Is Xanax Bad For Your Brain?

So many people throughout the United States are prescribed Xanax each year, and with how common its use has become, one of the most frequent questions heard regarding this anti-anxiety medicine is whether or not Xanax is bad for your brain. People wonder not only is Xanax bad for your brain in the short-term but also what the potential long-term effects of its use are.

Before looking at the question of is Xanax bad for your brain, it can be useful to have an understanding of how Xanax works and how it manages to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and panic disorder.

Is Xanax Bad For Your Brain?
Xanax is part of a class of drugs called benzodiazepines, which are meant to be short-term treatment options for anxiety and panic disorders.

There are several different kinds of anxiety for which Xanax may be helpful. One is panic disorder, and with this condition, the person can get sudden feelings of terror, and physical symptoms can include sweating, chest pain, and heart palpitations.

Other reasons someone might be prescribed Xanax include social anxiety disorder, which is essentially a social phobia, specific phobias, and general anxiety disorder. With a general anxiety disorder, the person has excessive and unjustified worry and fears, even without anything provoking these feelings.

Extreme anxiety is something that originates in your brain, and people with anxiety disorders typically have problems with how their brain regulates fear and emotions.

Xanax is an anti-anxiety medicine that is a benzodiazepine. In general, this class of drugs is used therapeutically to relax the brain and emotions of the person taking it, and these medicines can also act as a sedative.

When someone takes Xanax, it plays a role in how messages are transmitted to the brain. GABA is the brain’s neurotransmitter primarily responsible for calming nerves and brain activity, and it plays a role not only in reducing anxiety but also promoting sleepiness and muscle relaxation. When a person takes Xanax the GABA activity in their brain is increased, which is what contributes to the calming effect.

There are some things to know about Xanax, however. The first important thing to know, particularly if you’re considering the question of is Xanax bad for your brain, is the fact that it’s intended only for short-term use.

Xanax is not a drug designed for long-term use because it interferes with the functioning of natural GABA in the brain. When Xanax is present, the brain feels as if it doesn’t need to produce as much GABA, and that means if you take Xanax for a prolonged period and then stop taking it, you will likely experience even worse anxiety or panic than you did before taking the medicine. It can also contribute to other problems such as severe insomnia or irritation.

The symptoms are known as withdrawal, and they indicate you have developed a physical dependence to Xanax.

This potential for dependence is one of the major ways Xanax is bad for your brain, even in the short-term.

So along with the short-term potential for adverse effects that come with taking Xanax, there may be long-term ways Xanax is bad for your brain as well.

There has been some research that has shown people who are users of Xanax may have a higher likelihood of developing cognitive problems and impairment. There have also been a few studies showing that Xanax is bad for your brain in the long-term because it can raise your likelihood of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s, although a lot more research still needs to be done in these areas.

A lot of the reasons Xanax is bad for your brain in the long-term is because the fact this drug and others like it are specifically intended for short-term use, yet people use them for years.

There is also the possibility of adverse side effects that can come from using Xanax in both the short and long-term. For example, some of the possible side effects that have been identified include suicidal thoughts, seizures, hallucinations, blurred vision, depression, and aggression.

One study indicated benzos might cause brain damage in long-term users as well.

If you’re worried about answering the question of is Xanax bad for your brain, you need to do a few things. First, speak to your doctor about whether or not the use of Xanax is right for you.

If it is you need to use it exactly as directed. It’s also important to realize that Xanax is meant as a short-term treatment for the symptoms of anxiety and panic, and not as a long-term treatment for these problems. It can be better to look at alternatives for treating anxiety and panic, such as the use of medicines intended for long-term use, as well as therapy.

Is Xanax Bad For Your Brain?
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