The number of people in the UK using drugs to combat anxiety is soaring, new research shows. So, what’s the alternative?
As prescriptions for anti-anxiety medication soar and the nation’s dependence on medication increases, healthcare professionals look to alternative treatments which are clinically proven to be as effective.
Anxiolytics use has increased in recent years – with a new study revealing women are more than twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with anxiety and prescribed medication including antidepressants to relieve its symptoms.[i]
It’s thought that doctors are increasingly choosing to prescribe antianxiety and antidepressants drugs to combat Britain’s mental health crisis. With new research highlighting a substantial rise in new diagnoses of anxiety among 18 to 35-year-olds, thought to be down to increased refusals of cases to the NHS child and adolescent mental health service (Camhs).
In addition, for every man using antidepressants, there are 2.26 women on them, 2.22 for Valium-like drugs called benzodiazepines, 2.33 for beta blockers and 2.19 for anticonvulsants. Even those drugs less frequently prescribed for more severe anxiety, like the antipsychotics, are more likely to be prescribed for women.
The study further highlighted the warnings of ‘unintended harm’ people with anxiety could be suffering due to being prescribed drugs for which there is scant evidence that they work, such as beta blockers, or which contradict clinical guidelines, such as antipsychotics, or which may not be effective if taken long-term, such as antidepressants[ii].
Not only does this over-prescribing of a potentially addictive drugs put Brits at great risk, but it is also believed to be costing NHS England around £34 million each year.[vi]
Professor of Psychiatry, Professor Hans-Peter Volz comments: “The use, and misuse, of prescription medication is rising. Doctors can be quick to medicate people who are experiencing emotional distress, without exploring alternative options. Medicating too quickly can lead to the unnecessary prescribing of medication, and in some cases, can cause a dependency to the drug. The problem then, is trying to reduce dependency and get patients off the prescribed medication. It is important that we look at alternative treatments to prescription drugs for anxiety such as talking therapies, mindfulness, and traditional herbal remedies.”
Research suggests that there is a non-addictive alternative to prescribed anxiety medication for subthreshold anxiety sufferers. More than 15 clinical trials suggest that uniquely prepared, pharmaceutical quality lavender oil – which can be taken in a one-a-day capsule – can significantly reduce both physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety.[vii]
The results are comparable to the effects seen from commonly used anti-anxiety medications, including the benzodiazepine lorazepam and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) paroxetineii,iii. Positron Emission Topography (PET) scans of participants’ brains also suggest that compared to a placebo the unique lavender oil significantly reduces the binding potential of the neurotransmitter Serotonin 1A (5T1A) in the regions of the brain that are involved in the regulation of anxiety[iii].
Professor of Psychiatry Dr Siegfried Kasper, who was involved in several of the clinical trials comments: “This is a very exciting development for anxiety as the research demonstrates the lavender oil capsules not only reduce both physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety but also have a beneficial effect on health-related quality of life, without problems such as sedation, addiction or interaction with other medications. Benefits are also evident after just two weeks”.
The anxiety-relieving effects of uniquely prepared, pharmaceutical quality lavender oil are available, only in Kalms Lavender One-A-Day Capsules.
[iii] Baldinger P, Höflich AS, Mitterhauser M, Hahn A, Rami-Mark C, Spies M, Wadsak W, Lanzenberger R, Kasper S., Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2014