Are there any over the counter medica... - Anxiety and Depre...

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Are there any over the counter medications I can take to calm my anxiety?

DemureRose profile image

I know getting an actual anxiety medication would be better but I’m just not ready to get help yet. It’s still a little scary for me. But I do want to have some sort of relief. I can handle having a hundred thoughts but something to just help me relax would be really appreciated.

I understand many of you won’t understand why I won’t get actual help and a prescribed medication. But in my family mental illness is kinda taboo. We’ve had many relatives go the wrong direction do to more dangerous mental illnesses. I guess a part of me is worried what an actual diagnosis would mean.

Anyways I would really appreciate the help. Anything that helps with racing heart, shortness of breath, nausea and/or shakiness would be great. Thank you.

25 Replies

Kalms or Rescue Remedy are the only things I can think of. I would recommend I visit to the library or our good friend google as there are many strategies to help deal with anxiety from breathing exercises to graded exposure therapy.

I have a few suggestions:

First, please don't "self-medicate" with alcohol or illegal drugs, like so many people do. That doesn't solve anything - it just gives you another problem to deal with.

Second, despite what your other family members have done, I strongly recommend you make an appointment with your doc and explain your situation. Anxiety can be unbearable at times, and a med like Ativan can give you relief. Your doctor will explain how to use it.

Slee50 profile image
Slee50 in reply to jkl5500

I also use just 0.5mg ativan am and night. I can't cope without it

DemureRose profile image
DemureRose in reply to jkl5500

I definitely won’t try to cope with drugs or alcohol. Extremely against that.

And someday, soon I hope, I will be able to confront that worry. Crossing my fingers I get the courage in the new 2019 year!

Magnesium, GABA, 5-htp (if not on antidepressants!), B complex, lots of B6, aromatherapy, thyroid support supplements and adrenal support supplements, deep breathing down to the bottom of the lungs, hold it, release slowly, Eckhart Tolle audio lectures, writing and reading here, connecting on a real, deep level with other people. These have all helped me. Best of luck to you.

I can understand not wanting to be on medication, I refused it for years. Part of the fear and hesitation is your anxiety, which is ironic and sucky. I do recommend going to talk to a licensed therapist. They will probably suggest meds but you can tell them you are not ready for them and they will understand. A therapist can help you start working through ways to understand your anxiety and alleviate it. Idk about any over the counter meds to calm you. But you can try some calming teas, a nice warm bath, adult coloring books are really good too. Volunteering or working with animals or kids is really nice too. I think knowing they wont judge you for anything is liberating.

DemureRose profile image
DemureRose in reply to itakenaps

Oh my gosh this helped so much! I guess I never quite put together that my ANXIETY was keeping me from getting help with my ANXIETY. I always thought I was just afraid of having a mental illness. This reply made me realize little stuff. Like how I love adult coloring books and always have one for stressful situations. I’m a slightly nervous flyer so I bought one more as entertainment and ended up using it throughout the trip randomly. And I prefer spending time with kids or animals. Less complicated and easier to control.

So thank you so much for this help! I really really appreciate it!

itakenaps profile image
itakenaps in reply to DemureRose

Im glad I could help. :) Anxiety is crazy. It’s so hard to explain to people that you can be anxious from your own anxiety! 😂 Happy New Year!

I agree with all the above - you may even benefit from Hydroxyzine or what is also called vistaril , it’s a prescription antihistamine that is used to treat anxiety among other things if you are worried about “psych meds” (it can make you very sleepy so you have to be careful with use during the day until you know how it affects you. Over the counter chlor trimeton 4 hour is also an antihistamine that works for anxiety similar to vistaril but again it has a sedative effect . May not be appropriate for during the day - I use to use it but had to cut them in half myself but they worked and I felt pretty good .

I wouldn’t do anything without your doctor if your anxiety is causing you enough grief that you are looking for help . Ignoring it , denying it and not going to the doctor doesn’t change what may or may not be.

Good luck 👍🏼 there is hope

Hydroxyzine causes weight gain. I took hydroxyzine for 18 months and I gained 30lbs. Now, I'm having problems losing the extra weight. I would never recommend taking it. But, it's always good to do some research before taking any medication.

Rescue Remedy and L-Theanine both work pretty well

I agree with everyone else but if you arent ready than you arent ready. A lot of people in Europe use antihistamines like Benadryl. Maybe try that. Also YouTube has a lot of great guided meditations you can listen too that really help me calm down. I hope you get the relief that you deserve.

Slee50 profile image
Slee50 in reply to ereaves75

Those meditations are my life savers

Guided meditation CDs are very good. Belleruth Naparstek makes these CDs specifically for helping with "Anxiety & Panic". She also has another CD for helping PTSD and it's called "Healing Trauma." She also has a healing series on Youtube.

This is amazing, thank you!

