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Drugs and supplements for mental health

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Updated on May 12, 2020

People are seriously stressed right now

Given recent world events, it’s no surprise that many people are experiencing anxiety, depression, and difficulty sleeping. For those already struggling with mental health issues, social isolation can be a lot to handle.

In most states, doctors and healthcare workers are meeting with patients online rather than in person. For some, talking is enough, and there’s comfort in working through troubling thoughts and emotions with a professional.

Help for depression

While antidepressant medications do not cure depression, they can certainly help ease symptoms. There are dozens of antidepressants available, but not all work and are not for all people. Many can cause undesired side effects for patients. Because of the individualized nature of depression, it’s important to work with your healthcare provider to find the right medication for your needs.

Your doctor will consider the following when choosing the best antidepressants for you:

  • Your symptoms. Symptoms of depression vary from one person to another.
  • Other medications you take. Some antidepressants can be harmful when taken with certain drugs.
  • Other health conditions. Some antidepressants may be helpful (or cause greater harm) if you have other health issues.
  • Possible side effects. Like all medications, side effects are common with antidepressants too.

Consequently, the medications most often prescribed for depression work in different ways, even within the same family of medication.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are the most commonly prescribed medications for depression. In the simplest terms, they work to improve communication between nerve cells.

Here are some SSRIs commonly prescribed for depression

Help for anxiety

We all get nervous and anxious from time to time. But for some people, anxiety takes over and gets in the way of daily life. There are many different types of anxiety issues, but the most common is general anxiety disorder.

Treatment for anxiety may include counseling and behavioral therapy, and there are several medications that can be helpful as well. The most commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medications are sedatives known as benzodiazepines. They are intended to be used on a short-term basis, as they can be habit-forming.

Like the SSRIs mentioned earlier (which are also often prescribed for anxiety), these drugs work to help relax your muscles and promote a sense of calm.

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Here are some benzodiazepines commonly prescribed for anxiety

Some of the most common side effects of benzodiazepines are drowsiness, and overuse or abuse.

Natural remedies for stress and anxiety relief

Having a few stress relief techniques at your fingertips is one of the smartest things you can do to take care of yourself. The following recommendations can work in tandem with any medication your doctor prescribes.

Preventing problems with anxiety

  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, recreational drugs
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule
  • Limit social media
  • Exercise

Easy ways to help yourself feel better, naturally

  • Sip some tea
  • Practice deep breathing
  • Get some light exercise
  • Stretch or do yoga
  • Listen to calming music

Call for help if you need it

If you need help right away – for yourself or a loved one – call 911, or use the emergency numbers below.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 | 1–800–799–4889 (TTY) If you or someone you know is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, get emergency help right away. Contact us for 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress and prevention and crisis resources for you or loved ones.

National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) Get help with crisis intervention, information and referrals to local services for victims of domestic violence and those calling on their behalf.