Xanax makes me depressed. (Yes or No)

In this blog post, we will try to answer the question ‘Can Xanax make me depressed?’. In addition, we will also look at other aspects such as Can Xanax treat depression, a case study on Xanax and depression, signs of depression and what is Xanax, it’s uses, side effects, and interactions. 

Can Xanax make me depressed? 

Yes, Xanax can make you depressed. 

Xanax belongs to a group of drugs called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are central nervous system depressants. One of the most common side effects of Xanax is depression, including feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest. If you’re already depressed or have a history of depression, Xanax can actually make your depression worse.

The most serious side effect of depression caused by Xanax is suicide. Drug-related attempts at suicide appear to be on the rise as a whole. From 2005-2011, the number of people treated in emergency rooms as a result of these attempts rose by 51 percent, per the Drug Abuse Warning Network. Among overdose deaths stemming from prescription painkiller abuse, benzodiazepines are a contributing factor in 30 percent of cases, reports PBS.

Even though depression is a known side effect of Xanax, it is unclear if Xanax itself can make you feel depressed or if the depression is due to the problem that Xanax was prescribed for. Xanax is mainly used to treat anxiety and panic disorder. In studies of people with anxiety who took Xanax or placebo, it is seen that 13.9% of people on Xanax developed depression, while 18.1% of people with anxiety on placebo developed depression. In studies of people with panic disorder who took Xanax, 13.8% of people on Xanax developed depression, while 14% of people with panic disorder on placebo developed depression. More people taking placebo developed depression than people taking Xanax.

On the other hand, people dealing with anxiety are at a major risk factor for depression. Although people without anxiety have a 16.2% risk of having depression, people with anxiety have a 62% risk of having depression. 

Hence there is a great debate on whether Xanax can make you depressed or not. 

Is Xanax used for depression? 

Some studies have found Xanax to be just as effective as several other antidepressants, including amitriptyline, clomipramine, and imipramine, for the treatment of moderate depression, but not for severe depression. However, these studies only addressed short-term effects (up to six weeks) and were considered “poor quality” in a review published in 2012. 

With the arrival of newer antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the number of clinical trials evaluating Xanax in depression has significantly decreased. 

The use of Xanax in depression is controversial. This is because Xanax is considered highly addictive when used at higher doses or for a long period of time (more than 12 weeks)

A case study on Xanax and suicidal thoughts. 

 Ms. A, a woman in her late 20s, presented for the first time in 2008 and was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder with panic attacks (DSM-IV criteria) and was prescribed fluoxetine 20 mg in the morning and alprazolam 0.25 mg 3 times a day as needed. She was not depressed and had not experienced suicidal thoughts in the past. After a single dose of both alprazolam 0.25 mg and fluoxetine 20 mg, she experienced grogginess and sleepiness that lasted for 24 hours. She continued taking only fluoxetine for the next 2 weeks without any side effects. However, as she still experienced panic-like symptoms, she tried taking half the initial dose of alprazolam (half a tablet of alprazolam 0.25 mg) together with fluoxetine 20 mg. This time, she described the “grogginess and sleepiness” as less severe than the first time with alprazolam 0.25 mg. The next morning, she repeated the same doses of alprazolam with fluoxetine and reported “feeling worse in a different way.” She had thoughts of jumping down from her apartment. These thoughts lasted “till the effects wore off,” referring to the grogginess and sleepiness. Subsequent to this, she has stopped taking alprazolam completely and continued with fluoxetine without experiencing similar symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of depression

Before we come to a conclusion, it is important that we make sure we understand what are the signs and symptoms of depression. The lack of awareness has lead to a misunderstanding of certain symptoms of depression. This will make it easier for you to understand what depression exactly feels like.  Although the symptoms of depression may vary from person to person, here are the basic signs and symptoms of depression: 

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness, or hopelessness
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies, or sports
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain
  • Anxiety, agitation, or restlessness
  • Slowed thinking, speaking, or body movements
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, or suicide
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

What is Xanax? 

Now that we have understood the relationship between Xanax and depression, let us find out the composition of Xanax alone. 

Xanax is an antianxiety medication in the benzodiazepine family. Approved by The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in October 1981 Xanax works by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain. Xanax is the brand name for the generic drug alprazolam used in the treatment of anxiety and panic disorder. 

Benzodiazepines are mild tranquilizers that work by slowing down the brain and central nervous system (CNS). Xanax slows down the movement of brain chemicals that may have become unbalanced, resulting in a reduction in nervous tension and helps to relax the body, which in turn reduces anxiety. It also helps people sleep. Xanax works by boosting the effects of a natural chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid, which is made in the brain. 

What are the uses of Xanax?

Xanax is known to be beneficial for people with anxiety or panic disorders.

Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive or unwarranted anxiety and worries for a period of at least six months. Panic disorder is described by recurrent unexpected periods of intense fear, also known as a panic attack.

During a panic attack, a person will usually have a pounding or racing heart, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, a choking feeling, dizziness, fear, and other symptoms.

In clinical trials, Xanax was shown to be better than a placebo in improving anxiety symptoms in people with anxiety or anxiety with depression. For panic disorders, clinical studies found that Xanax significantly reduced the number of panic attacks experienced per week.

Side effects of Xanax 

Like every other drug, Xanax also has certain side effects. Side effects often occur at the beginning of therapy and will usually disappear when a person stops taking the medication.

