Does Ibuprofen Cause Anxiety: The Truth?

Is Ibuprofen giving you the jitters? Has your anxiety gotten worse after using it? You’ve come to the right place looking for some answers. Ibuprofen has several side effects.

But can Ibuprofen cause anxiety?

It depends. Not everyone reports experiencing anxiety after using the medication, but some do. Generally, Ibuprofen causing anxiety is not an idea that research supports extensively. It’s more likely that you experience it for a pre-existing condition. Or as a product of Ibuprofen’s side effects. 

Ibuprofen has several side effects that may cause your anxiety or worsen it after use. This article will explain everything you need to know about Ibuprofen and more. So, without further ado, let’s begin. 

Can Ibuprofen Cause Anxiety?

Ibuprofen doesn’t generally cause anxiety. Some people do report on different forums that their anxiety got worse after using it. They also said that it made them jittery. 

But research evidence doesn’t back up this claim. 

Ibuprofen is an NSAID, in other words, a non-steroidal inflammatory drug. It helps with pain relief, fever, and swelling. As it’s an over-the-counter medicine, physicians prescribe it frequently. But it does have a lot of side effects. 

can-ibuprofen-cause-anxiety

NSAIDs may not induce anxiety in healthy individuals. But some research evidence shows that Ibuprofen may increase the psychological symptoms in psychiatric patients. Let me explain. 

This study investigated four psychiatric outpatients with schizophrenia and affective disorders. Initially, they were treated with NSAIDs for pain. 

Then,  the medication was withdrawn and restarted again a few times. Then the patients received an evaluation. 

The findings suggested that the patients developed paranoia and depression while initially on NSAIDs. These symptoms remitted as the medication was withdrawn and discontinued. 

Another study investigated the effects of Ibuprofen on a rat model with post-traumatic stress disorder. 

The findings were quite surprising. It showed that the medication improved PTSD symptoms in the rats.

So, these findings suggested that NSAIDs, such as Ibuprofen, may exacerbate or induce psychological symptoms. Other times it may even improve these symptoms. But even with this finding, the data is too little to arrive at a definitive conclusion. 

The results don’t extend to healthy individuals. The contradictory nature of these findings gives more ground to investigate the effects of NSAIDs. 

It’s especially the case if we consider their psychological side effects.

So, as this article mentioned before, your anxiety getting worse may indicate another problem. Besides, it could also mean you always had anxiety. But taking the medication and its side effects made it more intense. 

Side Effects of Ibuprofen 

Every individual reacts differently to medication, and Ibuprofen is no exception.

Generally, Ibuprofen isn’t unsafe if you take it within the dose that a doctor recommends. These are some of the common side effects that you may experience.

  • Diarrhea 
  • Constipation
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Bloating 
  • Rashes 
  • Abdominal pain

Besides these, you may also experience a sour stomach and difficulty in bowel movement. Shortness of breath and unusual weight gain may also be common side effects. Abdominal cramps are less common but not rare. 

Ibuprofen has some rare side effects. If you ever experience these symptoms, it’s important to discontinue the medication. 

  • Fluid Retention
  • Perforation
  • Gastritis 
  • Allergic reactions 
  • Stomach ulcer

When Should You Avoid Ibuprofen?

Your asthma may become worse after taking Ibuprofen. You shouldn’t consume it if you previously had an allergic reaction to other NSAIDs. 

It is also best to stay away from it if you recently underwent heart surgery. 

Besides, if you have stomach problems (abdominal pain or heartburn) persistently, consider choosing an alternative. People over the age of 60 shouldn’t be taking Ibuprofen either. Besides all these, you should also avoid it if you:

  • Have bleeding problems 
  • Use other NSAIDs for pain relief 
  • Have hypertension, kidney disease, liver disease, or heart disease
  • Have chickenpox 
  • Have a history of stomach ulcers

It’s essential to ask the healthcare professionals before starting Ibuprofen or other NSAIDs. Additionally, if you see blood in your vomit or stool, it’s best to consult with a doctor and discontinue.  

