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Metaphysics & Psychology

These Natural Alternatives to Xanax Are Proven to Be Effective By Scientific Community

These Natural Alternatives to Xanax Are Proven to Be Effective By Scientific Community 106

Anxiety has reached epidemic proportions in the United States with over 40 million people affected. Anxiety disorders cost the U.S. more than $42 billion a year, almost one-third of the country’s total mental health bill.

Every year, millions of prescriptions are written for anti-anxiety medications like Xanax and Ativan making them some of the most commonly prescribed drugs. They belong to a group of drugs known as the benzodiazepines.

The exact mechanism by which benzodiazepines work is not fully understood, but it’s believed they raise levels of the calming neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) or increase GABA receptor sensitivity. Other medications that belong in this group, commonly referred to as “benzos,” include brand names such as Centrax, Dalmane, Klonopin, Librium, Paxipam, Restoril, Serax, Tranxene, and Valium.

These drugs can stop anxiety or a panic attack in its tracks. Relief is experienced quickly — often within 30 to 60 minutes — and generally lasts 11 to 20 hours. While these drugs may at first seem like a miracle if you struggle with anxiety, there are many reasons to avoid taking them if at all possible. As the Chinese saying goes, “The bigger the front, the bigger the back.” And these drugs have a very big back.

The Downside Of Anti-Anxiety Drugs

Benzodiazepines like Xanax and Ativan come with a very long list of side effects. According to RXList.com, they commonly make people feel drowsy, dizzy, weak, confused, or unsteady. Other reported side effects include depression, disorientation, headache, mental confusion, irritability, aggressiveness, memory loss, and sleep issues. Long-term use can increase your risk of dementia. One study found that the more benzodiazepines you take cumulatively, the greater your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Anti-anxiety medications are designed for short-term use — a few weeks or months at best — since they are highly addictive. After four to six months they generally stop working which is typical of any addictive substance. Users develop a tolerance needing more and more to get the same effect.

While it often takes months for people to develop an addiction, for some it can occur much faster — in as little as a few weeks. Once you are hooked, quitting these medications is really tough. In fact, they are right up there in the “top 10” hardest addictive substances to kick along with heroin and cocaine.

If you do decide to quit taking Xanax, you can expect to experience some pretty severe withdrawal side effects, including anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, muscle tension, and irritability. You are right if you noticed that these sound a lot like all the reasons you decided to take it in the first place. But it can be much worse. Some users experience depression, nausea, blurred vision, sweating, hallucinations, delusions, and seizures.

There are certain groups of people who should never take these drugs. You should not take benzodiazepines if you are pregnant, over 65, or prone to addictions. You should never take them if you drink alcohol or take other drugs, either prescription or recreational. Benzodiazepines send over 100,000 people to the emergency room every year. Over 80 percent of these visits are due to interactions with other drugs or alcohol. In rare cases, these interactions can be fatal.

And lastly, these drugs don’t work for everyone. A minority of those who take them experience paradoxical reactions and feel more anxious, impulsive, and aggressive.

Natural Alternatives To Anti-Anxiety Medications

If you are thinking that these drugs, sometimes referred to as “mother’s little helper,” don’t sound all that helpful, you are absolutely right. Fortunately, there are many natural alternatives to anti-anxiety drugs.

Here are some natural alternatives to Xanax, Ativan, and other prescription anti-anxiety medications. Most of these have been shown to be effective without side effects in scientific studies, while all have a substantial and often long history of use in traditional and alternative medicine.

Picamilon

By combining GABAThese Natural Alternatives to Xanax Are Proven to Be Effective By Scientific Community 107 with niacin, picamilon provides a workaround to get GABA into your brain. This “new and improved” form of GABA provides prescription-strength benefits for anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, and migraine headaches. It has nootropic qualities and is popular among college students who use it to increase focus and memory. It’s thought to specifically help with social anxiety.These Natural Alternatives to Xanax Are Proven to Be Effective By Scientific Community 107

Kava (Piper methysticum)

KavaThese Natural Alternatives to Xanax Are Proven to Be Effective By Scientific Community 109 should definitely be on the top of any natural anxiety relief list. This traditional tea has been safely consumed as an integral part of the South Pacific culture for over 3,000 years. When tested against the antidepressants Buspirone and Opipramol, kava was found to be equally effective for anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) as the prescription drugs. Kava works, in part, by increasing GABA.

You may come across warnings that kava can cause liver damage, but this is a bogus scare. Decades ago, kava was implicated in a handful of liver-related deaths, yet 85 studies failed to definitively link them to kava. The NIH concluded that the risk of liver damage from taking a kava supplement is less than one in one million, making it several order of magnitudes safer than Xanax. If you are still concerned, you can learn more about the liver toxicity scare here.

