GABA plays a pivotal role in many crucial mental activities.
Its main job is to antagonize the excitatory neurotransmitter, glutamate, to modulate anxiety and stress.1Evert Boonstra, Roy de Kleijn, Lorenza S. Colzato, Anneke Alkemade, Birte U. Forstmann, and Sander Nieuwenhuis, Neurotransmitters as food supplements: the effects of GABA on brain and behavior, Front Psychol. 2015 2Benjamin E. Jewett; Sandeep Sharma, Physiology, GABA, NCBI. 2020
In turn, many people use Phenibut for its equally calming effects and relaxation benefits.
What is Phenibut
Phenibut is a powerful mood-boosting nootropic meant to treat anxiety, insomnia, and other mental issues.
Initially formulated for Russian soldiers in the mid-60s, it mimics the calming actions of the neurotransmitter, Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA).
What Does it Do
Phenibut works as a neuropsychiatric drug that stimulates dopaminergic activity.
When taken in low doses (20mg/kg), phenibut has nootropic effects on cognitive function and behavior.3Kan Hong Zheng,corresponding author1 Afra Khan, and Eduardo D Espiridion, Phenibut Addiction in a Patient with Substance Use Disorder, Cureus. 2019
Because the FDA has not approved Phenibut, most users take it recreationally to control anxiety attacks, fatigue, excessive fear, tension, sleep disorders, and cognitive disorders.4Izyaslav Lapin, Phenibut (β‐Phenyl‐GABA): A Tranquilizer and Nootropic Drug, CNS Drug Rev. 2001 5American Addiction Centers Editorial Staff, What Is Phenibut? How Does Addiction Start?, American Addiction Centers. 2019
Who Takes Phenibut
Phenibut usage is highest amongst people diagnosed with anxiety, depression, phobias, and sleep disorders.6Izyaslav Lapin, Phenibut (β‐Phenyl‐GABA): A Tranquilizer and Nootropic Drug, CNS Drug Rev. 2001
Phenibut also works as a medication before and after surgery. It is also helpful in treating post-traumatic stress, speech impediments, and vestibular disorders.
Signs of Abuse
Not everyone who abuses phenibut uses it for recreation only.
Some people experience extreme withdrawal symptoms after the initial treatment phase. This forces continued usage, usually increasing the dosage for them due to increased tolerance.7American Addiction Centers Editorial Staff, What Is Phenibut? How Does Addiction Start?, American Addiction Centers . 2019 8BMJ Case Rep. 2013, Phenibut dependence, Andriy V Samokhvalov, C Lindsay Paton-Gay, Kam Balchand, and Jürgen Rehm
Addiction symptoms include severe anxiety, insomnia, aggressive and irritable behavior, and hallucinations.
Phenibut Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms
Like any other substance addiction, withdrawing from phenibut comes with a host of uncomfortable and potentially severe symptoms.
Some more serious than others.
Once observed, one should address them as quickly as possible to avoid further complications.
Anxiety, Depression & Nervousness
A person having anxiety attacks before using phenibut may experience worsened anxiety and nervous attacks after sudden cessation.9Matthew I. Hardman, Juraj Sprung, and Toby N. Weingarten, Acute phenibut withdrawal: A comprehensive literature review and illustrative case report, Bosn J Basic Med Sci. 2019
Changes in dopamine and GABA concentrations also trigger depression.10Pauline Belujon, PhD and Anthony A Grace, PhD, Dopamine System Dysregulation in Major Depressive Disorders, Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2017
Phenibut also alters the communication between neurons, causing less excitation and more depressive symptoms.11E. A. Zyablitseva & I. V. Pavlova, Effects of the GABA Receptor Agonist Phenibut on Spike Activity and Interactions between Neocortex and Hippocampus Neurons in Emotionally Negative Situations, Neuroscience and Behavioral Physiology. 2010
Melatonin and serotonin levels drop after phenibut withdrawal and disrupt the body’s normal circadian rhythm, resulting in insomnia.12Matthew I. Hardman, Juraj Sprung, and Toby N. Weingarten, Acute phenibut withdrawal: A comprehensive literature review and illustrative case report, Bosn J Basic Med Sci. 2019
Excessive GABA from phenibut abuse also results in hypersomnia. Daytime sleepiness, difficulty in awakening, and cognitive dysfunction are some of the characteristics of hypersomnia.13Anthony S. de Leon; Prasanna Tadi, Biochemistry, Gamma Aminobutyric Acid, NCBI. 2020
Cravings for More Phenibut
Because phenibut builds tolerance, your body craves for more after stopping. Users report that the usual dose doesn’t give them the desired effect after a time so they add more. If cravings are not properly managed, withdrawal symptoms begin to manifest.14Yash B. Joshi, MD, PhD, MBE, Samantha F. Friend, MD, PhD, Berenice Jimenez, BA, and Louisa R. Steiger, MD, MPH, Dissociative intoxication and prolonged withdrawal associated with phenibut: a case report, J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2017
Many patients report changes in eating behavior after phenibut withdrawal as the body’s way of coping with sudden chemical changes.15American Addiction Centers Editorial Staff, Phenibut Withdrawal, Tapering, and Detox, American Addiction Centers. 2019
Muscular Pain and Seizures
Phenibut users reported muscular pain and seizures after withdrawal.
