The long-effects of using Alprazolam remain controversial in the medical field. Alprazolam is prescribed for the treatment of a number of conditions, most commonly panic attacks and insomnia. Excessive anxiety is among the most miserable of mental conditions that one can suffer. In essence, the body is poised for “fight-or-flight” at all times, yet the sufferer can neither confront nor hide. Alprazolam is routinely prescribed to lessen these symptoms, though side effects sometimes outweigh the benefits for some patients. Common Alprazolam side affects are sensitivity to bright lights, insomnia, headaches, fatigue, outbursts of rage, and rebound anxiety.
Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine, a family of tranquilizers that rose to prominence in the 1960s. Benzos, as they are commonly referred to, work by blocking part of the brain’s gamma receptors, causing them to fire less often. By doing so, it lessens feelings of anxiety and fear, leading to a calmer feeling in users. The drug doesn’t actually “cure” anxiety; it simply helps reduce the symptom of anxiety caused by over-active receptors. Benzodiazepines provide almost immediate relief because they are absorbed and activated within hours of consumption, unlike other antidepressants that can take days or even longer to take effect.
Many doctors and patients have found that Alprazolam is highly effective in reducing anxiety attacks, bouts of insomnia and other symptoms. The drug, however, has several major drawbacks. First, the brain quickly adjusts to many drugs, and when their use is discontinued, brain activity sometimes goes into overdrive. Thus, benzodiazepines can create a physical dependence. The other big problem is actually related Alprazolam’s greatest strength: it’s fast-acting. Because the drug takes effect so quickly, the likelihood of becoming addicted to it increases greatly. Alprazolam, however, has an additional problem that sets it apart from other benzodiazepines.
The drug possesses a short “half-life,” a term that refers to how long the drug stays in the body’s system. Because Alprazolam enters and exits the body so quickly, many users experience low-level withdrawal symptoms between doses. This in turn increases the chances of addiction to Alprazolam. The longer Alprazolam is taken, the greater the withdrawal symptoms felt by users, which simply reinforce the feeling of dependency.
Some medical professionals have been adamant that Alprazolam should not be used for more than a few weeks. For example, the National Collaborating Centre for Primary Care at the University of Sheffield in London issued guidelines in 2004 for the treatment of panic disorder and general anxiety disorder after a meta-review of existing research. Among its major recommendations was: “Benzodiazepines are associated with a less good outcome in the long-term and should not be prescribed for the treatment of individuals with panic disorder.” The guidelines also stated that some evidence exists that prior long-term use of benzos is linked with a poorer response to subsequent psychological therapies. Other meta-studies, however, have been less conclusive about negative long-term use.
With definitive answers hard to come by, some individuals suffering from anxiety and panic attacks have chosen treatments that have no side effects or risk of dependency. Herbal anxiety remedies such as Alpranax are growing in popularity.