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Anxiety is a complex condition that is characterized by a state of excessive fear and worry. Although, anxiety plays an important role from an evolutionary point of view, more and more people suffer from very intense and chronic states of anxiety. Often prolonged levels of anxiety have no clear reason, but can result in an ongoing mental illness which subsequently has negative effects on daily functioning. There are different types (e.g., generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder and various phobias) and degrees of anxiety. At some point in life everyone experiences feelings of anxiety and nervousness, which is a normal response to certain situations. Whether it is an important job interview, an exam or a speech in front of a big crowd, anxiety can overwhelm and temporarily affect the mental performance. However, some more permanent symptoms have been associated with anxiety disorders. These include:
Excessive worrying when a person finds himself/herself worrying about the smallest problems and, more importantly, letting those problems distract them from focusing and concentrating on the present moment.
Sleep problems caused by an inability to fall asleep, feeling nervous and anxious and/or hyperactive mind. This makes a person very restless and feeling tired.
Irrational fears that can manifest themselves in various specific situations or areas of life.
Having muscle tension is probably the most obvious sign of an anxiety disorder.
Regular panic attacks are caused by overwhelming feelings of fear, which are accompanied by physical symptoms, such as sweating, increased respiratory rate, increased heart rate, chest and stomach pains.
Major causes and risk factors of anxiety disorders are gender, genetics, age, some medical conditions and traumatic life experiences/events, particularly early in life. For example, it is known that women are more likely to suffer from anxiety disorder compared to men.
Underlying mechanisms causing anxiety need to be understood in order to find the best way to relieve anxiety and its symptoms. Anxiety disorders have been widely linked with the imbalances of certain neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) and abnormal activity of their receptors in the brain. Specifically, insufficient levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine neurotransmitters can lead to anxiety-like symptoms and behaviours. In addition, three separate brain areas (i.e., the amygdala, hippocampus and frontal cortex) are involved in modulating and expressing anxiety. This demonstrates the complexity of anxiety disorders. In simple terms, the level of anxiety is regulated by inhibitory and facilitatory neurotransmitters. If the balance between these two types of neurotransmitters is tightly controlled, there should be no reason to develop anxiety disorders.
For example, GABA is the most abundant inhibitory neurotransmitter of the central nervous system. In anxiety disorders the brain’s chemistry needs to be restored by regulating overexcited neurons. The higher the GABA levels, the lower the neuronal firing and activity rates. Therefore, GABA is an effective sedative that prevents the feeling of nervousness. If the levels of GABA neurotransmitter are too low, the neurons start to work “overtime” and fire signals in higher frequencies than normal. This presents the main benefits of maintaining optimal levels of GABA in the brain. It is important to understand, though, that not all GABA supplements are very effective at managing the anxiety. The effectiveness of nootropics at increasing the level of GABA is largely dependent on their ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. GABA itself is unable to do it; therefore it needs a precursor, which is basically a carrier that would transport it to the brain. Some of the best nootropics for this are presented and described below. Serotonin is another neurotransmitter responsible for our well-being. Therefore, any deficiencies in serotonin can result in anxiety and depression.
Nootropics and nootropic stacks are best known for their mental capacity enhancing effects. But a number of nootropics also have anxiety relief effects. Below is the best nootropics stack for anxiety relief.
Many nootropic users claim Phenibut to be the best nootropic for anxiety treatment. This can be explained by the fact that Phenibut is a derivative of GABA. Its effects are clear as it is able to cross the blood-brain barrier easily, thanks to the added Phenyl molecule ring. Once the supplement reaches the brain, it attaches to the receptor sites.
Phenibut gives a sedative, relaxing effect to the user. Due to such effects, Phenibut is often taken as a sleep aid, particularly during periods of high stress and anxiety. Phenibut also positively affects the mood and motivation of the user by increasing the levels of dopamine. For those people who suffer from anxiety and depression-like symptoms, such positive effects are absolutely crucial to improve the quality of their life. However, it is important to remember that Phenibut should not be used on a daily basis. Take Phenibut no more than 3 times a week on an ‘on and off cycle’ to prevent developing tolerance to it.
Picamilon is another effective nootropic in the anxiolytic category. In terms of its chemical structure, Picamilon is a combination of GABA and niacin (Vitamin B3). By combining these two compounds, scientists discovered that it can reach the brain easier.
Final nootropic in this stack is Choline Bitartrate. Choline Bitartrate is a well-tolerated and non-toxic nootropic to increase choline levels. Choline is involved in a number of physiological pathways, therefore sufficient levels are required for optimal brain functioning. Cholinergic modulation of anxiety state has been demonstrated in anxiety disorders.
The recommended daily dosage of the anxiety relief stack is 3 capsules (2400 mg) of Choline Bitatrate, 1 tablet (100 mg) of Picamilon and 1 capsule (500 mg) of Phenibut.