Habitual phenibut usage also results in altered muscle tone, restlessness, uncontrolled movements, and seizures.16Matthew I. Hardman, Juraj Sprung, and Toby N. Weingarten, Acute phenibut withdrawal: A comprehensive literature review and illustrative case report, Bosn J Basic Med Sci. 2019
Altered Mental State
Some patients present out-of-body sensations, suicidal thoughts, and other psychotic manifestations after phenibut withdrawal.17Yash B. Joshi, MD, PhD, MBE, Samantha F. Friend, MD, PhD,1 Berenice Jimenez, BA, and Louisa R. Steiger, MD, MPH, Dissociative intoxication and prolonged withdrawal associated with phenibut: a case report, J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2017
People who take high doses of phenibut and abruptly stop experience visual and auditory hallucinations that may lead to anxiety and paranoia.18Tania Ahuja,corresponding author, Ofole Mgbako, Caroline Katzman, and Allison Grossman, Phenibut (β-Phenyl-γ-aminobutyric Acid) Dependence and Management of Withdrawal: Emerging Nootropics of Abuse, Case Rep Psychiatry. 2018
Patients admitted for phenibut withdrawal symptoms also show decreased consciousness, agitated delirium, and other behavioral changes.19Michael A Downes , Ingrid L Berling, Ahmed Mostafa, Jeffrey Grice, Michael S Roberts, Geoffrey K Isbister, Acute behavioural disturbance associated with phenibut purchased via an internet supplier, Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2015 20Kan Hong Zheng,corresponding author Afra Khan, and Eduardo D Espiridion, Phenibut Addiction in a Patient with Substance Use Disorder, Cureus. 2019
Patients report experiencing extreme tiredness and fatigue after phenibut withdrawal.21Tania Ahuja,corresponding author Ofole Mgbako, Caroline Katzman, and Allison Grossman, Phenibut (β-Phenyl-γ-aminobutyric Acid) Dependence and Management of Withdrawal: Emerging Nootropics of Abuse, Case Rep Psychiatry. 2018
Simply put, changes in neurotransmitter levels mess with overall cognitive function.22Kan Hong Zheng,Afra Khan, and Eduardo D Espiridion, Phenibut Addiction in a Patient with Substance Use Disorder, Cureus. 2019
Phenibut contains psychotropic inhibitory effects that alter brain function, affecting the neurons that govern learning, memory, and attention.23Tania Ahuja, Ofole Mgbako, Caroline Katzman, and Allison Grossman , Phenibut (β-Phenyl-γ-aminobutyric Acid) Dependence and Management of Withdrawal: Emerging Nootropics of Abuse, Case Rep Psychiatry. 2018; 24Pierre Schulz, MD, Psychotropic medication, psychiatric disorders, and higher brain functions,Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2000
This leads to an overall lowering of cognitive function in phenibut users.
How to Reduce Withdrawal Symptoms
Tapering off is one of the most effective ways to temper phenibut withdrawal symptoms. Studies documented that tapering off by at least 10mg per week lessens withdrawal symptoms.25American Addiction Centers Editorial Staff, What Is Phenibut? How Does Addiction Start?, American Addiction Centers. 2019
Other resources, however, recommend decreasing 0-50mg per day for a slow taper and 50-100mg per day for a regular taper. Beware of drastic decreases as it can increase withdrawal symptoms.26Andriy V Samokhvalov , C Lindsay Paton-Gay, Kam Balchand, Jürgen Rehm, Phenibut dependence,BMJ Case Rep. 2013
Other resources, however, recommend decreasing 0-50mg per day for a slow taper and 50-100mg per day for a regular taper. Beware of drastic decreases as it can increase withdrawal symptoms.
