23 June 2015

Should You Use Supplements For Anxiety? [REVIEW]


Doctor or therapist prescribed medication can do wonders in helping someone but there are also "over the counter" supplements on the market that are said to help as well. One of them happened to reach out to me when I started to talk openly about my anxiety troubles and let me give it a whirl.

This is HCF or Happy Calm Focused. These are supplements you can take on top of your current medication or just as is. I actually tried both because I got these before I was prescribed my Paxil or Adderall. I created a little science log below since I was essentially my own guinea pig. Here's what happened!



Before Paxil
The effects were very subtle for me. I was taking 3 in the morning right before I ate breakfast and then another two late afternoon. I wasn't taking Paxil yet and I wasn't in therapy at this time. After week two however I did feel a slight bump in my mood and wasn't in a constant state of worry, there seemed to be breaks in the day where I could simply relax. I also experimented with only doing 3 capsules in the morning and none throughout the day, which seems to have a slower effect.

After Paxil
Things seemed to be stabilized and I haven't experienced a huge drop-off or plateauing from my medication while also taking HCF. I have gone down to only 3 a day while taking Paxil and in therapy. After about three to four weeks of constant use, I was, well, happy and calm for the most part. The focus bit was still a challenge and has been a uphill battle. Then, my therapist made me do a test to see if I had Adult ADD and I pretty much had all the qualifiers. At this time, Adderall was added into the daily medication.

Before Adderall
I was already taking Paxil which was helping with the extreme anxiety and bouts of paranoia. While in-between doctor visits to start the Adderall, I was still taking HCF in the mornings. There was no drop-off or increase in mood at this point.

After Adderall
This is where things got a little hectic and confusing. At first I was only on 10mg slow releasing Adderall to get use to the effects. The first few days I was nauseous and had very bad crashes around 5:00 or 6:00 PM for two weeks straight. Then, going into the third and fourth weeks the 10mg was no longer having an effect so I was bumped up to 20 but still the slow releasing. I didn't notice extremely different effects but it seems the HCF pills augmented the ingredients in the Adderall slightly, especially now with the 20mg.

Amphetamine, whether it's Adderall or something else, is an extremely powerful medication and something you need to be careful with while building up other medications with it. As for supplements, you're going to be fine. I was a good candidate by my doctor's requirements only because I was diagnosed by a licensed therapist, I was taking Paxil BEFORE, and I had an EKG done prior and at my next visit when requesting the Adderall.


The Final Verdict


So, did the HCF actually help? I think so, yes. While I'm still struggling with the focus part, that has been an issue for me since I was very young. But I think it's amazing the past few months have done for me in terms of curbing my anxiety and depression. Granted, there are still times where I have panic moments or darker feelings but I can absolutely say that I am in a better place mentally.

It is recommended to take 3 of the pills in the morning about 30 minutes before you have breakfast but it is also safe to take a few more throughout the day, up to six if needed. You can start off with a 30 day bottle and go from there.

One More Thing...


I will say, results are going to be different for people. One person might feel the affects of HCF while others might feel like they are hardly helping. I take medication and supplements very seriously and how they interact with a person because at one point I was very focused on becoming either a pharmacist or cytopathologist (diagnosing diseases on the cellular level) and I come from a family of many healthcare professionals, in particular my mom has been a Registered Nurse for over 15 years with an emphasis on emergency room and trauma patients.

With all that said, I also support the pursuit of advancing medical knowledge and that sometimes means trying out new avenues for a certain issue. Some pharmacists or other medical professionals might brush off these supplements as placebo or sugar pills and I feel that is only stunting modern medicine. While, yes, some of those supplements out there are mainly placebo there are others that can work. And this is where I tell people to do their homework. Research, research, research!

Also, I don't like how some bloggers and YouTubers tout supplements as the be all, end all for an ailment out there. It should be known that, as the name implies, supplements are there as a temporary boost or an augment for required nutrients. I will not sit here and say how you can simply buy these supplements and all of your anxiety and depression will go away because that's not how mental health works. This isn't meant to discourage anyone, however. If you're looking for something as a boost to your current medication or even as a hold over until you do seek out medical help, then I do recommend these supplements. At least to give them a try.

The most common ingredients found in HCF are vitamins A, B12, folic acid, biotin, and amino acids. Using amino acids in supplements such as these is typically done when you are doing big time weight training or building muscle because those amino acids are going to be found in your sources of protein. These are considered "dietary supplements" but a proper balance of amino acids and protein are essential even for brain health. You can find more information on the Happy Calm Focused website. They are also FDA approved.

So, would you be willing to take anxiety supplements? How do you feel about these new types of supplements on the market?

Don't forget to check out my other posts about combating anxiety: 5 Tips To Wake Up Stress Free and 6 Ways To Combat Nightly Anxiety.



Disclaimer: I was sent the HCF supplements for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

11 comments:

  1. I've been curious about stuff like this for myself. It's good to hear someone else's experience with supplements for anxiety!

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  2. Holy wow, those pills are huge!
    I recently read this similar article that I feel like you might like!
    http://thewalrus.ca/my-prescribed-life/

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  3. Thanks for sharing this. I forgot what I was given to battle my anxiety, was told to take half of a pill during the day and a full one at night. I couldn't remember what I did during the day and my co workers told me I was really high so that nixed those meds. I will give these supplements a shot and see.

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  4. It definitely is trial and error! It can be frustrating but sometimes trying out different things is the best way to find that "sweet spot."

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  5. Thanks for the article read! What an insightful story. I was hesitant about going on medication at first but it has definitely helped although it is also a frustration in itself because my Paxil is starting to plateau so I might be bumped up the next dosage. And yeah, they are on the bigger side! Although they are pretty easy to swallow because the capsule is smoother.

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  6. I'm so glad you posted this! Really interesting. I didn't even realize there were anti-anxiety supplements out there!

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  7. It's still all pretty new. The studies into these types of supplements and their effects are on-going but, again, it's going to be different from person to person. We've all got our own unique brain waves, it's just a matter of finding the right solution and not being afraid of new things. :)

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  8. No problem! I really enjoyed reading it. The idea of taking pills is a very hard one to wrap your head around.
    I can barely swallow an advil!

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  9. Ahahaha, the worst for me was this HUUUGE pill I had to take that you can only get through a doctor's prescription. I had a really nasty upper respiratory virus/bacteria that was essentially eating away at my lungs and closing up my throat in the process. Very gross. The pill was already, like, the size of Jupiter and my throat was swollen and smaller than usual. And I couldn't cut it in half, doctor's orders. Ugh. @.@ So glad that cleared up fast.

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  10. That sounds terrifying! How did you manage/practice up to that? That's a rough thing to get stuck with :( I always split my antibiotics in half. Always!

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  11. I actually tried dissolving it a little bit beforehand but it was a SLOOOOOW process that I eventually gave up and sucked it up, lol.

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