Improve the Diet
Studies by Kim et al published in the Journal of Nutritional Research in 2017 determined that sufficient dietary protein improved mental health.77 Foods they recommended included onions and celery, for their high levels of potassium and folic acid. When a person is deficient in potassium or folic acid, the deficiency alone may be enough to induce anxiousness and nervousness. The very idea of warm chicken soup with onions and celery might cause you to drop your shoulders, take a deep relaxing breath, and maybe even smile.
Getting into the habit of eating healthy, whole foods may help achieve a major reduction of anxiety. Notably, studies show that using food-based alternative treatments improved overall mental health. Using these principles, our chef serves wholesome, organic, and exceptionally tasteful food.15-17
Orthomolecular principles in food prep can serve up such an amazing and delicious dose of healing, it almost seems magical–but it is based on science.4,5,8,60
Are you interested in adding fermented foods to your diet? There are many foods that promote healthy microbiota in the gut and that can bring about life-changing, positive impacts on health. Supporting evidence can be found in Hilimire et al’s 2015 study in Psychiatry Research showing that eating fermented foods containing probiotics can have an anxiolytic effect, meaning they can reduce anxiety.61
But that’s not all. You have a friendly army in your gut that is there to defend your health, vanquish your pathogenic enemies, and harmonize your emotions as profoundly as the 17,572 singers do in Eric Whitacre’s “Sing Gently.” According to many researchers, the gut-brain axis is literally a highway to health heaven if you take proper care of it.4-8,62
Organic Food, Organic Hygiene Products
It is not always easy or even possible to procure purely organic foods and personal care products, but doing so might well be worth the extra time and expense if it can reduce the liability of chemical exposures. Canadian scientist David Suzuki describes one such chemical that is now banned in the US but not elsewhere, called Triclosan. Triclosan is used in thousands of common household products like bedsheets, garbage bags, toys, and even hand sanitizer and mouthwash. This chemical does not easily degrade but does easily pass through human skin. It is suspected of endocrine disruption, which means it may interfere with hormones and neurotransmitters.
The agri-food-industrial use of pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics, flavor enhancers, and preservatives has been long-scrutinized. There is a growing awareness of what these neurotoxic substances can do to our health. An excellent source of information on chemicals added to cosmetics and other hygiene products is called Skin Deep 65 which can help identify products you may want to avoid.
Buying organic can significantly reduce the potential risks of toxic exposure.3,63,64
Avoid Overconsumption of Glutatmates in Foods
Chemical operations interact with precision in a healthy body. Glutamate is the most abundant of the free amino acids. Researchers in a 2011 review published in the Journal of Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, suggested that glutamate expression is heightened during stress or fear events. Glutamate is an excitatory transmitter that is produced naturally by the body. It is also found in many foods like wheat, soy products, and cheeses. It is also found in foods processed with MSG. Although more research is called for, one could avoid overconsumption of foods high in glutamate or MSG to avoid the risk of glutamate-related anxiety or other symptoms.10-12
Savvy shoppers might be well-advised to research the various names for glutamate or MSG that may be lurking in food products.66
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener 200X sweeter than sugar. It is synthesized (lab-produced) from the excitatory amino acid aspartic acid. The Journal of Nutrition and Neuroscience published a review authored by Choudhary et al that reported a possible link between the consumption of aspartame and neurophysiological symptoms. These include seizures, anxiety, migraine headaches, and others. When combined with caffeine, neurological symptoms can be worsened. A person who experiences symptoms of anxiety or other reactions can exercise caution by avoiding the risks linked to Aspartame.13,14
Toxins, Heavy Metals, and Anxiety
Dentists, hygienists, and others are occupationally exposed to mercury. These persons were found to suffer from increased symptoms of anxiety, depression, confusion, sexual dysfunction, fatigue, mood swings, headache, trembling muscles, and many others. These results were documented in the 2004 Journal of Toxicological Sciences authored by Heyer et al.23
Alternative to Meds Center uses environmental medicine to clear out such toxic accumulations. Benzodiazepines are very commonly prescribed to reduce such psychiatric symptoms. However, neurotoxin removal has achieved a much safer, more permanent reduction and elimination of undesirable symptoms. We test for bioaccumulation of heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and other toxins. The food we eat, the air we breathe, and innumerable other sources expose us more than we might realize. These neurotoxins can affect our mental and physical health. Another fascinating 2011 study on zebrafish found that exposure to methylmercury had a direct anxiety response in the fish.22
Much research has been done that demonstrates the effects of toxin exposure on the human population.21,33 Alternative to Meds Center investigates the possible underlying causes of symptoms using lab testing and other assessments.
Xanax Alternatives — Treating the Underlying Factors
Benzos may cause problematic adverse reactions or be ineffective. A superior protocol would mean finding what is causing anxiety.
