How is Xanax Used in the Treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety Treatment and Xanax

Xanax is a prescription anxiety medication.
Xanax is used to treat anxiety. Getty / Ikon Images / Gary Waters

Xanax (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine used primarily to treat panic disorder but also used in the treatment of social anxiety disorder (SAD).

How to Take Xanax

Xanax may be taken several times a day due to its short half-life.

Dosage Guidelines

Typical dosages of Xanax are 2 to 4 mg per day. It is often started at lower dosages and titrated upward.

Who Shouldn’t Take Xanax

You should not take Xanax if you

  • have a hypersensitivity to benzodiazepines
  • have acute narrow-angle glaucoma
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding

The effectiveness of Xanax for use in children under 18 has not been established.

Medication Interactions

A number of medication interactions can potentially occur with Xanax. It is important that your doctor is aware of all medications that you are currently taking. In addition, the effects of Xanax may be intensified if combined with alcohol.

Side Effects

The most common side effects of taking Xanax are sedation and drowsiness.

Associated Risks

There is a risk of emotional and physical dependence when taking Xanax. Withdrawal symptoms are possible if the medication is abruptly stopped and may include risk of seizures. Be sure to follow your doctor's directions for stopping Xanax or changing dosage.

Avoid driving, operating machinery and participating in hazardous activities until you know how you react to Xanax.

Xanax for Social Anxiety Disorder

The first line of medication treatment for social anxiety disorder is usually the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). However, in the event that these medications do not work, benzodiazepines such as Xanax may be prescribed.

If you have been prescribed Xanax for your social anxiety you may feel nervous and unsure about taking the medication.

These feelings are normal so don't feel bad. Be sure to ask your doctor any questions that you have and follow the directions provided for maximum effect.

Below is a list of other medications that may be used to treat SAD.

Other Anxiety Medications


Pfizer. Xanax Prescribing Information

Davidson JR. Pharmacotherapy of Social Anxiety Disorder: What Does the Evidence Tell Us? J Clin Psychiatry. 2006;67 Suppl 12:20-6.