Alprazolam, mechanism of how Xanax works is by binding

Alprazolam, commonly known as
“Xanax”, is a drug prescribed to individuals which experience anxiety due to
uncontrollable chemical imbalances. Specifically, Alprazolam is used to treat Generalized Anxiety
Disorder (GAD)  which connects the
relationship of anxiety with depression and panic disorder. Xanax is
categorized within a class of medication referred to as benzodiazepines, which
causes effects in the central nervous system to induce sedation,
muscle-relaxation and lower anxiety levels. Xanax was created by the Upjohn
Laboratories of Kalamazoo in the late 1960s as an anxiety medication. However,
since there was a lack of treatments for panic disorders, Upjohn Laboratory
decided change their initial submission to the FDA as a medication to treat
anxiety and renamed it as a medication for patients with panic disorder. Soon
after Upjohn was able to release Alprazolam to the US market on October 1981 as
an intermediate onset of action and quicker elimination from the body than
other commonly prescribed benzodiazepines such as Valium or Librium.
Furthermore,  Xanax has become widely
known for its medication of  anxiety and
panic disorder and has proven its effectiveness for rapid symptom relief.

Xanax has a distinct physiological
mechanism…….1 . Furthermore, the physiological mechanism of
how Xanax works is by binding to a GABA receptor complex located in the brain
also known as GABA A. GABA A is identified as the most dominant inhibitory
neurotransmitter in the nervous system, which normally binds to a binding site
in the GABA receptor complex allowing chloride ions to permeate  the cell membrane. This is followed by  hyperpolarization that occurs in the membrane
which naturally causes an inhibitory mechanism to activate due to the absence
of an action potential. However, because Xanax is a positive allosteric
modulator, meaning that when it binds to this receptor complex it turns the
whole mechanism into a conformational change. This then generates GABA to bind
more often, faster, and stronger with the GABA complex. The binding then allows
more chloride ions to flow more frequently through the ion channel. The lack of
an action potential to occur causes hyperpolarization in the membrane more
frequently than usual, which results in a reduction of  anxiety and panic disorders because
neurosignals aren’t being sent to the brain. Furthermore, while this mechanism
is happening there is a suppression of the hypothalamic pituitary axis, which
is able to control responses of stress and anxiety. Overall, the stress levels
decrease over time, preventing anxiety and panic to happen.2 

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Additionally, although Xanax may be
method to help patients who suffer from common disorders such as insomnia,
seizure control, anxiety or panic attacks, this medication may lead to
unfortunate side effects. Some common side effect of Xanax include difficulty with
coordination, drowsiness, blurred vision, discouragement, sadness and
emptiness, tiredness, poor memory, and slurred speech.3  Feeling sad or empty due to Xanax
is a common side effect because GABA is known to be an inhibitory
neurotransmitter that lowers brain activity affecting the amygdala. The
integrative center of producing anxiety is the amygdala. The amygdala is a part
of the brain that creates and regulates emotions and memory, also known as the
primitive brain. Thus, because Xanax is a positive allosteric modulator that
causes an increase in the force and rate at which GABA binds to the GABA
receptor complex preventing action potentials, ultimately decreasing total
brain activity.

Furthermore, an alternative to using
Xanax to avoid abuse, addiction, or dependence, is Kava. The Kava root is
labeled as a relaxing herb
that has shown results in treating anxiety, insomnia and other nervous
disorders. Kava, through numerous clinical trials, has been determined to be
equally effective at decreasing anxiety disorder GAD as Xanax and other
anti-anxiety prescriptions. Kava has also been known to be a much safer and
cause less addiction. Since Xanax dependence increased among with teenagers, Kava
appears to be the safest alternative that provides similar success and
efficiency.