Getting a new medication from the doctor can be scary, especially if it is one you’ve heard negative things about before. You probably have endless questions for your doctor about side effects, long term effects, and many other things. This is what many people struggle with who are prescribed to Xanax. Having heard of this before as a “street” drug, or something that many people abuse, it might be, ironically, nerve wracking to find yourself prescribed to it.
So how will it work for you? How long does Xanax stay in your system? How long can Xanax be detected in urine? Most importantly, will you be able to keep functioning? Well the good news is, it is usually a perfectly manageable drug when it is being taken correctly.
The powerful benzodiazepine has been on the market since 1976 and is used to treat types of anxiety. This can include general or social anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and types of phobias. It acts quickly and has a half-life ranging from 9 to 16 hours depending on the form it comes in, which can be a liquid or tablet form. While this drug successfully reduces anxiety and feelings of uneasiness, negative short-term side effects can include decreased cognitive skills, lack of concentration and somewhat negatively affected speech abilities. Confusion or disorientation can occur as well, when larger quantities are being taken.
Those are the main short-term side effects reported, but other common ones include:
• Dry Mouth or Increased Salivation
• Difficulty Urinating
• Shortness of Breath
Long-term effects of the drug commonly include:
• Memory Problems
• Changes in Sex Drive
• Weight Changes
Most drugs on the market today will have a laundry list of side effects such as this one; however, these can vary greatly from person to person. One user may find very few of these side effects and another may find them to be unlivable. Like many prescription drugs, this one is a trade-off between the potential benefits and increased quality of life, and possible negative side effects. There can be lasting health effects associated with the drug, more common in abuse situations, such as impulsive or aggressive behavior, depression, delirious or psychotic states, even cognitive defects.
Obviously, there are a lot of important factors to consider if one is prescribed this drug. As it is known to be addictive to some people, it is important to keep in mind exactly why. One of the reasons it can be a risk is due to the fact that some people may build up a tolerance. After increased use, the positive side effects are not as strong, so some may begin taking more and more over time. It is absolutely vital to discuss all the potential positives and negatives with your doctor or nurse practitioner to determine if the medication is right for you.
With a tolerance, sometimes addiction can occur as well. Depending on the individual’s overall health, metabolism, and other factors, this drug stays in a person’s system for approximately 4 days. After extended periods of use of Xanax and other drugs, it is possible to form an addiction, and withdrawal can occur if the user stops taking the drug. Particularly if the user stops suddenly, he or she could possibly experience seizures. More common side effects, even when weaning, include many of the symptoms the user had before it was prescribed to them, such as anxiety. Others include insomnia, muscle tension and tremors, and depression, to name a few.
Overall, Xanax has been life changing to some in its ability to cure anxiety; yet, it has been life threatening to others. For those who are prescribed, it is important to closely monitor side effects and see how the pluses and minuses impact you personally. As always, your doctor can give you more information on the dangers of using it and how you will be uniquely affected, along with beneficial information on how to handle any side effects.