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Xanax Abuse Causes, Statistics, Addiction Signs, Symptoms & Side Effects

What is Xanax?

Xanax (chemically known as alprazolam) is a drug that is used to treat panic disorder and anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or social anxiety disorder (SAD). It is a benzodiazepine depressant, and it is quite addictive. Xanax is a sedative and muscle relaxant that affects the central nervous system. Xanax addiction is common because it is one of the most prescribed and abused psychoactive drugs in America. A person who is recreationally abusing Xanax is normally attempting to experience a “high” (an intense euphoric reaction to a drug). However, the side effects can be very difficult to endure. Some of the symptoms experienced consist of delirium, seizures, slurred speech, weakness, impaired coordination, and vertigo. Xanax is more often abused by simply taking multiple pills, but it can be injected (this causes closure of blood vessels and decay of muscle tissue), snorted or even taken via blotter paper.

Xanax is often used in conjunction with a number of other drugs thus increasing the potential of developing a Xanax addiction. This also increases the potential of beginning an addiction to other drugs or alcohol. Some of the more common drugs types used in combination are opiates (Heroin, Morphine), hallucinogens (LSD, Angel Dust), amphetamines (Adderall, Dexedrine), and other depressants (Marijuana, Alcohol). The combination of Xanax and other depressants can easily lead to an overdose and fatal respiratory depression. Other names for Xanax include Alprax, Alzam, Apo-Alpraz, Kalma, Niravam, Nu-Alpraz, Pacyl, Restyl, Tranax, Xycalm, Zolam, and Zopax.

Xanax Addiction Treatment

The way to overcome a Xanax addiction is gradually reduce the dosage. This will take an extend amount of time to complete, but it is much safer than abruptly stopping. The amount of time needed to stop the Xanax addiction is based on the length of the habit, the longer the dependency, the longer the detox. The best way to begin this process is to admit there is a problem and ask for help. When treating a Xanax addiction, the person should get help from a Xanax treatment center or licensed therapist as well as reaching out to family and friends. Ending a Xanax addiction is possible. The help is available, all you need to do is just ask.

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  • Statistics of Use

    Among benzodiazepine admissions that reported another substance of abuse at the time of admission, the majority (86.4 percent) indicated that they started using benzodiazepines after they first used the other substance, and the remaining 13.6 percent initiated use of benzodiazepines before initiation of the other substance of abuse [1]. Other statistical data follows:

    • Benzodiazepines such as Xanax are often abused in combination with alcohol or other drugs (particularly opiates) to enhance or lengthen the high provided by the other substances or to offset their adverse effects. However, the abuse of benzodiazepines in combination with other substances can have severe and sometimes fatal consequences [1].
    • In 2009, 16 million Americans age 12 and older had taken a prescription pain reliever, tranquilizer, stimulant, or sedative for nonmedical purposes at least once in the year prior to being surveyed [2].
    • The largest pharmaceutical increases were observed for oxycodone products (242.2 percent increase), alprazolam (148.3 percent increase), and hydrocodone products (124.5 percent). Among ED visits involving illicit drugs, only those involving ecstasy increased more than 100 percent from 2004 to 2009 (123.2 percent increase) [3].

    Causes of Xanax Addiction

    Developing a Xanax addiction is relatively easy. It is highly addictive as the reactions felt from Xanax are rapid, within a half hour of taking the drug, and tolerance is quickly built-up. Its high binding affinity and elevated strength also increase the abuse potential. Withdrawal symptoms can quickly occur if the drug is abruptly ceased. A Xanax dependency will impede responsibilities such as work, school or family. There will also be a compulsive need to use Xanax, and it will get in the way of the user’s recreational behaviors. Individuals can first begin to use Xanax due to peer pressure or curiosity. A person can also start abusing Xanax to try to self medicate a mood disorder such as depression. A Xanax addiction treatment program can assist in ending the dependency.

    Signs of Xanax Use, Addiction and Dependence

    There are multiple warning signs and indications that take place when someone has a Xanax dependency. Some of these signals will be both physical and psychological. Some of the symptoms include:

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    • Slurred speech
    • Drowsiness
    • Aggression
    • Fatigue
    • Hostility
    • Memory problems
    • Increased risk of suicide
    • Agitation
    • Mania
    • Dizziness
    • Impaired coordination
    • Rage
    • Vertigo

    Xanax Effects

    The difficulties in dealing with a Xanax addiction can be extensive. There are some unwanted results that occur from abruptly ceasing Xanax dependency. These consequences can reach several areas of a person’s life. The physical, psychological and personal life can be seriously affected. A few of these effects include:

    Physical signs:

    • Twitches
    • Tremors
    • Hyperactivity
    • Impaired or absent reflexes
    • Restlessness
    • Fatigue
    • Drowsiness
    • Dizziness
    • Impaired coordination
    • Vertigo
    • Slurred speech
    • Death

    Psychological signs:

    • Aggression
    • Rage
    • Hostility
    • Memory problems
    • Increased risk of suicide
    • Agitation
    • Hallucinations
    • Mania

    Personal effects:

    • Collapse of career
    • Loss of family
    • Ruined friendships and other relationships
    • Financial adversity
    • Reclusive behaviors
    • Avoids personal activities

    Xanax Withdrawal

    If a person has a Xanax addiction and they abruptly stop using the drug, they will experience physical withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms are similar to that of alcohol or barbiturate withdrawal. The severity of the withdrawal is directly linked to the length of use, dosage frequency, dosage strength, previous use of cross-dependent or cross-tolerant drugs, and the manner in which the dosage is reduced. The withdrawal process can be lethal due to its tendency to provoke withdrawal convulsions.

    References:

    [1]: http://www.samhsa.gov/data/2k11/WEB_TEDS_028/WEB_TEDS-028_BenzoAdmissions_HTML.pdf

    [2]: http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSDUH.aspx

    [3]: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/drug-related-hospital-emergency-room-visits

     

    Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on March 5, 2014
    Published on AddictionHope.com, Resource for An Addiction

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    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    Kelly McMillin July 10, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    I just wanted to compliment whomever is providing, organizing, and maintaining information on this site. I am using it as a reference for a paper in nursing school and I found the information well organized, exactly what I was looking for, and the entire site easy to use. Kuddos!!! Keep up your awesomeness for helping our world!

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