Use Phenibut Alternatives
While phenibut is considered a nootropic and is useful as an alternative to more profound drugs in its own right, it’s wise to use more natural nootropics to wean off short-term phenibut use.
Certain nootropics can mimic phenibut’s effects and therefore prevent dependence and withdrawal symptoms.
Qualia Mind is a powerful nootropic that improves memory, mood, and energy through its potent combination of 28 high-quality ingredients designed to improve brain health.Qualia Mind users regularly report benefits like calm mood, improved focus, and better sleep.It also has high pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ)levels that stimulate mitochondrial synthesis, effectively helping mental processes and learning.27Paul S Hwang , Steven B Machek , Thomas D Cardaci , Dylan T Wilburn , Caelin S Kim , Emiliya S Suezaki , Darryn S Willoughby, Effects of Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (PQQ) Supplementation on Aerobic Exercise Performance and Indices of Mitochondrial Biogenesis in Untrained Men, J Am Coll Nutr. 2020
Not only that, Qualia Mind has ingredients that may help treat depression and other mood issues.
Magnesium is a mineral that works to improve the central nervous system’s function, especially for neurotransmission and signaling. Many studies document the positive effects of magnesium as a therapy for psychiatric disorders.28Andrea Botturi, Valentina Ciappolino, Giuseppe Delvecchio, Andrea Boscutti, Bianca Viscardi, and Paolo Brambilla, The Role and the Effect of Magnesium in Mental Disorders: A Systematic Review, Nutrients. 2020 29Neil Bernard Boyle, Clare Lawton, and Louise Dye The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress—A Systematic Review, Nutrients. 2017
Magnesium also plays a significant role in brain function and mood. It is very effective in treating anxiety, enhancing memory, and maintaining overall neuron health.30Inna Slutsky , Nashat Abumaria, Long-Jun Wu, Chao Huang, Ling Zhang, Bo Li, Xiang Zhao, Arvind Govindarajan, Ming-Gao Zhao, Min Zhuo, Susumu Tonegawa, Guosong Liu, Enhancement of learning and memory by elevating brain magnesium, Neuron. 2010 31Ryu Yamanaka , Yutaka Shindo , Kotaro Oka, Magnesium Is a Key Player in Neuronal Maturation and Neuropathology, Int J Mol Sci. 2019
It also showed potential as an adjunct therapy with antidepressants. As a phenibut alternative, magnesium enhances the GABA responses to achieve the desired antidepressant effect.32T Möykkynen, M Uusi-Oukari, J Heikkilä, D M Lovinger, H Lüddens, E R Korpi, Magnesium potentiation of the function of native and recombinant GABA(A) receptors, Neuroreport. 2001
Taurine is essential in brain development.
Like phenibut, it also protects against glutamate toxicity and adverse effects of GABA neuroinhibition.33Jang-Yen Wucorresponding and Howard Prentice, Role of taurine in the central nervous system, J Biomed Sci. 2010 34Stephen Schaffer1 and Ha Won KimEffects and Mechanisms of Taurine as a Therapeutic Agent, Biomol Ther (Seoul). 2018
It also influences neuronal activity and the cerebral cortex’s development and protects the body from oxidative stress.35Mol Vis. 2012, Review: Taurine: A “very essential” amino acid, Harris Rippscorresponding author, Wen Shen 36Gao-Feng Wu, Shuang Ren, Ri-Yi Tang, Chang Xu, Jia-Qi Zhou, Shu-Mei Lin, Ying Feng, Qun-Hui Yang, Jian-Min Hu,corresponding author and Jian-Cheng Yang, Antidepressant effect of taurine in chronic unpredictable mild stress-induced depressive rats, Sci Rep. 2017 37Md. Jakaria,a Shofiul Azam, Md. Ezazul Haque,a Song-Hee Jo, Md. Sahab Uddin,b In-Su Kim, Dong-Kug Choi, Taurine and its analogs in neurological disorders: Focus on therapeutic potential and molecular mechanisms, Redox Biol. 2019
It is also beneficial as a therapeutic agent for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. Since taurine limits glutamate, the NMDA receptors avoid calcium overload, leading to cellular damage and inflammation.
Taurine also stabilizes the insulin levels and prevents contractile malfunctioning of the cardiac and skeletal muscles.38Stephen Schaffer,Ha Won Kim, Effects and Mechanisms of Taurine as a Therapeutic Agent, Biomol Ther (Seoul). 2018 39E J Hamilton , H M Berg, C J Easton, A J Bakker, The effect of taurine depletion on the contractile properties and fatigue in fast-twitch skeletal muscle of the mouse, Amino Acids. 2006 It effectively reduces muscular twitching, making it a good alternative in treating phenibut withdrawal symptoms.
