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How to Handle Stress Without Xanax

Stress. We all feel it. Some of us feel it more intense than others. Some believe their stress level is so high that they need something to lower it or relieve it. A significant number of people live with chronic stress.

More than half of us believe we have moderate stress.  Each of us handles stress differently.

There is also good stress and bad stress. 

Good stress tends to make us more aware of the events happening around us. It gives us a heightened sense of alertness. It gives us strength, and we become more focused. 

Bad stress can stem from things that happen to us like getting teased a lot, getting written up at work, or having to deal with someone that we don’t like. Bad stress can generate negative thoughts and excessive worry.

Stress is the body’s way of dealing with challenging situations. It produces the “fight or flight” feelings we have. Most people can manage everyday stress, but others live with the effects of chronic stress, which is long-term stress.

What’s stressing us out? There is a myriad of causes of stress that affect people from money, jobs, health, and personal safety. 

While it may seem smart to ask your doctor about taking a benzodiazepine like Xanax, it’s essential to note the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that the number of overdose deaths from drugs like Xanax quadrupled from 2002 to 2015.

Despite the good and bad points about stress, there are natural, holistic ways to manage everyday stress. Read on to see how you can bust stress without Xanax or other drugs.

Stress – How to Handle It

Everyone handles stress differently. As individuals, we have our own way of managing it. Some choose to ask the doctor to prescribe something for it; others prefer to find non-medicinal ways to deal with it. Here are some tips to reduce or manage stress without Xanax.

Deep breathing, meditation

Many people tense up and forget to breathe when they’re stressed. Deep breathing and meditation can help calm the mind, stimulate good feelings, and relax the body.

  • Find a comfortable place to sit, such as an armchair with an ottoman or footstool, a soft rug or yoga mat, the soft, back-supportive sofa.
  • Find some relaxing or meditation music on your favorite digital device. Turn it on but not too loudly.
  • Close your eyes and focus on breathing from your diaphragm. Listen to your breath as you inhale and exhale. Feel your shoulders relax as the tension leaves.
  • Focus on the music or meditation sounds only. Continue deep breathing.
  • Repeat for several minutes.

Catch Some Quality Z’s

A sound night’s rest might do the trick in relieving stress. The best way to get solid sleep is to go to bed at the same time every night and on weekends. Lower the temperature in your bedroom to where it is conducive for quality sleeping. Lower the shades, blinds or close the drapes. Wear something that keeps you cool and comfortable in bed. Try not to turn on the TV or use devices in the bedroom. If needed, find something that produces “white noise.” This can be a fan or a machine.

Get a Move On

It is proven that getting more exercise or becoming more active produces better sleep. If formal exercise doesn’t appeal to you, try taking a long after-dinner walk or walking the dog a bit longer (you can borrow a neighbor’s dog if you don’t have one). You also can use the home community pool or gym (or both), or take a dance class.

Get Connected

It is a good idea to connect socially with people than to self-isolate. Perhaps that means joining neighbors on a walk, calling and talking to a good friend, and dare we say it – scrolling through social media sites and reading about other people’s stress-related situations. Sometimes, a good stress reliever is to know that someone else is feeling the same way.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This type of therapy involves learning how to recognize when stress comes on, what triggers it, and developing coping skills to manage it. It is beneficial for most people.

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What Stress Does to Your Body

Stress stresses your body. When you have long periods of stress, sometimes called chronic stress, it’s possible to experience these symptoms:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Any kind of pain
  • Problems sleeping
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Change in appetite, digestive problems
  • Extreme irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Perception of loss of control
  • Loss of sex drive

Also, chronic stress can lead to serious health problems, such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Heart disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia

Treating Stress with Xanax or Benzodiazepines

These are drugs that treat stress and anxiety.

They also help manage panic attacks, which can happen to anyone at any time.

Benzodiazepines (benzos for short) help ease the symptoms of stress by relaxing the mind and body. 

Healthline states that Xanax and benzos are sedatives. They increase the effects of specific neurotransmitters in the brain.

Neurotransmitters are chemicals that send and receive messages between brain cells. 

A runner lacing up their shoes on a pier

Benzos are meant to be short-term medications for people coping with stress and anxiety disorders.

If you take Xanax, or a drug like it, for too long, you could experience one or more of these symptoms:

  • Extreme irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Digestive problems
  • Perception of loss of control
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Change in appetite
  • Loss of sex drive

Long-term use of Xanax and drugs like it can cause:

  • Memory problems
  • Dizziness
  • A mental status change
  • Seizures
  • Impaired concentration

If you were to stop taking Xanax all of a sudden, you might experience mood swings, difficulty concentrating, short-term memory loss, and hallucinations. This is why it is best to consult with your doctor before slowly weaning yourself off the drug.

Stress Relief without Xanax

Stress affects everyone differently. Whether you feel the everyday pressures of life mildly, intensely, or chronically, there are easier, more healthy ways of managing stress. What works naturally to relieve stress is stressed in this article. Below are some tips from Medical News Today, which include writing.

Sources

American Psychological Association. Stressed in America. January 2011, Vol 42, No. 1 from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/01/stressed-america

National Institute on Drug Abuse. Benzodiazepines and Opioids. March 2018 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/benzodiazepines-opioids#graph

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Coping with Stress from https://www.cdc.gov/Features/CopingWithStress/index.html

Healthline. Drugs to Treat Anxiety Disorder. Benzodiazepines from https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety-drugs#qampa

MedicalNewsToday. How to treat anxiety naturally. Zawn Villines Reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, PhD, CRNP. July 9, 2018 from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322396.php

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