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Supplements for anxiety

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whattheh posted 7/23/2014 17:09 PM

I am a very anxious person and a worrier... have been all my life. So the intimate betrayal has caused my high anxiety to move even higher.

I personally don't want to take Xanax or any ADs. Its just my position for what's best for me. Xanax makes me jittery for example and does nothing to calm me.

So I stumbled across a supplement called 5 HTP which has been helping me to feel less stressed and less anxious. I believe it is an amnio acid which ur body can convert to serotonin esp. when taken with vitamin B6. Its also supposed to esp help with anxiety and mild depression.

Its also sposed to help ppl who wake up and can't get back to sleep due to a racing mind. My fWH has had this problem and the 5 HTP has helped resolve this. He is also taking melatonin every other evening and takes a lower dose of 5 HTP when he takes the melatonin.

I'm not taking a high dose but it has helped me to feel calmer and things that used to bother or worry me don't have as much impact on me. So I just wanted to share this in case others might find knowing about it useful.

There are strong advisories not to take this supplement with any other meds or supplements which deal with serotonin or your body could experience a serotonin storm by getting too much. So it should not be taken with antidepressants or st johns wort for example. And you should check with a medical professional or research this product heavily before you decide whether to try it and for what dosage.

[This message edited by whattheh at 5:16 PM, July 23rd (Wednesday)]

Not.the.Big.Easy posted 7/23/2014 17:43 PM

I understand your desire to remain medication free. I too, was once like that. When you have a Primary Care Physician and a Psychiatrist that know how deeply you feel about that, they tend to prescribe as little as possible. I commend your efforts to use supplementals for treatment. However, sometimes it is ok to step to the other side for pharmacological help.

I have always had a level of anxiety. I'm currently at the point that I have been diagnosed with General and Social Anxiety disorders and have panic attacks regularly. About the only thing keeping me functional right now are my prescriptions. It gives me enough of a boost for the therapy to actually work.

I definitely agree that if you are using supplementals or wish to, to speak with your doctor about possible interactions. My mother had serious problems because of a tea she was drinking (and it wasn't even to treat anything, it was for taste...and it grew in her garden).

sorrowfulmate posted 7/23/2014 17:59 PM

I use valerian root. It really helps me.

Want2help posted 7/23/2014 18:48 PM

Flaxseed oil user here. Naturopath recommended.

justme1264 posted 7/23/2014 19:08 PM

Maybe it would be best to just see a very experienced psychiatrist (not psychologist). They have extensive training and experience with medication, supplements, and anxiety disorders. Not just that, but if you find one which practices behavioral therapy they will be very keen to your situation and how best to help you manage it.

solus sto posted 7/23/2014 19:12 PM

Yes, the omega fatty acids (fish oil, flax) are very effective. With flax, the omega benefits dissipate very quickly after the seed is cracked, though; it's far better to get whole seeds and crush them right before use than to buy oil. Otherwise, you just have a nice oil without the omega benefits you want.

I second the advice to talk with a psych about this. Many are very open to non-pharmaceutical approaches. With fish oil, it's important to double check with a doctor about a safe total level of DHA and EPA; these compounds are anticoagulant, and there has been a huge increase in retinal hemorrhage among people ordinarily not at risk, as a result of overuse of fish oil supplementation. Clotting time is reduced--which can pose problems for some. The safe dose varies from person to person, and according to what other meds/conditions you may have.

But foods/supplements rich in the omegas really are quite effective at the right dose; they affect neurotransmission in a positive way. Fish/flax/evening primrose oil are also great for some kinds of inflammation and skin issues, as well. But they're not benign, especially if you have other meds that are blood thinners.

The herbal supplements that work are DRUGS, like any pharmaceuticals, though without the strict dose and quality control. Some are generally viewed as safe, and others can be quite risky. Kava, for example, is very effective, but has been associated with liver disease/failure.

If you choose to go the herbal route, educate yourself well. Again, they are DRUGS. They can interact with other meds, be contraindicated for some and, really, should be as carefully discussed with your doctor as any other medication. Many doctors are very up to date on this topic and can give good guidance.

Further, a good psych can give you great NON drug (and this includes both pharmaceutical and supplement) approaches, such as biofeedback, neuro feedback, and EMDR. I found biofeedback to be a total game changer.

