30 Sec Answer: Xanax is not designed to treat sleeping problems, but it can help some people with insomnia and anxiety-related sleep issues. It should only be used under the supervision of a doctor as it can have potentially serious side effects.
When it comes to treating sleep disorders, many individuals often wonder if they can turn to medications such as Xanax for relief. As a prescription drug, Xanax is typically prescribed to treat panic attacks, depression, and anxiety. While there are certainly other uses for this medication, one might think that taking it could also provide relief from poor sleeping habits or insomnia.
The answer to this question isn’t black and white; ultimately, it depends on your individual case. In this article we’ll discuss what Xanax is and how it works before exploring whether or not it’s an effective solution for treating sleeping problems.
What Is Xanax?
Xanax (generic name alprazolam) belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines, which are sedative-hypnotic drugs designed to calm down nerve activity in the brain. These drugs act on the central nervous system and can help reduce feelings of anxiousness and stress that may interfere with proper sleeping patterns.
Xanax is usually prescribed by a doctor in tablet form and taken orally. Depending on the dose and frequency of use, its effects may last anywhere from 4-12 hours at a time. When using this medication for treating anxiety or panic disorder, doctors generally recommend taking smaller doses more frequently throughout the day rather than larger doses all at once.
How Does Xanax Work?
When ingested, Xanax binds itself to certain neurotransmitter receptors in the brain, primarily GABA receptors. This helps to regulate levels of gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter that reduces electrical activity in the neurons and helps relax muscles throughout the body. By modulating these receptor sites, Xanax essentially dampens the amount of nerve signals traveling throughout the brain while simultaneously increasing levels of serotonin – another calming chemical that regulates moods and emotions.
As mentioned above, benzodiazepines like Xanax work relatively quickly when compared to other types of antidepressant medications such as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). While these SSRI drugs need several weeks or even months before their effects become apparent, benzos like Xanax will take effect almost immediately after ingestion.
Are There Any Side Effects Associated With Taking Xanax?
Yes, there are potential risks associated with taking any type of benzodiazepine medication including drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, blurred vision, fatigue and impaired judgment/coordination – all symptoms which may negatively impact sleep quality rather than improve it over time. Other common side effects include constipation, dry mouth, headaches, muscle weakness and weight changes.
In rare cases more serious side effects may occur such as difficulty breathing or swallowing; chest pain; swelling of the face/throat; changes in heartbeat; hives; rash; itching/swelling (especially around eyes); fever; yellowing of skin/eyes; increased sensitivity to light; seizures; hallucinations; confusion; memory loss or behavior changes among others. Because benzodiazepines like Xanax are habit forming and carry significant risks when abused/misused they should only be used as prescribed by a physician or healthcare professional.
Is Taking Xanax Safe For People With Insomnia Or Sleeping Problems?
Generally speaking taking Xanax is not considered safe for people who suffer from chronic insomnia since long term use of benzodiazepines has been linked to cognitive impairment along with an increased risk for falls and fractures due to drowsiness during activities such as driving or walking alone outdoors. Furthermore because benzodiazepines can be habit forming when misused individuals may find themselves reliant on them for better sleep despite no longer needing them medically (aka physical dependence).
That being said there are instances where doctors may prescribe a low dose of a benzodiazepine such as alprazolam (Xanax) to be taken before bedtime under their supervision if other treatments have failed in providing adequate relief from insomnia or anxiety-related sleeping issues.. The key point here is that these drugs must only be taken short term (no longer than 2-4 weeks) otherwise you run the risk of developing physical dependence upon them.
Is There A Risk Of Addiction With Taking Benzodiazapenes Such As Alprazolam?
Yes – any type of medication containing benzo ingredients carries a potential risk for addiction especially when taken without medical supervision so caution should always be exercised when considering using them for sleeping issues . Some factors that increase this risk include family history of addiction, preexisting mental health conditions like depression or PTSD , excessive alcohol consumption ,and recreational use of street drugs . Thus anyone who wishes to try out benzos like alprazolam should consult their doctor beforehand about any possible concerns they may have related to dependency or abuse .
What Alternatives Are Available To Treat Sleeping Problems ?
For individuals looking for alternative methods outside prescription medications there are various approaches available depending on severity level . Nonpharmaceutical treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), exercise/activity regimens , dietary modifications , avoiding caffeine close to bedtime , creating soothing nighttime rituals (reading books , listening music ) etc have been shown to help reduce overall stress levels which can aid with improved sleep quality . If necessary additional nonprescription aids like melatonin supplements may also be used in tandem with these strategies although there are mixed opinions on their effectiveness . Lastly special mattresses/pillows designed specifically for those dealing with sleep difficulties can also make things easier by providing more comfort during rest times .
In conclusion while it’s true that benzodiazepines like alprazolam can help some people get better sleep if prescribed by a doctor , most physicians advise against using them long term due to potential adverse reactions that come along with extended usage . Therefore alternative therapies such as CBT and lifestyle modifications should first be explored prior to resorting to any sort of pharmaceutical intervention . Ultimately anyone seeking treatment options should speak directly with their physician regarding the best course of action based on their particular situation .