DemureRose profile image
DemureRose in reply to ereaves75

Benadryl was something my mom suggested and I was a little hesitant on it because I’m new to all this. But seeing that as a suggestion is helpful. I’ve seen a lot of recommendations for meditation so I will for sure check that out! Thanks so much!

Personally I’ve used Pamprin Multi-symptom or Premyn Both are at CVS- even a Dollar General now I think. Make sure they mention tension or irritability on the box. You can get the cheaply version too if you see it. It seems that it has a tiny amount of antihistamines in it to calm the tension but not enough to really zonk you out like Benadryl.

This was recommended to me by a former supervisor of mine at a fast food restaurant years ago. She’d had problems with anxiety attacks and when I’d confided to her about mine she gave me one of her pms pills to try (I’d read the bottle and all of course beforehand).

I hadn’t seen a doctor yet and was scared of taking prescription meds for whatever reason so I was reluctant to take anything for it. Especially since I tend to be sensitive to the effects of antihistamines in general.

So I took just one and it worked by just taking the edge off of my building anxiety so I can get through the rest of my shift without running into the bathroom to fight my tears from the stress of everything.

I’m still grateful to her for that and that was about 20 years ago.

I’m now on prescription meds to address my anxiety and depression but it truly helped me get through some tough anxiety times before. I only took it when I felt an attack getting close and it helped to prevent it.

I’ve recommended it to a few friends- guys if you can believe it who balked at the idea at first but tried it and was floored at how it actually helped).

My sister was reluctant and she tried it for her anxiety attacks and it helped - again just to take the edge off enough to cope a little better. Wasn’t a miracle cure or anything.

The more you take I imagine it will end up make you tired so I kept it at a minimum so I can think clearly.

Good luck!❤️

DemureRose profile image
DemureRose in reply to Ripley7

That sounds like what I’m looking for! My anxiety isn’t fully fledged yet but just to calm the nerves would be great! Thank you!

Ripley7 profile image
Ripley7 in reply to DemureRose

No problem-glad to help. Just make sure the bottle mentions for ‘tension’ or ‘irritability’ cause there’s a couple versions of them and one does not mention those so avoid that one. And if you find a lower cost store brand with similar ingredients- all the better. Good luck!

I’ve actually had a couple of big manly-man type dudes thank me for that advice in the past if you can believe it...and let me tell you at first they were extremely reluctant to buy pms pills at first.True story!😁

DemureRose profile image
DemureRose in reply to Ripley7

Ok thank you! I will definitely look into this! I missed the part on it being for pms so double whammy right there.

DemureRose profile image
DemureRose in reply to Ripley7

I’m not sure if you mentioned it in the post somewhere but what are the side effects? I know nearly all medication has side effects but one reason I’m worried about prescription meds is the side effects. Does it make you nauseous or make you lose your appetite? Are you crankier or gain weight?

Ripley7 profile image
Ripley7 in reply to DemureRose

With the pms pills - if I recall there’s Multi Symptom Pamprin and Premsyn - also Midol- you can find them at any drug store or at dollar general.

No side effects that I’ve experienced nor have I heard anyone mention any...although of course everyone is different.

I’m typically pretty sensitive to the effects of antihistamines because they make me drowsy easily- so I never take Benadryl.

Yet ironically when I’d looked at the ingredients on the bottle of the multi symptom pms pills it mentions antihistamine but it must be an extremely low dosage because if I just take one while I feel an anxiety attack creeping up then it just takes the edge off so I’m more at ease afterwards and not feeling like I’m ready to have a meltdown. If I remember correctly two would make me drowsy so I always stuck with just one at a time, as needed.

So maybe start with one or even half of one if you’re unsure.

That was just a quick fix of course- eventually I had to address the cause of my constant anxiety but in the meantime they really helped in the short term.

I would definitely read all of the ingredients on the bottle if there’s a chance you have any allergies- me I have none so I’m fine.

Here’s what I found online linking pms pills and treating irritability:

What's in pamprin for irritability?

“PMS tablets, such as Midol or Pamprin, typically contain a pain reliever (usually acetaminophen) for headaches and cramps; a diuretic (pamabrom or ammonium chloride), supposedly to relieve bloating; and an antihistamine (pyrilamine maleate or diphenhydramine), supposedly to reduce irritability.”

Just be careful if you’re taking any other meds - you don’t want to mix things before checking with your doctor or at least with the pharmacist.

Hope this helps!😊

I completely understand you about not being ready to get help. I too felt the same before but for different reasons. I have been suffering with anxiety disorder for 16 years. I seeked professional help 2 years ago and was so terrified but I have two kids I need to keep fighting for so I thought it was best. I would drink tea to relax me (passion flower and seven blossoms) I started building puzzles when I felt an attack coming on and that would distract me. Now since I have kids i am not able to build puzzles but I took on coloring, connect the dots ( connecting 1000 dots per image) I try different things also breathing techniques which isn't very easy during an attack. I have been all over the internet looking for answers and it is frustrating not finding them, I wish I could be of more help.