Inositol

InositolThese Natural Alternatives to Xanax Are Proven to Be Effective By Scientific Community 110, formerly known as vitamin B8, is found in high concentrations in the brain. All major neurotransmitters rely on inositol for relaying messages between brain cells. Inositol makes an effective natural anti-anxiety remedy.

One study found it worked as well fluvoxamine, a popular selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) medication, for treating panic disorder. Fluvoxamine is used to treat a variety of other mental disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety disorder, eating disorders, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and major depressive disorder (MDD). Study participants who took fluvoxamine experienced nausea and fatigue while those who took inositol reported no side effects.

Inositol is also an excellent choice for women experiencing the mood swings, depression, and anxiety associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and the more severe premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Women who take inositol often experience significant improvement in PMS and PMDD symptoms.

Inositol is found in most foods but in very small amounts. The average diet contains 1 gram of inositol. If you are taking inositol for therapeutic purposes, you’ll need to take up to 18 grams daily. Since most inositol pills and capsules contain 500 mg, this would require taking a lot of pills. Instead, consider taking inositol powder which can be mixed with water.

Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)

Unfortunately, the name Gotu KolaThese Natural Alternatives to Xanax Are Proven to Be Effective By Scientific Community 111 brings up thoughts of caffeinated cola drinks or kola nuts, but nothing could be further from the truth. Gotu kola is, in fact, a relaxing herb that’s an important part of some Asian cuisines. Yogis use it as a meditation aid since it’s thought to restore balance to the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Studies show gotu kola can increase calmness, contentedness, and alertness by 100 percent and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression by 50 percent.

Arctic Root (Rhodiola rosea)

As the name suggests, Arctic RootThese Natural Alternatives to Xanax Are Proven to Be Effective By Scientific Community 112 (also know as Rhodiola rosea) is found mainly in cold regions of the world. It was used traditionally in Chinese medicine to increase physical stamina and reduce fatigue due to stress. One way Arctic root works is by increasing the activity of the feel-good brain chemicals serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Arctic root alleviates symptoms of anxiety and seasonal affective disorder. It can also help fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome patients overcome the stress and anxiety that frequently accompany these disorders.

Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum)

Holy BasilThese Natural Alternatives to Xanax Are Proven to Be Effective By Scientific Community 113 is an Indian Ayurvedic herb also known as tulsi, which means “the incomparable one.” Holy basil is thought to bestow its users with a long and healthy life. Holy basil alleviates anxiety by decreasing levels of stress hormones, especially cortisol. It provides significant relief to those with generalized anxiety disorder and related stress and depression.

Research supports the traditional belief that this revered herb offers a wide array of healing properties. It is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. It protects the liver, the heart, and the nervous system. It has anti-diabetic and anti-cancer properties. It can also help with other brain-related disorders, including depression, memory loss, insomnia, and migraine headaches. With all of these benefits, holy basil is considered one of Ayurvedic medicine’s most important healing herbs.

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

AshwagandhaThese Natural Alternatives to Xanax Are Proven to Be Effective By Scientific Community 114 is another important herb in the Ayurvedic healing tradition. Its name literally means “smell of horse,” which is appropriate since it smells like a horse and is said to give the strength and stamina of one to those who take it. Ashwagandha reduces anxiety and depression without causing drowsiness. It works, in part, by increasing levels of the mood-boosting neurotransmitter serotonin while decreasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol. One study found that taking ashwagandha decreases cortisol by an impressive 27 percent. It is very helpful for those with the anxiety disorder agoraphobia.

The efficacy of ashwagandha for anxiety is based more on the reported success of traditional use than scientific evidence. According to naturopathic doctor Dr. Peter Bongiorno, author of How Come They’re Happy and I’m Not, “Most of the understanding we have about ashwagandha is based on its substantial anecdotal history and animal studies. But more clinical studies are being done.”

Taurine

Anti-anxiety drugs are thought to work by increasing the neurotransmitter GABA and you can buy GABA supplements. But they generally don’t work since GABA is too large a molecule to enter the brain. A convenient way to bypass this problem is by taking GABA’s precursor taurine. TaurineThese Natural Alternatives to Xanax Are Proven to Be Effective By Scientific Community 115 is an amino acid found in high concentrations in the brain, where it acts very much like GABA. It has a calming effect if you suffer from anxiety, stress, insomnia, or an overstimulated mind.

Magnesium

MagnesiumThese Natural Alternatives to Xanax Are Proven to Be Effective By Scientific Community 116 is an essential mineral that’s often missing from the modern diet due to magnesium-depleted soil and water. According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle, magnesium deficiency can be a major contributor to anxiety and panic attacks. She explains that when you are under stress, your body creates adrenaline, which causes a cascade of physical effects, all of which consume magnesium.

