5 Natural Alternatives To Clonazepam For Anxiety

People who are concerned about using a benzodiazepine like clonazepam to address anxiety can try some natural alternatives before resorting to prescription drugs.

Anxiety disorders impact up to 20% of the American population in a given year, though they often go undiagnosed, untreated, and unmanaged. While benzodiazepines are an effective choice to treat anxiety, they can also be abused and lead to dependence or addiction.

Fortunately, there are a variety of natural strategies and alternatives you can use to help manage anxiety in your daily life without prescription drugs. Here are five.

1. Counseling & Behavioral Therapy

Professional counselors are trained to help you understand your anxiety and its possible sources so you can develop healthy, positive coping strategies so anxiety has less impact on your daily life.

Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is an especially effective therapeutic option that can teach you how to recognize and change negative patterns of thought before your anxiety has a chance to take hold and grow.

While counseling and behavioral therapy do take time and energy, they can have a profound and life-long impact on your mental state, reducing the need for anxiety meds.

2. Daily Exercise

According to numerous studies and subject experts, daily exercise, and aerobic exercise in particular, can have a profound effect on a person’s anxiety and overall mental health.

Not only does exercise distract from daily stressors and break up negative thought patterns, it can also decrease muscle tension, improve brain chemistry, benefit sleep performance, and improve your self-image and personal resilience.

3. Nature Exposure

In the same way, studies have repeatedly demonstrated that time spent outdoors in natural green or aquatic environments can greatly improve a person’s happiness and overall psychological state.

This can be as simple as taking regular walks to your local park, or as exciting as taking on a new out-of-doors hobby that takes you to new places and presents new challenges.

4. Proper Diet, Nutrition, & Hydration

Discovering and maintaining a healthy, balanced diet can also have a foundational effect on your overall physical and mental health, including positivity and clear-thinking.

Whenever possible, work towards establishing a balanced diet that features vegetables, fruit, protein, and whole grains, and a comfortable calorie level.

You should also drink plenty of water and limit caffeine, alcohol, and excess calories and sugar.

5. Natural Supplements

A wide variety of natural herbs and other substances have been used to manage anxiety, depression, and other mental afflictions since antiquity. And many pharmaceuticals in widespread use today were first isolated from these natural sources.

Potential herbal supplements to consider for anxiety include:

  • kava root
  • passion flower
  • chamomile
  • ashwagandha
  • ginkgo biloba
  • valerian root
  • 5-HTP

Please note that these herbal substances are not evaluated by the FDA in the same way that prescription or over-the-counter medications are. Various side effects and drug interactions are possible, so consider seeking medical advice before you proceed.

How The Effects Of Clonazepam Manage Anxiety

Benzodiazepines like clonazepam (brand name Klonopin) are a class of medication that slow down the body’s central nervous system by increasing the effect of the GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) neurotransmitter on your body’s receptors.

This triggers a powerful calming and relaxing effect across the body and the mind, properties which allow benzos to be used as:

  • anticonvulsants/antiepileptics (medications to calm seizures and muscle spasms)
  • anxiolytics (anti-anxiety medications)
  • sedatives (calming medications that can relieve agitation or panic disorders)
  • hypnotics (medications that help you fall asleep)
  • anesthetics (medications that reduce your sensitivity to pain)

Clonazepam, in particular, is a good option for treating seizure disorders, anxiety, and panic attacks because it is short-acting, potent, and has a long half-life of 22 to 54 hours.

Besides clonazepam, other common benzodiazepines you’ve probably heard of in the past include:

  • alprazolam (Xanax)
  • chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
  • clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • diazepam (Valium)
  • lorazepam (Ativan)
  • oxazepam (Serax)

Benzodiazepine Alternatives

In addition to natural supplements, a variety of medications are used as alternatives to benzodiazepines, some of which are approved for long-term use.

These medications include:

  • buspirone
  • gabapentin
  • pregabalin
  • antidepressants, including SSRIs and SNRIs

Clonazepam Problems & Risks

Clonazepam and certain other benzos drugs can effectively and rapidly treat anxiety (generalized anxiety disorder), as well as seizures, panic attacks, and other related conditions.

But these drugs should only be used as needed or as a very short-term treatment option for severe cases, as benzodiazepines carry considerable long- and short-term risks, including:

  • physical dependence, which can develop in as little as four weeks
  • severe or potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms if dependence does develop
  • common side effects
  • severe side effects and adverse reactions
  • drug interactions
  • potential for abuse
  • potential for addiction
  • potential for drug overdose, especially if abused with other CNS depressants including
  • alcohol and opioids

If you struggle with clonazepam dependence or abuse, as well as co-occurring conditions including anxiety, panic, or depression, we can help.

Contact Northeast Addictions Treatment Center today for more information.

Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

©2024 Northeast Addition Center | All Rights Reserved

This page does not provide medical advice.

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