Drug Name: Xanax (BRAND) Xanax (Generic)
Tablet Strength: 2mg 1mg
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Xanax is the brand name for the drug alprazolam, which belongs to a group of drugs called benzodiazepines. It is prescribed for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders, panic attacks and social phobia.

When ingested, Xanax interacts with GABA receptors and slightly increases dopamine levels. GABA is gamma-aminobutyric acid, the main inhibitory and calming neurotransmitter. Increasing its levels leads to calmness and focus. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for motivation, pleasure, and mood. Neurotransmitters themselves are transmitters of information between nerve cells.

How does it work

Xanax (alprazolam), once in the body, is rapidly absorbed, metabolized, distributed throughout the tissues of the body and absorbed by the brain. Then it binds to GABA receptors, which reduce the activity of the central nervous system and the person experiences a whole combination of effects: anxiolytic, amnesiac, anticonvulsant, hypnotic, muscle relaxant and sedative. In addition, the rapid modulation of GABA receptors by Xanax leads to increased firing of dopamine-secreting neurons. The latter creates the effect of pleasure and improves mood.

It also slows cerebral blood flow in the amygdala, pituitary, thalamus, and hypothalamus, causing the following effects: sedation, poor coordination, and slow reaction time. But in the nucleus accumbens, the region of the brain responsible for pleasure, Xanax increases cerebral blood flow. This leads to euphoria, impulsivity, and even develops addiction.

In other words, Xanax causes a feeling of mental and physical relaxation, drowsiness and mental dullness. These effects appear half an hour after ingestion. Peak concentration is reached within an hour. The reasons for this rapid action are: pharmacokinetics (absorption, metabolism, distribution), pharmacodynamics (interaction with neurotransmitters) and the ability to activate various aspects of the brain (cerebral blood flow, neuronal communication, neuroelectric frequencies).

Short-term effects occur with normal use of the drug and are rather positive and calming in nature:

  • Mental and physical relaxation.
  • Impaired coordination.
  • Slow speech.

Long-term effects appear with chronic use of sedatives:

  • cognitive deficit (dementia): poor memory, absent-mindedness, confusion, poor concentration, and decreased intellectual ability;
  • psychomotor disorders;

Side effects

All prescription drugs have side effects, including Xanax. Even adherence to the prescribed dosages and doctor’s prescriptions can lead to many side effects, some more serious than others. Some of the common Xanax side effects include:

  • Drowsiness, fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness, and poor coordination.
  • Irritability, insomnia, trouble concentrating.
  • Headache, slurred speech, blurred vision, nasal congestion, dry mouth.
  • Nausea, vomiting, constipation, indigestion, loss of appetite.
  • Decreased libido.



People who take Xanax for a long time may develop a tolerance to the drug. When tolerance occurs, the body requires a higher dose or increased frequency of use to achieve a therapeutic effect. With continued use, addiction develops and the body stops functioning properly without the drug.

With a sharp cessation of administration, withdrawal symptoms appear:

  • Anxiety, depression, hallucinations, panic attacks, psychosis, suicidal thoughts,
  • Poor concentration, headaches, insomnia, nightmares, irritability, memory problems, mood swings,
  • Muscle spasms and pain, tachycardia, increased sweating, tremor.
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.
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