Anxiety Medication Overview of SAM-e

SAM-e, or S-Adenosylmethionine, is a chemical that naturally occurs in the human body and is essential for many biological processes. Although SAM-e itself is not a hormone or neurotransmitter, it plays a role in producing and breaking down important brain chemicals that are associated with depression and anxiety, such as serotonin, melatonin, and dopamine.

Like many other important natural compounds, SAM-e can also be produced in a laboratory and is available in pill form. SAM-e is used as a prescription drug in some European countries, introduced in Italy in 1979, Spain in 1985, and Germany in 1989. There have not been enough clinical trials for it to receive FDA approval in the United States, but it has been available as a dietary supplement in the US since 1999.

During a study of SAM-e’s effect on depression, researchers discovered that the compound appears effective as a treatment for osteoarthritis. Subsequent studies have found that SAM-e may also improve depression, with some indications it may work as well as tricyclic antidepressants. It has been suggested as a treatment for a number of other disorders, from anxiety to Alzheimer’s to fibromyalgia, but there is little research to indicate that it is an effective treatment for any of them.

SAM-e is generally considered to be safe for most people, but there are certain side effects and warnings you should be aware of if you’re considering taking SAM-e for anxiety. Because SAM-e affects serotonin, taking it along with common antidepressants like SSRIs could cause a serious condition known as serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening increase in serotonin levels. SAM-e can cause side effects like mild insomnia, nervousness, and anxiety, and it has been associated with episodes of hypomania and mania.

Photo: Pexels

More Articles

The term chronic stress disorder is often used to describe the psychological condition known as complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD). C...

One of the most commonly used and most effective treatments for mental health issues, particularly anxiety disorders and depression, is cognitive...

Perceived threats trigger the 'fight or flight' response—that sequential process that prepares you either to put up a fight to defend your life—...

Death anxiety is the fear we experience when contemplating or facing our own mortality. Like much of our anxiety, it is an anticipation of pain...

A couple dozen people are waiting to board a plane, and at the last minute the flight is delayed...

One person immediately runs up to the...

SITEMAP