Stress Medication and Alternatives

Getting to a point where you consider stress medication is something that most of us already have experienced in our lives.

Thankfully, there are ways to reduce that stress, as well as alternatives to stress medication that might be helpful to you.

While we may talk about being stressed as part of our daily lives, most of us don’t really think about the amount of stress we’re experiencing each day or about the consequences of that stress on our health.

Did you know that stress is a good thing? Or at least it used to be.

Understanding Stress

The symptoms of stress we experience in our lives is actually part of our flight or fight response. When we feel anxious, nervous, or fearful, our bodies kick into high gear and prepare to respond to the threat.

For our ancestors, these feelings were usually associated with an imminent threat to our personal safety: a threat that could cost us our lives. In that scenario, even second counted and we had to make fast decisions about whether to fight or to flee from the danger.

Our body wanted to make sure we had a good chance of surviving so it released chemicals into our system so our heart would pound faster, our lungs would be able to take in more oxygen, and our extremities would have enough blood supply to take action.

Our muscles become tense. Our minds are racing. Our stomachs flutter because blood from the digestive tract is redirected elsewhere in our body.

When the threat is gone, our bodies return to normal. The chemicals are used up, and we can relax again.

But what happens when those feelings of stress come from within our own heads? Today, most of us don’t face these life-threatening risks.

Instead, we feel stress when we have a work deadline, an exam to study for, a traffic jam to get through, or bills to pay somehow.

These “threats” can’t be fought nor can we flee from them so we find ourselves in a constant state of stress.

Dealing with Stress

Today, people often get their stress relief from stress medication.

Although stress medication was never intended to be used as a treatment for daily stress, many physicians will prescribe these medications for daily use.

While they do offer some relief to some people, the consequences are sometimes not worth the limited results.

Stress medication can have adverse affects on some patients.

Cases of suicide or aggressive behavior in some users of these drugs have been reported, particularly among younger patients.

Stress levels can sometimes be worsened by the medication, too. And there are side effects to deal with, including drowsiness and sexual dysfunction.

Although often referred to as non-addictive, any medication can become addictive when taken regularly. Patients become dependent on the stress medication and that can be unhealthy.

The good news is there are alternatives to medication for stress and anxiety.

Alternatives to Stress Medication

When you need stress relief, you should first take a look at your nutrition.

Making changes here can sometimes be enough to provide that relief. For example, caffeine which is found in large amounts in soda, coffee, and tea is a stimulant that can cause similar symptoms to stress in your body. By cutting out the caffeine in your diet, you can reduce your stress.

Another possible cause of stress is a sedentary lifestyle .

When you exercise, your body releases endorphins which are like a natural drug. They make you feel good and help combat stress by working off those stress-causing chemicals in your body. Research has shown that people who exercise regularly have reduced levels of depression compared with those who do not.

Deep breathing and other relaxation methods can also be effective at providing stress relief.

For example, progressive relaxation can be very helpful. This method requires you to tense up your muscles at the lowest part of your body, hold the tension for a couple seconds, and release the tension. Then you tighten up muscles higher up in your body.

Getting sufficient sleep is also important in fighting back against stress. You should be getting at least eight hours of restful sleep each night.

But if you’re constantly shorting yourself on that sleep schedule you will be more prone to stress and less able to effectively combat your anxiety.

Laughter can be one of the best types of stress medication. When you laugh, tension in your body is released and those stress-causing chemicals start fading away as well.

And there are no side effects for this type of stress relief.

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