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What is Xanax?

Benzodiazepine or “Xanax is a type of medication that is used to treat anxiety, depression or panic disorders and works to balance out the chemicals in our brain. It belongs to the group of drugs known as benzodiazepines and it is currently the most prescribed anxiety medication that is used in the United States.

Xanax increases the number of neurotransmitters in the brain that can help a person become relaxed, calm and feeling better. It is very safe and effective when it is taken correctly. It slows down the amount of movement of your brain chemicals which could be unbalanced, which can help resolve the symptoms of tension and anxiety.


Xanax is made up of alprazolam which is part of the 1,4 benzodiazepine class of compounds for the central nervous system. It consists of a white crystalline powder, which can be soluble in both methanol and ethanol.

Inactive ingredients: Cellulose, corn starch, docusate sodium, lactose, magnesium stearate, silicon dioxide and sodium benzoate. In addition, the 0.5 mg tablet contains FD&C Yellow No. 6 and the 1 mg tablet contains FD&C Blue No. 2.

Uses for Xanax

The primary use for Xanax is to treat panic attacks and anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are described as:

  • Restlessness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trembling
  • Worry and apprehension
  • Aches
  • Heart palpitations
  • Flushing
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness
  • Clammy hands
  • Smothering sensation
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Exaggerated startle response

Xanax is also used to treat anxiety that may come from panic attacks. Panic attacks can happen unexpectedly or during specific situations such as driving or flying. In these circumstances a higher dosage may be necessary.

Side Effects of Xanax

During the early stages of using Xanax there can be some side effects associated. They usually go away upon further use of the drug. The side effects could include:

  • Light-headedness
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Low energy
  • Drowsiness
  • Depression
  • Headache
  • Impaired coordination
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Memory impairment
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Rash
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Chest pain
  • Increased libido
  • Heart palpitations
  • Fear
  • Tremors
  • Incontinence
  • Slurred speech
  • Sweating
  • Weakness
  • Strange dreams

What is Xanax Prescribed For

Anxiety Disorder

The first line of treatment for an anxiety disorder is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s), although Xanax can be used for situations where short-term help is needed to help with the symptoms associated with anxiety. Xanax typically treats symptoms that come on rather quickly and is used for a short period of time in combination with other prescriptions or treatment.

If your doctor prescribes Xanax it is likely to treat symptoms that come on abruptly and they are not a long-term solution. It is not a cure for anxiety, but it can help with immediate symptoms that occur from anxiety or panic attacks.

Panic Attacks

Panic attacks can happen as a result of panic disorder or agoraphobia and Xanax can help with these symptoms. It can also be used for certain situations or phobias such as fear or flying, driving or other stressful events. “In the case of social anxiety disorder, Xanax is more commonly prescribed for cognitive symptoms such as worrying about performance or the judgment of others. In this case, Xanax can be taken about an hour before a performance event.”

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Xanax belongs to a group of drugs that are used to treat anxiety including symptoms of PTSD called benzodiazepines. These drugs can bring immediate relief for symptoms of anxiety, depression and panic disorder but they are thought to be linked to drug dependence.

Getting a Xanax Prescription

A physician or doctor will determine whether it is right for you to begin taking Xanax for anxiety or panic disorder. If you’ve been suffering for an extended period, then Xanax may be the right medication for you.

It’s very important to only receive Xanax from a doctor and not from an outside source as there may be additional ingredients added or an incorrect dosage being taken. It could potentially be dangerous to take a prescription that you have gotten from someone else. Combining Xanax with other medications can be detrimental to your health and should only be taken under the supervision of a doctor or physician.

If Xanax is taken in too large of a dose or by people who do not experience anxiety, it can cause euphoric feelings which is why it’s important to not take it without a prescription from a doctor.

Withdrawal from Xanax

Similar symptoms as initial dosing can happen when withdrawal of Xanax occurs. They usually occur within a few hours of the last dose and will be the most severe within 1-4 days. Withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Muscle pain
  • Tremors
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Sweating
  • Seizures
  • Paranoia
  • Numbness in hands or fingers
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Panic
  • Sensitivity to light or sound

Xanax is considered a highly addictive drug among the list of benzodiazepines. “Xanax is also considered to be very addictive. Even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prescribing information for Xanax states that taking the drug can lead to dependence, especially when taking high doses for longer than a month.”

Detox is the Foundation for Recovery

One person’s treatment plan will look different from another person’s because each plan is individualized. When your plans are developed, both you and your case manager will sign them in agreement. A copy will go into your chart and you will be offered a copy to keep. You may also work with a therapist to develop plans for you and your family.

Those who struggle with addiction will find that the detox process can be difficult and can be accompanied by potentially serious withdrawal symptoms such as aches, fever, nausea, and fatigue. Because detox leaves the body and mind vulnerable, it also raises the risk of overdose, which can sometimes prove fatal. This is why home-based detox is not recommended; instead, those with addiction are encouraged to pursue medically supervised detox through Experience Recovery.

We use science-based, clinically proven models that provide a safe, expedient, and fully effective detox process, preparing the client for ongoing treatment and recovery.

Get Help Today!

If you or a loved one needs help getting sober, Experience Recovery can help. Our admissions line is open 24/7.

Get Help Today

If you or a loved one needs help getting sober, Experience Recovery can help. Our admissions line is open 24/7.

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