Also called Alprazolam, Xanax works to treat insomnia and panic disorders that affect millions in America. People experiencing muscle twitches and cramps from stress-related conditions also use Xanax for relaxation. There are various colors of Xanax pills, each with a different dosage and different effects on the brain. Xanax is the most prescribed medication in the United States, and it has extremely addictive properties.
Xanax is a benzodiazepine primarily used to treat generalized anxiety disorder by enhancing chemicals in the brain known as GABA. Xanax reproduces GABA in the brain which helps to calm the brain and nervous system.
The body is also relaxed, and the individual can feel calm in less than half a hour after taking a Xanax bar. Some users find relaxation in as little as 20 minutes, and remain relaxed for 2 to 11 hours. The benzodiazepine stays in the body up to 3 days after initial use.
In some cases, people combine Xanax bars with other drugs like cocaine. In other cases, people have been misled into taking counterfeit versions of the drug which have caused sudden death when the counterfeit contains other dangerous substances.
The most common and well-known example of poly-drug use involving Xanax is alcohol. This combination is especially dangerous and likely to lead to overdose or other disastrous consequences. People also take Valium with Xanax for similar reasons and with similar consequences.
We can help. You can overcome drug addiction and have a better life than you ever thought possible!
Xanax is often abused for the fast-acting, relaxed "high" it can give to people who take it, including people without a prescription.
According to the Treatment Episode Data Set, the number of individuals seeking treatment for benzodiazepine abuse almost tripled from 1998-2008. Long-term abuse and addiction to Xanax are associated with depression, psychotic experiences, and aggressive or impulsive behavior.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in 2011, there were over 1.2 million emergency department (ER) visits overall related to the nonmedical use of prescription drugs - Xanax was involved in 10 percent of those visits.
The number of emergency department visits involving the non-medical use of the sedative Xanax doubled from 57,419 to 124,902 during the years 2005 to 2010 and then remained stable at 123,744 in 2011.
The most common drug combinations encountered in ER patients are Xanax and alcohol, and Xanax combined with prescription opiates like hydrocodone and oxycodone.
Xanax is popular among teenagers to help them cope with the stressors, depressions, and anxieties of teenage life. This is problematic as early Xanax use among teens increases the likelihood of a life-long dependence. A 2016 report notes "roughly 70% of teens experimented with drugs or alcohol" before 15 years old.
Out of these drugs, many young students are hooked on Xanax. It is widely available in schools, and some teens get the drugs from their parents' medicine cabinets. Since Xanax relaxes the mind and body, teens often find themselves abusing the substance and then want something stronger. Some teenagers up the risk by combining Xanax with alcohol or other drugs and can take multiple Xanax bars a day.
Once someone gets used to the calming effect of Xanax, they can risk developing a tolerance for the drug, and start taking more. Sadly, people taking Xanax bars often quickly shift from taking a prescribed dosage to doubling, tripling, or even quadrupling up on pills. Some even combine Xanax with other benzodiazepines like Valium, or with marijuana and alcohol. Once someone develops a tolerance, they can do irreparable damage their bodies.
Expectant mothers abusing Xanax bars can affect unborn babies with fetal developmental problems. Since anxiety and muscle cramps are common during pregnancy, mothers may be prescribed a benzodiazepine to relax them. Mothers can experience nausea, seizures, and tremors during Xanax withdrawal. Like other substance abuse disorders, mothers abusing Xanax can impact the baby as the chemicals transfer to the baby through the bloodstream.
Some studies have found that as many as 1 in 4 seniors abuse Xanax. With the process of aging and being away from loved ones, seniors may feel anxiety. Depending on previous drug use, and the state of the body, they may experience muscle cramps. Once they take Xanax, they will feel the ease in the bodies and can depend on it for this reason alone. Sadly, seniors risk the standard side effects of Xanax, and can also suffer from broken hips, vehicular crashes, falls, Xanax addiction, and fatal overdoses.
Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam, a prescription sedative in the benzodiazepines family. Benzodiazepines were originally developed as a replacement for barbiturates. Xanax affects the brain and central nervous system (CNS). As was mentioned earlier, it boosts a brain chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which slows down the nerve cell activity in the brain. The result is a calm and relaxed feeling.
Xanax is dispensed in 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg and 2 mg strengths. The pills come in different shapes and colors depending on strength. The 2 mg tablets are white, green, or yellow in color and rectangular in shape. The rest are oval shaped and colored white (0.25 mg), orange (0.5 mg) or blue (1 mg). Xanax is a regulated schedule IV-controlled substance.
After taking Xanax, the peak effects of the drug are typically felt within one to two hours. As an intermediate-duration drug, Xanax stays in a person's system for 12 to 15 hours.
