Xanax addiction is not as common as with other drugs, but it still carries dangers when abused. Read on to find out some of them.
For many people, anxiety management is a pain. Dealing with incidents such as panic attacks and social anxiety disorder is not easy, and it is a burden whether they happen in unexpected places or not. It is not life threatening, but it often leaves you with the feeling that you want to die, because of how intense it is.
For many chronic anxiety patients, medication comes as a relief from their symptoms – particularly Xanax. However, because the symptoms are relieved to a large extent, you may want to take the drug again; even outside a doctor’s prescription. The drug quickly becomes addictive, and you spiral into a life of Xanax addiction.
The risk of addiction with this drug is very high, especially if you use it without medical prescriptions. Here are some of the dangers and risks you are exposing yourself to when this happens.
How the body reacts to Xanax
The other name for the drug is Alprazolam, and it belongs in a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. All of these drugs are usually used to treat anxiety cases, particularly chronic ones.
The drug works on the central nervous system (CNS), through boosting the calming effects of a neurotransmitter called GABA, or gamma-amino butyric acid. This neurotransmitter has similar effects as dopamine, because it decreases anxiety and nervous tension through the inhibition of certain neurons, as well as slowing down nerve cell activity within the brain.
In fact, these anxiety symptoms that someone experiences when they are suffering from the disorder go away within a week of taking the substance, depending on the prescription. The usual directive for treatment is not to use it in isolation though – it is paired with other treatment methods such as CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy. In addition, the dose you are given and certain individual factors will determine how effective the drug is.
Some risks of Xanax
The drug is not a recent one, at least in terms of legal use. First approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in 1981, its popularity has only increased within the last few years.
The drug carries very high risk when used without medical prescription and also when you combine it with other substances. Here are some of the risks it has.
When you combine it with other substances
When you use this drug along with alcohol and other drugs, it carries the most serious risk.
When taken with opiates and other drugs that induce GABA such as alcohol, barbiturates and hypnotics, you are at a very high risk of overdose. This is because the nervous system becomes bombarded with numerous messages telling it to slow down the activity of your organs, which makes your vitals (heartbeat, breathing rate, blood pressure, body temperature) slow down to dangerous levels and cause stoppages in breathing, very slow heartbeat, slipping into a coma, and death.
What makes this alarming is that many people tend to combine Xanax with these substances, especially alcohol. In fact, statistics show that 49 percent of teens today use both of these, and many deaths due to overdose are due to these drugs.
Overdosing on Xanax
Many deaths due to overdoses that have been reported between 2002 and 2015 (they have increased by four times) are mainly due to mixing Xanax with other benzodiazepines such as Valium and Librium, according to statistics that have been published by the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse).
You have a high chance of putting yourself at risk when you consume larger doses than prescribed, or when you combine these large quantities with drugs such as opioids and alcohol. In fact, what makes this more risky is the fact that Xanax is stronger than valium by ten times, so you must never take it in amounts that are greater than what your doctor has prescribed.
In addition, very many suicide attempts that are now occurring seem to have benzodiazepines involved – at least a third of all suicide attempts.
Addiction to Xanax
Many users who eventually become addicted to the drug initially take it for its fast relaxing effects, and its ability to help you sleep. As long as you take it under the prescription of a doctor, then it will help you manage conditions such as insomnia and anxiety.
Many people that use the substance have prescriptions from general practitioners – approximately 55 percent. Many of these people do not develop a substance abuse disorder of the substance, because they follow the directions of use very strictly. However, you also need to remember that there are many users who end up becoming dependent on the drug, at least physically.
When you reach a stage of physical dependence, the body cannot function without the drug in the system. You will also require larger doses to get the results you want.
The drug remains highly addictive, even when you take it for a short time to deal with some anxiety disorders. There is also the risk of psychological dependence, especially with certain users failing to reduce ad discontinue the amounts they are taking, when they have taken higher doses.
Research findings seem to suggest that the risk of physical and psychological dependence seems to have greater severity in users that take doses of more than 4 mg per day, and they take it in periods lasting more than 12 weeks.
You also tend to experience certain symptoms when taking the drug for a long time, which include dizziness, nausea, irritability, headaches, lethargy, memory issues and sleep problems. In addition, teens who start consuming benzodiazepines with other drugs are at greater risk of consuming the substance when they are at young adulthood, in addition to other drugs like cocaine to increase the ‘high’ effects.
The treatment of Xanax addiction is an effort that requires more than simple detox, because of the far-reaching effects of the drug. The treatment will depend on how long you have abused the drug, and the amount you have consumer, and various strategies can be used during treatment.