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"Are there any non-prescription treatments for anxiety disorders?"
I am a 43 year-old divorced woman with no children. I wake up 3-4 times during the night with rapid heart beat and sweating. This lasts for about 20 minutes before I am able to get back to sleep. This has been occurring for the last 5 years, and I was prescribed with an anti-anxiety medication which I took for 6 months. The meds made me too sleepy to work. I would like to try something that is not as strong and more "natural". Are there any non-prescription treatments for anxiety disorders?
Your symptoms sound very disruptive to your life. I am curious about your anxiety symptoms seeming to occur at night. While many people that suffer from anxiety do wake up in the middle of the night and with signs of anxiety like you have, they typically complain about the daytime symptoms first. For this reason, I think you need a second opinion as on what's going on. I would like to know for sure that it is anxiety that you are suffering from. If it does turn out to be a pure anxiety disorder or panic attacks that come at night, then I think there is a better medicine for you. You were likely prescribed a sedative for anxiety which can be appropriate in some cases, but can make you tired during the day. A better option may be another class of medicines known as the SSRIs. They won't make you sleepy, and are very helpful at stopping the attacks from coming. Ask you doctor if he or she thinks this is a better option. The best type of physician for you to see about this is a primary care physician such as a family doctor or internal medicine doctor. He or she can take a more detailed history of your symptoms, perform a thorough physical exam, and determine for sure if there isn't some other reason why you are experiencing night time symptoms predominately. If your case is complex, you may warrant a referral to a psychiatrist for further evaluation. From there, you can get treatment that is more suited to your lifestyle and desires. Good luck.
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