Feeling anxious or sad is normal, especially when you have just undergone a sad event, like a death of a loved one. However, if this feeling lingers longer than normal, and anxiety symptoms turn to panic attacks, then you are having an anxiety disorder. This is the time that your doctor might prescribe you to take alprazolam.
However, you need to consult a psychologist to determine if you are suffering from an anxiety disorder before you can get a prescription from your doctor. Learn more about alprazolam, its benefits, and setbacks.
How Common is Anxiety Disorder Among Americans
Around 18 percent of the 40 million American adults ages 18 and older are diagnosed with anxiety disorder. For teens ages 13 to 18, 25 percent of their population are showing signs of this behavioral disorder, which is alarming since it affects their lifestyle and academic performance.
There are plenty of things that worry people, and that includes finances, health, relationships, politics, and business. A little anxiety is a good motivator since it drives you to persevere so that you won’t suffer a loss or defeat. However, when those anxiety symptoms linger longer and intensify, that’s another story.
To ensure whether you are suffering from a generalized or social anxiety disorder, better consult a psychologist or doctor. Additionally, here are some types of anxiety disorders in the field:
- Panic disorder: A repetitive episode of panic attacks accompanied by shortness of breath and a fast heartbeat. This happens fast and simultaneously.
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): You feel a persistent worry about things and events without any logical basis.
- Agoraphobia: You fear being in open spaces which can trigger your panic attacks.
- Substance-induced anxiety disorder: This behavioral problem is caused by abuse or misuse of any illicit or medicinal substance.
- Social anxiety disorder (SAD): The fear of being in a crowd since you feel intensely self-conscious paired with low self-esteem.
- Separation anxiety disorder: The uneasiness and fear you feel upon leaving your loved one. You can rampantly see this in children on their first day of school where they cry as their parents leave them in school.
- Anxiety disorder induced by a brain problem: There are also instances that certain brain damage can lead to behavioral problems like anxiety disorder.
How Does It Work
Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine that is known to work on the brain, particularly the GABA receptors. It helps the brain calm down and slow its activity so that your uneasiness wears off. This is how it works in alleviating your anxiety disorder and panic attacks.
This substance has a half life of 11 hours, meaning it takes that period for its original amount to reduce by 50 percent. However, the average time for this drug to stay and work on your system depends on your metabolism, age, and health condition.
The type of alprazolam you take also matters. An immediate release will have its effect last for four to six hours, whereas an extended-release lasts longer.
Is This Advisable for Mild Anxiety
This benzodiazepine is a mild tranquilizer that works best for moderate to intense anxiety, depression, and panic attacks. It works on your brain where it depresses its activity so that you can calm your nerves and senses.
When Can You Not Take Alprazolam
This medication is not advisable to all patients, that’s why you need to get a prescription from a doctor if you plan to treat your depression and anxiety with it. Here are some contraindications for using this benzodiazepine:
- If you have allergies to alprazolam’s ingredients
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women
- Patients younger than 18 years
- Patients with kidney and liver problems
- If you are taking antidepressants
How Likely Is Dependence To Happen
On average, doctors prescribe the use of this drug for as long as 6 to 12 weeks, but still, it has a high risk of dependence and withdrawal symptoms. That’s because of the nature of this substance, as it is classified under Schedule IV Controlled Substances of the DEA’s drug classification system.
This means alprazolam poses a high risk of dependence and abuse among its users. Its adverse effects are intensified when the patient takes alcoholic drinks and other illicit substances during medication.
As you continue to medicate with this substance, you must not suddenly stop using it, otherwise, you will suffer from painful withdrawal symptoms:
- Vomiting and nausea
- Mood swings
- Irritable mood
- Uncontrolled sweating
- Slower breathing
To avoid having serious withdrawal signs, gradually taper off from your usage until you can already live normally without taking it.
What are the Dangers of Using Anti-Anxiety Medications
The high risk for tolerance and dependence is one major danger associated when taking benzodiazepines like alprazolam. That’s why patients are never encouraged to self-medicate with this drug, especially without a doctor’s written prescription.
Another danger posed by alprazolam is when you drink alcohol or use illicit substances during your medication. Alcohol is a strong depressant, so pairing that with this drug can heighten its sedative effect, which can lead to severely depressed breathing and heart rate.
The third danger of using this medicine is the formation of substance-induced depression and anxiety. It can promote suicidal behaviors among patients since drug dependence is high. The feeling of uneasiness and hopelessness drastically spikes as the drug’s effects wear off.
When is the Best Time to Treat Anxiety and Xanax Overdose
Whether you want to treat your anxiety disorder or substance use disorder, getting medical treatment from a doctor or addiction specialist is a must. You need to embrace your current condition and that you need medical attention to get well from this health problem.
A certified and experienced doctor and rehab center specialized in treating Xanax addiction and dependence can professionally help you recover. Know their available facilities and methods of treating patients to ensure they can perfectly help you recover.
Rehab treatment programs are designed to holistically restore your healthy physique and behavior so you can go back to your normal life.