If you’re a person who suffers from anxiety or panic attacks, you know how debilitating they can be. Not only do they have the potential to ruin your day, but they can also greatly affect your quality of life and ability to function at work and in social situations. Xanax is a common anti-anxiety medication used to treat these symptoms.
But what does xanax lower? Does it lower your stress? Your blood pressure? Read on to discover the answer to these questions and more about the effects of taking xanax.
What is Xanax?
Xanax is a prescription drug belonging to the benzodiazepine class. It’s primarily used to treat anxiety, panic disorders, and insomnia. The name “xanax” is short for the drug’s full name: alprazolam.
Alprazolam is a prescription drug used to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and insomnia. Alprazolam is in a class of drugs called benzodiazepines.
How Does It Work?
Like other benzodiazepines, alprazolam acts as a central nervous system depressant, which means it slows down activity in your brain and spinal cord. This relaxation of your CNS helps to reduce anxiety and other panic-inducing feelings.
Xanax binds to GABA receptors in the brain, which increases the production of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is naturally produced in the brain to promote feelings of relaxation and ease anxiety. By increasing GABA, xanax decreases excitatory brain activity and anxiety.
Xanax also changes the way your body responds to stress by lowering your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone your body releases when it feels stressed or experiences a trauma.
High cortisol levels can make you feel edgy and on edge.
In low doses, xanax takes advantage of natural brain chemistry to lower cortisol and reduce feelings of anxiety. However, in higher doses, xanax actually blocks the normal flow of GABA, thus decreasing the amount of natural GABA in your brain.
Short-Term Effects of Xanax
- Anxiolytic: Xanax is the most effective benzodiazepine at relieving feelings of anxiety and panic.
- Sedation: Taking xanax will make you drowsy and relaxed thanks to its action on the central nervous system.
- Amnesia: Short-term memory loss is common among benzodiazepine users.
- Cognitive impairment: Your ability to think critically will be diminished when taking xanax.
- Dizziness: The feeling of lightheadedness and the potential for fainting will increase when taking xan-ax.
- Libido drop: Xanax will cause sexual arousal to diminish.
- Suicidal ideation: People taking xanax are at a higher risk of suicidal thoughts than the general population.
- Weight gain: Many people experience weight gain while taking xanax.
Long-Term Effects of Xanax
- Anxiety: Taking xanax for an extended period of time can lead to a higher chance of anxiety relapse.
- Cognitive impairment: As mentioned above, long-term xanax use will impact your ability to think critically.
Is Xanax Safe?
Although xanax does have legitimate medical uses, it is not a safe drug to take for an extended period of time.
Many people assume that a prescription drug must be safe because it’s a doctor-prescribed medication. But no drug is 100% safe for everyone.
Take xanax regularly and you’ll experience a number of side effects, including weight gain, cognitive impairment, and long-term changes in your hormone levels.
In extreme cases, xanax can cause death. Regular use of xanax can lead to dependence and addiction, which can be extremely difficult to overcome.
If you’re suffering from anxiety, it’s important to consider all your treatment options. Xanax is a quick fix that can help reduce anxiety in the short term. However, it’s not a long-term solution and can lead to significant side effects if taken regularly.
For most people, exercise and healthy eating regimens are great for reducing anxiety. If these methods aren’t enough for you, consider reaching out to your doctor about alternatives to xanax.