Alprazolam (also known by its brand name Xanax) is a drug in a group of drugs called benzodiazepines. Alprazolam and other benzos are prescribed to treat anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.
They work by slowing the production of certain messages in the brain and central nervous system. These messages would normally cause feelings of anxiety, so alprazolam has a calming effect. However, decreased anxiety isn’t the only impact alprazolam has on brain and body, and use comes with side effects.
Alprazolam’s Side Effects
Any use comes with potential side effects. The more a drug is used, and the more it is misused, the more likely side effects become.
- Difficulty concentrating
- Weight changes
- Difficulty urinating
- Joint pain
Any benzodiazepine can also affect your energy levels and cause drowsiness or sleepiness. At the same time, these drugs may be impacting your ability to get quality sleep and contributing to sleep disturbances such as sleep terrors.
What Are Sleep Terrors?
Sleep terrors are also known as night terrors. They are not the same thing as nightmares. Night terrors are episodes of fear, screaming and flailing which take place while asleep. Someone who experiences a nightmare wakes up from the dream and can remember details, but a person who has a sleep terror episode remains asleep and may not remember anything upon waking.
- Sit up in bed
- Scream and shout
- Kick and thrash
- Sweat and breathe heavily
- Cannot be woken
- Be inconsolable
- Behave violently1
Sleep terrors are most common during childhood, but lots of adults experience them too.
What Causes Sleep Terrors?
In adulthood, sleep terrors may result from the use of certain drugs. Levodopa, reserpine, beta blockers and antidepressants can cause sleep terrors. In turn, sleep terrors may lead to adults taking drugs like alprazolam to help them sleep more deeply or peacefully. However, if these drugs are misused, they can make the problem worse.
Psychiatry MMC explains that sleep behavior disorders are, “commonly associated with withdrawal from alcohol, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates, as well as with the administration of some psychiatric medications.”2 Withdrawing from addictive substances like alprazolam, other benzos and alcohol may cause sleep terrors. Withdrawal can also cause depression, seizures, hallucinations, and psychosis.
Individuals dependent on alprazolam may find themselves facing new or worsening fears even when awake—but these fears are quickly treated and calmed with professional help. Medical and mental health professionals make sure anyone recovering from addiction, sleep disorders, and other co-occurring mental health issues find a safe, peaceful and restful recovery.
Get Help For Your Alprazolam Addiction
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to alprazolam, we can help. Call Black Bear Lodge at 706-914-2327, and talk with one of our compassionate admissions counselors. We understand the power alprazolam, and the desire for a good night’s sleep, can have on your life. We’ll help you determine the best treatment options for your unique situation. Call us today and start on the road of recovery.
1 “Sleep Terrors (Night Terrors).” Mayo Clinic. 9 Mar. 2018.
2 Markov, Dimitri, et al. “Update on Parasomnias.” Psychiatry MMC. Jul. 2006.