It is crucial to keep yourself and your loved ones safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. Yet addiction may pose even a higher danger than the virus.

Learn about recovery during the pandemic:

Over-the-Counter Xanax Alternatives

xaxax analogs

Important InformationThis information is for educational purposes only. We never invite or suggest the use, production or purchase of any these substances. Addiction Resource and it’s employees, officers, managers, agents, authors, editors, producers, and contributors shall have no direct or indirect liability, obligation, or responsibility to any person or entity for any loss, damage, or adverse consequences alleged to have happened as a consequence of material on this website. See full text of disclaimer.

If one is currently taking Xanax or if one has been thinking about taking it, one should be aware that there are some over-the-counter Xanax alternatives which can be used as substitutes. OTC Xanax alternatives can be a better choice in many situations for a wide variety of reasons. This article will explore Xanax over-the-counter alternatives and explain why they may or may not be a better option than traditional Alprazolam (Xanax).

Help Line Woman

Hope Without Commitment

Find the best treatment options.
Call our free and confidential helpline

Most private insurances accepted

Marketing fee may apply

Table of Contents

Reasons To Find Xanax Alternatives

Xanax is a prescription medication that is prescribed for anxiety or depression. However, although this medication is commonly prescribed, it can have a lot of side effects. It also is often highly addicting. Because of the potential for experiencing negative side effects and addiction, many people seek over-the-counter alternatives to Xanax for anxiety and similar conditions. There are many anti-anxiety medications which are alternatives to Xanax. There are both Xanax-similar drugs and natural remedies which are designed to alleviate anxiety in a similar way to Xanax. A drug called Zanaprin is the closest thing to an over-the-counter Xanax bar.

Xanax in colorful letters next to a stethoscope.Xanax Alternative Pros

  • Dramatically reduced risk of overdose
  • Dramatically reduced risk of unpleasant side effects
  • Dramatically reduced risk of addition
  • Easier to obtain

Xanax Alternative Cons

  • May not be strong enough to alleviate some people’s anxiety
  • They are often taken without consenting a doctor for advice

Features Of Using Antidepressants

Sometimes, antidepressants are effectively used as anti-anxiety medications to replace Xanax. However, whether or not this works depends on the individual case and the particular antidepressant that is prescribed. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, also known as SSRIs are a class of anti-depressants which are commonly used to treat panic disorder and generalized anxiety. They have a similar calming effect on the brain. Here are some of the pros and cons of using antidepressants, which are pills similar to Xanax, as substitutes for Xanax.
Anti-depressants Pros

  • They are believed to be significantly less habit-forming than Alprazolam
  • They create a similar anxiety-relieving sensation to Xanax
  • There is a significantly reduced change of an overdose
  • They are not controlled substances restricted by federal law, unlike Alprazolam
  • The side effects and withdrawal risks are significantly lower than Xanax’s

Anti-depressants Cons

  • They cannot be bought over-the-counter
  • They still have side effects which are significant
  • They often take weeks to begin working
  • There is a significant withdrawal period when they are discontinued
  • They may not be strong enough to help all patients

So, when medications similar to Xanax, such as antidepressants are used, there are often many benefits. However, there are also some distinct drawbacks as well. Regarding addiction, antidepressants are much safer, however. So, if a doctor believes a patient may experience dependence with Alprazolam, then antidepressants may be prescribed instead.

Note, that alternatives, as well as Alprazolam, should be prescribed by the doctor only. Self-medication can be very dangerous to health.

The Natural Alternatives to Xanax

The variety of herbal remedies on a table .For people who do not want to take Xanax, anti-depressants, or over-the-counter Xanax equivalent drugs, there are some natural alternatives to Alprazolam. Many of these alternatives are herbal supplements, vitamins, and minerals. The benefits of taking natural remedies for anxiety instead of drugs such as Xanax or anti-depressants is that they are usually not habit forming and usually pose little to no threat of dangerous side effects or overdose.
For people who have addictive personalities or who have a history of substance abuse, this can be extremely important. After all, drug addiction itself often causes a lot of anxiety, so it may be counterproductive for many people to use Xanax, Valium, or other similar drugs to treat anxiety. Here is a rundown of some of the top natural treatments that are frequently used for fear.

It’s is crucial to consult a doctor before taking any medication listed below. Treating anxiety by own can worsen the condition and lead to the appearance of unpredictable adverse effects.