First Of All My Friend, Having A "Mental Illness" Is Nothing To Be Ashamed Of & It "IS" Just As Much A Physical Illness As ANY Illness And Many Times It Does Run In Families. You go to the medical doctor don't ya ? Do folks not realize that a "Psychiatrist" are medical doctors & much much more ? Most Psychiatrists are far more educated than your family doctor. My last Psychiatrist had 16 of years in college under his belt. He had so many Md's, Phd's ect...ect.. behind his name on his card it was amazing. He had certificates that covered his walls everywhere.

LOL...I'll never forget an insurance form that was sent back to me that my psychiatrist signed saying " Sorry but we have to have a Medical Doctors Signature ". I took it to my Doc & he said, "we got this", & he said "This is a insurance company" ? Never heard anything from them again.

People seem to lose site that a Psychiatrist "IS" a Medical Doctor PLUS+ . You Never Want A Regular Medical Doctor "Playing Psychiatrist".

I remember my mom being in the hospital when we where caring for her. She called me several times that morning kinda talking outa her head. Yet ? A nurse called and said she was getting released that morning. [ my mom was also fighting dementia]. I requested to the nurse that i'd like to have a Psychiatrist speak with her before they released her. She said she'd see what she could do. Anyway a doctor called me and said that he was her assigned doctor and she is just fine & everything had checked out along with her mental state by "him". [ now remember my mom had been calling all morning talking way out there ]

I asked him, " Are you a Psychiatrist ?" He said, " No but I'm a medical doctor and she's fine." I told him that He didn't have the education to make that call on her mental status."

Well, He got extremely mad, hung up on me, & discharged her anyway !*

Yep ! 2 days later she's back in the hospital getting her dementia meds adjusted. No apologies of course....

I say all that because you ARE having some "Anxiety Problems" yet you seem to be afraid to have it "verified" by a doctor. [ the fear could actually make your anxiety worse ]. Look, a "diabetic" needs insulin everyday. Someone with "asthma" may need to take a pill and carry an emergency inhaler everyday. There is no difference... Their problems comes from other areas of the body & yours just comes from the brain... It's a "chemical imbalance" and the attacks are a "adrenaline dumps". It's just as "physical" as the 2 listed above and can be just as dangerous "physically".

But ? You are you and I respect that. Now Me ? Personally ? If My Docs Said " There's A Growth We Found or/ Anything Like That ? I'd Say, " Let's Go Get It ! ". I don't mean In six months ? I mean ASAP. Because if I gotta start healing ? Why wait ? [ that includes any mental also ].

Me Personally ? I HATE taking pills. I Would NEVER Try A "HERBAL SUPPLEMENT" for Anxiety.... Herbal Supplements are NOT monitored at all. You could be taking anything. [ in fact I have been told a few to definitely stay away from from several doctors ]

Me ? I've found that BENADRYL Helps. Been around for years OTC and is a proven med.

[ never known anyone to get addicted to it, ever ]

Here's A Little Info:

Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine used to relieve symptoms of allergy, hay fever, and the common cold. These symptoms include rash, itching, watery eyes, itchy eyes/nose/throat, cough, runny nose, and sneezing. It is also used to prevent and treat nausea, vomiting and dizziness caused by motion sickness. Diphenhydramine "can also be used to help you "relax" and "fall asleep".


This medication works by blocking a certain natural substance (histamine) that your body makes during an allergic reaction. Its drying effects on such symptoms as watery eyes and runny nose are caused by blocking another natural substance made by your body (acetylcholine).

The Max Dose Suggested Is 3 Pills A Day. However I've Used 4 At Times. [ always 2 at bedtime. it is even safe with my meds ] > Talk to your pharmacists...

"IF" You Do Have An Actual "Anxiety Disorder" ?* > I'd See A Doc...No Shame ? It's Just As Physical & Real...


Yoga and meditation really really helped me. And I agree with the Benadryl thing. I couldn’t see my doctor for months so my mom told me to take Benadryl when I felt really bad to hold me over until I could see my doctor. It always did the trick.

But I understand you not wanting to get on medication. I was the same way for years. I was really really scared. To me, starting medication felt like I was giving in to my anxiety and depression. And I hated it. I didn’t want to rely on medication to make me happy. But then a good friend of mine told me not to think of medication as a cure. Because if you think that then you’re just flat out wrong. Medication is just a stepping stone to a better you. It’s a gentle push towards a better life.

So now I take medication and I still do yoga everyday and I meditate every night and I can’t honestly say that if I didn’t do the yoga and meditation along with taking medication I doubt I would feel as good as I do now.

Best of luck to you my friend 🖤

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