What Are the Dangers of Xanax Abuse and Addiction?

People who are struggling with anxiety and panic disorders are often prescribed Xanax by their doctors. It’s used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic attacks and generalized anxiety disorders. Doctors may also prescribe it for conditions that cause convulsions. Very often, this potent drug is effective in helping patients to control their symptoms.

Xanax is the brand name form of alprazolam. This is a prescription sedative that’s a benzodiazepine. Xanax acts on the brain and the central nervous system and it boosts a chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid.  This slows down the activity among nerve cells in the brain, causing a calm, relaxed feeling. On the street, Xanax is known as benzos, sticks, ladders, bars and zannies, among other names.

Why People Misuse Xanax

While it has a clear medicinal use, Xanax is also used by people who want to get high. That’s because it gives the user a sense of calm. Xanax can also result in mild sedation and muscle relaxation. Often, individuals who use Xanax recreationally become addicted. That’s because tolerance can develop quickly, and people need more and more of the drug to experience the same effects. Xanax is usually only prescribed for two to six weeks at a time in an effort to prevent addiction. It is very habit forming and is not recommended for extended use.

People who are addicted can take up to 30 tablets in a day. Xanax is the leading psychiatric medication prescribed in the United States. This means people who want it can access it quite readily. Most teens who become addicted to Xanax get the drug from the family’s medicine cabinet.

Problems Caused by Xanax Abuse

There are several ways in which a person can abuse Xanax. They may take multiple pills, inject the drug or snort it. They may also take it via blotter paper. Another common approach is to take Xanax with other drugs or alcohol. Users often mix Xanax with opiates to achieve an enhanced high. People who use heroin and methadone often use Xanax as well. Meanwhile, many alcoholics also abuse Xanax and this is especially dangerous. Since both substances are depressants, overdose can result in respiratory failure.

People who misuse or abuse Xanax often confront two major problems. The first is that Xanax causes side effects. Users may experience:

  • Problems with memory
  • Drowsiness
  • Light-headedness
  • Slurred speech
  • Insomnia and other problems with sleep
  • Impaired coordination
  • Lack of energy

Prolonged use of Xanax can lead to even more serious side effects, some of which can be permanent. These include cognitive impairment, psychosis, delirium, and increased risk of dementia.

You may think that discontinuing the use of Xanax would cause these problems to go away. However, when you stop taking the drug abruptly, another problem will arise: withdrawal symptoms. That’s why experts recommend medication-assisted treatment for people who want to safely stop taking drugs. Xanax-related withdrawal symptoms aren’t just uncomfortable; they’re dangerous. They’re quite similar to those associated with alcohol withdrawal. Symptoms include:

  • Convulsions and seizures
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Excessive sweating
  • Blurred vision
  • Memory loss
  • Aggressive behavior

Signs of Xanax Abuse and Addiction

When an individual becomes addicted to Xanax, they tend to neglect their daily responsibilities. Working, studying or taking care of the family no longer seem as important as seeking out a high. Other signs of Xanax addiction include:

  • An ability to stop using even if the individual wants to
  • Repeated use of Xanax even though it is leading to personal or professional problems
  • Loss of control over the number of pills being taken
  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Obsession over getting Xanax and using it
  • Legal problems resulting from the use of the drug
  • Risky behaviors like driving under the influence

Seek Treatment for Your Addiction at Asheville Recovery Center

If you’ve been struggling to control your use of Xanax, there’s help available. Whether you originally had a prescription or you’ve always used the drug recreationally, you can end your dependence. However, you’ll need a professional to support you during the process. We use a variety of customized treatment options to help our patients recover and we provide support for their families. No matter how long you’ve been fighting addiction, you need to know that recovery is possible. If you’re ready to live a healthier life, contact Asheville Recovery Center and learn more about what we have to offer.

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