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Can You Stay Calm… and Trash the Benzos?

After suffering an embarrassing panic attack at the mall, Kara visited a psychiatrist. He prescribed medication to help Kara with her symptoms—within a couple of months, this “solution” turned into an addiction. Now Kara has anxiety issues as well as a substance abuse problem.

Not everyone’s story turns out like Kara’s, but it’s clear we’ve become a pill-dependent nation. By 2013, nearly 36.5 million Americans were taking anti-anxiety drugs and about one-fifth of Americans who struggle with an anxiety disorder also have a substance abuse disorder.

So What’s Our Plan B?

These alarming statistics are encouraging many to ask: Is there another way? The answer is yes! Medication is not the only solution to panic attacks and anxiety.

Aerobicise Anxiety Away

Exercise is a proven method for managing anxiety. It has been clearly linked to this struggle: those who don’t exercise are more likely to develop anxiety disorders, and those who do exercise have better mental health. Exercise burns stress hormones that can trigger anxiety. It also tires your muscles, preventing anxiety symptoms. Plus, exercise releases happy chemicals in your brain that positively affect your mood.

Exhale Anxiety Out

Breathing exercises are a great tool for battling anxiety. Panic attacks often involve hyperventilation, and this often triggers additional symptoms. A use of calming breathing techniques can keep your heart rate slow and stave off the panic.

Eat Away at Anxiety

Rather than allow the anxiety to eat away at you, munch on foods that allow you to eat away at your anxiety. With the proper, natural nutrition, your brain and body will function well and you can avoid unnatural prescription pills. Try including the following in your diet:

  • Tryptophan: This is a feel-good protein. It helps your body feel calm. You can find it in turkey, peanut butter, chicken, bananas, oats, milk and shrimp.
  • Serotonin-producers: Serotonin is a relaxing hormone produced in your body. Oatmeal is a great food that helps you produce serotonin.
  • Vitamin B: Deficiency in B vitamins aggravates anxiety symptoms. Foods rich in Vitamin B include pork, nuts, eggs, leafy vegetables and rice.
  • Nuts: Nuts, especially almonds, contain zinc, which helps you maintain a balanced mood.
  • Dark chocolate: This can reduce cortisol, which is the stress hormone that can trigger anxiety symptoms.
  • Avoid caffeine: Tea, coffee and soda make anxiety worse. It can cause symptoms such as headaches, jitters and heart palpitations. It also reduces serotonin in the brain.

Sleep Off Anxiety

Your sleep schedule has a huge impact on your health and mood. A tired nervous system is more likely to suffer from a panic attack or other anxiety symptoms. Get the rest you need. Keep a regular sleep schedule. Don’t sleep too much or too little. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep per night for adults.

Following these healthy habits may require lifestyle changes. Some may be fairly challenging to establish and maintain. But, isn’t a life freed from anxiety (and medication) well worth the effort?

How to Find Help for Benzodiazepine Misuse

If you or a loved one is struggling with benzodiazepine misuse, help is available and recovery is possible. Professional addiction treatment can start anyone battling a substance use problem on the road to a happier and healthier life. To learn more about rehab programs and treatment options, contact a caring admissions navigator with American Addiction Centers (AAC) for free at .

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