Neurontin for Anxiety and Other Treatment Options

Reviewed by Aaron Horn, LMFT

Published 12/09/2020

In recent years, there has been increased interest in Neurontin as a remedy for anxiety. If that’s true, it would be a wonderful thing. After all, anxiety makes you feel terrible. You may feel restless, tense, nervous, and even panicked. You also may have physical symptoms like rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, weakness, sweating, or gastrointestinal problems. So, if Neurontin works, it makes sense to explore it further. Here’s what it is as well as several other options for reducing anxiety symptoms.

Source: pexels.com

NEURONTIN FOR ANXIETY

Neurontin is a medication that is used off-label to treat anxiety. Its primary use is for preventing seizures. Also called Gabapentin, this medication has shown promise in reducing anxiety symptoms. However, as of 2017, no randomized controlled trials for this use of Neurontin had been done. Still, one case study described how a patient recovered from anxiety problems after this drug.

How Does Neurontin Help With Anxiety?

At this point, it’s unclear exactly how Neurontin works to diminish signs of anxiety. Gabapentin works differently from other antiepileptic drugs, which may be why it helps more with anxiety than they do. Scientists believe that the mechanisms that make it work are quite complex.

How To Take Neurontin

Always take any medication exactly as your doctor prescribes. Neurontin comes in capsules of 100, 300, or 400 mg; tablets of 100, 300, 400, 600, or 800 mg; or a solution of 250mg/5ml. Your doctor determines how much you need to take and when based on the severity of your anxiety and other personal factors. After seeing how you respond to the medication, they may adjust your dose.

If you’re on Neurontin, watch for side effects like dizziness, sleepiness, fluid retention, nausea, vomiting, difficulty speaking, double vision, tremors, weight gain, joint pain, blurred vision, viral infections, and memory loss. If you experience side effects, your doctor may adjust your dose or offer a different treatment.

OTHER MEDICATIONS FOR ANXIETY

While Gabapentin is increasingly popular as a treatment for anxiety, several other medications have also proven helpful to people who suffer from anxiety disorders.

Propranolol

Propranolol has many uses, including to treat migraines, heart and blood pressure problems, and anxiety. It slows down your heart rate, which can decrease the rapid heartbeats that often come with anxious feelings.

And how fast does propranolol work for anxiety? Usually, it’s at its most potent within the first four hours of when you take it. However, this medication is generally used as a short-term fix for anxiety symptoms. If you have a persistent anxiety disorder, your doctor may choose to prescribe something else.

Mood Stabilizers For Anxiety

Mood stabilizers, such as lithium, anticonvulsants, and antipsychotics, are typically prescribed for people who have mood disorders. They work well with anxiety medications, so they’re helpful for people who have bipolar and anxiety together.

Best Antidepressants For Anxiety

Many antidepressants are used to treat anxiety. The following are considered the best anxiety meds from this category:

  • Paxil
  • Prozac
  • Celexa
  • Zoloft
  • Lexapro
  • Effexor XR
  • Cymbalta
  • Buspar

Benzodiazepines For Short-Term Anxiety

Benzodiazepines have a twofold effect. They work on a neurotransmitter in the brain and produce a sedative effect. They present a few problems, though. First, it’s easy to build up a tolerance for them, so after a while, they may not help much anymore. Second, many people become addicted to them.

But with the proper management and guidance, these medications may provide a quick solution. Then, you can work with a counselor to reduce your anxiety more permanently. Some of the drugs in this group include:

  • Xanax
  • Klonopin
  • Ativan
  • Valium

Dietary Supplements For Anxiety

Many people have found relief using dietary supplements rather than or along with medications. If you don’t want to take medications, can’t take them, or haven’t had enough success with them, supplements may offer another option.

Source: pexels.com

Niacin For Anxiety

Niacin, and in particular niacinamide, seems to provide the same benefits as benzodiazepines. It gives quick relief from symptoms. Just like benzodiazepines, niacinamide affects the neurotransmitters that are out of balance when you have anxiety.

It’s essential to take enough to help your anxiety without taking too much. The National Institutes of Health stated that 500 mg per day or more could cause diarrhea, bruising, and bleeding. At 3,000 mg per day, niacinamide can cause nausea, vomiting, and even liver damage. So, it’s best to ask your doctor how much to take.

Does Magnesium Help With Anxiety?

While more studies are needed, there is some evidence that magnesium supplements can be beneficial for people with anxiety. Magnesium is a mineral that is found in abundance in the body. It may improve brain function and regulate neurotransmitters to improve neurological health.

How much magnesium for anxiety, you ask? Check with your doctor. In general, doses over 350 mg per day are considered unsafe. The following are three options of substances combined with magnesium to help your body absorb it better.

