Xanax Side Effects You Should Know About
Deadly breathing problems? Yup, that’s one.
That’s because it takes away anxiety, it’s potent, and it works really well, he says.
But that’s also the problem with it, Muskin notes.
A cousin to Valium, Xanax is a triazolam benzodiazepine thats used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. It works by attaching to receptor sites in the brain to depress the central nervous systemcalming those racing thoughts and panic attacks that are hallmarks of anxiety. And its very popular: An estimated 5.6 percent of U.S. adults were on benzodiazepines as of 2013, reports the American Journal of Public Health.
But even though Xanax is a very safe drug, says Muskin, it can still have some serious side effects, and it shouldnt be taken casually.
Although Xanax is very safe when used as prescribed, there is a risk youll get hooked. Addiction is the biggest concern, and it certainly happens, says Muskin.I dont think we know accurately how many people are in that population, he says. Addiction can happen right away, says Muskineven within the first week.
If taken regularly, even for a matter of weeks, it can be problematic to stop cold-turkey, says Joseph Bienvenu, MD, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Effects Of Xanax On The Brain
When an anxiety disorder is present, the brain may not produce enough GABA on its own. With nothing to stop the more stimulating neurotransmitters from firing, your brain speeds along like a car with worn brakes. Xanax increases the effectiveness of GABA, allowing it to bind to nerve cell receptors and release a far greater number of chloride ions. This permits the ions to work as intended, penetrating each nerve cell and communicating with the receptor to slow the cells activity. Without the repeated firing of the more stimulating neurotransmitters, the chemical activity in your brain balances out, making you feel calmer.
What Does Xanax Feel Like
Xanax enhances a natural chemical in the body called GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, that slows brain function and decreases heart rate and blood pressure. A person taking Xanax as prescribed by their doctor will experience feelings of calm and drowsiness. This relief of tension helps combat anxiety and aids in restful sleep for someone with a sleeping disorder.
When taking Xanax to treat an anxiety or panic disorder, you may even feel back to normal after your first dose.
Some people have reported a sense of euphoria after taking Xanax, which may be a result of a dopamine rush. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls the brains reward and pleasure centers.
However, the typical response is feeling more relaxed or tired. Higher doses lead to a stronger Xanax high and more adverse side effects.
Xanax does not affect everyone the same way. How you will react to Xanax depends on several factors, including your age, dosage, mental state when taking Xanax and metabolism.
Recommended Reading: Can Diabetes Cause Memory Loss
How To Use Gaba Supplements
Some people may take a supplement in pill form, while others may add it to foods, such as protein drinks.
Researchers have not established a daily recommended intake or a suggested upper limit for GABA. Anyone wanting to take GABA as a supplement should consider talking to their doctor first.
At present, there is not enough research to evaluate the possible side effects of taking GABA supplements. However, if a person does experience side effects that might be GABA-related, they should discontinue the use of the supplement and contact their doctor.
Other researchers do not believe that GABA supplements cross the blood-brain barrier, which they would have to do to have any effect on the body.
However, some studies report positive effects from taking GABA supplements. These include:
How Long Does Xanax High Last
Though absorbed quickly, Xanaxs effects are rather short-acting compared to diazepam, another benzodiazepine sold under the brand name Valium. Most users feel the strongest symptoms for around two to four hours.
After the Xanax high wears off, there may be lingering grogginess for several more hours. However, that does not mean that the Xanax has left your system. Xanax can be detected throughout various parts of the body for days or months after being ingested.
Don’t Miss: Temporal Slowing On Eeg
Xanax And The Nervous System
Benzodiazepines are Central Nervous System depressants. This is a class of medication that works by decreasing abnormal brain activity, which promotes a sense of calm and relaxation.; Xanax works by binding GABA receptors in the brain, which generates a sense of ease and well-being.; It can also lead to sedation when taken in higher doses. As with many prescription medications, Xanax can be abused and is addictive. Those abusing Xanax are taking it either without a prescription or in ways and amounts other than as prescribed. In most cases, those they are seeking a carefree, euphoric high, or the feeling of being numb or completely separated from their environment.
Treatment For Xanax Abuse And Addiction
Many effects of Xanax addiction, including short-term memory loss, are treatable and can get better in time. Although some mental effects of Xanax abuse can in some cases be permanent, the brain is also a complex organ that is capable of healing with proper treatment.
The first step for many people seeking help for Xanax abuse is to enter a medical detox program. Although Xanax withdrawal is rarely deadly on its own, it can be dangerous to undergo without medical support. Medical detox services are commonly integrated into inpatient addiction programs to help patients safely withdraw from moderate to severe drug dependence.
Inpatient programs also offer other effective services such as dual-diagnosis programs and behavioral therapy. These can be helpful during the recovery process to help patients learn coping strategies for dealing with their triggers and working through other emotional struggles.
