Xanax Intended Use

Xanax, also known as alprazolam, is the most prescribed psychiatric medication in the country. It is a member of the benzodiazepine family — a group of drugs meant to create a state of calm in users — and works by enhancing the brain’s tranquilizing chemicals. Xanax is meant to help stabilize brain activity, calm the brain and body, and help to induce sleep. Because of its many uses, Xanax is ideally prescribed to anxiety, panic disordered, depression and insomnia patients to help relieve their symptoms.

Xanax is a highly effective drug, providing immediate relief within minutes of use. In large doses, it is known to produce habit-like behaviors in its users because of the euphoric high it provides and its potency. Though it is recommended to only take what is prescribed, Xanax is frequently abused for recreational purposes and can lead to severe, and sometimes fatal, withdrawal symptoms.

Xanax Intended Use
Xanax acts as a brain chemical enhancer, reducing overactivity in the brain and increasing feelings of calm and relaxation. The brain is comprised of neurotransmitters, or chemicals in the brain that help to carry information to the body. One of these neurotransmitters is GABA — gamma amino butyric acid — which acts as the brain’s tranquilizer. The brain also creates serotonin, a neurotransmitter impacting a person’s mood, emotions and motor skills. When the brain is overstimulated and creating feelings of anxiety and fear, the GABA neurotransmitter stabilizes the brain and induces feelings of calm and extreme relaxation.

Anxiety, panic disordered and depression patients are believed to have a chemical imbalance in their brains that affects the amount of serotonin produced. This imbalance also over-stimulates the brain beyond what the body can handle. As a result, they do not produce enough GABA molecules to calm the brain and the body. Xanax helps to enhance the GABA neurotransmitters in the brain, regulate serotonin levels and decrease abnormal brain activity to relax the body.

Xanax is extremely effective, activating within minutes of use.  However, the drug has a short half-life and effects will wear off after a few hours. The brain will release less of its few GABA molecules as a response to consistent Xanax use, assuming the drug can work effectively without help. As a result, the brain becomes tolerant of the drug, and it is not uncommon for doctors to prescribe higher doses to help produce the same calming effects and symptom relief.

The body will also react to increased Xanax use by destroying the molecules in the blood. The more Xanax circulates in the bloodstream, the longer its effects last. However, it is the liver’s job to break down Xanax molecules and regulate its presence in the blood. After consistent use, the body reacts by producing an excess of liver enzymes to destroy any traces of the drug. This greatly decreases Xanax’s effect on the body and may also influence users to take larger doses for relief.

Even on prescribed doses, patients risk becoming dependent on Xanax. This drug helps to stabilize brain activity and serotonin levels to regulate a person’s mood and state of calm. An imbalance in these brain chemicals can lead to depression, severe anxiety and panic. Individuals suffering from these disorders may begin taking the drug for immediate relief, but soon may consume larger doses to increase the effects or to maintain the relief. Xanax has a short half-life, so increasing the dosage can lead to physical dependence.

Xanax is also frequently abused for its immediate effects and potency. This benzodiazepine makes users feel calm and euphoric, making it a drug of escape and relaxation. It eliminates feelings of worry and stress. In order to maintain the high, abusers take Xanax more frequently and at higher doses.

Consistent use increases the likelihood of individuals developing a tolerance of the drug. Xanax will become less effective over time, and the brain will no longer be able to function independently without it. Depending on how frequently users consume Xanax, they can become addicted within months, and sometimes weeks in more severe cases. Without Xanax in their systems, users can develop withdrawal symptoms. Left untreated or without gradual detox, Xanax withdrawal symptoms can be severe and sometimes fatal. Other common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Intense shaking
  • Increased anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Insomnia
Treating Xanax addiction can be difficult and requires gradual detoxification. It is important users do not eliminate the drug cold turkey from their systems because effects could be fatal.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Xanax addiction, you must seek help now. Our trained professionals at The Recovery Village are ready to help you on your road to recovery. Through personalized treatment plans and medical support, you will learn how to overcome your addiction. Let The Recovery Village guide you to the best treatment plan to suit your needs.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America. (n.d.). Medication. Retrieved from https://www.adaa.org/finding-help/treatment/medication

Cox, M.D., S. (n.d.). How Does Xanax Work? Retrieved from http://www.nationalanxietyfoundation.org/how-does-xanax-work–.html

Depression Is Real. (n.d.). How does Xanax help with mild depression? Retrieved from http://depressionisreal.com/xanax-for-mild-depression/

Fox News Health. (2014, January 31). Popping Xanax is More Harmful Than You Think. Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/01/31/popping-xanax-is-more-harmful-than-think.html

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