Some possible side effects of Xanax include:

  • drowsiness
  • lightheadedness
  • low energy
  • depression
  • headache
  • confusion
  • insomnia
  • nervousness
  • fainting
  • dizziness
  • restlessness
  • impaired coordination
  • irritability
  • memory impairment
  • anxiety
  • abnormal involuntary movement
  • decreased libido
  • confusion
  • muscle twitching and cramps
  • increased libido
  • a dry mouth or increased saliva
  • constipation or diarrhea
  • nausea and vomiting
  • inflammation of the skin due to allergy
  • rash
  • tachycardia or heart palpitations
  • chest pain
  • hyperventilation
  • nasal congestion
  • hypotension
  • blurred vision
  • menstrual disorders
  • tinnitus
  • upper respiratory infection
  • sweating
  • weakness
  • abnormal dreams
  • fear
  • rigidity
  • tremor
  • increased or decreased appetite
  • weight gain or loss
  • edema
  • slurred speech
  • Incontinence

The lack of appetite can pose a problem at the nutritional level since it is possible that after a long time, there is a lack of vitamins and minerals that are necessary for the body. If you think this could be happening to you, check out which are the best minerals for anxiety.

Check the Best vitamin B complex brand for anxiety and our extensive list of 10 Vitamins for Anxiety.

Is Xanax addictive? 

Long-term use of Xanax carries a high risk of physical and emotional dependence. Dependence means that you need more and more of the substance to achieve the same effect. In other words, your body grows tolerant to the drug. 

You also experience mental and physical side effects if you abruptly stop taking the drug.

For this reason, Xanax classified as a federally controlled substance (C-IV).

The risk of dependence is highest in people treated with doses greater than 4 milligrams/day and for those taking Xanax for more than 12 weeks.

Suddenly stopping Xanax can lead to dangerous withdrawal symptoms. These include:

  • muscle cramps
  • vomiting
  • aggression
  • mood swings
  • depression
  • headaches
  • sweating
  • tremors
  • Seizures

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Interaction with other drugs

Xanax has the potential to interact with many other medications:

  • Opioid pain medications: Xanax shouldn’t be taken in conjunction with opioid pain medications due to the risk of profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death.
  • Other CNS depressants: Using Xanax with other medications that provide sedation, like antihistamines, anticonvulsants, and alcohol could result in additive CNS depressant effects. This can cause severe drowsiness, breathing problems (respiratory depression), coma and death.
  • Cytochrome P450 3A inhibitors: Xanax is removed by the body through a pathway known as cytochrome P450 3A (CYP3A). Drugs that block this pathway make it harder for your body to eliminate Xanax. This means that the effects of Xanax will last longer. Examples of cytochrome P450 3A inhibitors include:
  • azole antifungal drugs, such as itraconazole or ketoconazole
  • the antidepressants fluvoxamine and nefazodone
  • macrolide antibiotics such as erythromycin and clarithromycin
  • grapefruit juice. Start drinking these juices to fight anxiety.
  • birth control pills
  • cimetidine (Tagamet), which is used to treat heartburn

Every drug used has certain side effects. Some may be mild others may be severe. Although it is very important that we make sure the drugs are taken as per the prescription given by the doctor. If you ever experience any side effects, you should immediately report it to your doctor. Keeping your doctor in the loop of your medical conditions will help the treatment better, 

Conclusion 

In this blog post, we have tried to answer the question ‘Can Xanax make me depressed?’. In addition, we have also looked at other aspects such as Can Xanax treat depression, a case study on Xanax and depression, signs of depression and what is Xanax, it’s uses, side effects, and interactions. 

What we recommend for curbing Anxiety

Below are some of the services and products we recommend for anxiety

Anxiety Weighted Blankets

  • Anxiety Weighted Blankets are by far the number 1 thing every person who suffers from anxiety should at least try. Anxiety Blankets may improve your sleep, allow you to fall asleep faster and you can even carry them around when chilling at home.

Online Therapy

  • Online therapy is another thing we should all try. We highly recommend Online therapy with a provider who not only provides therapy but a complete mental health toolbox to help your wellness.

Anxiety Course

  • With over 50,000 participants, this anxiety course may be just what you need to regain control of your life.

Light Therapy

  • Amber light therapy from Amber lights could increase the melatonin production in your body and help you sleep better at night.  An Amber light lamp helps reduce the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep and increases overall sleep quality.

FAQs: Xanax makes me depressed. 

What drugs make you less depressed?

Antidepressants are medications used to treat depression. There are a variety of medications that can be used to treat depression. These antidepressants all work to take away or reduce the symptoms of depression.

How long should you take Xanax?

Xanax, a brand name for alprazolam, is a powerful benzodiazepine that is only recommended for use for up to six weeks.

Can Xanax help PTSD?

Antianxiety medications such as benzodiazepines can be used to treat PTSD when anxiety is its most dominant symptom. The primary choices include Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan. Benzodiazepines should only be used on a short-term basis due to the potential of a dependence developing.

Which Benzodizapine is the least addictive?

Although clonazepam is perceived as “safe,” addiction medicine specialists have found that it is also frequently abused as a street drug. On the other hand, oxazepam (Serax), clorazepate (Tranxene), and chlordiazepoxide appear to have lower reinforcing effects than other benzodiazepines. 

References 

https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-9824/xanax-oral/details

https://americanaddictioncenters.org/xanax-treatment/depression

https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/xanax-addiction/xanax-depression/

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