Many people are prescribed anti-anxiety medications to help them during a difficult time in their lives. Sadly, many of these medications are addictive. One off the most popular anti-anxiety medications is Xanax and it is also one of the most addictive.
What Is Xanax?
Medical News Today describes Xanax as an anti-anxiety medication that was first released in the early 80’s to help treat several anxiety disorders and some types of depression. The medication gives a type of euphoric feeling and makes you feel very relaxed. The liquid version of this medication quickly became popular for non-prescription uses because of how quickly it worked.
Xanax is a benzodiazepine which is a class of tranquilizers. On the street these drugs are often referred to as “benzos.” Xanax does cause other bodily functions to slow when used making it very dangerous when mixed with other drugs or taken in higher than prescribed doses.
How Xanax Works
Xanax is an anti-anxiety medication in the benzodiazepine family. It works by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain. Benzodiazepines act on the brain and the central nervous system producing a calming effect.
Xanax acts by slowing down brain chemicals that may have become unbalanced, causing a reduction in nervous tension and anxiety. It works by accelerating a natural chemical produced in the brain called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
The Dangers Of Xanax
There are several dangers associated with Xanax abuse. These dangers can be divided into three categories: mental/emotional dangers and physical dangers and interaction dangers.
Xanax has a high rate of dependency. People quickly become addicted to the euphoric feeling or feeling of relaxation. Use of this drug, however, has also been associated withsuicidal behaviors and increased depression. Once dependent on the drug, many people will also start engaging in high risk behaviors so that they can continue to have access to the drug.
Xanax is a tranquilizer and will slow other bodily functions such as heart rate and lung capacity. The drug has been shown to cause kidney and liver problems as well because the slowing of these bodily processes leave toxins in these organs leading to damage. Xanax has also been associated with higher risks of having a seizure in people who have epilepsy and breathing problems in those who suffer from asthma.
Xanax is a very powerful tranquilizer and anyone who uses this medication is strongly cautioned not to drink alcohol or use any type of drugs containing an opiate. The combination of these two types of substances can lead to the heart and lungs slowing until they stop. Xanax is also dangerous to combine with antifungal medications.
Xanax has also been shown to have a negative side effect with birth control medications, over the counter acid reducers and St. John’s Wort vitamin supplement.
There are many dangers associated with taking Xanax with other depression medications, sleeping medications either over the counter or prescribed, and cough medications that have codeine in them.
Xanax addiction is very real. Many medical care providers over prescribe this medication or prescribe it for such an extended period of time that the body becomes dependent on its use. In addition to the mental and emotional addiction, Xanax physical addiction can be very hard to overcome.
Because the medication causes actual changes in your body’s chemistry, withdrawal symptoms from Xanax can become severe at times. Someone suffering from withdrawal can experience:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Physical pain
- Slurred speech and impaired coordination
- Erratic behavior
People suffering with Xanax addictions often quickly turn back to the medication when they try to quit without entering an addiction recovery center because the side effects are often too hard for them to cope with alone. It may be extremely challenging to overcome Xanax addiction without entering in at least an outpatient drug rehab. In many instances, an inpatient drug rehab may be needed.
The Facts About Abuse
Xanax is abused primarily for it’s fast-acting and almost immediate feeling of euphoria it can give to people who take it, including people without a prescription.
A report by the Treatment Episode Data Set, states that the number of people seeking treatment for benzodiazepine abuse almost tripled from 1998-2008. Long-term addiction and abuse to the drug are associated with psychotic experiences, depression and aggressive behavior.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported over1.2 million emergency department (ER) visits related to the nonmedical use of prescription drugs. Xanax was the prescribed drug in 10 percent of those visits.
The most common problem encountered in ER patients was the mixture of Xanax combined with alcohol and with prescription opioids such as hydrocodone and oxycodone.