Anxiety and stress are common problems in today’s demanding and fast-paced world. There are prescription medicines available for treating these conditions. Still, few people may prefer to explore OTC (over-the-counter) as an initial step or for mild symptoms.
OTC medicines for stress and anxiety are generally considered milder and have a lower risk of adverse reactions than prescription medicines. This blog will provide a comprehensive guide about OTC medication for anxiety and stress. Keep reading further lines to dive into the depth of the topic.
Understanding anxiety and stress
Understanding anxiety and stress involves recognizing their effects, symptoms, causes, and potential management techniques.
Anxiety may arise from various factors. These factors include brain chemistry imbalances, genetic predisposition, family history of anxiety, traumatic experiences, and specific medical conditions. On the other hand, stress can be caused by relationship issues, work pressure, relationship issues, major life changes, finical problems, health concerns, etc.
Anxiety and chronic stress may have major effects on both mental and physical health. They can be the reason for various health issues, such as gastrointestinal disorders, cardiovascular problems, sleep disorders, and weakened immune systems. Additionally, stress and anxiety may affect relationships, daily functioning, academic or work performance, and overall quality of life.
Managing stress and anxiety involves adopting several coping strategies and seeking clinical help when required. A few self-help techniques include medication, relaxation exercises, maintaining a balanced diet, getting proper sleep, etc. Besides, you may take the help of over-the-counter medication to treat anxiety and stress effectively.
Types of over-the-counter medication for anxiety and stress
As mentioned, some people prefer using OTC medications to treat anxiety and stress. They usually don’t want to take prescription drugs as these medicines can cause adverse reactions. OTC may not be effective for everyone, so you should take them under the guidance of an experienced healthcare expert. OTC may interact with prescription drugs, foods, or supplements.
Specific OTC antihistamines, generally those containing diphenhydramine, can have soothing properties that may assist in lowering anxiety and promoting sleep.
However, these drugs are not specially intended for stress and anxiety. You must take them with caution due to possible adverse reactions.
Magnesium supplements can assist in managing anxiety and stress by promoting relaxation. Magnesium is essential for maintaining your cell function. It may also help with emotions and mood. If you take Magnesium supplements, you should not exceed 350 milligrams a day.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be beneficial for your health. They are generally found in nuts, fish, seeds, and other plant sources. They are typically known to manage mental illness and may help to lower inflammation and anxiety.
Chamomile is the most well-known flowering herb and is generally found in teas. It is generally known for its soothing effects. It can help decrease anxiety and stress. Chamomile essential oils are generally used for their calming and anti-inflammatory properties. Chamomile can assist in lowering anxiety.
Lavender supplements or essential oils are used to lower anxiety symptoms and promote relaxation. Lavender is the most popular and widely used medicinal remedy.
L-theanine is the most popular amino acid and is generally found in green tea. It is believed to have soothing effects and might be purchased as a supplement. Some individuals find it beneficial for lowering anxiety, stress and promoting relaxation.
Passionflower is well known for its soothing properties. It is frequently used to lower symptoms of insomnia and anxiety. According to a few studies, it may have the same effects as benzodiazepine drugs but without their sedative effects. Along with anxiety and stress, Passionflower has been taken for various other conditions, such as nervousness, insomnia, and gastrointestinal problems.
Along with over-the-counter medications, you may follow a few strategies. These strategies include lifestyle changes, professional guidance, and therapy.
How over-the-counter medication works
OTC medications function by utilizing particular active ingredients that target conditions or symptoms. These active ingredients generally have mechanisms of action that assist in alleviating symptoms. For instance, pain relievers lower pain by blocking pain-causing substances.
Precautions and side effects
You must consult with a healthcare expert before taking any OTC medicine. They may provide guidance based on your specific condition and help you select the most reliable OTC option. You should carefully read the warnings, instructions, and recommended dose on the packaging of the OTC drug. You should take the required amount and do not exceed the prescribed dosage.
OTC drugs for anxiety and stress can have adverse reactions, although they are milder compared to prescription drugs. Common side effects may include dizziness, drowsiness, gastrointestinal discomfort, and dry mouth. Few OTC medicines may interact with prescription drugs or other supplements you may be using. You must inform your healthcare expert about all drugs you take (to avoid the interaction).
If you have any pre-existing health-related conditions, such as kidney or liver issues, its essential to inform your healthcare expert
If you face any unusual or acute symptoms, discontinue the usage and seek clinical advice promptly. You should avoid alcoholic beverages while using OTC medicine. Alcohol may amplify the adverse reactions of specific medicines, such as dizziness, drowsiness, and impaired coordination.
OTC drugs may cause some undesired adverse reactions along with beneficial outcomes. It’s essential to read and follow the details on the packaging and consult a healthcare expert if you have any concerns. Here are a few possible adverse reactions associated with OTC drugs-
Few OTC painkillers, including NSAIDs like naproxen or ibuprofen, may cause indigestion, stomach irritation, or ulcers. These side effects occur when you take higher doses of OTC drugs for a long duration.
Few people can be allergic to specific active ingredients in OTC drugs. Allergic reactions may range from mild symptoms like rashes and itching to acute reactions. These reactions include swelling of the face, difficulty breathing, tongue, or lips. If you face an allergic reaction from OTC medicine, discontinue use and seek urgent clinical attention.
Dizziness or drowsiness
Several OTC drugs, including antihistamines used for allergies or a few coughs and cold remedies, can cause dizziness or drowsiness. These adverse reactions may impair your ability to drive a vehicle or operate machinery.
Drug misuse or dependency
Few OTC drugs, such as pain relievers or sleep aids containing opioids or codeine, have the potential for addiction or misuse. This is why you should take it according to the instructions.
Specific topical OTC drugs, such as ointments or creams used for pain relief or skin conditions, may cause redness, skin irritation, or allergic reactions. Stop using OTC medicine and consult a healthcare expert if you face any issues or worsening symptoms.
Other adverse reactions
Depending on the particular OTC medicine, ether may be additional adverse reactions. For instance, some decongestant nasal sprays may cause rebound congestion or nasal dryness if used for a long duration. OTC sleep aids can cause morning sleepiness and difficulty waking up.
Side effects may vary depending on the person and the particular medicine.
Choosing the proper over-the-counter medication for you (Conclusion)
Choosing the proper OTC medication is essential for your overall health. You should clearly understand the certain symptoms you are facing. For instance, if you have a headache, determine whether it’s a sinus headache or a tension headache. It will assist you in choosing the right medicine that targets your particular symptoms.
When you start a new medicine, it’s recommended to start with the lowest effective dose. It may assist you in lowering the risk of adverse reactions.
Hope! You will follow these instructions and see the positive effects of OTC medicines.