Can Nootropics Be Used for Anxiety?

Anxiety can have crippling effects on those who suffer from this condition. There are a variety of anxiety disorders, all yielding uncomfortable effects. There are varying degrees and forms, each with their own symptoms.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is generally being in an unpleasant state, accompanied by somatic effects and nervous behavior. Anxiety is often confused with fear, which is incorrect. Fear relates to immediate threat, whereas anxiety if related to perceived future threats.

Anxiety is generally associated with feelings of restlessness, lack of concentration, fatigue, and tension. Although some anxiety is normal, too much or prolonged anxiety may result in an anxiety disorder. These disorders range from social anxiety, phobias, and panic disorders.

Do You Suffer From Anxiety? What are the Symptoms?

As mentioned, everyone has feelings of anxiety and nervousness. We have all felt anxious before a speech or when we’re going through financial difficulties. How do you know when anxiety is becoming an issue? The following are some common symptoms that you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder:

  • Excessive Worry: Do you worry about the smallest of things? Are you feeling anxious most days of the week, allowing it to interfere with your daily life?
  • Issues Sleeping: Is your overactive mind not allowing you to sleep? If you’re laying awake because you feel nervous or anxious, this may be a clear sign of an anxiety disorder.
  • Having Irrational Fears: Sometimes anxiety is not generalized. It can be associated with specific things such as insects, crowds, or flying. This fear creates overwhelming feelings that are disruptive to your life.
  • Tense Muscles: Do you clench your jaw often? Are your muscles sore from flexing? This muscle tension is often associated with anxiety disorders.
  • Panic Attacks: Do you often have panic attacks? This is an overwhelming feeling of fear, followed by physical symptoms. You may have issues breathing, experience chest and stomach pain, and have an increased heart rate.

Anxiety, the Brain and Nootropics

Anxiety is caused by a number of factors, associated with various parts of the brain. One of the core factors is associated with a deficiency in GABA. Gamma aninobutryic acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter that is produced by glutamate.

It inhibits the central nervous system, suppressing feelings of anxiety. When you do not have high enough GABA levels, your nerves begin to become overactive. This causes signals to fire more often than they’re supposed to.

When GABA levels are increased or at normal levels, you are less likely to experience anxious feelings. An example of a GABA stimulant is alcohol. It is known to reduce anxiety, but is associated with a number of negative side-effects. Therefore, it is not considered a nootropic.

Although increased GABA is beneficial, GABA supplements are not very effective at reducing anxiety. This is because GABA can not cross the blood-brain barrier. GABA needs to physically reach the brain in order to inhibit signals associated with anxiety. In order to be effective, supplements need to cross the blood-brain barrier and be a precursor to GABA.

Which Nootropics are Best for Anxiety?

Nootropics are generally used to enhance cognitive abilities. However, many nootropics are now also being used for their anti-anxiety effects. As mentioned, supplements need to cross the blood-brain barrier. The following nootropics are not only anti-anxiety supplements, but cognitive enhancers as well.


Aniracetam is the best racetam supplement to treat anxiety. It stimulates receptors associated with glutamate. Glutamate is necessary for GABA production, therefore Aniracetam has an indirect effect on GABA levels. It is used for individuals that struggle in social settings, helping them fight their shyness. In terms of cognition, it also improves focus, energy levels, motivation, and communication.

Basically, users have reported feeling calmer and more relaxed. Stressful situations become easier to deal with and less emotionally draining. Anyone who also experiences feelings of depression will benefit from the serotonin and dopamine boosting abilities. Many students also take Aniracetam before studying or writing an exam, as it helps lower feelings of anxiety.

A typical dosage is generally between 1 and 2 grams, three times daily. If you have never used Aniracetam before, start with smaller doses. You can increase your dosage over the course of a week. You may also want to stack this nootropic with a choline supplement for even better results.


It is said that Phenibut is the best nootropic in treating anxiety. However, this is not a nootropic that should be used daily. Basically, Phenibut is a derivative of GABA. It is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, making it much more effective. This is due to the addition of a Phenyl ring. Once it reaches the brain, it can then bind to receptor sites.

It creates a mild sedative effect, allowing users to relax. This why many users take Phenibut as a sleep aid, especially when they’re experiencing feelings of high anxiety. It is also known to increase levels of dopamine, which is responsible for mood and motivation. This is highly beneficial as these are two areas that are typically lacking in those that suffer from anxiety and depression.

However, be aware that there are some potential side-effects associated with its use. Very vivid dreams have been experienced, drowsiness, and pain within limbs. Careful with the amount of Phenibut you take, as effects can last up to 24 hours. For anxiety purposes, take approximately 500 mg. Speak to your doctor if you have any concerns.


Just like racetams, Noopept increases glutamate uptake. This supplement tends to be hit or miss, as some say it works incredibly well and other do not notice any mood enhancing effects. This supplement is fairly potent, so only small doses are recommended. It is 1000 times stronger than Piracetam, so you it should be taken with caution.

It also increases levels of dopamine and serotonin within the brain. Serotonin creates feelings of happiness. Unlike GABA, serotonin also has nootropic effects. It plays a role in memory and mood. Due to its positive effects on mood, it is also great for individuals suffering from depression.

L- Theanine

This compound is found in both black and green tea and is often used to relieve feelings of anxiety. L- Theanine boosts GABA levels within the brain, and boosts dopamine as well. Not only do users feel more calm, they tend to experience a feeling of well-being. Once again, GABA can not cross the blood-brain barrier on its own. However, L-Theanine can, which then stimulates GABA production.