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Elham Alramadhan, Mirna S. Hanna, Mena S. Hanna, Todd G. Goldstein, Samantha M. Avila, Benjamin S. Weeks
Med Sci Monit 2012; 18(4): RA40-48
Drugs used to treat anxiety have many negative side effects including addiction, depression, suicide, seizures, sexual dysfunction, headaches and more. Anxiolytic medications do not restore normal levels of neurotransmitters but instead manipulate the brain chemistry. For example, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) prevent the reuptake of serotonin from the synapse allowing serotonin to remain in the area of activity for a longer period of time but does not correct the lack of serotonin production. Benzodiazepines, such as Valium and Xanax®, stimulate GABA receptors, thus mimicking the calming effects of GABA but again do not fix the lack of GABA production. Often, the brain becomes accustomed to these medications and they often lose their effectiveness, requiring higher doses or different drugs. In contrast to anxiolytic drugs, there are herbs and nutrients which can stimulates neurotransmitter synthesis and more naturally effect and even adjust brain chemistry in the absence of many of the side effects experienced with drugs. Therefore this paper explores several herbal and nutritional approaches to the treatment of anxiety.