Antidepressants are supposed to slow down the central nervous system which relaxes the body. There are certain drugs that were made with good intentions, but carried more risks and complications that could not be ignored. Xanax is an FDA-approved medication used to treat anxiety and panic disorders but is not a common drug used to treat depression anymore due to safer medications out there for that disorder.

Xanax and Depression

Because there are newer and safer medications to prescribe to patients with depression, it may be prescribed by a doctor as an “off-label” treatment for depression. In the 1990s, Xanax was used to treat major depressive disorder and prescribed in double the dosage to treat short-term anxiety. What is controversial about Xanax is because of its highly addictive qualities when used at high doses for a long period of time. Xanax has sedative properties which can actually cause depression and make depression worse for those who already have it. 

Side Effects of Xanax

The most common side effects are drowsiness, depression, lack of enthusiasm, sleeping problems, confusion, blurred vision, muscle twitching, constipation, diarrhea, etc. You should not operate heavy machinery or drive a car while on Xanax because of the depressive features it brings. In people with depression, the side effects can be hypomania and mania. If your depression gets worse or you develop suicidal thoughts while on Xanax, speak to your doctor. 

Risk of Dependence

Xanax can work just like any addictive drug where you experience withdrawal symptoms when you quit cold turkey. These symptoms can include vomiting, aggression, mood swings, headaches, sweating, tremors, and muscle cramps. This is why Xanax is a federally controlled substance. Do not stop taking Xanax or decreasing the dose without speaking to your doctor first. This is the type of medication where you have to slowly reduce your dosage over time. 

Benefits of Xanax

Xanax was shown in clinical studies to improve symptoms of anxiety like a pounding heart, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, dizziness, fear, etc. For panic disorders, clinical studies found that people on Xanax had significantly fewer panic attacks during the week. It is not shown whether or not Xanax is good for anxiety after longer than four months. If you are going to take Xanax for a mental illness, it is best to speak to your doctor first and let them know if you experience any dangerous side effects.

Located in Georgetown, Texas, Alma Loma is a transformative living center to help those struggling in early recovery to transition out of our Psychiatric and Substance Abuse residential center. Alma Loma believes that addiction is born from an untreated mental illness in which our facility is here to help you. Our facility offers residency, medication management education, individualized treatment, life skills education, 12-step support, and more tools to bring patients the confidence to be able to live an independent life. For more information, please call us at 866-457-3843.


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You understand your needs best. If you have found yourself at a crossroads in your treatment and feel like your program options don’t fully understand you or aspects of your recovery, it’s time to contact the specialists at Alta Loma. We will help you craft the ideal care plan and secure the support you need, quickly, to avoid unnecessary problems. At Alta Loma, that’s our mission — to provide each individual with optimum care for the wellbeing they deserve.