Magnesium Oxide For Anxiety

Magnesium oxide is usually used to treat constipation or migraines. It is one of the preferred magnesium preparations for anxiety.

What about Magnesium Lactate?

Magnesium lactate often takes the form of a food additive. It is also one of the best magnesium options for anxiety disorders.

Magnesium Glycinate – Anxiety Cure?

Magnesium glycinate is frequently used to relieve muscle pain. More studies are needed to determine if this magnesium supplement has any beneficial effects for anxiety.

NAC For Anxiety

NAC is short for N-acetylcysteine, an amino acid preparation that you can buy over the counter in most pharmacies and health food stores. The dosage is usually 1000 to 2000 mg per day. NAC seems to reduce troubling thoughts that can aggravate anxiety and other mental disorders.

B12 Anxiety Benefits

Vitamin B12 supplements may help with anxiety symptoms. That’s because a deficiency of this vitamin can trigger symptoms of anxiety, panic, and depression. B12 affects your brain and nerves, improving memory while decreasing anxiety. B-12 is a water-soluble vitamin, so it’s less likely to cause health problems if you take high doses. But taking too much can cause acne or rosacea and possibly even diabetes or kidney problems. Talk to your doctor about how much B12 to take.

Vitamin D And Anxiety

Like vitamin B12, Vitamin D is needed to keep your brain and nerves healthy. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to anxiety. For this reason, supplementing with Vitamin D may help relieve some of your anxiety symptoms.

Taking too much D, a fat-soluble vitamin, sometimes causes too much calcium in the blood, calcium deposits in the arteries, and even kidney stones. More than 4000 IU per day is considered unsafe. But everyone is different. Talk you a physician before you take high doses of Vitamin D.

Does Melatonin Help With Anxiety

Melatonin is a hormone in your body that helps control your sleeping patterns. Your body makes more melatonin when it’s dark and less when you’re in a light-filled environment. You can get over-the-counter melatonin supplements, which are often used to improve sleep. Because getting enough sleep is essential in staying calm, melatonin can work indirectly to decrease anxiety.

Source: pexels.com

Herbal Remedies And Other Preparations For Anxiety

Herbal remedies have been used throughout human history. Many people prefer them because they consider them a natural alternative to medications. It’s important to note, though, that many herbal preparations come with their risks. It’s always advisable to talk to an expert about what herbal remedies you use for anxiety and how much you use it.

Passionflower For Anxiety

Passionflower is a family of plants that includes about 500 known species. Historically, it was used by Native Americans, Spanish explorers, and many others. It might reduce insomnia and relieve anxiety, though more research is needed to prove these effects. You can use dried passionflower for anxiety by making it into tea. Or look for passionflower tablets, capsules, or liquid extracts.

Lavender For Anxiety

Lavender can help relax you and help you go to sleep. Lavender essential oils can also be used to treat anxiety disorders, especially for short-term anxiety problems. One of its benefits is that it does this without causing sedation or dependence.

Chamomile For Anxiety

Chamomile may help with anxiety because of its effect on the adrenalin system and dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitters. Although scientists have not yet discovered exactly how chamomile does it, this herb does seem to help you relax and feel calmer. It can be used to treat generalized anxiety disorder.

Turmeric

Turmeric curcumin is considered by many as an anxiety remedy that’s as effective as some anxiety medications. Turmeric is a spice you might use in the kitchen when preparing curries, soups, or Spanish rice. It helps if you have a deficiency of DHA (omega 3), and it works even better if you take it along with ALA, which is the precursor to DHA.

RhodiolaRosea

RhodiolaRosea is an herb, and its roots can be used to make a treatment for anxiety. This herb works for anxiety by regulating your heartbeat. It is safe for short-term use, but there aren’t enough studies to know if it’s safe for long-term treatment. It can affect your immune system and might cause low blood sugar or low blood pressure. RhodiolaRosea’s anxiety supplements are made from extracts of the herb. Your dosage needs to be based on your age, your health, and other factors.

Tinctures For Anxiety

A tincture is an extract made of herbs concentrated by soaking them in alcohol or vinegar. You can get tinctures of various herbs or combinations of herbs. You take most tinctures by mouth using a dropper. Take no more than the recommended dose. The benefits of anxiety depending on the benefits of the plants from which they’re made.

Anxiety Remedies That Don’t Come In A Pill

Sometimes, the solution for anxiety is not something you “take,” but something you do. The following anxiety remedies are things you can do or use to reduce your anxiety symptoms.

