What is Xanax used for?

Xanax is used and prescribed by increasing numbers of doctors. But what is Xanax and what does Xanax do? We review addictive-ness and medical reasons for taking Xanax here.

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What is Xanax?

Xanax is the brand name for a drug called alprazolam. Xanax is a type of medication called a benzodiazepine, which is a central nervous system depressant that decreases abnormal excitement in the brain. Doctors most frequently prescribe Xanax as a tablet, but it can also come in a liquid concentration as well. Xanax is a Schedule IV, non-narcotic drug as classified by the most recent version of the Controlled Substances Act and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

What is Xanax Used For?

Xanax is a drug doctors prescribe to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Xanax can also be used to treat mental health disorders and is currently being studied in the treatment of nausea and vomiting caused by some cancer treatments.

  • Agoraphobia (fear of open spaces)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Cancer treatments (for nausea and vomiting)
  •  Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

Non medical uses of Xanax

Benzodiazepines are widely used for recreational purposes. Alprazolam, the active ingredient in Xanax, has a calming effect and may be used non-medically to relax. Reasons people may use Xanax include:

  • Eliminate stress
  • Increase feelings of tranquility
  • Induce euphoria
  • Loss of inhibition
  • Minor anxiety relief
  • Reduce tension
  • Reduce irritability
  • Relaxation

Can I get addicted to Xanax?

Yes, Xanax can be addictive. This is because alprazolam, the active ingredient in Xanax can be habit-forming. You may even develop a physical dependence on Xanax, which can cause withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the medication suddenly. However, many patients with anxiety disorders, do not develop clinical dependence on Xanax. And keep in mind that chemical dependence is difference than drug addiction. Xanax abuse when you take larger doses of Xanax than prescribed or take it more often or for a longer time than your doctor tells you to. Abuse can become addiction when you

1. Begin to crave Xanax
2. Cannot stop taking Xanax
3. Take Xanax for non-medical or recreational purposes
4. Continue to take Xanax despite negative consequences


Do you think that prescription drugs like Xanax are addictive? Are doctors responsibly handing out prescriptions or driven by profit to hand out pills? Do you yourself have a potential problem with Xanax? Comment here, and we’ll respond to you as soon as possible. Or learn more about next steps and help for prescription drug abuse here.

About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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