Consuming Ibuprofen with alcohol is something you should avoid like a plague. That’s because taking the combination of Ibuprofen and alcohol can result in fatal consequences at times. 

Regular consumption of alcohol with Ibuprofen increases the chance of gastrointestinal bleeding. 

Besides, you’d also be damaging your kidney. You’ll also lose alertness to some extent after mixing both of these. 

Alcohol and Ibuprofen, individually, can be relaxing. But together, it can cause a reduction in alertness to a great extent. If you drank alcohol and took this medication as well, you should certainly stay away from driving. 

The FDA cautions against using over-the-counter drugs and painkillers long-term, including Ibuprofen. 

The more you take Ibuprofen, the more the risks of stroke or heart attack increases. If you’re pregnant, make sure to consult with the doctor before taking Ibuprofen. 

9 Organic Alternatives to Ibuprofen 

Because Ibuprofen has so many side effects, it’s wise to avoid it. Several natural alternatives have the same effect on pain as medications. But the biggest perk is, these organic options don’t accompany any side effects. 

So, here are nine alternatives to Ibuprofen and other pain medication. If you experience the side effects I’ve mentioned above, consider taking a more traditional approach. 

Ginger 

Ginger is a root that is a promising organic pain reliever. China has used ginger for anti-inflammatory purposes for the past 2,000 years. Ginger is a natural remedy for stomach pain, headache, arthritis, flu symptoms, and nausea. 

A systematic review shows that taking two grams of ginger reduces muscle pain from running and exercising. The sample ingested the ginger for five days, and there was a considerable difference in pain resistance. 

Research investigations also show that exercise-related inflammation and recovery can accelerate by having ginger. You can add raw ginger to your tea or smoothies. You can even try ginger supplements. But fresh and organic ginger is more helpful for pain. 

If you’re considering ginger supplements, make sure to consult a doctor. Other than these ways, you may even try ginger water.  

Turmeric 

There’s an active ingredient called Curcuma in turmeric that helps relieve pain. A 2014 study suggests that this Curcuma extract can be equally effective as Ibuprofen for pain management. 

It’s especially the case for people in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis when they had ingested it for four weeks. Turmeric has anti-inflammation properties as well. South Asians have included turmeric in their everyday diet for thousands of years. And they continue to do so. 

turmeric

You can add turmeric to your smoothies, juices, or curries. It also adds to the flavors. Besides, turmeric also improves joint health and has antioxidant properties. 

Peppermint 

Some scientific studies claim that peppermint has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. So, peppermint use is an organic alternative to Ibuprofen as it relieves pain with success. 

The active ingredients in peppermint oil are menthol, limonene, and carvacrol. Peppermint essential oil can be a topical treatment if you dilute it first. Meaning, you’ll have to dilute the peppermint oil first and then rub it in the areas you feel pain. 

A 2015 study found that peppermint can be effective in managing arthritis problems and relieving painful spasms. Applying peppermint oil to the forehead and temples can relieve headaches as well. 

Another study confirms this fact and claims that peppermint oil can help reduce migraine headaches. 

However, you should avoid using peppermint oil if your skin is broken. It may prompt allergic reactions. So, it’s a good idea to do a patch test first. And then use peppermint actively. 

Feverfew 

Also called the bachelor’s button, feverfew is a plant with medicinal properties. It’s also one of the traditional alternatives whose use dates back centuries. Feverfew has a few conventional uses for treatment, which are:

  • Fever
  • Migraine headaches 
  • Toothaches and stomach aches 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis 

Feverfew has active ingredients that help with spasms and reduce inflammation. These could include flavonoids, lactones, and sesquiterpene. A 2011 study concluded that feverfew flowers have pain-relieving or analgesic properties. 

feverfew

Capsaicin 

Chili peppers have capsaicin, which is a natural remedy for pain relief. People use capsaicin extract because it reduces nerve and muscle pain. It’s also excellent for helping with joint pain. 

