Xanax is a Benzodiazepine with the generic drug name Alprazolam. It is often prescribed as medication to treat anxiety, specifically Generalized Anxiety Disorder, panic disorders and insomnia. It is an effective drug, yet highly addictive particularly after long-term usage and is very commonly prescribed across the US to deal with psychiatric issues. Tolerance is easily built up, which can result in dependency, abuse and addiction, with some taking up to 30 Xanax pills a day as a result.
When people become dependent on Xanax, they may isolate themselves from typical everyday activity. This can include a loss of interest in hobbies, socializing, family, education and work. This has a detrimental effect on those who love and care about them, as well as themselves. A Xanax addiction replaces energy and motivation for life with the need to obtain and consume more Xanax to survive as the body adjusts to operating with the chemicals released by taking the drug.
Xanax abuse is centered initially on recreational activity, as Xanax is prescribed to induce feelings of relaxation and calm, alleviating a person of anxiousness or panic. Abuse of the drug is established when a person goes outside of the safe, prescribed amount or frequency. Some who is abusing Xanax may consume the medication in ways other than swallowing a pill like snorting, injection, multiple pill ingestion, via blotting paper and with alcohol or other drugs like Methadone and Heroin.
Xanax addiction moves beyond solely recreational abuse, where a person becomes fully reliant on the drug to get through daily life. It is no longer used purely to induce a state of calm. An addicted person may adapt so that it is a normalized part of the body and mind’s functionality. Rather than Xanax having a noticeable effect on his or her well-being, someone who is addicted may experience little change unless the dosage is increased, which in turn increases dependency and reliance on Xanax. This is how the vicious cycle of addiction often begins, as a person addicted to Xanax will need higher dosages to feel effects, making the drive to obtain more Xanax an increasingly essential focus of his or her life.
Both states of Xanax dependency require attention and possible intervention, whether through the user’s own recognition of an abuse problem or through the care and concern of friends and family. What may start off as a prescription may turn into recreational Xanax abuse before leading into a full-blown addiction to the medication. This is not to say that all those prescribed Xanax will experience dependency issues; taking it to the prescribed amount can be safe. However, many doctors will prescribe Xanax for a longer period than they should and this perpetuates the possibility of dependence in patients. If you are concerned that a loved one or yourself is noticeably going outside of a doctor’s prescription to consume Xanax, a serious issue may be developing.
The severity of side effects to Xanax cannot be taken lightly. Xanax is a highly potent drug, directly affecting the Central Nervous System, as well as a specific brain chemical known as gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). Taking Xanax stalls the activity of nerve cells, hence the calmness the drug induces. The manner in which Xanax targets the CNS is what leads to the loss of balance, ataxia and overall physical weakness.
The side effects can be particularly bad when the drug is ingested in alternative ways, as the pill form of Xanax works by being time-released into the body, the drug taking effect within two hours after consumption. Xanax stays in the system for up to 15 hours. When ingested alternatively, more of the chemical enters the body’s systems at once. The abuse of Xanax can lead, most severely, to overdose, which can be recognized through the symptoms of serious drowsiness, incoherence, slurred speech, fainting and even coma. As Xanax is often taken alongside other drugs and alcohol, there is no singular way to treat an overdose of Xanax, though a stomach pump may be required.
As it is an extremely addictive drug, the sooner an intervention occurs, the better. If a Xanax addiction continues unnoticed, then the individual’s tolerance of the drug will only increase, making the risk of overdose increase in turn. The severity of withdrawal symptoms will also escalate between doses. The deeper into addiction that a person becomes, the more his or her mental and physical health, interpersonal relations and societal functionality will deteriorate. He or she may become homeless or commit unthinkable acts. Even individuals who are addicted, but are high functioning, will eventually experience severe health decline as a result of their substance abuse. The consequences are inescapable.
Luckily, it is never too late to get help and start on the road to recovery. There are many resources for people who suffer from substance abuse, such as rehab treatment centers, various kinds of therapy, programs like the 12-step, meetings and more.