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Can Xanax Cause Memory Loss

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Changes To The Brains Gaba Receptors

Preventing Memory Loss

The use of benzodiazepines like Xanax increases the effect of neurotransmitters in the brain called GABA . GABA is a chemical that slows communication between different parts of the brain.

While enhancing GABA can have calming effects, it can also prevent new short-term memories from making it to the part of the brain that is responsible for long-term memory storage.

Alcohol also affects the GABA receptors in the brain, which is why blacking out can occur when drinking also. Drinking alcohol and taking Xanax at the same time makes memory loss more likely.

Metabolism In The Elderly

A younger adult taking alprazolam will process the drug much quicker than an elderly person. Alprazolam will peak in a younger individuals bloodstream within the first two hours of taking it.

Within 11 hours, the total concentration of alprazolam in their blood will reduce to half . In older adults, the half-life of alprazolam is about 16 hours. This longer half-life can lead to a toxic amount of alprazolam in their system if they take it too frequently.

Why Do Benzodiazepines Cause Memory Loss

To understand why benzodiazepines cause memory loss, one first has to understand how they operate in the brain. Benzodiazepines affect a receptor in the brain called the gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor. They work by depressing the central nervous system . In depressing the CNS, benzodiazepines produce feelings of relaxation, and work by way of psychomotor retardation, according to

Benzodiazepines induce anterograde memory loss, which means that they may inhibit a persons ability to recall memories from or make memories after a certain point in time or traumatic event. While for some people taking benzodiazepines this may be a welcome relief , it is not generally a desirable result.

This may be especially true since recent research points to the fact that memory loss due to benzodiazepines may not be an effect just while taking them, but may last long term. In particular, people who take benzodiazepines and also drink alcohol, or suffer from alcohol abuse, may experience episodic memory loss. This means that the person struggles to remember details of recent events in his or her lifehow they happened, when they happened, and more.

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Side Effects Requiring Immediate Medical Attention

Along with its needed effects, alprazolam may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking alprazolam:

More common

Increased Risk Of Alzheimers Disease

Can Clonazepam Cause Brain Damage

Long-term use of benzodiazepines like Xanax has been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimers disease.

Alzheimers disease is a relatively rare condition that affects memory and cognition and usually occurs in older adults.

While dementia is not caused by Xanax abuse directly, abuse of the medication can increase the risk for this condition overall.

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Programs For First Nations And Inuit

First Nations communities looking for help with problematic substance use have access to two programs funded by the Government of Canada:

  • National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program
  • National Youth Solvent Abuse Program
  • Foundry Foundry offers young people ages 12-24 health and wellness resources, services and supports online and through integrated service centres in seven communities across BC.
  • Provides access to information on mental health, mental disorders, and substance use problems and disorders.

Xanax Blackout: Mechanisms In The Brain

While alcohol broadly impacts the GABA receptors in the brain, benzodiazepines like Xanax are more targeted. They impact GABA-A receptors in particular. There are two subtypes of GABA-A receptors:

  • BZ-1, collected most densely in the cerebellum
  • BZ-2, most densely populating the hippocampus and cortex

Most studies involving the impact of benzodiazepines on GABA-A receptors have focused on BZ-2. Benzodiazepines with more hypnotic properties, which impact memory and allow the brain to slow enough to fall asleep, are not as frequently prescribed for anxiety. Xanax is believed to have fewer hypnotic properties compared to anxiolytic, or anxiety-reducing, properties, but this may not be true.

Memory is typically defined by:

  • Duration, in short-term and long-term spans
  • Contents, through explicit and implicit processes
  • Stages, like acquisition, consolidation, and retrieval

Previous medical studies have shown that benzodiazepines, including anti-anxiety ones like Xanax, have a greater impact on episodic memory, leading to long-term issues. However, more recent surveys have found that all benzodiazepines have a broader impact on retaining information of all kinds than previously believed. This may mean that acute intoxication from taking too much Xanax can lead to blackouts.

Without enough neuronal firing, the brain simply does not keep information in short-term storage long enough to move it to long-term storage.

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How Is Xanax Abused

Xanax is often obtained from family or friends with a prescription. It can be orally or nasally ingested. Nasal ingestion shortens the time it takes for the drug to kick in, whereas oral consumption can increase its effective time.

One of the most abused forms of Xanax is Xanax bars. These bars are comprised of approximately 4 times the amount and potency of a single tablet. Users risk Xanax overdose when taking multiple Xanax bars at once, as even one bar can prove fatal.

Another administration route is snorting Xanax. Snorting Xanax shortens the time it takes for the drug to hit the bloodstream and intensifies the effects.

