How Xanax Works In the Body

Have you ever wondered how Xanax works in the body? What is it about Xanax that allows it to alleviate symptoms of anxiety? How does Xanax work in the body in a way that makes it addictive for some people?

These are all common questions, and they’re particularly relevant right now as Xanax prescriptions, use and abuse have skyrocketed over the years.

Understanding how Xanax works in the body is somewhat complicated, and it involves looking at what happens when someone experiences anxiety, and how Xanax affects certain neurotransmitters in the brain.

How Xanax Works In the Body

Since Xanax works in the body to reduce symptoms of anxiety or panic attacks, to understand the prescription drug it can first be helpful to consider what happens when you experience anxiety. When you experience anxiety, your body is having a fight or flight response. Rather than simply creating feelings of stress, however, true anxiety leads to dread or fear. For some people anxiety may be triggered by a certain situation, while for others, anxiety can be chronic and pervasive.

When people have an ongoing anxiety disorder there is a belief that it’s a combination of genetics and environment, and your brain starts to become somewhat wired for anxiety, even when potential threats don’t exist.

There are different options to cope with anxiety, one of which is the use of prescription drugs including benzodiazepines like Xanax, as well as options such as Valium or Ativan.

Xanax works in the body by creating a calming effect that starts in the brain’s GABA neurotransmitters. This effect is similar in a way to how heroin and cannabis impact the brain.

There are certain reward pathways in the brain that are affected by using drugs like Xanax, which is what leads to the potential for addiction.

Since the goal of how Xanax works in the body is often to treat anxiety, before taking this medication it can be useful to know exactly how that happens.

Anxiety creates chemical imbalances in the brain and that’s where prescription medicines like Xanax may come into the equation. Unfortunately, most people prefer medicines like Xanax to therapy because they see it as an easy quick-fix. Therapy can take a long time to deal with anxiety, whereas a short time after taking Xanax its effects can be felt.

Alprazolam which is the generic name of Xanax is one of the most prescribed medicines in the world. When someone takes it works on the GABA receptor, and it creates a sense of calm and relaxation as well as working as a sedative and a  muscle relaxant. If you take large amounts of Xanax at one time, it can also create feelings of euphoria. The effects of Xanax and seeing how Xanax works in the body can usually be felt within about an hour of taking the drug, and the effects are felt on average for three to four hours. Because of the relatively short half-life and time of effectiveness, doctors may direct someone to take it several times a day.

Xanax works in the body by slowing down the effects of anxiety and panic, but over time as your brain becomes used to its presence, the GABA receptors’ activity may be even more ineffective than they were before you started taking the drug. It may be even more difficult than ever for your brain to properly regulate activity and the sense of excitement that contributes to anxiety and panic.

As someone continues to use Xanax over a longer period of time, they may become physically and psychologically dependent on it. When you’re psychologically dependent on Xanax your brain needs more and more to get the same effects. It becomes so used to the presence of Xanax that when you stop taking it, you may experience serious side effects known as withdrawal.

You may start to feel like you can’t function without Xanax and instead of taking it as-needed for panic or anxiety, you may find that you struggle to exist in your daily life without it.

Also relevant to the discussion of how Xanax works in the body and physical dependence is looking at the liver. As you take Xanax for longer periods of time, not only does your brain start producing less GABA than it did before, but your liver also starts metabolizing Xanax more efficiently. That removes thee Xanax from your system more quickly, and it makes  seem as if you aren’t getting the same effects from taking the drug as you once did. The combination of these two effects can contribute to a serious Xanax problem that can develop relatively quickly.

How Xanax Works In the Body
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