Research has established that neurotoxins collect in a person’s body throughout their lifetime, resulting in an over-stimulated nervous system. Toxins could include aspartame, heavy metals, pesticides, mycotoxins from mold, and literally thousands of other toxic chemicals in our food, hygiene, and cleaning products, in our homes and workplaces. Additional factors such as an overly demanding workplace, a foundering marriage, or other stressors can overwhelm a person. But if toxic impairment has not been tested for and corrected, other therapies such as counseling may not be effective until eliminating the toxic burden.
Physical Treatments for Anxiety and Insomnia
A study by Sherman et al published in The American Massage Therapy Association in 2010 found massage was effective in a small study of participants suffering from GAD (generalized anxiety disorder). A diagnosis of GAD entails at least 6 months of challenging and ongoing worries for which no source can be located. Imagine the relief of using massage as an excellent Xanax alternative strategy. 24
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine
The Journal of Medical Acupuncture published findings in 2013 where Aung et al reported that acupuncture and other traditional Chinese therapies were effective in treating insomnia, PTSD, and generalized anxiety disorders 25
Additional research can be found such as Pilkington et al’s review on treating GAD with acupuncture26 published in 2007, and Tu et al’s massive review in 2019.47 These studies documented the positive effects of acupuncture on anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Acupuncture has shown amazing efficacy as a Xanax alternative.
Supplements Used as Xanax Alternatives
Supplements include a vast array of over-the-counter products, which may be more desirable than medications as they do not come with the risks of acquired dependence and lingering drug reactions. Some with proven track records are described below, as examples of what is freely available at a local health food shop or even a local grocery store.32,60
Supplements Used as Xanax Alternatives can include:
- L-lysine, L-arginine
- CBD (not recreational marijuana)
- Tryptophan, 5HTP
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Have You Heard of These?
Passiflora: A working person may find benzodiazepines impact their ability to work efficiently due to cognitive impairments. Choosing a non-pharmaceutical like Passiflora extract could be just as effective in treating GAD, but without the negative effects, according to a clinical comparison published in 2001, in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics.27
Kava: Kava is another Xanax alternative for treating anxiety. Seven clinical trials using Kava for generalized anxiety disorder reported anxiety was significantly reduced as compared to placebo. This is hopeful and exciting news for those desiring holistic methods of treating their symptoms.28,29
Learn About Amino Acids
GABA: Abdou et al’s 2006 study in Biofactors showed that GABA not only induced relaxation but reduced anxiety in human trials.72 Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid is a naturally occurring amino acid that regulates or slows down nerve impulses. According to another 2006 human study, Adham et al concluded that GABA reduces anxiety, and also provides immune system support for those under stress, making GABA supplementation ideal if you are looking for a safe Xanax alternative.12,30-32
Taurine: O’Donnell et al published a remarkable double-blind placebo-controlled clinical study in the 2016 Journal of Clinical Psychiatry demonstrating that in persons with first-episode psychosis, taurine significantly reduced symptomology, with less fatigue and physical weakness compared to the placebo group.34 In another fascinating trial, Jakaria et al published their findings in the 2016 Redox Journal of Biology concluding that taurine has a neuroprotective role, protecting against endocrine pathologies, and stroke, promoting neuron survival, and many other benefits, including antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects.35,36
Amino Acids and Cortisol, Norepinephrine
L-lysine and L-arginine: L-lysine and L-arginine given orally were shown effective at reducing chronic anxiety in a double-blind placebo-controlled study published in 2007 by Smriga et al in the Journal of Biomedical Research. Also worth noting, L-lysine combined with L-arginine was shown effective in lowering the stress hormone cortisol. The authors concluded that L-lysine in combination with L-arginine is a recommended dietary intervention for stress and anxiety in otherwise healthy humans.39
Glycine: Mori et al published a study in 2002 in the Journal of Physiology where the authors describe glycine as a naturally occurring inhibitory amino acid. For example, glycine suppresses the release of norepinephrine, an excitatory neurochemical, causing a reduction in symptoms of anxiety, and panic.37,38
In an extensive research paper published in the Nutrition Journal in 2008, authors Lakhan and Vieria concluded that glycine was able to reduce symptoms that medication could not, citing a wide range of conditions, such as anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, bipolar, eating disorders, schizophrenia, and other conditions.60 The authors note that amino acid supplements are helpful in such a wide range of mental health issues because they get converted into neurotransmitters that alleviate the symptoms, making their nutritional approach of using supplementation with glycine an excellent Xanax alternative choice.
