Ativan vs Xanax for Anxiety Treatment

Ativan vs Xanax

Anxiety is an ailment that affects a large number of people across the world and comparing Ativan vs Xanax is helpful in determining treatments. In some cases, Anxiety can be brought on due to temporary stressors. In other cases; it is due to a chemical imbalance that requires correction. Ativan and Xanax are two highly effective and popular treatments used in a variety of anxiety disorders such as:

  • Panic Attacks
  • Mild Depression
  • Severe Anxiety
  • Convulsions

 Ativan vs Xanax – How it works

Both of these drugs fall in the benzodiazepine class of drugs. They are the short acting forms of the chemical compounds needed to treat anxiety disorders. Xanax is available in several forms, along with the short acting dosages; it is also available in capsules that are structured for timed release in the bloodstream.

Xanax has sedative properties which are effective when paired with counseling. Xanax also has hypnotic properties that have proven effective in the fight against depression. Off label usage for the drug also includes being a muscle relaxer and an anti-convulsion agent which is often prescribed when the patient has underlying mental health issues that contribute to these symptoms.

Ativan also has both sedative and hypnotic properties that make it equally effective against anxiety related disorders. Comparing the speed of Ativan vs Xanax, Ativan is a faster acting agent, however, the effects of the drug are shorter lived when compared to Xanax. Ativan is also effective as an anticonvulsant, and many doctors also use it off label to help people in smoking cessation programs deal with the withdrawal symptoms that nicotine can often induce.

Addiction Risk

When comparing Ativan vs Xanax, you should be aware that both drugs are physically addictive. Anxiety medication, when taken for extended periods of time, form dependence which reduces their effectiveness. Stopping either medication should only be done under the watchful eye of a trained medical professional as the body can go into shock if the benzo’s are abruptly removed.

Side Effects To Consider

Ativan and Xanax both work on the chemicals that regulate brain function. That being said, patients considering starting anxiety treatment should consider some of the possible side effects. Both medications impair the memory to a certain extent. Ativan has a higher instance of memory loss when compared to Xanax, but all medications in the benzo class have to potential to convolute the mind. In observing the compounds that compose Ativan vs Xanax, both work on the mental receptors that control anxiety, these same receptors also control a person’s ability to maintain focus. In some cases, improper dosing can lead to the inability to function normally even when the anxiety disorder is managed.

In many cases, doctors will perform a simple impairment test when initiating treatment with Ativan vs Xanax to help allocate the proper dose, as well as ensure that the medication prescribed is suitable for the patients system. The test is as simple as being asked to memorize a set of numbers, words or images prior to taking the first dose. After the medication has taken effect, the patient will be asked to recall the memorized information. There is not always immediate loss of memory, in fact, when comparing Ativan vs Xanax, studies have shown that the instance of memory loss builds over time with continued treatment with the medications.