What is Xanax?
Xanax® is actually one of several brand names for a powerful anti-anxiety and anti-depression drug called alprazolam. Xanax® is available by prescription only for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders, along with anxiety-induced depression. The patient takes regularly scheduled doses of Xanax®, generally in pill form, and experiences feelings of euphoria or relaxation instead of panic attacks or night terrors triggered by anxiety. Xanax®is considered to be a depressant of the central nervous system, although the drug first affects the area of the brain which controls emotions.
Xanax® is most often prescribed to people who suffer mild to moderate symptoms of anxiety or panic disorders, which may manifest themselves as agoraphobia, a fear of the outside world, or Social Anxiety Disorder(SAD), a condition which makes social interactions very difficult. Others may take Xanax® in order to sleep comfortably without intrusive thoughts, or to counter the effects of general depression. Many courses of treatment for anxiety disorders only call for a limited use of Xanax®, generally no longer than eight weeks. Studies suggest that Xanax® loses much of its effectiveness over time, since a patient can easily build up a tolerance and require much higher doses to achieve any benefit.
Xanax® is also a highly addictive medication, and is considered a schedule IV controlled substance in the United States. Therapeutic use of Xanax® is limited to those patients who demonstrate a bona fide need for a powerful central nervous system depressant. The drug's active ingredients actually slow down the brain's normal transmissions in order to prevent the unpleasant spikes and abnormal commands which prompt anxiety attacks, suicidal thoughts and panic. Using Xanax® in combination with other depressants such as alcohol, marijuana, or prescription sedatives can cause coma or even death. Some drug addicts use Xanax® to control the negative side effects of other drugs such as LSD or heroin.
There are generic forms of Xanax® (alprazolam) available by prescription for patients, along with a time-release form called Xanax® XR. These tablets should not be broken or crushed, only swallowed whole. Another brand of alprazolam is designed to melt slowly on the back of the patient's tongue if swallowing is an issue. Xanax® has been approved for use as an anti-anxiety medication since the early 1980s, and has proven to be an effective treatment for thousands of anxiety and panic disorder sufferers over the years. Although available over the Internet, many health professionals urge patients to fill their prescriptions for Xanax® at local pharmacies in order to be sure they are getting the proper strength and a pure formulation.