Treatment For Xanax Addiction

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The first goal of Xanax addiction treatment is helping you safely withdraw from the medication. When you complete withdrawal, your Xanax memory issues should start to disappear. But to maintain recovery, you still have work to do in primary treatment. The core of this treatment is psychotherapy. Your particular recovery plan may include any number of therapy options.

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Test Of Visual Memory

PAL. Mixed model repeated measures ANOVA with 2 levels of group and 2 levels of time shows that one out of four tests of PAL had significant main effect of treatment for two weeks with F = 14.45, p = 0.001, 2 = 0.376 for PAL mean trial to success F = 0.629, p = 0.435, 2 = 0.026 for PAL total errors adjusted F = 0.740, p = 0.398, 2 = 0.030 for PAL mean error to success and F = 3.396, p = 0.078, 2 = 0.124 for PAL memory score on the first trial. There was significant interaction between treatment for two weeks and PAL mean trial to success with F = 37.47, p< 0.001, 2 = 0.610 indicating that alprazolam impaired PAL mean trial to success significantly over time. Since all the subjects had the value of 4 for PAL stages completed at both time points, analysis of this parameter was not possible and was therefore excluded from analysis .

Can Your Brain Recover From Xanax

HomeBlogCan Your Brain Recover From Xanax?

Xanax use is widespread in the US due to being one of the most common prescription drugs. Sadly, it is highly addictive, and even those who have a legitimate prescription are at risk of abusing it.

Over an extended period, Xanax abuse can affect relationships, work, physical health, and mental health. It also affects the brain in the short-term and the long-term, causing a dependence to develop over time.

Drug addiction can feel very scary. You may feel as though you have lost control, and you might find yourself unsure of how to break free from the dependence. Fortunately, there is help and recovery information available.

With support, care, and guidance, you will be able to overcome your Xanax addiction and live a sober life. Likewise, addressing your substance abuse problem will help prevent potential brain damage caused by the drug.

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Long Term Effects Of Xanax Brain Damage

The widespread use of Xanax has become an increasing problem. If you or a loved one are seeking help to treat your addiction to Xanax, Phoenix Rising Recovery is ready to assist. Phoenix Rising Recovery is a rehab facility with a wide range of evidence-based treatment programs that are specialized by substance and individualized to meet each patients needs. Because we understand how addictive and impactful medications can be, we even provide addiction treatment for substances such as Xanax. Xanax brain damage is just one of the negative effects of Xanax abuse that we are trying to have our patients prevent and avoid.

The Phoenix Rising staff provides thoughtful, caring, and individualized attention to each patient. The care that we provide our patients center on them developing healthy bodies and minds. Here at Phoenix Rising, we focus on the end goal of recovery and sustained sobriety.

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    The Effect Of Chronic Alprazolam Intake On Memory Attention And Psychomotor Performance In Healthy Human Male Volunteers

    Muhammad Shahdaat Bin Sayeed

    1Department of Pharmacy, University of Asia Pacific, Dhaka 1209, Bangladesh

    2Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh

    3Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh


    1. Introduction

    There is a steadily increased rate of alprazolam prescriptions in Bangladesh, which has a population of more than 168 million . Generally, alprazolam is the most frequently used benzodiazepine primarily indicated for the treatment of panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder . The clinical dose for the management of anxiety can range from 0.5 to 4 milligrams per day and a daily dose of up to 10mg is indicated for the management of panic disorder . Alprazolam has been shown to be as equally effective in the treatment of GAD as other benzodiazepines , tricyclic antidepressants , and serotonin reuptake inhibitors . Alprazolam is also effective in the treatment of severe anxiety in patients during alcohol withdrawal . It is also affective in the treatment of major depressive disorder when prescribed in double doses that are used for anxiety relief . However, alprazolam is not a preferred choice in the treatment of body dysmorphic disorders. Alprazolam is considered as a preferred anxiolytic because of its additional role as an antidepressant . Another benefit of this drug is the relatively faster onset of anxiety relief compared to other anxiolytics .

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    Medications That Can Cause Memory Loss

    Some medications are the ultimate Catch-22: While they may ward off disease and help you function, they can also lead to harmful side effects.

    Drugs that may cause memory loss and confusion include:

    • Antidepressants.
    • Steroids.
    • Tranquilizers.

    As you age, you may be more vulnerable to these negative side effects, notes Dr. Bonner-Jackson. Talk to your healthcare provider if you notice any new brain fog or confusion. If your medication is to blame, there are many alternatives out there. We can switch your medication to avoid these effects.

    Dangers Associated With Seizures

    What Does Xanax Really Do To Your Body?

