Kava vs Xanax – Comparing The Two Anxiety Killers
Xanax and Kava are two substances that are sometimes used to treat anxiety and stress. While both Kava and Xanax have properties that may help alleviate anxiety and promote relaxation, they work in different ways and have several important differences that you should be aware of if you are considering using either of them.
Xanax (generic name: alprazolam) is a prescription medication that belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. It works by increasing the activity of a neurotransmitter called GABA in the brain, which helps to reduce anxiety and produce a feeling of relaxation. Xanax is typically used to treat generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder, and it can be effective for anxiety relief in the short term. It is important to note that Xanax can be habit-forming, and it should only be taken as prescribed by a doctor. It can also cause side effects, including drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, and impaired coordination.
Kava, on the other hand, is a tropical plant native to the western Pacific islands that has been used for centuries as a ceremonial drink and natural alternative remedy for anxiety, stress, and insomnia.
Kava and Xanax are two different substances that work differently and have different effects and potential risks. Let’s compare them in different ways
Kava vs Xanax Chemical Composition
Kava is an herbal remedy that is made from the roots of the kava plant, while Xanax is a prescription medication that contains the drug alprazolam, which belongs to a class of medications called benzodiazepines.
Kava & Xanax Mechanism of Action
Kava works by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain, which can help to promote feelings of relaxation and reduce anxiety. Xanax also works by enhancing the effects of GABA, but it does so by binding to specific receptors in the brain.
Kava vs Xanax Prescription Status
Xanax is a prescription medication that is only available with a doctor’s prescription. Kava, on the other hand, is available as an over-the-counter herbal supplement.
Xanax can cause several side effects, including drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, impaired coordination, and memory problems. Xanax is highly addictive and has dangerously severe withdrawal symptoms, and requires gradual tapering to discontinue use. Kava on the other hand has little to no side effects (numb tongue) when taken in moderation, while excess or prolonged use may cause nausea, upset stomach and in extremely rare cases, liver damage. Kava has no reported withdrawal symptoms.
Xanax has much more potential for addiction and abuse than Kava, as it is a controlled substance that can be habit-forming. Kava is generally considered to be non-addictive.
The kava plant (Piper methysticum) is a member of the pepper family and is native to the South Pacific islands, including Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga, and Samoa. It is a small shrub that can grow up to 3 meters tall and has large leaves and flowers that are not often used. The part of the kava plant that is used for its medicinal and cultural purposes is the root where a group of compounds called kavalactones are found. These active ingredients are believed to have a number of potential health benefits, including the ability to reduce anxiety and stress, improve sleep, and increase feelings of relaxation and well-being. The kava root is typically harvested and then dried and ground into a powder or chewed fresh.
Kava products are available in various forms, including kava supplements in capsules, kava tablets, tinctures, and a dried kava root powder that is mixed with water to create a beverage.
Kava has a long history of use in traditional medicine and cultural ceremonies in the South Pacific. It is often consumed in the form of a beverage, which is made by mixing the ground kava root powder with water and then straining out the solids.
While kava is generally considered safe when used in moderation, it can cause liver disease in some people, especially with prolonged or heavy use. For this reason, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before using kava, especially if you have a history of liver problems.
Anxiety is a common mental health condition characterized by excessive worry, fear, and unease. It is a normal and natural response to stress or potential threats, but when anxiety becomes persistent, overwhelming, and interferes with daily life, it may be classified as an anxiety disorder. Anxiety can be triggered by various situations or events, such as work, relationships, or social situations. It can also be caused by physical factors, such as illness or caffeine intake.
Some common symptoms of anxiety include:
- Excessive worrying
- Restlessness or feeling on edge
- Difficulty concentrating
- Muscle tension
- Sleep disturbances
- Racing thoughts
- Panic attacks (sudden episodes of intense fear or discomfort)
Treatment for anxiety can vary depending on the severity of anti anxiety or symptoms and individual needs. It may include therapy, drugs with medical supervision, or a combination of both.
In some cases, drugs may be prescribed and monitored by a qualified healthcare professional to manage anxiety symptoms. Additionally, there are self-help strategies that are excellent alternatives to prescription drugs that can be beneficial in managing anxiety. These may include regular exercise, practicing stress management techniques (such as deep breathing or meditation), maintaining a healthy lifestyle, getting enough sleep, and seeking social support from friends, family, or support groups.
Kava has been traditionally used for its calming and anxiolytic effects, and it is commonly consumed as a beverage to help relieve anxiety, stress, and insomnia. While some research has suggested that kava may be effective in mild anxiety, the evidence is still limited and more studies are needed to confirm kava use effectiveness as one of the natural remedies.
It is important to note that kava should not be used as a substitute for evidence-based treatments for anxiety, such as therapy or medication. Additionally, the safety of kava has been a topic of controversy due to reports of serious liver toxicity and injury associated with its use, particularly with excessive or long-term use.