Recovery from Xanax addiction is possible, and youre not alone. Contact us today to find the right treatment program for you or a loved one today.
This page does not provide medical advice.
Don’t Miss: What Happens During A Brain Freeze
Do You Need Treatment
Xanax addiction and abuse can be frustrating. You feel like you canât stop taking the drug without feeling overwhelming anxiety. But your dependence on the drug also causes stress.;
If you or a loved one is having problems quitting Xanax, donât be afraid to get help. Trained mental health professionals can help you design a personalized plan that features both the medical and psychological treatment necessary to break the chains of addiction.
Not sure where to get help? Browse through our directory to find a quality treatment center near you.
How Is Xanax Abused
Many people abuse Xanax recreationally or begin abusing it after initially taking it as prescribed by a doctor. People that abuse Xanax for recreational purposes may swallow illegally-obtained tablets, crush and snort the drug, inject, or smoke it.
A common appeal of Xanax is its ability to produce a high in larger doses. This can create feelings of relaxation, pleasure, and lower a persons inhibition. The effects of Xanax on the brain can also make a person want to take more of the drug. This can increase the chance of falling into a pattern of regular Xanax abuse, which is a common precursor for addiction.
Don’t Miss: How Do Puzzles Help Your Brain
Effects On The Mind And Body
This prescription benzodiazepine works by decreasing abnormal excitement to the brain and increasing a brain chemical called GABA. This chemical promotes calmness and relaxation, which is why Xanax is used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. An individual who takes this may experience the following effects:
- anxiety relief
- insomnia relief
- easing of muscle tension
If you or someone you know has taken Xanax, they may have noticed how it affects the mind. This benzodiazepine can cause temporary memory loss, feelings of hostility, irritability, and disturbing or vivid dreams. Someone who takes too much Xanax may experience:
- shallow breathing
- a weak and rapid heartbeat
- coma or death in cases of overdose
If you are battling substance abuse with Xanax, you may end up experiencing long-term memory loss. A research team in France and Canada conducted a study that linked benzodiazepine use with Alzheimers disease. They concluded that people with greater doses and consumption of benzodiazepines are at higher risk of developing Alzheimers.
What Are The Signs Of Xanax Addiction
It is important to note that Xanax abuse and Xanax addiction are different things. Recreational users may still maintain some control over their use. But abuse can lead to addiction, which is when no matter what the user does, the pull of Xanax is stronger than leaving it alone.
It can be difficult to spot the signs of a Xanax addiction while it is still in its early stages even if you are the one who happens to be misusing it, and often the problem will not be recognized until it is too late and Xanax abuse has escalated and progressed to addiction. Signs of Xanax addiction that may seem obvious in hindsight can be easy to miss if you are not looking for them.
However, there are many physical and mental signs that point towards a developing addiction to Xanax, including:
- ;Memory problems
- ;Swollen arms and legs
- ;Chronic dry mouth
As someone becomes more and more dependent on Xanax to functionprioritizing obtaining and using it over nearly everything else in their lifethey begin to exhibit abnormal behavior.; These red flags are based on the fact that Xanax has become the driving force behind their decisions. These signs are associated not only with an addiction to Xanax but also with substance use disorders in general.
Some of these behavioral signs of Xanax addiction include:
Read Also: Does Mike Tyson Have Brain Damage
How Does Xanax Work For Anxiety
When you experience excessive stress or anxiety, the brain increases certain nerve signals that lead to feelings of anxiety. During these times, the brain produces an unbalanced amount of chemical signals, increasing brain activity, feelings of fear and anxiety and restricting the ability to calm the mind.
Xanax creates a calming effect by impacting the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid , a naturally occurring chemical in the brain. If you become anxious or nervous, your brain releases it to calm down the negative activity. If you have anxiety or panic disorders, Xanax works by enhancing the effects of GABA in your brain.
Because Xanax is only intended for short-term treatment of anxiety, it is important to pursue other treatment options for long-term control of anxiety. The gold standard for treating anxiety is therapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy and applied relaxation. If medications are needed to treat anxiety, the first-line choices are antidepressants, which can impact anxiety as well as depression.
How Does Xanax Impact The Brain
All benzodiazepine medications, including Xanax, impact a neurotransmitter called gamma-Aminobutyric acid . Many central nervous system depressants, including barbiturates, sedative-hypnotic sleep drugs, and alcohol, manage how rapidly GABA is absorbed into the brain.
GABA regulates how rapidly neurons communicate with each other in the brain, typically by inhibiting or reducing how often neurons fire. Rapid firing can trigger many conditions, from a sense of low-level dread or a seizure. With enough GABA available to the brain, however, these reactions calm down.
Drugs like benzodiazepines act like GABA and bind to the GABA receptors in the brain, allowing the naturally produced GABA to be more available. With more GABA available, the brain relaxes, the bodys reactions slow down, and a sense of pleasant relaxation or sleepiness will wash over the person.
