Did you suffer from anxiety at some point today? Or maybe yesterday? With todays interconnected world anxiety levels are peeking in most of us. What is it about the hectic life of today that makes us more stressed out? There are a lot of factors – but one thing is for sure. If you’re suffering from anxiety, then you want a solution for that. Better soon than later. A question I often receive on the topic is whether a person should take l theanine vs Xanax.
It’s an interesting question since both are completely different compounds and in how they work. They do however have a couple things in common. And one of them is that they both can quell anxiety.
Note: I’m not a doctor and if you’re having serious problems with anxiety it might be better to see a doctor. In this article you’ll find what makes each of these 2 substances different and there are a couple of recommendations. So for some people it might be better to take l theanine. Whereas for others Xanax would work better.
L theanine vs Xanax
Before we get into the l theanine vs Xanax debate, let’s first take a quick look at what each exactly is.
L theanine is an amino acid that comes naturally in green tea. However, for most anxiolytic purposes drinking green tea isn’t going to get you enough l theanine to have a real effect. Plus the caffeine isn’t something you want to mess with if you’re in the middle of an anxiety bout.
L theanine can also be taken as a supplement in which it will cross the brain barrier and there will increase GABA levels in your brain. It does this by supplying the natural building blocks for the molecule. So it’s a natural supplement instead of a psychoactive drug. It’s important to keep this distinction in mind throughout the article – as it will come back a couple of times.
GABA, for those who don’t know, is the brain’s main calming neurotransmitter. In a nutshell, it decreases brain cell activity. It puts them in a slower wavelength of action – and this is exactly what you want when you’re pulling out your hairs because of gut-wrenching anxiety.
Xanax on the other hand, is a psychoactive drug. What that means is that it will artificially increase the levels of GABA in your brain. Now, this means that the effect will be stronger. Which is an effect that many others who have tried this comparison have noted. It will have a more reliable and stronger effect on calming your nerves. However, the artificial increase also comes with some drawbacks.
What to do if you suffer from anxiety
If you’re suffering from anxiety, you want relief. I recommend you first take the following steps, before reaching out for help from outside (supplements or drugs). Take a deep breath and slow your breathing down. If possible try to calmly talk with someone in your environment to take the edge off. Stop drinking any caffeine as that will only worsen your situation.
Count till 60 and if after that you’re not feeling at least slightly better – go ahead and take something to feel more relaxed.
The real question: Supplements vs anxiolytics
Now, we’ve shortly discussed earlier in this l theanine vs Xanax article: the real question that will determine which of these 2 to take is whether you want to take a natural supplement or an artificial drug.
Supplements work good in many cases. However, for severe anxiety cases taking Xanax might be better. It usually works faster and will more consistently help you with your anxiety. But the downside is that they can come with side effects.
In a nutshell, that means that for the time you’re taking Xanax everything is fine. But once you stop it, your anxiety might come back at full speed. So chances of addiction are higher.
Now, this decision is for everyone to make themselves. I do want to repeat that if you feel you’ve got a serious problem – go speak with your doctor before trying to self-medicate!
In the following paragraphs we’ll discuss what makes the effect of l theanine vs Xanax unique. I’ll also give you a short list what to take depending on your situation.
What I like about l theanine
Since l theanine is a natural supplement you can take it every day if you’d want to. It’s freely available in green tea and I’ve never seen the government put a maximum recommended dosage on green tea. All jokes aside, l theanine doesn’t have any side effects – and this has been scientifically tested for over 40 years. So you can safely take the supplement.
The calm that you’re getting isn’t a knock-out tranquilizer calmness. I’d more compare it to a state of flow. You are feeling relaxed and focused on whatever you’re doing and you do not have much thoughts in your head. If you’ve ever practiced meditation it would feel like a good meditation session. No wonder some people call l theanine ‘meditation in a bottle’.
This effect is so widespread that just as many people are using l theanine to focus and get work done than using it to quell their anxiety.
Now, since you’re reading this I assume you have anxiety, so go ahead and try l theanine. It’s cheap and it might just be the answer that you’re looking for.
What’s good about Xanax
If l theanine would be Dr. Jekyll, then Xanax would be Mr. Hide. A lot stronger, but also with more potential to do some real damage. It’s a drug that will quell your anxiety fast, but it comes with a cost. Withdrawal symptoms are real for those who abuse the drug (or take it in too high quantities or for too long/often). What means that you should be careful with it.
In many countries it’s a prescription drug – and that’s for a reason. Anxiety is one of the worst emotions to have and many people who suffer from it have a higher chance of addiction. Simply because they want to escape the anxiety and mess in their head.
Xanax is recommended for those who have severe anxiety and cannot go normally through life. In those cases it might be better to take a drug to solve the problem – and deal with the side effects.
Should you take l theanine vs Xanax?
First of all, there are probably 2 different types of people reading this right now:
- People with anxiety who aren’t using neither l theanine vs Xanax – and want to know what’s better in their situation
- People who are on Xanax and want to find a healthier alternative
For the first group, I recommend you try out l theanine first. It’s a much better alternative in the long term and if it works for you and your anxiety – then you’ve just saved yourself a lot of potential trouble.
Try taking the recommend dosage of around 200 mg first. If you usually suffer from anxiety throughout the day, then take it first thing in the morning. If you usually experience it at night before going to bed, then take it a couple hours before you normally go to bed.
For the second group who are trying to wane off Xanax, I recommend you try a different approach. First, I want you to see how you react to just l theanine. So take a relatively quiet day in your schedule and not take Xanax – instead take around 750 mg of theanine (warning: only do this if you won’t go crazy without Xanax).
If this works and you’re feeling alright throughout the day, then you can continue doing this. If, however, you still feel anxious (which is normal, since Xanax is stronger than l theanine), then I recommend you slowly over the course of several weeks reduce your Xanax dosage. You will also take l theanine every day. In this case I recommend taking 200 mg every 6 hours or so. So 3 times per day when you wake up, in the afternoon and at night.
L theanine vs Xanax conclusion.
So here is my take on the l theanine vs Xanax debate. Each of these has their own function and depending on your personal situation one or the other is the right choice.
However, anxiety is a problem that needs to be solved with a long-term vision. And l theanine fits better in that image than Xanax. So if you’re on the verge of using something for your anxiety, try l theanine first.
Or if you’re already on Xanax, then gradually reducing your dosage while taking l theanine can be a viable approach to weening yourself off Xanax.
P.S. l theanine is dirt cheap for the effects that it has. You can hardly go wrong by getting yourself a bottle of l theanine if you’re suffering from anxiety.