Holy Basil

Holy Basil is believed to help relieve anxiety by reducing levels of stress hormones in the body such as cortisol. Holy Basil is also anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. So, these things may help a person to feel better well. This is especially true if the person has high levels of inflammation.


Taurine is an amino acid that helps to create a calming effect in the brain. It is very similar to GABA, a calming neurotransmitter that makes people feel more relaxed. Taurine can be easily purchased at most natural health shops.


Magnesium is a mineral that is naturally found in the body. However, due to the modern American diet and mineral depletion in soils, many people do not get high enough quantities of this mineral in their bodies. Luckily, it is effortless to supplement with magnesium. In fact, magnesium supplements are usually available at nearly every pharmacy or health shop. Magnesium supplements often come in pill forms. However, there are oil versions which can be taken transdermally.


Ashwagandha is an herb that is frequently used in Ayurvedic medicine. The reason why this herb is said to alleviate anxiety is that it increases serotonin and decreases cortisol. Increasing serotonin levels is the fundamental underlying principle that is used with anti-depressants. So, the fact that ashwagandha is able to do this naturally is potentially beneficial for anxiety sufferers. Ashwagandha is considered to be an “adaptogen,” meaning, it helps the body adapt to various problems. Anxiety is just one. Ashwagandha is also used to treat arthritis, anxiety, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), balance, trouble sleeping (insomnia), and others. However, the effectiveness of ashwagandha to treat these illnesses is debated.


Inositol is a substance which is found in high concentrations in the brain. Inositol was formerly known as vitamin b8. However, it is no longer called this. It just goes by the name, Inositol. Inositol helps neurotransmitters to relay messages between brain cells. So, it may help to keep the chemical balances in brain stable. Many people who have severe anxiety have chemical imbalances. So, taking inositol may help fear by creating a better balance. Inositol is also helpful with severe PMS and PMDD symptoms. Inositol can be found in pill or powder form at most health and vitamin shops.
Taking any of these natural remedies could potentially help to reduce anxiety. The great thing about natural remedies is that they tend to be a lot cheaper and a lot safer. However, it’s still not recommended to experiment with these remedies without consulting a specialist as they may cause allergy or other unpredictable effects.

Use Xanax Alternatives Safely

Xanax is a powerful medication for relieving anxiety. But it also has powerful side effects and serious risks of dependence. People who do not want to deal with these side effects and risks can either use anti-depressants or natural remedies to alleviate anxiety. Both are potentially suitable alternatives.

Doctors only should provide insights about which course of action may be the best for a given patient.

In some cases, Xanax may be a better solution, and in others, Xanax alternatives may be better. It all depends on the individual situation and different side effects of Xanax and its substitutes. However, either way, it is good for people to know that alternatives to Alprazolam exist.

Help Line Woman

Hope Without Commitment

Find the best treatment options.
Call our free and confidential helpline

Most private insurances accepted

Marketing fee may apply

Medically Reviewed By Michael Espelin APRN
Nena Messina

About Author

Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Nena Messina is a specialist in drug-related domestic violence. She devoted her life to the study of the connection between crime, mental health, and substance abuse. Apart from her work as management at addiction center, Nena regularly takes part in the educational program as a lecturer.


Leave a comment

  • MARGARET Williams
    Looking for alternatives to Xanax. My Doctor hasn’t refilled. Them and several others.
  • Linda
    Having over come depression myself, and without medication, I can certainly relate to wanting any way out of those feelings. Depression (any level) is an uncomfortable feeling. The good news is that you can get rid of depression naturally with this natural remedy)
  • Nelson James
    I have been taking Aprazolam for 22 years most at night to just get to sleep. And have had to take a 1/2 pill during the day at times. Can I get off the 0.5 mg. Tablet with natural stuff.
    • HH
      Give taurine a chance. It has a calming effect on its own, and combined with magnesium, about an hour before bed, it does help sleep.
    I have been taking 0.5 mg of Alprazolam for severe Tinnitus but my primary care physician works for a hospital that has directed their doctors to stop prescribing Alprazolam or any form of it. Taking this medication one hour before I sleep helps me block out the Tinnitus and sleep. I either have to find an alternative or find a new doctor.
    • HH
      Joseph – it may be worth your while to investigate taurine. Not only does it improve sleep (especially when taken with magnesium), about an hour before bed, but in some people it has cured tinnitus. Do your research. Good luck.