Did you know that it is extremely common for patients to feel nervous about taking Xanax? Though this medication can be quite helpful, it also has a very intense reputation. Some patients worry that taking Xanax will lead to addiction or cause unpleasant side effects. These fears are perfectly natural, but you don’t have to let them get in the way of your medical care. By learning more about Xanax, you can discover how it works and see if it is right for you.
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Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam which is a type of prescription medication. This substance belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. Xanax works by binding to GABA receptors in your brain. This modulates levels of dopamine, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters associated with anxiety.
When you take Xanax, you typically feel a sensation of relaxation and relief. Xanax is frequently prescribed to manage anxiety disorders and panic disorders. Some people take a dose of Xanax regularly, but it’s more common for your doctor to suggest you hold onto the medication and only take a pill if you feel a panic attack incoming.
Though Xanax has many valid medical uses, it also comes with some side effects. In rare cases, people who take it may experience unpleasant side effects like dizziness, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, slowed breathing, and suicidal ideation. In addition to these health risks, Xanax also comes with a risk of addiction. Because it’s a benzodiazepine, regular users of Xanax will develop a dependency on the drug. This can make it very hard to stop taking Xanax, and you may experience dangerous withdrawal symptoms if you quit taking it suddenly.
Common Fears Associated With Taking Xanax
Many people feel nervous when their doctor prescribes them Xanax. It’s very common for doctors to hear things like, “But I don’t want to entirely change my personality,” or, “Will I get addicted to pills?” These are very reasonable things to be concerned about, but it’s important to recognize that most of these fears are based on misconceptions about how Xanax and other prescription medications work.
There is a lot of stigma around Xanax, so you might be misinformed about how it works. The common stereotype that it turns you into a drooling zombie is mostly just based on improper dosages. At very high doses, Xanax can make you sleepy and confused, but at the doses modern doctors prescribe, most people retain their focus and ability to function.
The other most frequent concern patients have is that they’ll become addicted to Xanax. It is true that regularly taking Xanax does cause you to develop a physical dependency on the drug. However, being dependent on a much-needed medication is very different from abusing prescription pills. As long as you are only taking Xanax at the rate prescribed by your doctor, you are unlikely to develop the harmful symptoms of drug addiction. Taking one pill to manage your anxiety is not the same as taking multiple pills each day while disregarding your mental, physical, social, and financial well-being.
How to Overcome Your Fear of Taking Xanax
If the benefits of Xanax sound appealing to you, you don’t have to let anxieties keep you from getting the right medical assistance. The first thing you should do in this situation is talk with your healthcare provider about your concerns. They can explain how the medication works and reduce some of your fears about things like side effects or addiction. Being properly informed about the benefits and risks can be very helpful.
Of course, even with all the best medical care, it can still be very nerve-wracking to start a new medication. No one does well with sudden changes, and when you have an anxiety disorder making you excessively anxious, starting a new treatment can be especially intimidating. There are several things you can do to help manage these concerns, including:
- Talking to people in an anxiety support group about their experiences with Xanax
- Asking your doctor to help you create a dosing schedule that minimizes risks of abuse
- Explaining your fears to your loved ones and asking them to keep an eye on you and tell you if your behavior seems unusual
- Starting with a very low dosage and seeing how that affects you
- Working with a therapist who can guide you through the process of taking your medication
Treatment Alternatives to Xanax
Keep in mind that you only have to overcome your fear of Xanax if you want to take the medication. Though Xanax is an excellent medication for managing anxiety, it’s not your only option. If you feel extremely uncomfortable about taking Xanax, be sure to talk to your doctor because they can recommend some very helpful alternatives.
There are many different medications your doctor can prescribe besides Xanax. If your main source of anxiety is simply the name of the drug itself, you can potentially try other similar benzodiazepines like Librium, Klonopin, or Ativan. There are also other classes of drugs, including tricyclics, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and beta-blockers, that can all be used to treat anxiety.
Another common treatment for anxiety is therapy. Many patients take Xanax alongside talk therapy, but therapy on its own can be useful too. There are almost no downsides to therapy because it just requires a bit of your time and can be very useful for finding healthy coping methods for managing anxiety. Others find that lifestyle changes like exercise and meditation provide some relief from symptoms. Though lifestyle changes aren’t as immediately effective as medication, they can make it easier to deal with anxiety.
Ultimately, being scared of trying Xanax is nothing to feel ashamed about. It’s a common concern that patients have, and there are some valid reasons to not take Xanax. However, despite some rare side effects, Xanax remains one of the most effective ways of managing anxiety disorders. Therefore, it can be very beneficial to talk to your doctor about your concerns and find strategies for overcoming your fears.
If you’re interested in finding more ways to manage anxiety, Live Free Recovery Services is here to help. Our team of compassionate, experienced professionals can help you find anxiety treatments that work with your health, your lifestyle, and your personal preferences. Contact us today to learn more.