    The Epilepsy Foundation notes that most seizures are minor, end on their own, and cause minimal concerns. However, during any seizure, individuals can hurt themselves, leading to head injuries, broken bones, and burns. Sometimes, people can develop problems breathing during or after a seizure oxygen deprivation can damage the brain and other organ systems.

    Long, convulsive seizures the famous tonic-clonic status epilepticus is a medical emergency. This type of seizure may last for more than five minutes, and the person requires emergency medical assistance. The person may choke on vomit, saliva, or other fluids draining out of the mouth during the seizure. Repeated seizures, or long-lasting seizures, may cause a coma or death.

    Although seizure disorders, including epilepsy, are rarely fatal, this is because most people get medical attention after experiencing their first seizure. Untreated seizures are deadly. One study reported that, in a 109 person study, 44.5 percent of the participants did not achieve seizure remission within five years of diagnosis, and of those, 51 people died.

    When seeking help to end Xanax addiction, it is important to report how much Xanax is typically consumed and how long the person has struggled with the drug. This allows the doctor to develop an appropriate taper, which can help avoid seizures and other withdrawal symptoms.

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    Prolonged Benzodiazepine Use Can Increase The Risk Of Dementia

    According to a study, using benzodiazepines can lead to a 50 percent increase in the probability of developing dementia later in life. The study followed 1,063 men and women who were dementia free. None of the participants started taking benzodiazepines until the third year of the study. After a 15-year follow-up, 253 cases of dementia were discovered. The study also revealed that withdrawal from benzodiazepines can lead to brain fog and brain zaps, or a feeling of electric shocks in the head.

    Does Xanax Cause Alzheimers

    Although it does not cause it, several studies have found benzodiazepines may increase the risk of Alzheimers. This association may be linked to the longer half-life of alprazolam in the elderly.

    Taking alprazolam long-term can lead to a large accumulation of the drug in your system. This increases the likelihood of memory impairment and may lead to irreversible effects on cognition and memory.

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    What Are Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

    Xanax withdrawal symptoms can arise if you have been abusing the drug. Though you may think that stopping taking Xanax cold turkey is safe, this is not true. Due to the effects of withdrawal, you should always complete Xanax detox with support and advice from a clinical professional.

    If you decide to seek treatment for Xanax abuse, you will first complete a substance abuse assessment. This will ensure that you are offered proper treatment. Typically, treatment starts with a detox.

    Xanax withdrawal arises when detox commences under the guidance of a professional treatment center. Supervised at numerous American addiction centers, you will be supported throughout the treatment process, ensuring safety and effective recovery. American addiction centers, such as ours, provide the care and advice you need to cope with the withdrawal symptoms and usually recommend a medical detox.

    Withdrawing from Xanax involves slowly tapering the dosage. The effects of Xanax withdrawal include psychological and physical symptoms, such as:

    • Muscle aches and pain
    • Psychosis
    • Suicidal thoughts

    Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be fatal, and some people experience life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. It is therefore vital to complete detox with the guidance of medical professionals.

    Though uncomfortable, withdrawing from Xanax is the best thing for your health as it can reduce long-term impacts on your brain.

    Drugs That Cause Memory Loss

    Beware: These 10 Medications Can Cause Memory Loss!

    Last updated October 13, 2021.Edited and medically reviewed by Patrick Alban, DC. Written by Deane Alban.

    There are many kinds of prescription drugs and OTC medications that cause memory loss. See if any drugs you take can cause problems and what to do about it.

    According to Harvard University, prescription drugs cause over 128,000 deaths per year in the United States.

    This does not count deaths in nursing homes which account for another estimated additional 350,000 deaths annually.

    Adverse drug reactions are now the fourth leading cause of death in the US and the fifth leading cause of hospital death in Europe.

    More emergency room visits result from prescription medications than from illicit drugs, alcohol, and recreational drug use combined.

    Its very clear that medications carry significant risks and one of the most common risks is memory loss.

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    Effects Of Xanax On The Memory

    The benzodiazapine drug known as alprazolam is commonly sold under the trade name of Xanax, and it is often prescribed for anxiety, depression and sleep disorders. In addition to stress-reducing effects, Xanax also has sedative, hypnotic, anticonvulsant and muscle relaxant effects. Some of these properties may be mediated indirectly by affecting memory systems. In fact, alprazolam induces anterograde amnesia, promotes retrograde amnesia, changes risk taking and enhances memory gain.

    If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

    What Does Xanax Do To The Brain

    The brain comprises different areas of cells involved in various functions. These areas of cells communicate with each other by sending out chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters.

    When you take Xanax, it affects the levels of some of these chemical messengers. In particular, Xanax increases the level of a brain chemical known as gamma-aminobutyric acid , a neurotransmitter that inhibits brain activity. This slows the brain down, helping you feel calmer and more relaxed.

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