The dangers of Xanax
Using it once every 2 days is not an effective way to prevent relapse. Most prescription medications for anxiety and insomnia last a little while. This drug has long served to calm our minds – irrespective of the circumstances in our lives. Generally marketed by the FDA as an effective way to relieve the symptoms of existential anxiety among patients who suffer from a variety of psychological and psychiatric disorders.
Like all drugs, Xanax has potential dangers and risks, especially if it is taken improperly or without a prescription. Here are some of the dangers of Xanax:
Xanax has a high potential for addiction, especially if taken in high doses or for a long period. Once a person becomes addicted to Xanax, they may experience withdrawal symptoms such as seizures, tremors, and psychosis if they abruptly stop taking the drug.
Xanax overdose can be life-threatening, especially when taken in combination with other drugs or alcohol. Symptoms of Xanax overdose include severe drowsiness, confusion, slurred speech, slowed breathing, and coma.
Impaired cognitive function
Xanax can impair cognitive function, including memory, attention, and coordination. It can also cause drowsiness, which can affect a person’s ability to drive or operate machinery.
Xanax can cause respiratory depression, which means it can slow down breathing and make it difficult to breathe. This is especially dangerous when taken in high doses or when combined with other drugs that also depress the respiratory system, such as opioids.
Interactions with other drugs
Xanax can interact with other drugs, including prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as alcohol. These interactions can lead to serious side effects and even death.
It is essential to take Xanax only as prescribed by a healthcare professional and to be aware of the potential dangers and risks associated with the drug. If you or someone you know is struggling with Xanax addiction, it is important to seek professional help.
The Rising Popularity of Xanax & Kava Alternatives
If you are looking for alternatives to Xanax, here are some options:
Buspirone is a medication used to treat anxiety disorders. It works differently than benzodiazepines like Xanax, as it does not affect GABA receptors in the brain. It may take a few weeks to start working, and it does not have the same sedative effects as Xanax.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are antidepressant medications that can also be used to treat anxiety disorders. Examples of SSRIs include Prozac (fluoxetine) and Zoloft (sertraline), while examples of SNRIs include Effexor (venlafaxine) and Cymbalta (duloxetine). These medications may take a few weeks to start working, and they can have side effects such as nausea, headache, and sexual dysfunction.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
CBT is a type of talk therapy that can help you learn new ways to manage anxiety and reduce the frequency and intensity of panic attacks. It is often used as a first-line treatment for anxiety disorders.
Mindfulness-based therapies such as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) can help you learn how to be more present at the moment and less reactive to stress and anxiety triggers.
Exercise and relaxation techniques
Regular exercise, deep breathing, meditation, and other relaxation techniques can help reduce anxiety and stress levels.
It is important to discuss any treatment options with your healthcare provider to determine what may be the best course of action for you.
How to use kava for relaxation?
Kava is typically prepared as a beverage that is consumed to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. Here are the general steps for preparing kava:
- Choose your form of kava: Kava can be purchased in various forms, such as kava root, kava powder, kava capsules, premade kava drinks & sodas, and even candy form. Learn more on the official Where To Buy Kava guide and choose the form that is most convenient for you.
- Measure the amount of kava: The recommended dose of kava can vary depending on the form of kava you are using and your individual needs. It’s important to follow the instructions on the package or to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dose for you.
- Prepare the kava: If you are using kava root powder, you can mix the powder with water and strain the mixture through a cloth or strainer to remove any solid particles. If you are using kava tea bags or capsules, follow the instructions on the package.
- Drink the kava: Kava has a bitter taste, so it’s common to add flavorings such as honey, coconut milk, or fruit juice to improve the taste. You can also drink the kava as a shot or sip it slowly over time.
It’s important to note that kava can interact with certain medications and can cause side effects in some people, including headache, dizziness, and upset stomach. Consuming kava on an empty stomach can increase the effects of the beverage, but it can also increase the risk of stomach upset. It’s generally recommended to consume kava with a small amount of food or after a meal to reduce the risk of gastrointestinal side effects.
Try Kava At One Of Your Local Kava Bars
Kava bars, establishments that serve kava popular in the Pacific Islands, have become a trend in many parts of the world, particularly in the United States, where they offer an alternative to alcohol-based bars.
They often have a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, with comfortable seating and live music or other forms of entertainment. Customers can enjoy various kava drinks which are typically made from ground kava root and mixed with water or coconut milk.
These places are known for their calming and relaxing effects, the effects of kava, and are often frequented by individuals looking for a natural way to reduce anxiety and stress in the form of kava. They can also be a social gathering place for those looking for a non-alcoholic option.
Some common items you may find on a kava bar menu include kava drinks which are typically made from powdered kava root and come in different strengths and flavors. A kava drink may be served hot or cold.
Kava shots are also available. These small, concentrated kava doses are often sold as a quick pick-me-up. Kava tea and other herbal teas have their own calming and soothing effects. Kava tea can be served hot or cold. Some kava bars offer smoothies made with fresh fruits and other healthy ingredients. In addition to kava, these bars offer other drinks without alcohol such as kombucha, sparkling water, or fruit juices.
Both Xanax and Kava can interact with other medications and may not be suitable for everyone. It is always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider before starting any new treatment for anxiety or stress.