L-theanine is an amino acid known for its relaxation and anxiolytic benefits. It is also a low-risk alternative treatment for sleep disorders since it works in tandem with GABA to promote sleep.40Suhyeon Kim, Kyungae Jo, Ki-Bae Hong,Sung Hee Han,and Hyung Joo Suh, GABA and l-theanine mixture decreases sleep latency and improves NREM sleep, Pharm Biol. 2019
It also reduces stress and prevents stress-related conditions by modulating stress hormone output.41Shinsuke Hidese,Shintaro Ogawa,Miho Ota,Ikki Ishida,Zenta Yasukawa,Makoto Ozeki,and Hiroshi Kunugi, Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial, Nutrients. 2019
Not only that, it improves the cognitive faculty, verbal fluency, and working memory, and attention in persons diagnosed with schizophrenia.
L-theanine also shows potential in treating fatigue and promoting alertness and feelings of contentedness and calmness.42David J. White,Suzanne de Klerk,William Woods,Shakuntla Gondalia,Chris Noonan,and Andrew B. Scholey, Anti-Stress, Behavioural and Magnetoencephalography Effects of an l-Theanine-Based Nutrient Drink: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Trial, Nutrients. 2016 43Anna C Nobre ,Anling Rao, Gail N Owen, L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state, Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008
In the brain, L-theanine promotes the generation of alpha waves, which result in a relaxed and alert state.44V Dramard,L Kern, J Hofmans,3 C A Rème,C S Nicolas,V Chala, and C Navarro, Effect of l-theanine tablets in reducing stress-related emotional signs in cats: an open-label field study, Ir Vet J. 2018 It is also a good neuroprotector, preventing neuronal death in the hippocampus and tempers the adverse effects of reactive oxygen species.45Takami Kakuda , Neuroprotective effects of the green tea components theanine and catechins, Biol Pharm Bull. 2002
KSM-66, known as the world’s best Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), contains anti-stress and anti-inflammatory components. It’s an adaptogenic herb that helps modulate stress and manage hysteria, anxiety, memory issues, among many other things.46Narendra Singh, Mohit Bhalla, Prashanti de Jager,and Marilena Gilca, An Overview on Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda, Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2011 47K. Chandrasekhar, Jyoti Kapoor, and Sridhar Anishetty, A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults, Indian J Psychol Med. 2012
It mimics the GABA effect on neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and Alzheimer’s diseases. Ashwagandha has many neuroprotective benefits. Evidence shows a reversal of atrophy of neurons and loss of synapses between neurons, effectively improving persons’ cognitive capacity with these diseases.48A K Mehta , P Binkley, S S Gandhi, M K Ticku, Pharmacological effects of Withania somnifera root extract on GABAA receptor complex, Indian J Med Res. 1991
Ashwagandha also helps manage tardive dyskinesia due to antipsychotic medication. The main characteristic of which includes the uncontrolled movement of the face and body due to antipsychotic medication.
