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Are There Natural Alternatives to Benzodiazepines?

By Dr. Nicole Cain ND, MA

Anxiety can affect millions of Americans at one point or another throughout the lifespan. In fact, over 50% of people report having anxiety or panic attacks at a given time. There are natural alternatives to benzodiazepines that you can put in place to help you feel better, and you don’t have to depend just on medications. 

I had a patient come into my office and he had been struggling with anxiety. He was given the option of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and benzodiazepines. He ended up taking his benzodiazepines for a decade, the doses kept getting higher and higher and he wasn’t getting better. He was dependent on the medication. 

I recommend seeing a medically trained naturopathic doctor that can help you identify what can specifically help you feel better.

Here are a few of my favorite natural solutions for anxiety:

1. Happy Sleepy Powder

This can be used to help relax and sleep. It works by increasing GABA and decreasing cortisol. GABA is a relaxing neurotransmitter, increasing this (which is what a benzodiazepine does) can relax you and decrease anxiety. Cortisol is a stress hormone released by the adrenal glands when in a state of fight or flight. So when you are having anxiety, it’s likely that your cortisol levels are up. Decreasing cortisol with Phosphatidylserine can be beneficial. This formula consists of 5 supplements – to learn more about the formulation – check out my insomnia video here.

2. Kava Kava

You want to use the root of this herb. Kava Kava root is very effective and kicks in within 10-15 minutes. The nice thing about Kava Kava is it doesn’t sedate you and make it difficult or inappropriate to operate a vehicle. There is some limited research talking about the high doses of Kava Kava causing inflammation in the liver. It is always best to get liver testing done and speak to your doctor to make sure everything is healthy. I have not seen this in clinical practice and have had patients take high doses for long periods of time quite safely. With any medication, supplement or herb, make sure you do your research!

3. Passiflora

I have used this herb in many of my pediatric patients. Passiflora is a wonderful plant that is very gentle and relaxing. My favorite way to use passiflora is in a glycerite form (a non-alcoholic extraction) and mixing about 3 tsp. of it in chamomile tea. Chamomile tea is very relaxing as well and it’s a great nightly ritual to help you reduce your anxiety and stress.

*Always talk to your doctor about any of these recommendations as natural alternatives to benzodiazepines before making any changes to your protocol.

Take a few minutes for yourself to explore natural ways that have powerfully moved thousands of my patients away from anxiety and helped them get their lives back. You deserve this! Grab a cup of tea and read through the FREE Anxiety Breakthrough Wellness Springboard.

When we support the body, the journey to getting our lives back becomes smoother and easier to manage. Make sure you have the right support by downloading the FREE Anxiety Breakthrough Wellness Springboard.

Here’s to your next chapter!

This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Whenever considering changing your protocol whether it includes a change of medications, supplements, diet or lifestyle, always speak with your primary care physician first.

Dr. Nicole Cain is an advocate for empowering people around the world to help themselves via her educational free resources, online courses, and membership group. You can receive the tools you need to find the root cause of your symptoms and feel healthy again.