After decades of studying magnesium, she has found the link between anxiety and magnesium to be so strong that she flatly states, “To put an end to anxiety, magnesium must be replaced.” Note that there are many forms of magnesium and some are more bioavailable than others. Magnesium oxide, for example, is a popular, inexpensive form, but studies show that its fractional absorption (bioavailability) is only 4 percent. Dr. Dean recommends magnesium citrate as a good all-purpose magnesium supplement. You also might want to look into magnesium oil which is applied topically, especially if you are susceptible to oral magnesium’s laxative effect.

Switch To Green Tea

People around the world have a love affair with caffeine. Over 80 percent of Americans drink coffee every day and millions more get their caffeine from energy drinks, soda, and tea.

But one of the best tips to reduce anxiety is to go caffeine-free. The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the American Psychiatric Association’s compendium of mental health conditions, recognizes four caffeine-induced disorders. The link between caffeine and anxiety is so strong that one study concluded that, “Assessment of caffeine intake should form part of routine psychiatric assessment and should be carried out before prescribing hypnotics” and that, “Decaffeinated beverages should be provided on psychiatric wards.”

If you aren’t ready to go totally caffeine-free, consider switching to green tea. Its modest amount of caffeine is offset by the compounds l-theanine and EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate). These relaxing compounds have the unique ability to alter your brainwave patterns to induce a mental state similar to that achieved during meditation.

Even More Alternatives

Just as no one prescription medication works for everyone all the time, no one natural remedy is effective for everyone either. These aren’t the only natural alternatives to prescription anti-anxiety drugs by a long shot. If you try these and they don’t help, don’t get discouraged. There are many other alternatives to try.

Other supplements to consider include B complex vitamins, chamomile, valerian, bacopa, ginkgo, ginseng, and oregano oil. The appropriate use of calming essential oils, especially lavender oil, can soothe away stress and anxiety.

And lastly, not all natural alternatives to Xanax, Ativan, and anti-anxiety drugs are physical substances that you ingest or apply — some are things you do. Physical exercise, breathing exercises, meditation, and mind-body healing techniques like biofeedback, hypnosis, or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) should be considered as well. These techniques can help you address the root cause of your anxiety, ultimately freeing you from the need to take anti-anxiety pills of any kind.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Psilocybin mushrooms sprout in the blood of an ‘experimental’ patient

Psilocybin mushrooms sprout in the blood of an 'experimental' patient 117
Image: Giphy.com

US doctors described the story of a man who tried to relieve depression with psilocybin mushrooms in an unconventional way. He injected an intravenous infusion of mushrooms, causing the mushrooms to continue to multiply in his blood and cause multiple organ failure. The case was reported in the Journal of the Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry.

Many drugs that people traditionally use as psychedelics are increasingly becoming the focus of medical attention. Some of them have already been repurposed and started clinical trials: for example, micro-doses of LSD have proven to be at least safe in the case of Alzheimer’s disease, and psilocybin has helped patients with  migraines and  depression. Often in such experiments we are talking about microdosing – that is, the mass of the substance is not enough for a psychoactive effect.

The story of an American who decided to experiment on his own was described by doctors led by Curtis McKnight of Creighton University School of Medicine. According to relatives, the 30-year-old American suffered from bipolar disorder, but shortly before the incident stopped taking his prescribed medications and suffered from alternating states of mania and depression.

When he stumbled upon research on the potential benefits of psychedelics, he boiled psilocybin mushrooms and injected the filtered solution into his vein. A few days after this experiment, relatives found him in a lethargic state with jaundice, diarrhea and bloody vomiting and took him to the hospital.

Doctors discovered the patient had a problem with multiple organs at once: acute renal failure, liver damage, tachycardia, and low blood saturation and ionic imbalance. He was prescribed droppers to normalize the composition of the blood, vasoconstrictors to raise blood pressure, antibiotics and antifungal drugs. Despite this, he developed septic shock and DIC (excessive blood clotting) and needed plasmapheresis. Only eight days later he was discharged from the intensive care unit, and at the time of publication of the article he had already been in the hospital for 22 days.

In the patient’s blood tests, in addition to the Brevibacillus bacteria , there were also Psilocybe cubensis fungi  – the same ones from which he injected himself intravenously. Apparently, due to insufficient filtration of the solution, the fungi entered the bloodstream and multiplied there, causing intoxication and multiple organ failure.

Psilocybin mushrooms sprout in the blood of an 'experimental' patient 118

The authors of the work note that this is not the first such case – at least in the 80s of the 20th century, doctors already described a patient with similar symptoms after an intravenous injection. Therefore, McKnight and coauthors warn their colleagues: since psychedelics are increasingly used as a medicine (at the end of 2020, they began to legalize it in the United States), it is important to remind patients of the inadmissibility of self-therapy. Intravenous administration can be dangerous – doctors still do not know if it has the same psychoactive effect as the classical methods of administration.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

A part of a person’s essence accompanies him throughout his life: this is confirmed by a brain scan

A part of a person's essence accompanies him throughout his life: this is confirmed by a brain scan 119
Photo: pixabay.com

A new method of scanning the human brain has produced amazing results. It turns out that in every person there is a certain part of his essence, which accompanies him all his life from the moment of birth to death.

