A 2018 Stress in America survey, conducted by the American Psychiatric Association clearly demonstrates that people are worried about their health. 63% of respondents said that health related concerns were a significant cause of stress, second only to work and money at 64%. Perhaps more concerning are stats linked to mental health. The baby-boomers are feeling good. 70% rated their mental health as very good to excellent but from there, confidence dips: 51% of Gen X respondents reported a mental health rating of very good to excellent, 56% of millennials and only 45% of Gen Z respondents. The kids are alright but they’re worried.
What to do?
Prescription medications tend to be the first response but the opioid crisis has led to a growing awareness of just how pervasive our addiction to prescription medications has become. More than 1 in 6 Americans now takes at least one drug to treat anxiety, from antidepressants like Prozac to anti-anxiety drugs like Xanax. In response there has been a surge of interest in holistic, all-natural alternatives. Let’s contrast two of the most prevalent options for stress & anxiety sufferers: Xanax and it's all natural alternative—Kava.
Xanax: What it is. What it does.
Xanax is in a class of drugs called benzodiazepines (or benzos). Benzos have been around since the 60’s and are prescribed to treat anxiety, panic disorder, sleep disorder and seizures. Xanax increases GABA activity in the brain which produces a calming effect, however, with continued use natural GABA production slows leading the user to feel as though they need a larger dose to achieve the same effect which is obviously a fast-track to addiction. Additional common side-effects include:
- Poor concentration
- Balance/Coordination issues
Kava: What it is. What it does.
Kava root is gaining in popularity for its effectiveness in combating stress and anxiety. Native to South Pacific Islands such as Hawaii, Fiji, and Vanuatu, Kava has been used for medicinal and cultural ceremonies for over 3,000 years. Traditional preparation includes grinding the root and mixing it with water to create a relaxing non-alcoholic beverage. Modern preparations include powders, capsules, and tinctures.
The active compounds in kava, known as kavalactones, bind onto various receptors in the brain and amygdala which regulate feelings of fear and anxiety. The result is a feeling of comfort and relaxation free from the mood altering effects of its synthesized counterparts. Users often equate it to the euphoric effects of meditation or exercise—your mind simply feels clearer, calmer, and more optimistic.
The Best All-Natural Xanax Alternative
As mentioned above, there are a lot of kava products available on the market and strength and convenience varies. Your best bet for a clinical strength Xanax alternative is a high-quality kava extract like, 1Hour Break. 1Hour Break's formula features noble kava sourced from a family farm in Vanuatu and includes additional all-natural ingredients including lemon balm, lobelia herb and passion flower, each of which was carefully chosen to compliment the calming effects of kava.
Kava vs. Xanax is just one example of people distancing themselves from the, “there’s a pill for that!” approach to healthcare. That said, you can take control over your own health and wellness without abandoning the institutions. Inform your doctor about your plans to use kava as a Xanax alternative, read up on holistic healthcare related topics and remember that whether you’re a millennial, Gen Xer or Baby-Boomer positive change is all about the healthy choices you make.