Xanax (alprazolam) is a popular benzodiazepine typically prescribed for anxiety disorders, sleep disorders, and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Current research shows that more than 12.5% of adults in the US take benzodiazepines, and this number appears to keep rising.
Although benzodiazepines were initially meant to be a safer alternative to alcohol and barbiturates, those claims simply don’t appear to be true. Today, many people abuse Xanax for its euphoric effects and quick symptom relief. They also mix it with other substances to enhance pleasurable effects.
As a result, Xanax bars (even when legally prescribed) pose a significant risk to everyone.
What Are the Main Dangers of Xanax?
Benzodiazepines influence GABA neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters help slow down the brain and central nervous system activity. Although this process can provide short-term anxiety or sleep relief, it can be destructive with ongoing use.
Over time, the body and nervous system habituate to the benzodiazepine effects. This phenomenon is known as building tolerance. Not only does someone feel like they need the drugs to survive, but the body literally does start relying on the effect of Xanax. As a result, if the individual stops taking Xanax, the body enters a state of withdrawal.
Furthermore, even the prescribed use of Xanax can be problematic. Benzodiazepines offer immediate relief, but they do not inherently “solve” problems associated with anxiety, panic, or poor sleep. Likewise, they are only intended for short-term use- they are not a sustainable treatment plan. Therefore, relying solely on medication may actually cause people to feel worse about their situations in the long run.
Some of the common effects associated with chronic Xanax use include:
- Increased mood swings or irritability
- Memory problems (especially if someone repeatedly blacks out)
- Racing heart
- Blurry vision
- Increased sensitivity to pain
- Coordination problems
- Sleep problems
- Exacerbated anxiety
It’s important to remember that long-term Xanax use may lead to serious and complicated withdrawal symptoms. In addition, chronic users are at an elevated risk for seizures, hallucinations, or comas.
That’s why it’s never advised that someone detoxes from benzodiazepines on their own. Even with the best intentions, the withdrawal process can unintentionally cause someone’s death.
Is Xanax Addictive?
The DEA currently classifies Xanax as a Schedule IV controlled substance. This ranking means that the DEA perceives this drug as having a ‘low potential for abuse’ compared to drugs in the Schedule I, II, and III categories.
That said, Xanax represents a pervasive problem in mainstream society. Thousands of individuals are admitted into the emergency department for various benzodiazepine issues every year. Moreover, many people seek drug treatment for Xanax misuse.
Like all benzodiazepines, Xanax can be habit-forming. Even when directed by a doctor, it is possible to gain a tolerance to this drug quickly. Taking more than prescribed (or using the drug illicitly) may signify an addiction.
What About Mixing Xanax With Other Substances?
Xanax use is concerning enough on its own, but the risks often multiply when drug interactions occur. Unfortunately, many people mix Xanax with other drugs to intensify feelings of relaxation, pleasure, and calmness.
For example, drinking alcohol on Xanax may cause the central nervous system to slow down significantly. This results in extreme drowsiness, slow pulse, and the potential risk for seizures or delirium.
When it comes to mixing Xanax with other substances, overdose is the greatest risk. Unfortunately, an overdose can happen quickly- even if someone thinks they know how much they can handle. Today, many illicit drug manufacturers lace benzodiazepines with cheaper and more potent substances.
Fake Xanax has become more prevalent in nearly every part of the country. Unfortunately, this scary trend doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Subsequently, someone may purchase the product and take it- without really knowing what or how much of something they’re taking.
Xanax use remains a serious issue among nearly every age and demographic. Even a legal prescription can lead to concerning problems.
If you or a loved one struggles with Xanax use, you’re not alone. Reaching out for help may be one of the most critical steps you take for your recovery. We are here for you! Contact us today at (866) 578-7471 to get the support you need.