Xanax: Who Needs It?
Xanax: who needs it, versus who’s actually taking it? Xanax is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States, and it was first introduced in the U.S. in 1981. Since that time hundreds of millions of people have used the benzodiazepine, which is most commonly prescribed to treat anxiety and panic disorders.
Some of the distinguishing features of Xanax include the fact that it starts working relatively quickly, and it has a comparatively short half-life, which means it’s eliminated from the body more rapidly than similar benzos like Valium.
When considering Xanax and who needs it, it’s important to realize that this prescription anti-anxiety drug provides fast symptom relief for acute issues related to anxiety and panic. It works by binding to the GABA receptors in the brain, which slows down brain activity to reduce feelings of anxiety as well as fear or terror. Xanax can also create feelings of euphoria when it’s taken in larger doses than what’s prescribed, or when people without anxiety take it.
To be prescribed Xanax, you have to visit a physician, and they will consider whether you have conditions such as a panic disorder, social anxiety disorder or generalized anxiety disorder.
A panic disorder is defined as experiencing extreme fear that comes on with no warning. There are many physical signs of a panic disorder that can occur including but are not limited to the feeling of choking, chest pain, shortness of breath and sweating.
Generalized anxiety disorder is another reason a person may need Xanax. With generalized anxiety disorder, a person experiences unreasonable fear, even without the presence of stimuli or even that would provoke those emotions.
Social anxiety disorder is a common reason people may need Xanax as well. With social anxiety disorder, there is intense worry or fear of embarrassment in social situations. It can have a significant impact on a person’s functionality in their daily life.
Some of the risk factors for anxiety disorders include being shy, being a female, having limited economic resources, having exposure to traumatic or stressful live events, having a close relative with an anxiety disorder, or parents who have a history of mental disorders.
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Then, if it’s determined the patient has an anxiety disorder they can begin working with a psychiatrist.
There are two general categories of treatment available: talk therapy and medication.
Within the category of medication, there are short-term options like Xanax, which is primarily for treating acute symptoms that come on rapidly, and then there are options such as antidepressants which have a longer uptake time but can be taken on a long-term basis. Medicines like Xanax or even long-term antidepressants don’t cure anxiety but are instead a way to treat the symptoms.
Xanax fills the GABA receptors in the brain, which slows down nerve activity and creates a sense of calm for the person taking it. With that, however, comes the potential for the brain to produce less GABA naturally, and that may reduce the effectiveness of Xanax relatively quickly. This contributes to the likelihood of developing a physical dependence and psychological addiction to Xanax.
That’s one of the reasons that if you have a history of substance abuse or addiction, Xanax may not be the best anxiety treatment option for you.
Also, if you’re something considering Xanax and who needs it, it’s important you don’t have problems with liver or kidney function. Like other benzos, Xanax is metabolized primarily by the liver, and the kidneys play a role as well. If you have a decline in the functionality of your liver or kidneys and take Xanax, it can be stored in your body, contributing to the possibility of overdose or over-sedation.
Ultimately to answer the question of Xanax and who needs it, you need to speak with your physician. It can be a medicine with short-term therapeutic benefits, but it can also have potential adverse effects and downsides as well. If you feel as if you have an anxiety or panic disorder, there may be other better treatment or therapy options for you.