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From: D. Edwards (114.127.246.36)
Subject:         Use of Xanax in Bipolar Disorder
Date: August 16, 2009 at 3:29 pm PST

NIMH states that Bipolar Disorder is an affliction that affects 5.7 million Americans. A variety of treatments have been tried to subdue the disorder and make it manageable for the sufferer and his family. This article will explore the use of Xanax with Bipolar Disorders I and Bipolar Disorder II.

Bipolar I diagnosis consists of mixed episodes of mania and major depression. It must not include mood disorders brought on by substance abuse or use of illegal drugs, but must occur on its own in a cycle throughout the patient's life. Bipolar I is the classic manic-depressive state often associated with the diagnosis of Bipolar disorder including ups (manias) and downs (severe major depressions.)
Bipolar II
"Man With Multiple Personalities," istockphoto.com
Bipolar II involves both manic and depressive episodes as does Bipolar I. Unlike Bipolar I, Bipolar II has more intensive and longer depressive moods. Hypomania is present in Bipolar II which causes sensations like flood of thought, creativity, pervasive elevated mood, irritability, mild euphoria, and a desire to succeed.
Bipolar I Benefits
"I am...," istockphoto.com
Xanax seems to take the edge of the cyclic thinking and aid in sleeping as well as clear thought processes. It helps calm manic episodes in 15 to 30 minutes, restoring natural breathing and a calm thought process, Xanax also takes away unpleasant and overwhelming anxiety.
Bipolar II Benefits
Xanax has been shown to help sedate sufferers of Bipolar Disorder II. It does not stop trembling as well as Valium, but it has been shown to help the patient stop the constant flow of thought and concentrate fully on the task at hand with a clear mind. It can also soothe suicidal idealization, crying spells, and violent mood swings. Xanax also calms anxiety and panic. Unfortunately the effects of Xanax seem to be short-lived, leaving the patient to seek better treatment.
Problems
"Holistic," istockphoto.com
Xanax is a benzodiazepine prescribed for anxiety and panic disorder which can be also used to treat Bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, Xanax has been known to cause mania in patients. According to Healthy Place: America's Mental Health Channel, "Episodes of hypomania and mania have been reported in association with the use of Alprazolam in patients with depression." This means that the mania has the possibility of reeling out of control with the use of Xanax or its generic form Alprazolam. Other problems include clumsiness, unsteadiness, loss of coordination, appearance of intoxication, drowsiness, light-headedness, and slurred speech, Aside from physical hindrances, Xanax is highly addictive and people with addictive personalities should be aware of the danger of Xanax, which acts much like alcohol as it depresses the central nervous system and quells inhibitions,
Solutions
"Happy Family," istockphoto.com
It is important to weigh the risks of taking Xanax against Bipolar Disorder. If Xanax incites mania, then it should be stopped immediately unless the patient experiences worsening symptoms and slides deeper into the disease. If, on the other hand, Xanax provides comfort from intrusive thoughts, erratic behaviors and indeterminable mood swings, then it should be administered properly to ensure that there is no risk of dependency or abuse.

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