All about Xanax
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Bipolar and XanaxBipolar disorder (formerly called manic depression) is a kind of brain disorders; medical professionals frequently regard it as an irregular sleep-wake syndrome. In other words, it is considered that people suffering from this disease feel the time not in the way as the other healthy individuals do. Most often these people aren’t able to sleep before 4 a.m. or, on the contrary, are awake around 4 a.m. and can no longer sleep.

Having an irregular sleep cycle can give rise to a lot of problems in every day’s social life, because of need to go to work, school etc. – almost every establishment works in the first half of the daytime. Therefore, some medications are used to treat restlessness and insomnia.

Sleep Medications Used in Bipolar Disorder

In order to normalize sleep rhythm of the diseased people, medicals try to treat it in two different ways: in some cases, as a part of therapy, they prescribe medications which have sleepiness as a side effect, in other cases they recommend distinctive remedies for sleep.

The second mentioned group of drugs mainly consists of such medications as antidepressants with sedative and sleep-aid features (mirtazapine, agomelatine, trimipramine, doxepin etc.), antipsychotics (olanzapine (Zyprexa), aripiprazole (Abilify) etc.), benzodiazepines (alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan) etc.), and nonbenzodiazepines (eszopiclone, zaleplon etc.).

Xanax vs. Bipolar Disorder

Benzodiazepine tranquilizers are often prescribed in the struggle against bipolar disorder, in order to control maniacal syndrome before mood stabilizers take their effect, additionally, they may help minimize anxiety, which is observed in people with bipolar disease quite frequently.

In the majority of circadian rhythm disorder’s treatment cases it comes to Xanax (alprazolam). It is a reliable mean, using alprazolam vs bipolar disorder has displayed good results throughout many years. The mechanism of action can be described in a few words: the active substance (alprazolam) enhances the inhibitory effect of GABAs in the nervous system, and this way it is increasing the GABA-receptor mediator’s sensitivity for the stimulation of benzodiazepine receptors. It can decrease the affectability of thalamus, hypothalamus and limbic system. In other words, this works for calming the central nervous system. This everything results in having a healthier sleep, so a person can generally lead more active lifestyle.

Xanax is a proven and, what’s important, prompt aid to fight insomnia and tiredness until special medications for mood stabilizing take their influence on the body. A downside of mixing Xanax and bipolar disorder medications is that benzodiazepines can potentially be addictive. For this reason, they are usually taken for a period no longer than three weeks.

Side effects of Xanax, or Making a Choice: Xanax or Bipolar Disorder?

The question may seem comic to somebody, but many people are so much afraid of medications’ side effects, that sometimes they lingeringly hesitate to start taking remedies, according to the principle ‘better the way it is now than the worse’. Actually, it is unwise because while you bide time, your disease may become significantly deteriorated. If you feel uncertain about the methods of prescribed treatment, just try to visit another doctor, and maybe things will come clear.

There are two kinds of side effects – expected and rare ones. Speaking of rare side effects, this means that you can experience some subsequences which are not listed here. Most of the expected ones (they occur in 32%-76% of all patients) are following:

  1. Drowsiness;
  2. Partial loss of coordination;
  3. Dysarthria;
  4. Memory problems;
  5. Cognitive dysfunction;
  6. Weight gain/loss;
  7. Blurred vision;
  8. Reduced libido.

Fewer people have informed that they also had such after-effects as increased/decreased appetite, unusual dreams and nightmares, confusion, nasal congestion and constipation, menstrual problems in women, difficulties with micturition. But these latest ones occur predominantly in cases of drinking alcohol beverages at the time of taking Xanax with bipolar disorder meds, which is forbidden at the time of the treatment.

Can you take Xanax with bipolar disorder? You know the answer to this question better than we do. Because it’s only up to you, to obtain your personal medical advice, and then weigh all pros and cons to decide for yourself whether it is worth it or not.

Can you mix Xanax and bipolar disorder medications? Yes, you can. As it was mentioned in the very beginning, doctors often practice combining mood stabilizers, antipsychotics and other meds for bipolar treatment with benzodiazepine tranquilizers.

Contraindications and Precautions

There are some factors which can predetermine if it is safe for you to take Xanax or not, they include medical history of a patient. Among the categories of people for whom Xanax isn’t recommended, are those who:

  • Have prior history of alcohol/drug abuse;
  • Have severe depression;
  • Suffer from hypersensitivity to benzodiazepines;
  • Have acute narrow-angle glaucoma;
  • Are pregnant or planning pregnancy;
  • Are breastfeeding.

Also, don’t forget to tell your physician about every medication and supplement you take in. Find out which interactions are safe or dangerous for you.

Bipolar vs. Xanax: Is Xanax Effective in Bipolar Disorder Cases?

Yes, Xanax is a proven and, what’s important, prompt aid to fight insomnia and tiredness until medications for mood stabilizing will take their effect. A downside of mixing Xanax and bipolar disorder medications is that benzodiazepines can potentially be addictive. For this reason, they are mostly taken for a period no longer than three weeks.

It is required to have a professional advice in order to get a prescription for your individual precise dose. Only then the medication will show you all its benefits, with a guarantee that you will get none or the minimal possible side effects.

Dr. Andrew J. Olson

Author: Dr. Andrew J. Olson

Dr. Andrew J. Olson is a PHD in psychiatry. He is also a psychiatrist consultant at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust. He also serves as a Clinical Director of the Department of Psychiatry, at Royal Marsden Hospital, in London, UK.


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Bipolar disorder (formerly called manic depression) is a kind of brain disorders; medical professionals frequently regard it as an irregular sleep-wake syndrome. In other words, it is considered that people suffering from this disease feel the time not in the way as the other healthy individuals do. Most often these people aren’t able to sleep before 4 a.m. or, on the contrary, are awake around 4 a.m. and can no longer sleep. Having an irregular sleep cycle can give rise to a lot of problems in every day’s social life, because of need to go to work, school etc. –…
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