Alprazolam is a fast-acting, short-term drug that belongs to the benzodiazepine class of drugs. It is sold under the names Xanax, Xanor and Niravam. Xanax is used to treat anxiety, from mild cases to full-blown panic attacks. It has also been shown to be effective in treating certain forms of depression and mood swings associated with Pre-Menstral Syndrome (PMS) and alcoholism. It is an addictive drug and should only be taken under a doctor's care.
Your brain contains natural tranquilizers in the form of gamma amino butyric acids, or GABA for short. They are located in most of the neurotransmitters and are triggered by anxiety. These tranquilizers work to calm your breathing, heart rate and overall anxiety levels. Alprazolam (Xanax) is a type of benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines bind to a portion of the GABA and modulate it. They also work to stifle the inhibitory receptor in the brain. In short, Xanax works by both lowering inhibitions, and attaching itself to the GABAs and increasing their tranquilizing abilities. It is fast-acting, taking effect in as little as 15 minutes. The more GABAs you have, the more effectively the Xanax will work.
Xanax works well to relax and calm the body, but it also has side effects which include drowsiness, impaired coordination, speech difficulties and weight gain. The longer it is taken, the less effective it becomes as the body becomes used to it and dependent upon it. In these cases, withdrawal from the drug should occur gradually and under a doctor's supervision. Sudden withdrawal will cause anxiety to return, along with headaches, insomnia, depression, nervousness and rapid breathing, and possibly tremors and seizures.