Anxiety is a natural response that dates back to our prehistoric ancestors. When humans feel a sense of danger, we automatically go into flight-or-fight mode. This used to protect us from predators or other high-stake dangerous situations, but now anxiety can flare up from non-life-threatening occurrences, such as stress from work, or phobias. Everyone experiences anxiety at some point in his or her life. Anxiety becomes a problem or disorder when the feelings of anxiety continue for long periods of time and are interfering with everyday life. One of the most common reasons why people turn to drugs and alcohol is to self-medicate for their anxiety or depression. This may temporarily relieve the symptoms of anxiety, but is not an actual treatment and can actually worsen the condition. Think of self-medicating as putting a bandage on an infected wound. You may not see the problem for a short period until the bandage needs to be changed, but it is not really healing it and the wound is still infected underneath. Remember that if you are suffering from an anxiety disorder that you are not alone. Anxiety and depression are among the most common mental illnesses in the world. Although you may feel like no one understands what you are going through, there are millions of other people who are suffering just like you. Also remember that anxiety is a feeling, and like all feelings, it is temporary and will pass. You will not feel anxious and uncomfortable forever. If you are plagued by anxiety to the point that feelings of anxiousness are ongoing for long periods, or are interfering with living your daily life, you may need to seek treatment for an anxiety disorder. Medications such as SSRIs and SNRIs are commonly used to treat depression and anxiety and can be life-changing. They can be used temporarily to get through a rough phase, or continuously for as long as needed. Other prescription medications, such as Xanax, are taken only as needed for severe instances of panic, or to prevent panic. Of course, it is possible to abuse drugs prescribed for anxiety. SSRIs and SNRIs are not addictive drugs, although stopping and starting them, like any drug, must be monitored carefully by a doctor to avoid unpleasant side effects. Xanax is highly addictive, and efficacy decreases with overuse. The goal is never to replace self-medication or addiction with another drug but to find an appropriate prescription that helps your mind and body find the balance it needs to function properly and live your best life. Even though the threats that human beings used to face no longer exist, anxiety can still be a useful tool in our lives. Anxiety can tell us when we are doing something perhaps we shouldn’t be doing, or that we are following a wrong path. Anxiety can also motivate us to meet deadlines or work out regularly. Try to see the positive side of anxiety and use it to your advantage.