What is Xanax?
Xanax falls under the umbrella of benzodiazepine. It is used for the treatment of anxiety disorder, panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.
It is prescribed to help people with anxiety treat their symptoms as it acts on the central nervous system.
- More information on Anxiety Disorders
- More information on Panic Disorder
- More information on Generalized Anxiety Disorder
What are the side effects of Xanax?
As with many medications, Xanax has side effects. The most common side effects of Xanax arefeeling dizzy or lightheaded
change in your interest in sex
Many medications have side effects and if you have been prescribed Xanax, your doctor will have weighed up the benefits s/he expects you to gain from taking this medication against the possible side effects.
I’m scared to take Xanax.
What I have noticed when working with people with anxiety disorders (I’m a psychologist and you can find out more about me here) is that many people are scared to take prescribed medication. You might find that you are spending hours on Google on forums reading about possible side effects and worrying about what may happen to you.
This is common in anxiety disorders – Fear.
Is Xanax Addictive?
In order to discuss this, it is helpful to look at the half life of Xanax. This simply means how long Xanax stays in your system.
Xanax half life is approximately 11 hours. This means that half of the medication is still in your system after 11 hours. If you take Xanax regularly or for long periods of time, you may be topping up the levels of the medication in your bloodstream before it has a chance to be completed eliminated from your system.
If this is the case, it can take a few weeks to completely eliminate Xanax from your system and may result in you feeling withdrawal symptoms, should you decide to stop.
Xanax withdrawal symptoms
Coming off Xanax will be different for everyone and depends on how long you have used the drug and how often you take it.
Some people may find that their anxiety returns when they stop taking this medication. This is sometimes referred to as Rebound – your symptoms come back at around or more intense than they were previously.
Your sleep may be affected, you may feel irritable or notice changes in your appetite and weight during withdrawal.
To avoid these symptoms, it is recommended that you come off the drug slowly, by tapering off, and under the supervision of your Doctor.
Alternatives to Xanax for the treatment of anxiety and panic
Many health care providers now recommend therapy, notably Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT, and or, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.