How Does Xanax Affect The Brain?

Xanax, also known by the generic drug name alprazolam, is a popularly prescribed medication. It is the most commonly prescribed drug that can impact a person’s mental state. Doctors often use Xanax to treat people with severe anxiety or panic problems. However, the drug is not free of risk. It is highly addictive, with serious withdrawal side effects if used for long periods.

What Are The Different Ways Xanax Affects The Brain?

Because Xanax is a benzodiazepine, it has to get into the brain to work. The brain is where all the action happens for Xanax. Unfortunately, Besides working the way it is supposed to work, Xanax can have other effects on the brain that are not desirable. For example, Xanax can impact memory and thinking. Some of these effects may be long-term or permanent, even if the person stops taking the drug.

What Does Xanax Feel Like When It Hits?

Most different kinds of Xanax are short-acting. This means it starts working very quickly and reaches its peak effect within one to two hours. Some of the most common side effects of Xanax are related to its effect on the brain:

  • Feeling sleepy or tired
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Memory problems, including amnesia for events that happen after taking the drug
  • Mood problems

What Does Xanax Do To The Brain Short-term?

Xanax increases the brain chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA can be described as a natural tranquilizer. The chemical GABA stops the brain signals that would otherwise excite the brain and lead to anxiety or panic. Higher levels of the chemical may cause a person to feel relaxed or sleepy. Xanax is very addictive because, unlike some other benzodiazepines, it may trigger the brain’s reward system. This is why it puts people at risk of getting addicted.

Xanax And Memory Loss From Long Term Use

Long-term use of Xanax can lead to problems with memory. Studies showed that people taking Xanax have more memory problems compared to people not using the drug. Even when the person stops taking Xanax, memory loss can last up to four months. These memory problems may be permanent in some cases. Other long-term effects of Xanax include:

  • Visual-spatial problems
  • Lowered IQ
  • Problems processing information quickly
  • Trouble learning new verbal skills
  • Problems concentrating
  • Delay in response time

How Does Xanax Affect The Brain Long Term?

When a person takes Xanax over long periods, the brain will expect it and, therefore, will stop producing its own GABA. The brain is now dependent on Xanax. This process can happen in as little as six weeks. Like any other drug you continuously take for long periods, you grow a tolerance; therefore, a person may need stronger doses of Xanax to achieve the same calming effects as originally experiences. This will eventually lead to addiction.

Quitting Xanax Abruptly Can Be Dangerous

If a person stops taking Xanax suddenly, they may experience worsened anxiety and panic attacks than before because the brain is not making as much GABA on its own. In addition, Xanax is known to cause worse withdrawal symptoms than other benzodiazepines. Some of those withdrawal symptoms may last for months or years. Many withdrawal symptoms are related to Xanax’s effects on GABA in the brain and can include:

  • Feeling anxious or panicked
  • Problems sleeping
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Mental status changes
  • Mood changes
  • Seizures

Start Your Xanax Treatment Program At Ariafl

If you or a loved one think they may be addicted to Xanax, ARIA can help. The Addiction Recovery Institute of America understands that there are many ways to treat substance use. Every person’s circumstance is different. Additionally, factors like age, medical history, family history, the quantity of the substance used, and many other factors need to be individually addressed.

To ensure that each of our clients is put in a position to reach their recovery goals, the addiction specialists at ARIA customize each program to their unique needs. We also offer the full spectrum of drug and alcohol rehab programs so that individuals can get the tools they need for lasting sobriety, no matter the severity of their addiction.