More Xanax Alternatives
Niacinamide: Hospital News in 2005 concludes that niacinamide (a niacin variant) has anti-anxiety effects comparable to benzodiazepines like Xanax. They reported that niacinamide is effective for anxiety by modulating neurotransmitters that are commonly unbalanced, resulting in anxiety.38
Magnesium: Boyle et al report in their 2017 review that magnesium is involved in over 300 operations in the human body. These include energy metabolism, insulin release, muscle contraction, and hundreds more. A deficiency of magnesium can cause cardiac diseases, hypertension, diabetes, and other breakdowns in health. Magnesium plays another role. It regulates endocrine pathways linked to depression, anxiety, mania, and others. Since depression and anxiety are often comorbid conditions, a trusted Xanax alternative would be to ensure the diet and supplementation provide adequate magnesium levels to attenuate these conditions.40
Foods that contain magnesium include green leafy vegetables, nuts & seeds, bananas, fish, chicken, and other easily accessible foods. A magnesium deficiency can cause migraines according to the National Institutes of Health fact sheet for professionals.73
Special Notes on CBD
CBD: Anxiety and depression are 2 of the most prevalent reasons that CBD (medical marijuana) is prescribed. A national review on medical marijuana and cannabidiol was published in 2017 showing benefits for various medical and mental health conditions. In a group of epileptic children treated with cannabidiol, a 75-100% improvement rate — less severe and less frequent seizures — was reported. Cautiously positive reports of improvements in Tourette syndrome and MS were also cited. A second study by Blessing et al reported conclusive evidence of efficacy in the treatment of anxiety in a limited trial, within the range of 300-600 mg daily, as well as OCD, PTSD, SAD, GAD, and PD (panic disorder). Participants got relief without the oversedation effects that can occur with medications. Both of these studies/trials called for more research on the use of CBD as an alternative to Xanax or other medication-based treatments.41,42
Alternatives at Your Local Shops
Melatonin: A 2013 study published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism reported that melatonin has therapeutic value for sleep. The research showed that melatonin also protects against neurodegenerative disorders, and against cancer. 43
As sleep deprivation co-occurs in anxiety disorders, melatonin whether through diet or supplementation would be a wise choice as an alternative to Xanax or other sleep medication.74
Tryptophan, 5-HTP: Birdsall concluded in an article published in the Alternative Medicine Review that 5-HTP is a clinically effective precursor to serotonin production.46 Another trial authored by Shaw et al, published in the 2002 Cochrane Database showed tryptophan use reduced depression. However, the body does not make tryptophan. The diet must contain enough protein from foods like poultry, cheese, or milk to make tryptophan. The supplement 5-HTP contains a plant-derived form of tryptophan and is available OTC. Both L-tryptophan and 5-HTP convert to serotonin and melatonin.44,45,54
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Kiecolt-Glaser et al’s 12 weeks long placebo-controlled trial in 2011 showed that Omega-3 fatty acid supplements decreased anxiety in the trial participants by 20% over placebo. None of the participants had a prior anxiety disorder diagnosis. However, blood samples were compared 12 weeks before and days before exams, which is known as a high-stress event. The trial also showed omega-3s reduced inflammation. According to the National Institutes of Health, your diet can supply this nutrient from fish, preferably cold-water and clean-sourced, like salmon, mackerel, tuna, herrings, and sardines. Diet can also provide it in flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts, and fortified dairy products.67,75
Do You Suffer From Stress and Insomnia?
Valerian: Murphy et al authored a laboratory trial with rats, published in the 2009 Journal of Phytomedicine, comparing the efficacy of valerian with diazepam. The researchers found that Valerian produced equivalent effects compared to diazepam. They concluded that valerian extract was a potential alternative to traditional anxiolytics. In addition, other studies have shown valerian extract’s efficacy in reducing anxiety and stress-induced insomnia. One study noted that vivid dreams occurred in 16% of cases involved in the Valerian trial.29,36,48,49
What is Toxic Mold Syndrome?
Medical research has conclusively shown that exposure to toxic mold can cause neurological impairment. Toxic mold syndrome causes symptoms like confusion, depression, dizziness, anxiety, and many others.
Find out more about how to avoid it in Ritchie C. Shoemaker’s book called Mold Warriors,50 as well as the other recommended reading you can find in the citations below.51-53
Practice Good Sleep Habits
Sleep deprivation causes ramifications for mental health. A huge percentage of the global population suffers from this condition.68
You may have read about the use of sleep deprivation as an “enhanced interrogation technique.” If nothing else, these reports reveal the disastrous physical and mental consequences of sleep deprivation. In extreme or chronic situations these can include psychosis, sickness, and even death. The use of sleep deprivation in torture has fallen largely out of use at the present time because cognitive impairment makes any information gained unreliable.
