Xanax is the trademarked name for the drug alprazolam, a widely used and prescribed psychiatric drug used to help manage anxiety, stress and panic attacks. It may also be used to help manage depression. Xanax is a benzodiazepine, and works by depressing the central nervous system (CNS), creating a calming and relaxing effect. Xanax is a fairly easy drug to obtain via prescription, making the effect for Xanax addiction and abuse to be likely.
While considered safe when taking according to a prescription, Xanax can be abused, resulting in increased tolerance that may lead to physical dependency. The drug is usually prescribed on a short-term basis for these reasons, along with its not insignificant withdrawal symptoms.
In addition, Xanax can interact with other prescription medications and non-prescription drugs, and can increase the effects of alcohol. This is concerning given the widespread nature of the drug, as well as the fact that it may be obtained by teens or youths in the household.
It is also possible to overdose on Xanax or suffer consequences associated with combining drugs. Between 2005 and 2010, emergency room admissions associated with Xanax use doubled, indicating just how dangerous the side effects of Xanax abuse can be.
Common Street Names for Xanax
Xanax goes by a number of street names, including:
- blue footballs
- Xanax XR
Xanax is a Schedule IV drug under the Controlled Substances Act. While it is available by prescription only, it is considered to have low potential for abuse and a low risk of dependency. This is due in part to the careful prescribing of the drug; it is typically prescribed only in the short-term.
History and Trends in Xanax Addiction and Abuse
Xanax is a benzodiazepine, a type of drug first developed in the 1950s. This class of drugs was intended to be safer than other sedatives and tranquilizers available at the time. Xanax was first marketed in 1981 and has become commonly used in the interim.
With prescription drugs among the most abused drugs due to their ease of availability and perception of safety, Xanax poses a risk to teenagers, youths and those with existing drug or addiction problems. Users of other drugs such as crack cocaine have been known to take Xanax as a way of helping mitigating the effects of their addiction.
Side effects of Xanax
The side effects of Xanax include sedation, confusion, dizziness and anxiety; some users may experience nausea and vomiting, sinus problems, vision issues and palpitations. More serious are the side effects of Xanax abuse, which may result in overdoses leading to severe lethargy, delayed reactions, lack of coordination and even coma.
Xanax addicts are also likely to combine Xanax with other drugs or alcohol. Given that Xanax is a CNS depressant, this is highly worrying behavior, as other CNS depressants such as opiates can result in life-threatening side effects.
Withdrawal symptoms of Xanax
Withdrawal is the most obvious of Xanax addiction symptoms, with those dependent on the drug experiencing negative side effects if they attempt to cease their use. Users can develop a physical dependence very quickly, particularly at high daily doses, and may suffer from symptoms such as shaking or even seizures when going into withdrawal.
They may also experience depression, sweating, vomiting, cramps and insomnia. For this reason, many users are weaned off the drug by a medical professional, or a prescribed a short-term dosage in order to avoid addiction altogether.
Treatment for Xanax Addiction and Abuse
While Xanax has significant medical applications, addiction can be extremely damaging. Xanax addiction symptoms include taking the drug other than prescribed, as well as drug seeking behavior such as falsifying prescriptions or seeking prescriptions from multiple doctors of pharmacies.
Addicts may also experience problems at work, school or at home, with their ability to manage day-to-day routines suffering due to their Xanax addiction. Many also present to the emergency room with life-threatening symptoms.
While some users will be tapered off the drug by their prescribing doctor, others will need to seek help in a context such as a detox program. Detox programs can help those dealing with a Xanax addiction by providing an effective and structured approach to identifying, treating and preventing addiction.
Combining behavioral therapies with supervised withdrawal management and preventative approaches, they can help counteract the side effects of Xanax abuse.
If you or someone you love is demonstrating Xanax addiction and abuse symptoms, get help today. Contact White Sands Tampa at 1-877-640-7820.