As with all medications, there are potential side effects that accompany the benefits of prescription drugs. When drugs are prescribed by a doctor, those benefits usually outweigh the negatives, and doctors are trained to monitor the progress of how well those drugs may be working for someone. When drugs are taken without a prescription or misused, damage to the body or side effects from the abuse can take place. Often times these damages are irreversible so becoming informed about the potential side effects and consequences from using a particular drug is of great importance.

Xanax is a drug from the benzodiazepine family and often prescribed to treat anxiety. It was approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in 1981 and works by decreasing the abnormal excitement in the brain caused by overstimulated neurotransmitters. Because Xanax is known for its ability to produce a fast-acting “high”, it has become a target for medication abuse. The most encountered drugs in emergency room patients is a combination of Xanax and alcohol. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration found that in 2011, there were more than 1.2 million emergency room visits related to the non-medical use of prescription drugs with Xanax making up 10 percent of those visits.

Obviously, one of the most detrimental side effects of Xanax is that it has a high risk for abuse and has the potential to lead to an overdose when not taken properly. Xanax has over 40 different side effects that are possible in any combination depending on the user. One of those potential side effects is that the user may experience anxiety. Although a listed side effect of Xanax is anxiety, medical professionals have noticed that these side effects are most often observed at initiation of the drug and usually disappear upon continued use of the medication. Each person is different, however, so symptoms and their durations can vary. When taking Xanax, it is important that one stays under medical supervision so that their doctor can monitor these symptoms and make adjustments as needed. Altering the dosage amounts (even if it has been prescribed) can have serious consequences to a user’s health. If Xanax has been taken for an extended period of time or at high dosage amounts, stopping this medication suddenly can lead to significant withdrawal symptoms that include seizures and convulsions.

Xanax has the potential to be a significant help to those with anxiety, but ironically it may actually cause some anxiety in the user. Making sure that it is taken under the care of medical supervision is vital so that its side effects can be monitored closely. Discussing the pros and cons of the use of Xanax with a doctor can help ensure that it is taken safety and limit the chances of enhancing future abuse.