Source: pexels.com

Aromatherapy For Anxiety

You can use essential oils in many ways, such as diluting with oil and applying to the skin or placing it in a diffuser. Don’t ever ingest them because their safety hasn’t been proven when used that way. The benefits of aromatherapy depend primarily on the type of plant the oil is made from. Some of the more popular aromatherapy oils for anxiety include:

  • Valerian
  • Jatamansi
  • Lavender
  • Jasmine
  • Chamomile
  • Rose
  • Ylangylang
  • Patchouli
  • Lemon balm

Many people are allergic to some aromatherapy oils. So, consider doing a test run on a small area of skin. Apply the diluted oil to the spot, then check it 24 hours later to see if you’ve had a bad reaction to it. Aromatherapy is often helpful if you have a specific stressor coming up soon.

Biofeedback For Anxiety

Biofeedback is a technique that uses visual and auditory stimuli to help you control bodily functions. For example, you can learn to lower your heart rate and muscle tension using this technique. It’s often done by placing sensors on your body’s various parts and giving you feedback when those sensors detect changes in your body. This information allows you to notice the changes that come with anxiety and practice to decrease your effect.

Healing Stones For Anxiety

Many people believe that specific natural stones can help with a wide range of ailments, including anxiety. The idea is that different stones have different vibrations, which can influence your nervous system. Some of the stones that have been used for anxiety include:

  • Agate crystals
  • Jet Stone
  • Lepidolite
  • Rhodochrosite
  • Smoky quartz
  • Turquoise
  • Amethyst
  • Rose quartz
  • Malachite

Binaural Beats For Anxiety

“Binaural beats” refers to a beat that happens when you listen to tone with one frequency in one ear and with a slightly different frequency in the other. When you do this, the two sides of your brain communicate. This communication helps train your brain to work together more effectively. Some studies have suggested that listening to binaural beats may be an effective treatment for mild anxiety.

Fidget Spinner For Anxiety

A fidget spinner is a small toy designed to help people with ADHD, autism, or anxiety. The toy has a ball bearing device that you move around between your fingers. There is no real proof that fidget spinners reduce anxiety, although they may distract you from your worries for a time.

Games For Anxiety

Most people these days spend a lot of time on their mobile devices. Maybe that’s why anxiety game apps have become so popular. They work like a classic game, where you score points, reach new levels, get badges, and rack up days of consecutive wins. While these games may be fun, it’s unclear if they reduce anxiety.

What Makes Anxiety Worse?

So those are things you can do to make anxiety better. What are some things you might you do that would make it worse? Here are some things to think about as you learn to deal with anxiety disorders.

Sugar And Anxiety

Sugar and anxiety often go hand in hand. Because sugar makes your brain release serotonin, it’s natural to reach for sugar when you want to feel happier. But sugar has its drawbacks. When you eat a lot of sugar, you may find that you suffer from increased anxiety. Sugar makes your blood sugar spike, and then moments later, it crashes. This instability in your blood sugar affects your nervous system.

Cortisol And Anxiety

Another combination is related to the connection between sugar and anxiety. And that is Cortisol and anxiety. Cortisol has been called the stress hormone, and it is released when you feel anxious. With the cortisol rushing through your system, your body reduces the amount of insulin it releases. When that happens, the roller-coaster of high and low blood sugars gets worse, and your anxiety increases.

Nicotine And Anxiety

Often, when people are anxious about something, they believe that smoking or vaping nicotine will relieve their anxiety. But research continually shows that nicotine increases anxiety and may even cause it at times. Using nicotine doesn’t reduce anxiety in general – it only reduces the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.

Psychotherapy For Anxiety

No discussion of anxiety treatments would be complete without a mention of psychotherapy. Various forms of therapy have been proven helpful in dealing with this mental disorder. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is beneficial because it teaches you to rethink your negative beliefs and choose more helpful thoughts and actions. Dialectical Behavior Therapy teaches you coping skills and ways to regulate your emotions. Other types of psychotherapy may also be useful as well.

When Do You Need Hospitalization For Anxiety?

Hospitalization usually isn’t necessary for anxiety. In the past, people with all kinds of mental disorders were encouraged to check into a hospital. However, more recently, the trend has been to treat anxiety and other mental illnesses on an outpatient basis. The only time it would be wise to consider hospitalization would be if the anxiety were causing you severe impairment in meeting your daily needs.

Source: pexels.com

DO YOU HAVE ANXIETY?

Everyone has concerns now and then. It’s natural to be a little nervous in situations that involve risk. However, having an anxiety disorder is different. It can seriously affect your daily life and your ability to reach your long-term goals. One way to get an idea of whether you have an anxiety disorder is to take an anxietytest online. Once you know whether you have a significant problem, you can focus on finding out your unique answer to “What is good for anxiety?”