As an adaptogen, Ashwagandha is an excellent overall treatment for relaxation and improving sleep and stress resistance.49Morgan A. Pratte, BS, Kaushal B. Nanavati, MD, Virginia Young, MLS, and Christopher P. Morley, PhD, An Alternative Treatment for Anxiety: A Systematic Review of Human Trial Results Reported for the Ayurvedic Herb Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), J Altern Complement Med. 2014 50Jaysing Salve,Sucheta Pate,Khokan Debnath,and Deepak Langade, Adaptogenic and Anxiolytic Effects of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Healthy Adults: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Clinical Study, Cureus. 2019
Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum)is known for its antidepressant, antioxidative, and anti-anxiety properties.51David J. White,Suzanne de Klerk,William Woods, Shakuntla Gondalia,Chris Noonan,and Andrew B. Scholey, Anti-Stress, Behavioural and Magnetoencephalography Effects of an l-Theanine-Based Nutrient Drink: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Trial, Nutrients. 2016
Reishi mushroom is also suitable for enhancing pentobarbital effects in sleep latency, making it a useful adjunct therapy for sleep disorders associated with phenibut withdrawal or as an alternative to phenibut therapy.52Qing-Ping Chu , Li-En Wang, Xiang-Yu Cui, Hong-Zheng Fu, Zhi-Bin Lin, Shu-Qian Lin, Yong-He Zhang, Extract of Ganoderma lucidum potentiates pentobarbital-induced sleep via a GABAergic mechanism, Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2007
Lingzhi mushroom (another name for Reishi)presents antioxidant effects and helps reverse damage caused by oxidative stress. It also helps control insulin levels, which is also one contributor to depressive symptoms.53Sissi Wachtel-Galor, John Yuen, John A. Buswell, and Iris F. F. Benzie, Chapter 9Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi), Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2011
In addition, components of reishi mushroom also inhibit acetylcholinesterase action that reduces fatigue and promotes neuronal survival. As a result, the continued intake of reishi mushroom extract stops the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
N-Acetylcysteine is an amino acid used as an antioxidant supplement to prevent glutamate dysregulation, oxidative stress, and inflammation. There is also sufficient evidence that NAC is useful for managing addiction and substance abuse, and other psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia, OCD, and mood disorders.54Soo Liang Ooi, Ruth Green, and Sok Cheon Pak, N-Acetylcysteine for the Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders: A Review of Current Evidence, Biomed Res Int. 2018
In schizophrenia, NAC helps control neuronal inflammation, promote neurogenesis, and repair damage in the neurons caused by prolonged inflammation. It also showed potential as an adjunct therapy to clozapine in clozapine-resistant schizophrenic patients.55Rachel L. Tomko, PhD, Jennifer L. Jones, MD, Amanda K. Gilmore, PhD, Kathleen T. Brady, MD, PhD, Sudie E. Back, PhD, and Kevin M. Gray, MD, N-acetylcysteine: A potential treatment for substance use disorders, Curr Psychiatr. 2018
NAC also works to inhibit glutamate in the brain.
Too much glutamate kills the brain neurons resulting in neurodegenerative diseases like schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder.56Kate Rhodes , Andrea Braakhuis, Performance and Side Effects of Supplementation with N-Acetylcysteine: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, Sports Med. 2017
Since Phenibut’s primary mode of action is promoting GABA over glutamate, GABA makes a great phenibut alternative.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that works to balance mental health. When GABA levels are low, psychiatric disorders like bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and schizophrenia.57Chiara Chiapponi,Federica Piras,Fabrizio Piras, Carlo Caltagirone, and Gianfranco Spalletta, GABA System in Schizophrenia and Mood Disorders: A Mini Review on Third-Generation Imaging Studies, Front Psychiatry. 2016
GABA works by modulating anxiety-related responses and stimulates neuronal function and behavioral processes of the amygdala, the part of the brain that induces fear and anxiety. It also plays a significant role in episodic memory.58Philippe Nuss, Anxiety disorders and GABA neurotransmission: a disturbance of modulation, Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2015
GABA was first introduced as an anti-epileptic drug but later administered as a food supplement to increase the GABA concentration in persons with acrophobia. Studies revealed an increase in brain alpha waves, which indicates a relaxed and alert state in subjects.59Evert Boonstra, Roy de Kleijn,Lorenza S. Colzato,Anneke Alkemade,Birte U. Forstmann, and Sander Nieuwenhuis, Neurotransmitters as food supplements: the effects of GABA on brain and behavior, Front Psychol. 2015
It showed potential in treating excessive fear and phobias, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders in place of phenibut or as a treatment for phenibut withdrawal symptoms.60Dai-Hung Ngo and Thanh Sang Vo, An Updated Review on Pharmaceutical Properties of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid, Molecules. 2019
Biohacking is another alternative to phenibut. These are devices, practices, and formulations that can improve the body’s GABA levels to prevent anxiety and other mental disorders.
Apollo Neuro Wearable is a biohacking device you can wear on your wrist or ankle that sends a combination of vibrations to stimulate the body’s parasympathetic nervous system. These vibrations increase the heart rate variability (HRV), which equates to a healthier mind.61Wookyoung Jung,Kuk-In Jang, and Seung-Hwan Lee, Heart and Brain Interaction of Psychiatric Illness: A Review Focused on Heart Rate Variability, Cognitive Function, and Quantitative Electroencephalography, Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci. 2019
It has seven modes to select from, each with a specific action to your mental health.
It helps manage symptoms of anxiety, stress, depression and improves sleep and focus for better performance.
Read more about Apollo Neuro Wearables and what it can do for your mental health.
Yoga and meditation relax the mind, improves focus, and achieves mindfulness. These are alternative therapies for depression and other mental issues, pain management, and sleep disorders.
