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The Growing Epidemic of Anxiety in America
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 18% of the population, or nearly forty million Americans, suffer with an anxiety disorder. This high number is only exacerbated by the fact that few of those that live their lives under the shadow of anxiety ever seek mental health care. This absence of those seeking professional help for their anxiety is often attributed to several factors including the stigma that has surrounded mental illness in the past as well as the harmful and sometimes sustaining effects of some anti-anxiety medication.
As a TIME magazine article by Jamie Ducharme in May of this year exemplifies, this number is also constantly on the rise. A poll by the American Psychiatrist Association showed that nearly 40% of Americans are suffering from some form of anxiety. In the APA poll, which surveyed 1,000 adult Americans for their findings, only 19% percent reported feeling less anxious in last year, while 39% of participants reported feeling more so. The study also revealed that the three greatest sources of anxiety in America are health, safety, and finances.
This spike in reported anxiety may be unsurprising to those that keep up with the rising number of Americans that report feeling stressed, however. In August 2017 the subsequent ‘Stress in America’ poll, also performed by the APA, found that 63% of Americans said the future of the nation was a stressing factor to them. With stress and anxiety going hand in hand, it becomes easy to see why more and more of us are reporting experiencing the tremendous burden of anxiety.
Current Treatments for Anxiety and Their Effects
Generally, treatment of anxiety is done through psychotherapy, medications, or a combined approach using both, depending on the severity. While medications cannot completely cure anxiety they may help to alleviate symptoms of the disorder. However, many drugs aimed at relieving anxiety symptoms have precarious side effects of their own. Below, we’ll look at a few of the medication treatment options for sufferers of anxiety.
A prescription of some kind of Benzodiazepine is one of the most popular medications for treating anxiety in a short term capacity. This type of medication is a sedative designed to relax your muscles and provide a calm mental state. Examples of Benzodiazepine medications include Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, and Valium. Benzodiazepines can be extremely habit forming and there is an increasing epidemic of abuse of these types of medications in America. In addition, stopping Benzodiazepines can lead to tiredness, muscle aches, trouble sleeping, and a variety of other side effects including anxiety.
Buspirone is another option in treating both short term and chronic anxiety. It is unknown exactly how the drug works but is believed to function by altering the chemicals in the brain to regulate mood. Side effects of Buspirone include nausea, headaches, and dizziness and quitting Buspirone has been known to lead to headaches, muscle spasms, neck stiffness, and difficulty functioning. It is recommended that Buspirone never be stopped abruptly.
How CBD Can Help You Cope with Anxiety and it’s Symptoms
If the side effects and withdrawal symptoms of anxiety medications seem anxiety inducing in themselves to you, there are other, arguably safer, alternatives for help managing your anxiety symptoms. CBD, or Cannabidiol, is produced from the Hemp plant and is rich in health promoting attributes and extremely low in THC, the psychoactive ingredient in Cannabis. CBD is legal in the United States, doesn’t get you high’, and cutting edge studies are beginning to report that it can decrease anxiety symptoms.
In addition, CBD is non-habit forming and you won’t experience all the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms associated with anxiety medications if you decide to stop using CBD. Anecdotal evidence from a variety of users, including registered nurses like Jessie Gill, are convincing in just how the substrate can assist in a better quality of life for anxiety sufferers. Gill, who vapes CBD oil through a vaping pen, says that vaping is one of the quickest ways to feel the effects of CBD, which is crucial during acute anxiety situations.
One of the best aspects of using CBD to aide in battling anxiety symptoms is the various ways of application. Whereas some may feel uncomfortable with the vaping method, you may also use oils, sprays, edibles, and a variety of other options to administer CBD. Igor Grant, a professor and psychiatry chair at the San Diego School of Medicine says that CBD may dampen’ some neurochemical processes including those linked with pain and anxiety. Cannabidiol does this without inducing chemical dependency or affecting you physiologically if you stop using it, making CBD an excellent way to assist in managing anxiety signs and symptoms.
FDA Disclaimer: The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from healthcare practitioners. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.