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Why is Xanax So Popular?

Xanax, or alprazolam, is the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepine. It is a relatively fast-acting sedative typically prescribed for panic or anxiety disorders. Within about an hour, they make you feel more relaxed, less anxious, and, at higher doses, euphoric, although not to the same degree as opioids.

Xanax’s popularity stems from several factors. The first is it’s wide availability. Doctors write about 50 million prescriptions for Xanax a year, which means a lot of people take it legally, as prescribed, and people without a prescription can still get it pretty easily. It’s also cheap and relatively safe.

Another reason Xanax is so popular is that it’s fast-acting. You can feel its effects in about an hour, which can make it useful if you are more anxious in specific situations. For example, if you are afraid of flying, you can take a Xanax an hour before your flight and even if you still don’t enjoy flying, at least you won’t have a panic attack. In contrast, an SSRI like Prozac takes a couple of weeks before its effects are noticeable. That requires a longer-term commitment to the drug and makes it less suitable for situations that cause anxiety or panic.

You can use Xanax without a long-term commitment, which leads to more casual use. Some people think of taking a Xanax the way others think of having a drink at the end of a hard week. Therefore, Xanax doesn’t have the stigma of other drugs. People often share Xanax with friends without thinking anything of it, the way students share Adderall during finals week. For people who feel oppressed by social anxiety or chronic stress, the disinhibitory effects of Xanax can feel like a huge relief.

It might not be harmful to use Xanax on occasion, assuming you use it by itself. It doesn’t mix well with other drugs, especially alcohol, opioids, or barbiturates. Xanax amplifies the sedative qualities of those drugs and massively increases the risk of overdose. Xanax is also addictive–more so than other benzodiazepines–and once you develop a physical dependence, you have to taper down gradually, else you may have severe and potentially fatal withdrawal symptoms. Long-term use can cause side effects, including impaired memory and concentration, slurred speech, impaired motor function, and drowsiness.

If you are addicted to Xanax or other benzodiazepines and want to quit, be sure to taper down gradually. It’s best to detox in the care of medical professionals to avoid dangerous withdrawal symptoms. If you or a loved one is struggling with benzodiazepine addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox and decide on a treatment strategy. Call us today at 844-828-1050 or email us at to learn more.