Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam, one of the best-known and most commonly prescribed medications for anxiety and panic disorders. Approved in the United States in 1981, the drug has a long history of treating these diseases.
What is Xanax?
Xanax is an anti-anxiety medication that belongs to a group of drugs called benzodiazepines. These drugs are also called sedatives because of their sedative and sedative properties. Other commonly used benzodiazepines include Klonopin (clonazepam), Valium (diazepam), and Ativan (lorazepam). Xanax can help reduce the severity of anxiety and panic attacks.
Xanax can also be used to manage anxiety in other conditions, such as depression and bipolar disorder.
How Xanax Treats Panic Disorder
Like other benzodiazepines, Xanax affects gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors, a neurotransmitter in the brain involved in sleep regulation, relaxation and anxiety. This action can help slow down the central nervous system (CNS), reducing agitation and hyperexcitability, while producing a sedative or relaxing effect. Depressing the central nervous system can also help reduce feelings of anxiety and reduce the severity of panic attacks.
The rapid absorption of Xanax into the bloodstream usually produces fast-acting results, rapidly causing a feeling of calm and rapidly reducing symptoms of panic disorder. Xanax has a short half-life, which means it can get in and out of your system quickly. There are pros and cons to this, including that you have to take it regularly, and it may cause some people’s anxiety control to fluctuate.
Side Effects of Xanax
Some of the most common side effects of Xanax include:
- Dry mouth
- lack of coordination or instability
- memory impairment
- slurred speech
Possibility of Xanax Addiction
As controlled substances, all benzodiazepines, including Xanax, have the potential to cause physical and emotional dependence and may be abused. It can be difficult to stop using Xanax if a drug dependence develops, as a person may experience withdrawal symptoms.
Some typical withdrawal symptoms include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Muscle pain
- sleep disorder
To minimize the risk of dependence, Xanax is usually prescribed for a limited time. Your doctor may adjust your prescription by providing only a certain amount of the drug to periodically reassess your condition before continuing to use Xanax. Do not increase or decrease your dose without first consulting your doctor. To prevent withdrawal symptoms, your doctor may gradually reduce your dose.
Additional considerations for taking Xanax
There are several precautions and contraindications when taking Xanax:
You should be careful if you have a history of certain diseases. If you have been diagnosed with these or any other conditions, please consult your doctor before taking Xanax:
- drug or alcohol use disorder
- kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Lung disease
- sleep apnea
Because Xanax slows the CNS, you may experience side effects when taking Xanax with certain other drugs that also suppress the CNS. These symptoms may include increased depression, cognitive problems, or extreme fatigue. Alcohol should also be avoided.
Before you start taking Xanax, tell your doctor if you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines.
Pregnancy and Nursing
It is possible for Xanax to be passed to a child during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.Talk to your doctor about the risks of using Xanax during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Older adults are generally more susceptible to the effects of Xanax.The prescribing doctor may need to adjust the dose to help limit these effects.
Disclaimer: The information provided here outlines some frequently asked questions about Xanax for panic disorder. This summary does not cover all possible conditions, potential side effects, complications or precautions and contraindications. If you have any questions and concerns about your prescription, be sure to consult your doctor.