Xanax is an effective medication for treating symptoms of several types of anxiety disorders and is only available by prescription. Your doctor will assess your condition to determine whether Xanax is a suitable medication for you. Before starting your medication, talk with your prescriber to understand the benefits and risks of the medication.
Xanax for Anxiety Disorders
Xanax, the brand name for the generic medication alprazolam, is an FDA-approved medication for treating symptoms of anxiety. The medication belongs to the benzodiazepine class of drugs that works by altering the brain chemistry and nerves (central nervous system). Xanax works in the body by enhancing the effects of a particular chemical called GABA. This medication is widely prescribed in the United States. Still, since it’s a prescription drug, you cannot get it from any pharmacy without a verified prescription from a licensed medical professional.1, 2
If you take Xanax as prescribed, the medication may help reduce anxiety symptoms and induce feelings of calm. However, it can result in several side effects, including headache, memory loss, and drowsiness.3 Some of its side effects are less severe, requiring no immediate medical attention. But if you experience severe side effects such as severe drowsiness or seizures, seek immediate medical help.
Xanax is effective for treating:1
Side Effects of Xanax
If you take Xanax for anxiety, you may experience common side effects associated with the medication. Generally, Xanax’s side effects are mild. However, if you experience severe side effects such as addiction, if you experience signs of dependence or addiction, talk to your doctor. The side effects result from the direct chemical effects of the medication. Some of Xanax’s side effects are labeled in the drug’s prescription.2
Side effects of Xanax may include:1, 2
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in sex drive
- Weight changes
Do I Need a Xanax Prescription?
Xanax medication is only available through prescription. This means you cannot get the medication in any pharmacy without a verified prescription from your doctor. While the drug is deemed effective for anxiety, it has serious side effects and it is addictive, especially if it is misused. 4, 5 You may be prescribed alprazolam if you have anxiety signs such as nervousness, restlessness, or tension. This medication may be used as part of a comprehensive anxiety treatment plan.
If it’s your first time getting the medication, ask your doctor about side effects. Taking this medication without following proper procedure can have serious side effects that can be life-threatening. Avoid searching for your symptoms on the internet but consult your doctor for suitable medications to be considered. It’s also important to note that your doctor may consider using alprazolam to treat anxiety when you have severe symptoms or other medications do not work for you.
Some signs that you may need a Xanax prescription for your anxiety include:
- Feeling always on edge or that something horrible will happen.
- Frequent panic attacks
- Physical symptoms of anxiety such as sweating, chest pains, and dizziness
Who Shouldn’t Be Prescribed Xanax
There are several factors your doctor will consider, including your age and preexisting medical conditions, before considering medication for anxiety such as Xanax as a suitable treatment. This is to prevent severe side effects associated with the medication that can be life-threatening. The FDA warns against using Xanax in pregnant and breastfeeding women. The medication can harm your pregnancy, causing serious complications throughout your pregnancy, such as congenital malformations.1
Using Xanax during lactation can lead to infant exposure to the substance leading to sedation and withdrawal symptoms. Some studies have found alprazolam to be safe and effective in treating children with avoidant and overanxious disorders.5 Older adults may be at risk for kidney and liver failure when taking the medication.1 Also, if you have a substance use disorder, your doctor will closely monitor your Xanax use.
How to Get Xanax Prescribed to You
Xanax can only be obtained with a prescription from a licensed healthcare practitioner. Your doctor will determine whether Xanax is the proper medication for you. A pre-screening conversation is important for your doctor to know your medical history, address safety concerns, and reduce the risk of harmful effects from taking Xanax medication.
When looking to get prescribed Xanax for your anxiety, be sure to follow these steps:
- Talk to your doctor about your anxiety: In some cases, anxiety can be a symptom of other conditions. Therefore, talk to your doctor about your anxiety for your doctor to fully understand your condition.
- Describe your symptoms thoroughly: Take your time and clearly describe your symptoms to your healthcare provider. They need to fully understand the problem before considering whether to prescribe medication.
