Can Xanax treat Depression?

Food and drug administration (FDA) approved this drug to treat panic and anxiety disorders.

Alprazolam is a generic drug that is sold under the brand name of Xanax. It is not prescribed by the doctors to patients to treat depression as there are other safer and newer medications available.

Doctors prescribe this drug rarely to treat depression as an “off-label”. Based on research in 1990, it has been observed that Xanax can treat major depressive disorder when you increase the dosage prescribed by the doctor.

In spite of this, using this medication to treat depression can be dangerous. This is because there are chances of addicted to this drug when people used it for a long period of time at higher doses.

In some cases, Xanax is the main cause of depression because of its tranquilizing effects on some people. It has also been shown that using Xanax can actually make your depression problem worse if you are already suffering from this condition.

How does Xanax work?

Xanax belongs to the category of drugs which are called benzodiazepines. These are gentle tranquilizers that function by delaying the brain and central nervous system activity. By reducing the functioning of the central nervous system, Xanax allows the body to relax which contributes to lowering of anxiety levels. With the help of Xanax people can sleep peacefully.

What are the side effects of Xanax?

Just like other drugs, Xanax might cause several effects. However, patients may experience these side effects at the initial stage of therapy and go away over time.

Weight changes, headache, muscle twitching, drowsiness, blurred vision, light-headedness, palpitations, depression, diarrhea, lack of enthusiasm, constipation, headache, dry mouth, sleep problems, sleepiness, nervousness, confusion, nausea, and vomiting are the possible side effects of Xanax.

When you consume Xanax it is advisable not to work on heavy machinery or drive a car or motorcycle because the central nervous system is affected due to Xanax and your motor functions can be weakened.

What are the side effects of Xanax in people with depression?

Occurrences of hypomania and mania have been observed in the people who are taking Xanax for depression. Hypomania and mania are symptoms of bipolar disorder.

You might get into trouble if you take alprazolam when you are suffering from depression. It will be better to call your physician immediately otherwise your symptoms may get worse or you may get thoughts of harming yourself while taking Xanax.

Risk of dependence

Consistent usage of Xanax can lead to an extreme risk of emotional and physical vulnerability. Here, vulnerability means that you get addicted to using Xanax to have the same effect.

The sudden stoppage of using Xanax can lead to adverse mental and physical effects. Due to this reason, Xanax is categorized as a federally regulated substance.

Persons who consume Xanax with the dosage more than 4mg per day and for the people consuming Xanax for a minimum period of twelve weeks, the risk of vulnerability or addiction is at its peak.

Muscle cramps, seizures, vomiting, tremors, aggression, sweating, mood swings, headaches, and depression are the dangerous withdrawal symptoms of Xanax if you stop taking it suddenly.

We would advise you to talk to your doctor before the sudden stoppage of using Xanax or reducing the dosage. To keep away from the signs of withdrawal you need to gently decrease the dosage over time when you and your doctor make a decision to stop using Xanax.

Advantages of using Xanax:

For people suffering from anxiety or panic disorder condition, Xanax can be helpful.

Usually, people suffering from anxiety disorders have extreme and distress for a phase lasting a minimum of 6 months. On the other hand, people with panic disorders go through unpredictable phases of extreme fear which is also known as a panic attack.

While experiencing a panic attack, a person’s heartbeat is generally beating at a higher rate. The symptoms also include

  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Choking feeling
  • Dizziness
  • Fear
  • Racing heart

In certain scientific studies, it has been observed that Xanax proved to be better than a placebo for enhancing the symptoms of anxiety in people suffering from anxiety or anxiety along with depression. The scientific studies have also indicated that for panic disorders usage of Xanax remarkably lowered the number of panic attacks encountered per week.

However, it is still debatable whether the usage of Xanax is safe and helpful while treating anxiety disorders for more than four months and for the treatment of panic disorders or panic attacks for more than ten weeks.

Scientific studies for depression:

Certain researches proved that Xanax is as helpful as many other antidepressants which include amitriptyline, imipramine, and clomipramine, to treat mild depression. However, it should be noted that Xanax cannot be of help to treat extreme depression.

Nevertheless, these scientific researches only advocated short-term results which are up to six weeks and were regarded as bad quality or inferior quality in a review that was published. It is still questionable whether the results of Xanax was due to an antidepressant effect or the usual positive effect on anxiety and sleep issues.

As there is a number of antidepressants available in the health stores such as Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the experimentation on Xanax is reduced. As of now there were no experimentations conducted on Xanax to other antidepressants for treating depression.

Are you suffering from depression due to Xanax?

Depression medications like benzodiazepines can affect the central nervous system in the brain. Depression is the most common side effect of Xanax. The following are the other common side effects of Xanax. These include

  • Feelings of sadness
  • Hopelessness
  • Loss of interest

Xanax can take your depression to the next level if you are taking this drug when you are suffering from depression.

Call your physician or consult your doctor immediately if you think your depression symptoms are getting worse or if you are getting any suicidal thoughts while taking Xanax.

Xanax association with other drugs

Xanax has the capability to react with other drugs:

  • Opioid pain medications: Xanax shouldn’t be consumed along with opioid pain drugs, as there is a possibility of extreme sedation, breathing problems, death, and unconsciousness.
  • With other central nervous system depressants: Usage of Xanax along with other drugs that cause sedation like alcohol, antihistamines, and anticonvulsants can lead to additional central nervous system effects. This can lead to extreme drowsiness, respiratory depression, death, and unconsciousness.
  • With cytochrome P450 3A inhibitors: Xanax is eliminated by the body through a passageway called cytochrome P450 3A (CYP3A). Your body finds it difficult to remove the Xanax because of the medicines or drugs that obstruct this passageway. As a result the effects of Xanax exist for a longer period of time. Grapefruit juice, birth control pills, macrolide antibiotics like erythromycin and clarithromycin, antidepressants like fluvoxamine, and nefazodone, azole antifungal drugs like itraconazole or ketoconazole, and cimetidine which is utilized for the treatment of heartburn conditions are some examples of cytochrome P450 3A inhibitors.

Xanax and alcohol

Alcohol and Xanax both are central nervous system depressants. That’s why it is not advisable to take Xanax while drinking alcohol as it may lead to

  • Severe drowsiness
  • Respiratory depression
  • Coma
  • Death (in some cases)


Generally, doctors don’t advise Xanax for treating depression. Because for some people it has been observed that Xanax can actually make your condition severe if you are already diagnosed with depression. Xanax can be helpful if your depression is linked with anxiety but doctors are advising patients to don’t depend on it completely.

However, Xanax shouldn’t be used for a long period of time due to the risk of physical and emotional dependence, abuse, and withdrawal.

Make sure to tell your doctor everything before taking Xanax regarding your past history of depression, thoughts of committing suicide, or if you are a drug addict or are you taking any other antidepressants. Never hesitate to have a word with your doctor if you are experiencing the symptoms of depression while taking Xanax.



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