxin Removal
The majority of clients who come to ATMC test positive for heavy metals and other accumulations. These can have an over-stimulating effect on the CNS. Much research informs us that a build-up of toxic chemicals can lead to psychiatric symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, and others.19-26 These accumulations can be gently purged from the body using a low-temperature sauna, chelation, and other non-pervasive but highly effective avenues. This gives the neurochemistry a chance to naturally “re-set” and can help bring these symptoms under control.
Contact Us at Alternative to Meds Center
Transitioning to drug-free Valium alternatives may involve many steps, including careful taper methods, neurotoxin removal, supplementation for stabilizing neurochemistry, personalized trainer-led exercise, massage therapy, acupuncture, sauna, nebulized glutathione, meditation, yoga, IV treatment, colonics, and many more opportunities for improved health. Please contact us, and we can provide more insight into the underlying reasons for symptoms that may have led to using benzodiazepines in the first place. We effectively manage anxiety and other unwanted symptoms with scientifically proven, safe, gentle Valium alternatives.
Read Our eBook on the Alternatives to Benzodiazepines