What is Xanax?
Xanax, a brand name for the drug Alprazolam, is an anti-anxiety medication. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), it is on the list of the most commonly abused prescription drugs. Many misuse it to experience the “Xanax high”. Xanax is in the benzodiazepine class of drugs which act as central nervous system (CNS) depressants. They reduce neuron activity in the brain, which helps a person experience a relaxed state.
Xanax works by calming the body’s reaction to stress. It is most commonly prescribed for panic disorders, though it is sometimes prescribed for depression, seizures, or insomnia. With proper use, Xanax is meant to help treat these disorders though it is important for any patient to follow their doctor’s directions carefully and to communicate any issues. It does not matter whether a person has a prescription or not, the risk for abuse and addiction is high. For this reason, many doctors are reluctant to prescribe it without trying other treatments first.
What Does a Xanax High Feel Like?
Even those with a prescription may abuse their medication. Recreational use is also not safe or legal. Many are familiar with its anti-anxiety effects and want to use it for that reason, but it should never be taken casually. It may not take long for dependence to develop, and withdrawal is incredibly uncomfortable. Whether a person has a prescription or not, many of course want to use it to deal with anxiety. In addition to this, many report euphoric effects which is why they continue to misuse and abuse it. Xanax releases dopamine in the brain, which creates a calm, peaceful feeling. Often when a substance causes euphoric feelings many return to it for this reason.
Some people use Xanax through chewing, injecting, or snorting, all methods that cause effects to kick in quicker.
Often as someone continues to abuse a drug, they take higher doses to feel the same effects. It is possible for this to result in falling asleep and even experiencing “blackouts” for a few hours.
Other side effects potentially include:
- Memory and concentration problems
- Trouble breathing
- Joint Pain
- Extreme Fatigue
- Suicidal thoughts
Abuse, Addiction, and Withdrawal
Ideally, if you do need Xanax it is best to take the lowest dose possible for the shortest possible amount of time. This should always be with a doctor’s supervision. However, the possibility for dependence and addiction still exists under these circumstances. The body builds up a tolerance to it very quickly, meaning that someone may need to take higher and higher doses to feel the same effect. Additionally, as the drug wears off, anxious feelings can temporarily flood back in. This can prompt many people to start abusing the drug so they never have to experience the “comedown.”
If someone has been using or abusing Xanax regularly, they may experience serious withdrawal symptoms from stopping. Potential symptoms include:
- Increased anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Memory loss
- Cognitive and concentration problems
It is possible for withdrawal to last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Most frequently, quitting Xanax “cold turkey” is extremely difficult and most people need medical supervision during withdrawal. Further, if the abuse involves other drugs, it is also possible that withdrawal could be more severe and include other symptoms.
Xanax is available in different doses. When doctors prescribe it to their patients, they usually start with a very low dose.
Taking too much Xanax can be fatal for anyone. Even with regular use, ingesting a higher dose than prescribed is potentially very dangerous.
Signs of overdose include:
- Extreme or sudden lethargy
- Poor coordination and reflexes
- Slow or irregular breathing
- Vital organ failure
If you or someone around you experiences any of these symptoms, seek emergency medical help immediately. Often with overdose, immediate care is essential for the best outcome. Recreational overdoses are particularly dangerous due to the prevalence of “fake” Xanax. Dealers may mix it with other unknown drugs, heightening the dangers and the possibility of a fatal overdose.
Recognizing a problem and seeking treatment is often difficult. However, it is often necessary for getting off benzodiazepines and other addictive prescription drugs. Seeking a safe, supervised detox is especially important.
Contact us today for more information and help.