- Ask for a prescription: You can ask for Xanax if you think it might be right for you. Your doctor will explain whether this is a safe and appropriate choice for treating your symptoms.
Who Can Prescribe Xanax?
Only licensed medical practitioners with a controlled substance license can prescribe Xanax. This indicates that healthcare providers have proper training and education to understand the impacts of medication on a person’s health. These providers are also held to professional conduct and ethical standards as they serve patients.
A Xanax prescription may be obtained from the following healthcare providers:
- Primary care providers
- Licensed nurse practitioners
- Licensed assistant physicians
How to Get Xanax Prescribed to You Online
With the development of telehealth, there are several online psychiatry platforms where you can get prescribed medication. Telehealth is a form of telemedicine that allows you to meet your prescriber over the internet; you don’t have to meet your doctor in person. Like in-person medical appointments, telemedicine provides assessment, screening, and a discussion about prescriptions.5
Online psychiatry or telepsychiatry are effective as they can save you transportation costs. This can also be helpful to people in rural areas. Therefore, it is less of a time constraint as the click of a button does everything. Moreover, after your doctor has understood your condition, the right medication can be prescribed and mailed to your doorstep in the fastest time possible.
Xanax is a controlled substance; hence there are strict regulations regarding its prescription and distribution. One barrier to obtaining Xanax prescription online is the requirement for a valid prescription from a licensed healthcare provider. You have to meet your doctor in person and be diagnosed with the condition that Xanax is indicated to treat. Furthermore, the prescription would need to be filed by a licensed pharmacy in your state of residence. This can vary by the country where you live, as different countries have different regulations regarding the prescription and distribution of controlled substances.
What If You Can’t Get Prescribed Xanax?
If your doctor determines that Xanax isn’t right for you, don’t rush to seek the medication from multiple providers. Avoid doctor shopping as taking Xanax without your doctor’s advice can pose a great danger to your health. If you take Xanax without approval from your physician, you may experience severe side effects from the medication that can be life-threatening. This may require immediate medical help as the severity of the side effects can be life-threatening.
You should also never take prescriptions from your friends or family as this can put them at risk of withdrawal symptoms due to failure to take Xanax as prescribed.3 Additionally, taking illicit street versions of Xanax can be laced with lethal doses of fentanyl. This can lead to possible fatal overdose and increase the chances of addiction to the substance.
Do Over the Counter Benzodiazepine Medications Exist?
Benzodiazepine medications are only legally available through prescription, not over-the-counter (OTC). The medications are classified as controlled substances and require a licensed healthcare provider prescription. Benzodiazepine medications can only be obtained through a licensed pharmacy with a valid prescription. OTC medications are medications that can be purchased without a prescription. However, since benzodiazepines have a high potential for abuse, they are subject to strict regulations to be used accordingly.
Questions to Ask Your Health Team About How to Get Xanax
Xanax is a controlled substance that can have serious health problems if taken without a doctor’s guidance. Asking questions will help you understand the pros and cons of using this medication as part of your anxiety treatment plan.
Questions to ask your care team about getting a Xanax prescription include:
- How often should I come for checkups?
- What common side effects will I likely experience when I start my Xanax medication?
- How long will the medication’s side effects last?
- Should I be concerned about addiction and withdrawal symptoms of the medication?
- What are the best online psychiatry options?
- Do over-the-counter alternatives to Xanax exist?
- What should I do if Xanax does not work for me?
- What will happen if I stop my medication abruptly?
How to Get Help Immediately
Xanax can lead to serious health complications. This can put you in a crisis and make it difficult to manage addiction, requiring immediate medical attention. If you have a challenge coping with the side effects of Xanax or you have probably overdosed on the medication, call the emergency hotline or 9-1-1. You can also visit the nearest facility as soon as possible.
Xanax can be an effective medication for treating anxiety symptoms in the short term. However, before getting a prescription for Xanax, you and your care team must determine how severe your symptoms are and how you would benefit most. This is to improve your on the medication and that any safety concerns have been addressed.