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Xanax Abuse

  1. Table of ContentsPrint
  2. Overview of Xanax Abuse
  3. Signs and Symptoms
  4. Effects of Xanax Abuse
  5. Teen Xanax Abuse
  6. Xanax Abuse Treatment
  7. Resources, Articles, and More Information

Man holding white pills

Overview of Xanax Abuse

Xanax is the trade name of a prescription medication called alprazolam that is classified as a benzodiazepine.

Typically, doctors prescribe Xanax to treat patients suffering from anxiety and panic disorders. The medication works by stifling the inhibitory receptor in the brain and thus decreasing any problematic excitement related to anxiety.

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The substance is often prescribed for a range of anxiety disorders including:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder.
  • Panic disorder.
  • Social anxiety disorder.
  • Phobias like agoraphobia.

As a fast-acting drug, the majority of the benefits are established within an hour after use with the total effects lasting for at least 6 hours. Xanax is commonly abused by those seeking it for its sedative effects.

Xanax is especially addictive when misused (taken recreationally or other than as directed). Anyone can become addicted to Xanax. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Xanax use can result in tolerance, addiction, and dependence if taken in large quantities or used for a prolonged period. Even people who take the medication exactly as prescribed can become addicted to it without realizing it.
Xanax Abuse question 1

Other Names for Xanax

  • Alprazolam – The chemical name for the drug.
  • Xanax XR – The extended release formulation of the substance.
  • Niravam – A variation of alprazolam that dissolves on the tongue rather than needing to be swallowed with water.

Street names include:

  • Xannies/Zannies.
  • Handlebars/Bars.
  • Blue footballs.
  • Benzos.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms and signs of Xanax abuse can be both physical and mental.

Physical Signs and Symptoms

Physical symptoms may include:

  • Feelings of elation.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Sleeping for extended periods of time.
  • Light-headedness.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Problems with memory.
  • Sluggishness.
  • Nausea.
  • Headache.

Mental and Social Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Xanax abuse are typically present in nearly all aspects of a person's life. It is common for people with Xanax problems to have strained relationships with close friends and family, as well as marital problems.

Professional issues are also common, as those struggling with a Xanax dependence will often miss work due to not feeling well, especially if they are unable to take Xanax and experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Other common signs of a Xanax addiction include financial problems due to spending increased amounts of money on the substance.

Additionally, someone that is overusing Xanax will appear excessively tired and lethargic while lacking the motivation to engage in normal activities of daily life. They will show signs of lower interest in tasks that require sustained attention like important conversations and will not be able to recall details to the previous levels.

You might find yourself thinking about how you are going to get more Xanax when you have finished what you have. You could develop cognitive problems that make it difficult for you to articulate your words.

Addicts also tend to build up a tolerance Xanax. This means that more of the substance is required to receive the similar effect over time. People dependent on the drug will experience withdrawal symptoms when they are not taking the medication. An addict's life begins to revolve around drug use, and it is common for users to start taking other drugs when they do not have access to Xanax.

Xanax Abuse question 2

Effects of Xanax Abuse

Woman agitated

Using Xanax, especially for a prolonged period, can have numerous negative effects on your body. The medication is a central nervous system depressant, which means that it slows down aspects of your mental and physical health. The most common effects of Xanax use include:

  • Lack of coordination.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Confusion.
  • Disorientation.

Xanax is known to slow down respiratory rates of people that abuse the substance. Alone, this can be dangerous as your breathing slows, but the situation becomes more troubling when the substance is mixed with alcohol. Since they are both depressants, their combined effect could lead to serious injury, coma, or death.

Some people develop memory impairment, which typically only affects the short-term memory.

Sedation is also a concern for Xanax users. People who take the mediation in large doses might experience severe sedation that can last for 3-4 days.

Xanax addiction is a widespread problem and affects the lives of numerous adults. Because the addiction develops over time, it may take some time before you even realize that you have a problem.

  • According to the 2011 Treatment Episode Data Set Report, 60,200 people obtaining drug abuse treatment were addicted to benzodiazepines.
  • This showed a drastic increase from the 22,400 people who sought treatment for benzodiazepine addictions in 1998.

Teen Xanax Abuse

Xanax abuse is not only a problem among adults; teenagers have prescription medication addictions as well. According to the 2014 Monitoring the Future survey, 13.9 percent of teenagers report using prescription drugs for non-medical purposes in the past year. While this includes other prescription drugs, Xanax seems to be a quite popular prescription drug abused by teens.

Xanax is also monitored in the tranquilizer category by the same survey. These data illustrate that tranquilizer use is showing some mild declines in the years between 2011 and 2014 across 8th, 10th, and 12th graders sampled.
Xanax Abuse question 3

Xanax Abuse Treatment

People dealing with tolerance, addiction, and dependence to Xanax must always seek professional treatment to safely end use of the drug. Sudden unsupervised cessation of Xanax use is related to many unwanted results including seizures. Depending on the level of your dependence, the duration of the addiction, and your general physical health, an inpatient treatment program may be the most appropriate option.

Inpatient treatment programs give you a stable and temptation-free environment for your recovery. Centers have around-the-clock care. The medical staff will help you cope with your withdrawal symptoms and may administer medication to make the detoxification symptoms subside until the drug is removed from your system.

Rather than ending the medication suddenly, a medical professional may wean you from the drug by reducing the dose on a regular basis until you no longer take Xanax.

A typical day in an inpatient facility could include:

  • Group therapy sessions.
  • Individual therapy sessions.
  • Skills training.

Outpatient treatment programs give you more freedom, and there are two different options. The daily check-in program requires you to check in with a drug abuse counselor every day, while the day treatment program requires you to be at the center for 8 hours each day. Meanwhile, you will be attending therapy sessions and possibly educational lectures about addiction and recovery.

Many treatment options exist outside of the professional setting with community-based treatment and 12-step meetings being successful ways to end your relationship with the substance.

If you need help determining what type of treatment program is right for you, call 1-888-747-7155.

Resources, Articles, and More Information

For more informations, see the following articles:

You can also join the conversation about Xanax by visiting our Forum today.
Xanax Abuse question 6

Need Help Understanding Your Addiction Treatment Options? Call 1-888-747-7155.