Stress is a much bigger problem than most people realize. It can lead to depression, psychological problems, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, insomnia and ulcers. With so much at stake, it's only logical that people would turn to medication to relieve stress, but is that a good idea, and if so, what options are there?
NOTE: You must talk to your doctor before taking any medication or natural remedies for stress. The following information is not meant to be medical advice of any kind, and you should always follow your doctor's recommendations.
Anti-anxiety medications may be prescribed if you have an anxiety disorder that causes you to stress out over apparently small things. It should be noted that there isn't any medication that teaches you how to cope with stress, but anti-anxiety medication can change how your brain process the stimuli it receives. There may still be other things that cause you stress, but this medication should help you to keep things in perspective.
Some people will turn to over-the-counter remedies sleep aids to help "take the edge off", but this is a bad idea. The problem with this non-solution is threefold: 1) It only masks the real problem. 2) These products are meant to help you sleep, not relieve stress. 3) There is a high risk of addiction. While it may be okay to take these remedies once in a while to get some sleep, they should never be used as medication to relieve stress.
There are also herbal remedies that promise to relieve stress, and some of them do help, but they have the same main problem as prescription medications; they don't do anything to remove stress, but only work to mask the symptoms. It may be okay to take them every now and then (remember to talk to your doctor first), but you shouldn't rely on them as a way of relieving stress.
While it's not technically a medication to relieve stress, vitamin C has been shown to reduce the harmful effects of stress. It appears as though vitamin C helps to repair the damage caused by cortisol, which is a hormone released by the body when it is under stress. You can take a vitamin C supplement if you like, but it is far better to get it directly from food sources. Here are a few top food picks to help you get enough vitamin C and other key nutrients to reduce stress:
1. Walnuts, almonds, pecans, and brazil nuts.
2. Fresh vegetables, especially spinach, broccoli, parsley, tomatoes and sprouts.
3. Whole grains.
4. Peppers (opt for different varieties and colors).
5. Fruit, which can be fresh or frozen, and eaten whole or as juice.
6. Fish, especially salmon, mackerel and tuna.
While medication to relieve stress is an option, there are usually better methods that you can use. If nothing else seems to work, however, then be sure to talk to your doctor about what is best for you.