The fast-paced nature of modern life is characterized by constant demands and personal challenges. As we try to earn a living or take care of a family, the resulting stress can often feel insurmountable. While many can hide their feelings from family and co-workers, this stress is often characterized by an ongoing sense of anxiety and inability to sleep. Then, as we get tired or more anxious, our ability to cope diminishes.
Most of us don’t realize there is a problem until relationships begin to suffer or performance at work slips. At this point, many turn to either alcohol or prescription drugs as a way to escape from the stress. Alternatives to dealing with this stress and anxiety in a productive way are often difficult to consider in the midst of such crisis. Unfortunately, self-medicating often makes the problem worse and may become addictive.
Fortunately, there are a variety of natural methods for addressing the ongoing challenges of life. The first step essential to reducing stress and anxiety is to take a hard look at what is causing the angst. The issue might be around life at work, or maybe a personal relationship is suffering. Once you’ve identified the root cause, then take a hard look at which obligations are really essential versus those that you may perceive to be important. Perhaps your social schedule is too intense or too much time is spent at the office. Even after you’ve completed a fair life evaluation, it is often tough to implement the changes you know are necessary. This is where herbal supplements for stress and anxiety can play a role.
Natural herbal supplements can help you relax or deal with social anxiety without the harsh and unwanted side effects associated with alcohol or drugs. In general, they can enhance your ability to relax or get the sleep essential to making real change. However, few know where to start or which supplements actually work. Our brains produce a variety of hormones and chemicals in order to regulate essential functions such as sleep and relaxation. This brings us to the role of 5-HTP and Melatonin – two essential herbal supplements for stress and anxiety.
While the processes are complex, 5-HTP or 5-hydroxytryptophan is an amino acid required for the production of serotonin. Studies have shown that low levels of serotonin can lead to depression, insomnia, irritability and anxiety. Therefore, supplementing with 5-HTP can help alleviate these symptoms and is particularly useful as a holistic treatment for stress. If you are debating the effectiveness of herbal supplements vs. prescription drugs, consider that 5HTP works in a manner similar to SSRI’s. (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) Common prescription SSRI’s and anti anxiety disorder medications include drugs like Zoloft and Prozac. In fact, one study demonstrated that 5-HTP was as effective in treating anxiety and depression as the SSRI Fluvoxamine. As an added bonus, 5HTP has been shown to help reduce the pain associated with fibromyalgia and migraine headaches. Finally, given its ability to help produce serotonin, which make the body feel full and content, 5-HTP is often used as a weight loss supplement. Also, 5-HTP is a precursor, or is involved in the natural production of melatonin.
Melatonin, a hormone produced in the brain, is an important part of the cycle of sleeping and waking up. In this role, Melatonin produces the feeling of sleepiness that sets upon us when night falls. The reason that we normally fall asleep is due to the timing of our circadian rhythms, or biological processes that regulate bodily function. Early in the evening, the pineal gland begins to secrete melatonin with its peak production hitting half way through the night. Then, it begins to taper off towards morning. Taking melatonin as a supplement before bedtime accelerates natural production so that this peak is reached earlier. This helps those with insomnia fall asleep and stay asleep. In several properly documented studies, melatonin was given to test subjects as an alternative to a class of sedatives called benzodiazepines. Common prescription drug brands in this group are Xanax, Tafil, Ativan, and Valium – many of which can become addictive. In several cases, the participants using melatonin were able to stop taking the drugs while still maintaining healthy sleep habits. This makes a powerful case for herbal supplements vs. prescription drugs. These same studies discovered that those with a history of seizures experienced more frequent incidents when taking melatonin. As such, those who have ever had seizures should not take this supplement. Also, melatonin is best used when a full night’s rest can be enjoyed. Those who cannot enjoy a full night’s sleep should not take this supplement because it is so effective and will cause drowsiness.
Remember that melatonin and 5-HTP should be used in conjunction with a healthy diet, exercise and with the knowledge of your doctor. In addition, you should not mix supplements with each other or prescription drugs. Even thought the supplements we’ve discussed are natural alternatives to medication for anxiety disorders, they are very effective and should be taken in the proper dosages.
Everyone wants to be able to balance life’s obligations. This is entirely possible while also taking care of personal well-being and happiness. Leading a productive existence and a low-stress life are actually complimentary and can be a reality for anyone. If you can first identify the aspects of life that are causing you emotional discomfort, then you can begin to make meaningful changes. Getting a full night of sleep or reducing the amount of stress you feel in a given situation may be the first step you take. It is very possible that one of these herbal supplements for stress and anxiety will help. Don’t delay another day – you owe it to yourself to live the best life you can.
Source by Edward Sample