Many people who are dependent on Xanax never abused drugs before. They were suffering from anxiety and looking to the medical field for support and relief. They started using Xanax and felt a vast improvement in symptoms. Some then assumed more of the drug would produce an even greater effect, so they misused it in larger doses. Others just use it for too long, and often with a doctor’s permission. They don’t realize they’re addicted to it until it’s too late.
Xanax is a type of benzodiazepine, or central nervous system depressant, prescribed to treat anxiety and panic disorders. It was first introduced in 1981 and has become one of the most prescribed medications in the United States.
Xanax bars refer to the white rectangular tablet which contains 2 mg of alprazolam. Xanax is a brand name marketed by Pfizer but you can also find generic versions of alprazolam bars that are usually yellow or light green in color.
Xanax became well-known in pop culture because many celebrities suffering from anxiety issues started becoming dependent on the drug. Many rappers and hip-hop artists would include Xanax in their lyrics, and numerous celebrities have admitted being victims of Xanax addiction including Justin Bieber and Demi Lovato. With so many rap songs ingraining Xanax into pop culture and somehow glorifying the use of this drug, it should then be not surprising anymore that more and more young people are into Xanax.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, taking more than 4mg of alprazolam a day can lead to severe emotional and physical dependence. 4mg is equal to only two Xanax bars. When you constantly take high doses of alprazolam, you build tolerance faster which means you need higher doses to get the same effect. This tolerance can lead to dependence and addiction.
Common street names for Xanax include:
- Xannies or zannies
- Blue footballs
- French fries
Xanax Side Effects and Treatment
When people abuse Xanax for a long time, the brain starts to forget how to operate effectively in its absence. Xanax harnesses control over emotional responses, thought processes, memory, consciousness, and even muscular coordination. All benzodiazepines ramp up the production of neurotransmitters known as GABA, which are responsible for calming nerve impulses that lead to emotional expressions like anxiety and panic.
Individuals who start using Xanax in larger doses are more prone to becoming addicted sooner, but most can fall prey to dependency in a month or less even on small doses.
Xanax can also cause the brain to malfunction where coordination comes into play. This means users might have trouble with speech and trouble keeping their balance at times. Difficulty concentrating on tasks is a common problem, too — from menial household chores to big projects at work. Blending over from physical effects that Xanax has on the brain to psychological effects, individuals run the risk of actually damaging brain cells when they are used or abused for several months or more. Xanax bars can also alter appetite and weight. It has also been said to affect a user’s sex drive.
Since taking high doses of Xanax can result in developing tolerance faster, users are unable to get the same effect over time. This could lead to experimentation where they mix Xanax with other substances like alcohol, depressants, and stimulants. To mix it with other substances can be fatal. There have been many incidents where users overdose because of drug cocktails with Xanax.
Long-term side effects of abuse may be avoided with proper treatment. Medical detox is the safest way to wean off Xanax and move back into a healthy and fully functioning life. If people started taking Xanax as part of a treatment plan for anxiety or other conditions such as panic disorder, they will require treatment that addresses the original condition. This may come in the form of another medication or more natural alternatives, like yoga and meditation.
Detoxing from Xanax should never be attempted alone. With the right care during withdrawal and continuing treatment, users can get back on their feet and manage substance abuse and mental health issues with appropriate treatment options that are suited to their long-term needs. To learn more about signs of Xanax addiction and addiction treatment, contact Hathaway Recovery Drug & Alcohol Treatment Center today at (909) 971-3333.
Hathaway Recovery Drug & Alcohol Treatment Center
Treatment Center, MD, LCSW, LMFT, ASAM
Phone: (909) 971-3333
Fax (909) 498-9898
1042 East Belmont Abbey Lane, Claremont, CA 91711