[This message edited by solus sto at 7:20 PM, July 23rd (Wednesday)]

jendo posted 7/23/2014 19:31 PM

A friend of mine practices functional medicine and prescribes a lot of over the counter supplements. My teen daughter has panic attacks and she prescribed something called Cerenity for her. There is also one called inositol to help with sleep. Also a good fish oil and probiotic.

craig2001 posted 7/23/2014 19:34 PM

I have heard that 5-HTP is very good and the guy at GNC even recommended it. Now I can't remember why I didn't want to take it. I think it can cause weird dreams and lower libido.

There are some good studies that have found the supplement SAM-e can work as well as anti-depressants without the negative side effects.

And there are studies that find taking Lysine can be calming and reduce anxiety. Other studies found that taking lysine and arginine together can work as well as Xanax in some people.

Just don't take arginine if you get cold sores or have any type of herpes simplex. It will aggravate it.

I have taken the lysine with arginine and it did seem to make me much less anxious. I felt more even throughout the day.

MissMouseMo posted 7/23/2014 22:50 PM

Solus is right - these are drugs.

A (very) cursory review of the Nat'l Institutes of Health leave me hesitant about 5-htp, using words like, "exaggerated claims not supported by science","efficacy no better than a placebo", "adverse reactions may occur with long-term use", and "Administration of 5-HTP alone is contraindicated for depression ..."

This is NOT to scare anyone or to say not to use these products, it is to encourage our critical review (I was looking with hope! Will dig more, too), with fact-based science, or with someone who understands the *alchemy* of brain chemistry.

I don't want to see anyone hurt.

craig2001 posted 7/24/2014 10:58 AM

Go to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. They have some good information as well. They are a part of the NIH.

One thing to always keep in mind. DO NOT take prescriptions or over the counter medicines with supplements. Never mix the two. For example, never take anti-depressants with SAM-e or St. Johns Wort.

sadone29 posted 7/24/2014 11:16 AM

Good point, Craig. You can easily get serotonin syndrome by mixing meds.

5 HTP never worked for me.

I was off ADs for almost 2 years. I was doing relatively okay until some crazy life stuff happened. That along with this whole infidelity thing, I completely broke down. I've always dealt with anxiety, but this was ridiculous. I was having constant panic attacks and couldn't sleep at all. I finally got tired of thinking that I was on the verge of dying. I've only been back on ADs for a week, but I'm already feeling myself come back from insanity.

I know this doesn't really help you! I hope you find something that works for you!

MissMouseMo posted 7/24/2014 14:32 PM

Thanks, Craig! I should have remembered that was out there and mentioned it. I swear I am losing my mind. Muchas gracias, mi amigo.

LearnToLetGo posted 7/24/2014 14:56 PM

I have genralized anxiety disorder mixed with depression and I'm on an SSRI for it now, but triwd 5HTP in the past when I was self-medicating. It worked alright as a sleep aid, but gave me very weird dreams.

The absolute best solution I've found for myself, other than meds, is yoga. There are a *pile* of free classes on youtube, for all levels of skill, and some just focussing on breathing and light stretching. When I'm having really bad brain days (like yesterday), taking 10 - 40 minutes to get grounded again is amazing.

I'm currently hooked on the Yoga by Adriene series, but there's a teacher on the Namaste Yoga youtube channel (Mette? Marte? Something Finnish) who is incredibly soothing, and her classes are gentle.

whattheh posted 7/24/2014 16:44 PM

Thanks for all these great tips and feedback..

Valerian root gave me weird dreams and so does melatonin if I don't space it. I'm feeling no ill effects from 5 HTP and having no weird dreams. I tried sam e awhile ago and didnt see a change. I guess some things work better for some ppl than others.

The flax seed and omega threes I will definitely look into.

craig2001 posted 7/24/2014 17:02 PM

Omega-3 from fish oil is better than flax seeds. Omega-3 from plant sources are a different type of omega-3...I think ALA type and then a little bit of that gets transformed into the better utilized form of omega3 in the body.

So, fish oil capsules is better than flax seeds in order to get plenty of the omega3 the body can use.

I looked it up...the type of omega3 from fish oil is the EPA and DHA types and the type from flax seeds is ALA.

As for supplements, a good vitamin B complex is very good for the nerves and can calm your mind.

[This message edited by craig2001 at 5:03 PM, July 24th (Thursday)]

Daisy312 posted 7/24/2014 18:02 PM

I'm taking min- tran by standard process and it really seems to take the edge off for me. I feel way less anxious.

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