Scientists believe that this is the core of a person’s self-awareness. It combines memories of the past with fleeting sensations of reality and provides a basis for anticipation of events in the future.

It turned out that a certain part of a person’s consciousness is consistent as they grow older and older.

For centuries, scientists and philosophers have been interested in the question: can this sense of “personal self” be stable throughout life? A new psychological study with the results of a brain scan made it possible to conclude that a certain part of a person’s consciousness really accompanies him throughout his life.

It is consistent as it gets older and older. Miguel Rubianes, a neuroscientist at the Complutense University of Madrid, says the aim of the study was to answer the question: Are we the same person throughout life? In combination with the results of other studies, scientists have concluded that there is a certain component that remains stable from birth to death.

The other part of consciousness remains susceptible to current changes. The scientists recognized independence as the basis of identity. And every time a person uses the word “I”, he means a thread that connects together all the events and experiences that have occurred in life.

Experience gained over the years changes a person, changes the components of his identity. Each case associated with personal experiences, a broken heart, a successful career step, expected or unexpected failure lead to the fact that a person compares himself to himself before and after these events. It is a neurological programming scheme that involves visual self-knowledge as an indicator of connection with your impressions of yourself.

This effect makes it possible to cope with memories and recognition of information when it is associated, for example, with one’s own photograph of an infant. Although this principle has a lot of evidence, scientists believe that the very mechanism of the brain involved in this remains a mystery.

This study was published in the journal Psychophysiology.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop 120

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we sometimes do not notice how time flies past us, what miracles surround us. We do not have time to listen to the rustle of leaves in the wind and we miss those minutes when the crimson moon hangs at the very horizon.

Below are 10 films that reflect the beauty and diversity of our world. You watch such a movie and forget about everything.

Kytice

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

7 fairy tales-ballads based on Czech folklore are filmed colorfully and poetically. 

They endure a time when people were closer to nature, believed in miracles and the spirits of the forest, when the terrible and the beautiful were merged together.

Ashes and snow

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

Gregory Colbert’s documentary has no plot, but it attracts with its stunning, unrestrained beauty, reflecting the unity of man with nature.

The film was shot for 13 years in the most exotic corners of our planet: Burma, Ethiopia, India, Antarctica, Sri Lanka, Tonga islands and many other picturesque places.

The fountain

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

The main character Thomas tries to find a cure for his wife Isabelle. Every day she gets worse, and he cannot be near, because he puts experiments in the laboratory. In his soul, love, the desire to be with Isabelle and the desire to extend her life are fighting. 

Darren Aronofsky’s philosophical drama was filmed in vivid colors, despite the fact that the director did not use computer special effects.

Samsara

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

This is a beautiful one and a half hour trip to the most amazing places on the planet. 

Director Ron Fricke showed the inextricable connection of all people and events on earth, the cycle of death and birth, the versatility of our world, where beauty coexists with nondescriptness, and the end means the beginning.

The Bear

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

The story of a bear cub that lost its mother and nailed to a large wounded bear. Together they have to go through many trials, the worst of which is meeting the hunters. 

The wonderful plot of the film is combined with stunning music that helps you immerse yourself in the world of nature and feel it with your whole body.

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

The harsh Siberian nature, untouched by man, the majestic Yenisei River and the small village of Bakhta with a simple way of life. 

People live and survive in these parts, rely only on themselves and also ask only themselves. Four seasons – four lifestyles for each of them.

August Rush

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

Young musician August Rush does not know his parents, but he really wants to find them and for some reason is sure that if he plays, they will hear and recognize him by his music. 

Mesmerizing music permeates the entire film and works wonders to dispel the evil spell of separation.

Baraka

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

A documentary masterpiece, a philosophical essay accompanied by superb cinematography and music, goes without words. The only and main actor here is life in all its diversity and unity. 

The gaze of a monkey sitting in a hot pond is equal to all the depths of cold space, and the dances of the aborigines are synchronized with the movements of the forest.

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

This is a beautiful and unhurried philosophical parable about a wheel of time moving into infinity. Each time, with the beginning of a new cycle of rotation, life on earth is renewed, and everyone has the opportunity for a new rebirth. 

The film by Korean director Kim Ki-dook tells about two monks – a teacher and his student – and the obstacles that must be overcome on the way to finding harmony.

Chronos

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

The main characters of the documentary narration are cultural and historical monuments. 

They absorbed the life of the people who created them, and have remained for centuries as an imprint of bygone eras.

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