Woman Holding Xanax Pill

What Are Common Uses of Xanax that are Dangerous?

Posted on April 3rd, 2017

What is Xanax prescribed for? Xanax is the brand name of a medication called alprazolam. It is in a category of drugs called benzodiazepines, a group of drugs that produce a tranquilizing or calming effect. By enhancing the effects of certain natural brain chemicals, Xanax is very effective at treating panic disorders, social anxiety disorder or generalized anxiety disorder. Xanax is also sometimes prescribed to improve symptoms of sleep disorders.

Risks of Taking Xanax

When Xanax is prescribed for anxiety, improvement in symptoms usually happens quickly, and the effectiveness of the medication doesn’t diminish after using it for months or years. But there are some risks associated with taking Xanax or other benzodiazepines. Taking Xanax can cause drowsiness or decreased alertness, and it may also cause dizziness or impaired coordination. These side effects can make it dangerous to drive when taking this medication, and it can also increase the risk of falls in the elderly.

Other Dangers of Using Xanax

Using Xanax in a way other than prescribed is what can make it more dangerous. Abusing Xanax by taking more than the prescribed dose or using someone else’s prescription can also be dangerous, or even deadly, particularly when mixed with other drugs that depress the central nervous system, such as alcohol or opioids.

Long-term use of Xanax or other benzodiazepines can lead to physical dependence, and if you try to discontinue taking this medication, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as shaking, sweating, and depression or panic attacks. For this reason, these drugs shouldn’t be stopped suddenly without talking to your doctor. Quitting the use of Xanax suddenly can lead to seizures or muscle cramps, so they should be tapered off slowly with professional help.

When used as directed and only for the purposes it was prescribed for, Xanax is a very effective medication. It’s important to be aware of possible side effects and the dangers of misuse or abuse.

Resources

 

Medical News Today: Benzodiazepines: Uses, Side Effects and Risks

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/262809.php

National Institute of Mental Health: Despite Risks, Benzodiazepine Use Highest in Older People

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/news/science-news/2014/despite-risks-benzodiazepine-use-highest-in-older-people.shtml

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