Yoga improves the serotonin and GABA levels and decreases the cortisol levels as an effective intervention for depression, stress, anxiety, fatigue, and burnout.62Catherine Woodyard, Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life, Int J Yoga. 2011 63Arndt Büssing, Andreas Michalsen, Sat Bir S. Khalsa, Shirley Telles, and Karen J. Sherman, Effects of Yoga on Mental and Physical Health: A Short Summary of Reviews, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012
It also activates the parasympathetic nervous system to balance neurological health and function.
Sufficient data also supports the effectiveness of meditation in managing substance abuse withdrawal symptoms, such as in phenibut.64Maria B Ospina, Kenneth Bond, Mohammad Karkhaneh, Lisa Tjosvold, Ben Vandermeer, Yuanyuan Liang, Liza Bialy, Nicola Hooton, Nina Buscemi, Donna M Dryden, Terry P Klassen, Meditation practices for health: state of the research, Evid Rep Technol Assess (Full Rep). 2007
Probiotics play a role in improving GABA levels while striking a balance between GABA’s inhibitory action and glutamate excitation action. A healthy gut microbiota improves the brain-gut axis interaction, positively affecting the brain’s emotional and cognitive centers.65Marilia Carabotti,Annunziata Scirocco,Maria Antonietta Maselli,and Carola Severi, The gut-brain axis: interactions between enteric microbiota, central and enteric nervous systems, Ann Gastroenterol. 2015
A healthy gut microbiome induces healthy GABA, serotonin, and dopamine production. These are all neurotransmitters known for their calming, mood-boosting benefits.
Adding probiotics in the diet has shown improvements in the response of epileptic children and reduced symptoms in anxiety, depression, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, and other neurodegenerative diseases.66Philip Strandwitz Neurotransmitter modulation by the gut microbiota, Brain Res. 2018
Balance Blood Sugar
Balancing blood sugar levels is another biohack that can improve phenibut withdrawal symptoms. People with unbalanced blood sugar levels experience more anxiety and eating disorders compared with healthy persons.67Lee Ducat, Louis H. Philipson, MD, PhD, and Barbara J. Anderson, PhD, The Mental Health Comorbidities of Diabetes, JAMA. 2014
In fact there is strong evidence that points to diet modification improving hypoglycemia symptoms and anxiety disorders.68Monique Aucoin and Sukriti Bhardwaj, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Hypoglycemia Symptoms Improved with Diet Modification, Case Rep Psychiatry. 2016 Diet patterns also present a strong relationship with depressive symptoms, citing high glycemic foods as one of the culprits in depression.69James E Gangwisch,Lauren Hale,Lorena Garcia,Dolores Malaspina,Mark G Opler,Martha E Payne,Rebecca C Rossom,and Dorothy Lane, High glycemic index diet as a risk factor for depression: analyses from the Women’s Health Initiative, Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 70Anu Ruusunen , Soili M Lehto , Jaakko Mursu , Tommi Tolmunen , Tomi-Pekka Tuomainen , Jussi Kauhanen , Sari Voutilainen, Dietary patterns are associated with the prevalence of elevated depressive symptoms and the risk of getting a hospital discharge diagnosis of depression in middle-aged or older Finnish men, J Affect Disord. 2014
Factors That Affect Withdrawal Severity
Concurrent Alcohol Abuse
Clinical reports show that alcohol use prolongs and increases the severity of phenibut withdrawal symptoms.71Kan Hong Zheng , Afra Khan , Eduardo D Espiridion, Phenibut Addiction in a Patient with Substance Use Disorder, Cureus. 2019
Use of Other Recreational Drugs
Phenibut withdrawal symptoms are magnified with recreational drug use resulting in aggressive behavior, severe hallucinations, and suicidal thoughts.72Kan Hong Zheng, Afra Khan,and Eduardo D Espiridion, Phenibut Addiction in a Patient with Substance Use Disorder, Cureus. 2019
Phenibut Withdrawal Management
The American Addiction Center recommends using baclofen as a medical detox to temper the effects of phenibut withdrawal. The use of biohacks is an even better way to detox without adding more drugs into your body since baclofen is still associated with anxiety and mood disorders.73Roberta Agabio, and Lorenzo Leggio, Baclofen in the Treatment of Patients With Alcohol Use Disorder and Other Mental Health Disorders, Front Psychiatry. 2018
When you go to the ER for treatment, don’t forget to bring the phenibut container so your attending physician can assess it more.