Xanax, or alprazolam, is used to treat depression and anxiety by making changes to neuron activity in the brain. Nearly 50 million Americans have a prescription for Xanax, which is the third most prescribed drug in the country. It falls behind Zoloft and Celexa, which are also used to treat anxiety and depression.
While scientists are not yet sure about what exactly causes anxiety to develop, they do know that certain parts of the brain responsible for processing emotions and making decisions, including the hippocampus, show spikes of increased activity in people experiencing anxiety.
Xanax comes from a family of drugs with a long name: Triazolobenzodiazepines. Understanding the structure of Xanax is vital for understanding how it works to treat people with anxiety. For example, its shape facilitates the interaction between the drug and proteins on the outside of neurons in the brain. This interactions aids in restoring natural processes in the brain.