These reactions are important on an as-needed basis for people who have serious medical conditions. However, this sedation is also addictive, and it can lead to mental and physical harm.
Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Brain Freeze
Medications To Increase Gaba
Doctors may prescribe medicines that increase the amount of GABA or stimulate the same neurotransmitters in the brain to treat some medical conditions, such as epilepsy.
For example, benzodiazepines act on many of the same neurotransmitter receptors as GABA. According to one study, people who have depression may have reduced GABA levels in the brain. The use of benzodiazepines may be beneficial in those instances.
Doctors also prescribe the medication gabapentin , which is chemically similar to GABA to reduce seizures and muscle pain.
However, doctors are not clear whether the therapeutic effects of these medications are related to their effect on GABA receptors or whether they work in other ways.
- candies, and more
Manufacturers produce GABA supplements by fermenting a form of lactic acid bacteria.
However, the FDA do not regulate dietary supplements in the same way as medications. Therefore, consumers should exercise caution as to where they purchase the product from and only buy from reputable vendors and companies.
What Happens When Xanax Stops Working
As a person continues to take Xanax over time, the brain will develop tolerance, becoming less responsive to the effects of the drug. When this happens, a doctor may increase the dosage. Sometimes, a person may start taking larger doses without consulting their doctor. Taking a higher dosage of Xanax when it is not prescribed is highly dangerous and can quickly spiral into Xanax addiction.
There are several types of medications that can be used to manage anxiety on a long-term basis. These include:
- Beta-blockers such as Inderal and Tenormin
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors such as Prozac , Zoloft , Lexapro and Paxil
- Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors such as Effexor , Pristiq and Cymbalta
- Tricyclic Antidepressants such as Elavil and Anafranil
Someone who needs medication for long-term anxiety management should discuss with their doctor which treatment option is best for them before starting a new medication.
Don’t Miss: Are Brain Freezes Dangerous
How Long Does It Take For Xanax To Kick In And How Does It Feel
Medically Reviewed byDr. Francine Mends, MDon May 14, 2020
Xanax is a brand name for alprazolam. This is a drug in the benzodiazepine family. It is a nervous system depressant, and doctors mostly use it to treat anxiety and panic disorders.
Xanax is a powerful drug. Because of its strong effects, many people who need to take it often have the same questions: How long does it take to kick in? What are the effects?
Itâs always best to be better informed about the prescriptions you take. To safeguard your health, learn about the effects of Xanax and what to do if youâre experiencing Xanax addiction or abuse.
Xanax Effects On The Body
The intoxication caused by Xanax and other benzodiazepines is often compared to that of alcohol, impairing mental alertness and acuity, motor coordination, and mechanical performance such as driving, slurring speech, causing dizziness and evoking a strong sense of drowsiness and lethargy. These varied effects are caused by the drugs more specific effects on the brain and its chemistry.
Xanax works by increasing the production and effectiveness of a neurochemical called GABA, which is responsible for calming a person during times of stress. With continued abuse of Xanax over an extended period of time, the brain becomes ineffective at producing GABA, which means that individuals who abuse Xanax persistently over time actually become less able to overcome stress and anxiety without relying on medication. Those who have become dependent on Xanax may experience other side-effects, such as confusion and an inability to think clearly, racing thoughts, excessive and erratic risk-taking behavior, and bouts of severe depression . These all result from severe imbalances in brain chemistry.
Continued Xanax use and abuse are also associated with a number of other physical symptoms, such as pronounced trembling and shaking, an inability to control ones bodily movements, rapid heartbeat and/or palpitations, loss of equilibrium and balance, and difficulty speaking.
Read Also: Why Do People Get Brain Freeze
Xanax Dependence And Addiction
Chronic use of Xanax can lead to physical and psychological dependence on the drug, even when taking it as prescribed. This can cause people to experience symptoms of withdrawal once the effects of the drug begin to wear off.
Symptoms of withdrawal can range from physical to psychological, and be mild or severe in nature. Severe dependence can make some of these symptoms feel unbearable if not followed by another dose. This may include sweating, intense anxiety, and seizures in severe cases.
The severity of Xanax withdrawal symptoms, especially in those that regularly abuse the drug, is a common struggle in those with dependence. This, in addition to a compulsion to keep taking the drug, can make a person feel forced to take it multiple times a day just to get by.
Dependence and addiction only grow worse over time, and can lead to serious health consequences if left untreated. The most effective way to prevent lasting effects of Xanax on the brain is to seek professional help.
Xanax Effects On Brain
The following articles on DrugAbuse.com are brought to you by American Addiction Centers who are the largest substance abuse treatment provider in the US with facilities coast to coast. We have helped thousands get sober and lead a life free from addiction. Call us to discuss how we can help you or your loved one find recovery