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My mother is taking Xanax and Ativan for her extreme anxiety problems. Is that safe? What natural could she take instead?

Posted by Kathy

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Ian Health Maven

My mother is taking Xanax and Ativan for her extreme anxiety problems. Is that safe?

Benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Ativan are safe drugs when taken as prescribed, Kathy. Like all drugs they can have side effects. Both may also cause physical dependence if taken for an extended period which means she will have to wean off them slowly over some weeks or months. This is also the case with others drugs including antidepressants, some heart drugs, antibiotics, and even vitamin C at high doses.

What natural could she take instead?

I guess this depends on how you define "natural" Kathy. Lorazepam (Ativan), diazepam (Valium) and many other benzodiazepine compounds occur in all foods and most animals, us included, have become so habituated to them that we could no longer survive without the small quantities we get from what we eat.

Over-the-counter supplements such as Kava, St John Wort and Valerian may be effective in mild anxiety, but they usually are of little benefit in severe anxiety. They also may produce side effects.  Care needs to be taken with St Johns Wort as it interacts with many commonly prescribed drugs including antibiotics, anti-inflammatory agents, ibuprofen, cardiovascular drugs, oral contraceptives and statins.  It may also increase sensitivity top light. Kava may damage livers and cause kava dermopathy, a scally skin disorder.

The only non pharmaceutical treatments for severe anxiety with a proven track record are the cognitive/behavioral therapies such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)



Kathy - please please please advise your mom to take AS NEEDED, but no more then what was prescribed. She can even break apart and pill, and see if that does the job..the above answer (seems to me) suggest that you take as directed..well, my mom was prescribed Xanax  4 x per day..and it was giving her hallucinations, weird dreams, and made her sleep all the time. So, do you think she should take 'just what her doctor prescribed? NOT! She began cutting back gradually, and is now down to half that amount per day, and is planning on cutting back again. Read up on Xanax AND Ativan..they are SO addictive and VERY hard to come off of. The above comment made sure to poo poo the natural supplements..but didn't give you all the horrible details of those two drugs. Google both, and print out side affects and withdrawal symptoms.
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