What Does Xanax Treat?
Xanax (alprazolam tablets) is in a class of drugs called benzodiazepines which act on the brain and nerves (central nervous system) to produce a calming effect. It works by enhancing the effects of a certain natural chemical in the body (GABA). Benzodiazepines are a class of antidepressants, anti-panic agents, and muscle relaxants. It is only available by prescription. Xanax is usually used as a short-term treatment for major anxiety and certain phobias. It is not usually necessary to relieve everyday stress or anxiety.
Xanax and Panic Disorder
Controlled clinical trials have demonstrated that Xanax is effective in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. Panic disorder is associated with recurrent, unexpected panic attacks that often involve a short period of intense fear or discomfort, along with other physical symptoms such as palpitations, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, dizziness, and fear of dying.
Xanax and Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder is associated with unrealistic, excessive anxiety or worry about two or more life circumstances for a period of six months or longer. Some of the symptoms which may be present include: muscle tension, aches or soreness, feeling shaky, restlessness, palpitations or increased heart rate, sweating, shortness of breath, dry mouth, dizziness, diarrhea, nausea, frequent urination, irritability, and/or trouble falling or staying asleep.
Xanax and Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a form of the general anxiety disorder with more specifics in the effects. Xanax has also been prescribed for individuals who battle with this. People with social anxiety disorder have an irrational fear of being watched, judged or evaluated, or of embarrassing or humiliating themselves. The anxiety and discomfort becomes so extreme that it interferes with daily functioning.
SAD is one of the most common mental disorders with up to 13 percent of the general population experiencing symptoms at some point in their life. With proper treatment, symptoms can be managed and quality of life can greatly improve.
The difference between normal shyness and SAD relates to the severity and persistence of the symptoms that are experienced. People with SAD have both emotional and physical symptoms. Some of the emotional symptoms include:
- Intense fear of situations where you don’t know other people
- Fear of situations where you will be judged
- Anxiety about being embarrassed or humiliated
- Fear that others will notice your anxiety
- Fear and dread of upcoming events weeks in advance
Examples of physical symptoms include:
- Profuse sweating
- Trembling hands
- Muscle tension
- Racing heart
People with SAD know that their fear is out of proportion to the actual situation but are still unable to control their anxiety. The anxiety may be specific to one type of social or performance situation (known as specific SAD) or it may be in all situations (generalized SAD). Some of the situations that are common triggers include interacting with strangers, making eye contact, and initiating conversations.
Xanax and Bipolar Disorder
Xanax is also one of many prescription benzodiazepines used to treat bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a serious illness. It can make a person’s normal moods seem extreme. It used to be called manic depression. People with bipolar disorder have mood swings which can range from very low (depression) to very high (mania). Bipolar disorder sometimes is confused with other types of depression.
Benzodiazepines rapidly help control certain manic symptoms in bipolar disorder until mood-stabilizing drugs can take effect. They are usually taken for a brief time (up to two weeks) with other mood-stabilizing drugs. They may also help restore normal sleep patterns in people with bipolar disorder. Benzodiazepines slow the activity of the brain, and in doing so they help treat mania, anxiety, panic disorder, insomnia, and seizures.
Xanax is also useful for treating anxiety associated with depression (as anxiety and depression often come hand in hand).
Other Ailments treated with Xanax
On occasion, healthcare providers may also recommend Xanax for treating something other than anxiety and panic disorder. “Off-label” Xanax uses can include the treatment of the following conditions:
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
It can also be used for the temporary symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, depression, fear of strangers, and irritable bowel and premenstrual syndrome. Dosage would vary. In lower dosages, it may be prescribed to treat fibromyalgia.
If you or someone you know is struggling with a Xanax addiction, we can help. Please call our toll free number at (877) 571-5720. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer your questions on Xanax treatment and addiction.
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