Shechter et al’s randomized controlled trial in 2018 demonstrated that exposure to blue light before bedtime contributed to sleep issues and that the use of blue light-blocking spectacles improved the quality of sleep when used daily for 2 hours before retiring. Other research suggests that EMFs are another potential sleep disrupter to avoid in the sleeping area.78,79
The key point is that Alternative to Meds Center focuses on finding and treating the root causes of insomnia. We use lab testing, natural supplementation, and other methods to provide safe and gentle means for healthful, quality sleep. Effective alternatives to Xanax do not rely on medication for better sleep.31,43,48,55,68,71
Counseling and Other Therapeutics as Xanax Alternatives
At Alternative to Meds Center, we offer a plethora of talk therapies including CBT, DBT, Life Coaching, Social Cognitive therapy, Choice therapy, and others, all taking a fundamental approach to build trust through unconditional positive regard for the client.
Many studies show that CBT is more efficacious and results longer-lasting, with fewer relapses than drug-based therapy. Counseling is highly useful not only as a first-line treatment but in the recovery phases of care.81
Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience published a series of controlled, randomized trials demonstrating that structured counseling can have a superior, more long-lasting positive result than drugs, making counseling an excellent alternative to Xanax for mental wellness.56,70
Many art enthusiasts describe an intrinsic value found in both art appreciation and hands-on creation, that transcends space and time. In art therapy at Alternative to Meds, we see art as an effective means to discover personal meaning, to articulate things that are difficult to express verbally, and to discover or re-discover what is important or valuable, such as one’s concepts of beauty, nature, or the power of imagination. All of these factors can have an extremely uplifting effect, as is documented in controlled clinical trials published in the Frontiers in Psychology Journal of 2018.76
Equine therapy is overseen by a licensed psychotherapist trained specifically in this genre and provides a rich context for processing or re-processing one’s reactions and feelings, and improving confidence in oneself. Its effectiveness makes equine therapy one of our most asked-for therapies at Alternative to Meds Center.57
Staggering Xanax Overdose Rates!
The overdose rates of Xanax have reached stratospheric levels. Benzodiazepine overdoses in teenage populations increased by 54% between the years 2000 and 2015.1 It is time that we started considering other ways of treating our busy lives and anxieties besides addictive drugging.
Alternatives to Xanax (sold as alprazolam) include natural medicine, calming therapies, relaxing practices, herbal remedies, counseling, change in diet, and much more. Natural and alternative treatments for anxiety have been used for ages, long before prescription drugs like benzodiazepines were developed. It is a blessing from nature that these straightforward, but powerful alternatives exist. Xanax is highly addictive, has a high risk of abuse, can come with many harsh reactions — and can be incredibly difficult to stop taking. Many individuals would be blown away by the power of natural Xanax alternatives and how efficient they are. Our goal is to offer clients lasting relief and long-term success. The benzodiazepine alternatives we provide are targeted to correct underlying causes of symptoms as well as to obtain immediate relief from symptoms.
How Effective Are Alternatives to Xanax?
We offer Xanax alternatives, meaning drug-free solutions that can help you achieve lasting relief. The protocols we use provide safe, effective, and proven solutions to stabilize the brain and balance the body. We investigate and correct the source of the problems that resulted in being prescribed Xanax.
For most persons, rapid Xanax cessation doesn’t relieve their trouble as anxiety will stay behind even if the medication is gone. We do not advise it.
In contrast, Xanax alternative medicine includes the use of natural remedies that can be derived from a broad range of different types of foods, herbs, vitamins, nutrients, minerals, and supplements. Nutritional therapy means designing and implementing a corrected diet along with these natural substances to stabilize brain chemistry. Prior to providing these nutritional treatments, lab testing identifies deficiencies, toxicity levels, and other imbalances. Through investigative techniques such as lab testing, we are able to identify the source of the symptoms and then fix them.
Xanax Alternatives Treatment at Alternative to Meds Center
We create an individualized treatment regimen for each of our clients. Clients benefit from nutritional education, counseling, body detoxification, life coaching, physical exercise, equine therapy, medication tapering, stabilization of the neurochemistry, and addressing genetic factors that may be interfering with metabolism.
Other therapeutic protocols at Alternative to Meds can reduce anxiety significantly, such as yoga, meditation, and practicing mindfulness, massage therapy, and acupuncture. Each program utilizes a wealth of adjunctive therapies. Please explore more about them on our services overview page, including IV + NAD, nebulized glutathione, art therapy, neurotransmitter rehabilitation, and many others. Your treatment team, professionals in their field, will customize your program uniquely for you.
Our focus is to provide long-term success. We accomplish this by teaching our clients how to remain healthy and happy without drugs.
Please take time to call us at Alternative to Meds Center today. Ask us about the program in detail, including the length of the program, costs, and insurance coverage, and you can learn more about the best Xanax alternatives available to you or your loved one, in a beautiful and nurturing residential setting.
Read Our eBook on the Alternatives to Benzodiazepines