Capsaicin is an active ingredient in several pain relief ointments. It gives a tingling sensation when you apply it to the painful area. It’s not entirely clear why capsaicin may relieve pain.

But some theorize that capsaicin decreases pain sensitivity by impacting the fibers carrying pain signals. These fibers are also called nociceptors. You can find capsaicin gels that are available commercially. And you can use these about three to four times a day. 

capsaicin

Magnesium 

Migraine patients have low levels of magnesium when they experience a headache. Scientific studies also support this idea. Magnesium is essential for overall wellbeing and health. Magnesium can help with migraine pain and headaches. 

People use Ibuprofen often to treat migraines and headaches. Keeping magnesium levels up can prevent these headaches altogether. 

Additionally, it’s also helpful for muscle pains, cramps, and spasms. During stress, our muscles tense up and may cause us discomfort. Keeping magnesium levels high can help the muscles relax. Besides, magnesium can also help with tinnitus

Cloves 

A home remedy for toothache is using cloves. Dentists often use benzocaine gel to reduce pain from needles. Research finds that clove gel can be equally effective as benzocaine gel. 

In this study, the researchers used clove gel, benzocaine gel, and placebo on participants’ mouths. People who received a placebo didn’t report lower pain levels. However, people who received the other two gels reported lower pain levels. 

Cloves can also help treat nausea and common cold symptoms. Besides, they also relieve headaches and arthritic inflammation. 

Eugenol is an active ingredient in clove, available in a few OTC pain gels. This ingredient is an organic pain reliever allowing clove to be a topical pain reliever. Cloves may sometimes increase the risk of abnormal bleeding. So, be careful while consuming it. 

Lavender Essential Oil 

Essential oils have been a natural remedy to a pain reliever for hundreds of years. The lavender essential oil has a calming effect on the body. 

lavender-oil

They help with anxiety and pain relief. Besides, a lavender essential oil also promotes quality sleep. 

Studies show that lavender oil helps with migraine headaches. Some researchers also believe that lavender essential oil has anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and antioxidant effects. 

Ingesting lavender oil can be toxic. So, make sure to ask a doctor before using it. Mixing it with water is a general way to use essential oils. 

Boswellia 

Alternatively known as Indian frankincense, Boswellia has active components that reduce pain and inflammation. It’s an herbal extract that people have used for centuries to treat chronic inflammation. 

Boswellia decreases pain in the knee joints significantly. You ingest it like a raisin or a supplement, whichever you prefer. Besides, it’s also available as a topical cream. 

Besides these, you can also try yoga and mindful meditation. Acupuncture also helps with pain relief. Temperature therapy can also help. Long-term use of pain relief medication can cause severe consequences. However, with natural remedies, you don’t have to worry. 

boswellia

Traditional practices for pain relief, like mindfulness, acupuncture, and yoga, can benefit an individual’s mental health. Herbal remedies provide additional health benefits besides relieving pain. Considering these, it’s certainly worth a shot to replace pain medication with organic practices. 

FAQs

Can Ibuprofen calm nerves?

It may calm the nerves temporarily as it reduces minor pain and aches. Some people say that their anxiety got better using Ibuprofen. But others report that their anxiety got worse. So, the experience is different for each individual. 

Can Ibuprofen cause depression?

Some researchers claim that it induces depressive symptoms in people with a psychological condition. 

Can Ibuprofen affect your thinking?

Some over-the-counter medications may impact information processing and emotions. These studies can be contradictory. So, more research is necessary. 

Final Words 

So, can Ibuprofen cause anxiety? Studies are limited, and it isn’t easy to establish a definite conclusion. However, it does have several side effects. 

But with all the alternatives this article mentions, I’m sure you’ll find a healthy one. Till the next time, good luck and take care.

Munira Binte Hasan

Munira Binte Hasan

Munira is an aspiring psychologist from the University of Dhaka. She loves reviewing and writing content. In her free time, she loves to read or listen to music. She believes in advocating mental health issues and healthy expression of emotions.

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