Xanax is commonly used in combination with alcohol or other pills—particularly opiates—to get a better high. Heroin users regularly consume Xanax, as do methadone users. In addition, approximately 40 percent of alcoholics regularly abuse Xanax. Alcohol is particularly dangerous when mixed with Xanax because they are both depressants, which can lead to an overdose and respiratory failure.
Taking more than the prescribed dosage or using Xanax without a prescription is considered abuse of the drug. However, those who follow a prescription can still become addicted to Xanax.
Xanax may be abused in several ways, including:
Xanax is typically abused because of the sense of calm and relaxation it causes in the user. Some people abuse Xanax by taking it in higher doses and combining it with other drugs or alcohol in order to achieve the desired high.
An overdose on Xanax can be fatal, especially if the drug is taken with alcohol or other drugs. Overdose can also occur if the pills are crushed or chewed, as the drug is designed to be time-released into the system. Xanax overdose symptoms include:
Treatment for a Xanax overdose will depend on how much of the drug was taken and whether other drugs or alcohol were also taken. In the event of an overdose, medical providers may pump the stomach to remove as much of the unabsorbed Xanax as possible.
Medications, such as flumazenil, may also be administered as an antidote. Doctors may insert an IV to provide necessary fluids. It is important for anyone suffering from an overdose to be honest with the emergency medical personnel about exactly what substances were taken and how much.
Xanax can be very dangerous when taken in large doses and/or in combination with alcohol or other drugs. When mixed with alcohol, even a small dose of Xanax can be fatal because of the possibility of respiratory failure, serious injury, and coma caused by combining two central nervous system depressants.
Because Xanax is a sedative, there is a risk of automobile or machinery accidents due to decreased alertness and response time. If a large dose of Xanax is consumed, the user may experience severe sedation lasting up to several days. This can put the user in serious danger if they are sedated in a dangerous environment.
Prolonged use of Xanax can cause serious side effects, some of which may be permanent. Dangerous side effects include:
Xanax can be habit-forming, especially when someone believes they cannot manage the stress in their life without it. Even those who take Xanax as prescribed can develop an addiction. Tolerance to Xanax builds quickly, leading to more frequent and larger dosing.
A person addicted to Xanax will exhibit certain physical, psychological and behavioral symptoms, including:
There is a distinct difference between Xanax abuse and Xanax addiction. With recreational use of Xanax, the drug is typically abused for a particular event, like a party. The individual may combine Xanax with alcohol or other drugs to achieve the desired buzz. Generally, these people can quit taking the drug without severe side effects. People who abuse Xanax recreationally still have some control over their lives and their drug use.
Many people who develop an addiction to Xanax are unaware they have a problem. Others may suspect they are becoming dependent on the drug, but are in denial about the severity of their dependence.
It is important to approach someone about their Xanax addiction carefully, so they will be responsive to your concerns and not become defensive. Xanax can cause aggression, rage and agitation in the user, making it very important that you do not confront them out of anger or while alone.
It may be best to enlist the services of a professional interventionist who can guide you in the process of confronting a loved one about their drug problem. Interventionists are trained in dealing with the addicted mind. They know the typical responses of addicts, so they can prepare family members for various outcomes. An intervention should be well planned in advance, with the interventionist doing research into the family dynamics to help determine the best course of action.
Detoxing from Xanax can be a long process. Because Xanax can produce severe withdrawal symptoms, quitting "cold turkey" is not recommended. Tapering down use is the safest, and most effective, way to detox from Xanax and reduce withdrawal symptoms.
Tapering off Xanax involves gradually cutting back on the dosage of the drug over a period of time. In some cases, a doctor may recommend switching to a less potent benzodiazepine with a longer half-life, like Klonopin, to taper off use. Detox from Xanax should always be done under the supervision of a medical professional.
Medically-assisted detox is the most effective way to get clean and avoid health complications. Medical detox programs keep patients comfortable and minimize the effects of withdrawal. This is the safest method of detox, as doctors are close by in the event that withdrawal symptoms become life-threatening.
Many inpatient and outpatient treatment programs offer detox as the first step in treatment. These programs can help Xanax users beat their physical dependence on the drug, while also addressing the psychological side of addiction. Getting treatment for Xanax addiction will give you your best chance at a successful recovery.
Once someone has a Xanax addiction, they shouldn't stop taking the drug "cold turkey." Addiction experts recommend the user be placed on a medically supervised tapering program to slowly wean them off the drug. Quitting the drug abruptly can lead to serious health effects, including seizures. As such, it is always recommended for those overcoming a Xanax addiction to start with a medical detox.
Those with a moderate to severe Xanax addiction will benefit from the high level of care provided in inpatient treatment centers. An outpatient program may be a suitable option for those with mild Xanax addiction.