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    What is Xanax?

    Xanax is a benzodiazepine class drug but is also known by its generic name alprazolam. It is used to treat anxiety disorders such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). It has also been known to treat sleeplessness, PMS, and even depression. However, extended use of it can be hazardous as the risk of addiction increases and users often requiring a specific Xanax addiction treatment program to set free from the drug.

    Benzodiazepines function by enhancing the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) chemical, which induces relaxation in the body. Through extended use, the body will become accustomed to the adjusted levels of GABA causing it to build a tolerance. As a result, the user will need larger and larger doses over the same course of time to have the desired effects.

    Is Xanax a controlled substance?

    The increasing need for larger doses over time means that there is a high risk of addiction. For this reason, the FDA classifies it as a controlled substance. While the drug is technically legal when prescribed by a physician, the chances of overdosing are much higher than most people think.

    Why is Xanax used?

    Anxiety disorders are common among the general population. In fact, they are the most commonly diagnosed mental health condition in the United States. They can be debilitating for many people who struggle through day-to-day life. Individuals with anxiety disorders are likely to see relief through prescription medications, such as Xanax. It is most commonly prescribed to treat anxiety disorders, but despite the help it can offer, it is a highly dangerous drug. Whether it is abused or used as prescribed, people taking It face a high risk of overdosing.

    It is a commonly prescribed medication for a variety of reasons, especially in the field of mental health. This makes it very easy to abuse when a user is seeking out relief from anxiety or frequent panic attacks. This article will bring to light some important risks regarding Xanax as well as how to use it safely. We will also offer some recommendations for further treatment in the case of an overdose or addiction.

    Types of Xanax and Common Dosages

    It is most commonly prescribed in low dosages from 0.25 to 0.5 mg. Physicians will generally tell clients to administer it 1 to 3 times a day. It can be prescribed as an oral concentrated liquid, orally disintegrating tablet, and as both short and long-acting tablets.

    In some cases, dosages might reach up to 4 mg a day for those that need it. For more severe panic disorders, some physicians will prescribe it for up to 10 mg a day. However, 10 mg a day in short-acting Xanax is usually the highest dose given.

    How Often Can I Take Xanax?

    It should be used in conjunction with a doctor’s guidance. In most cases, this means once a day for long-acting doses. Whereas short-acting can be taken more frequently depending on the need, but usually not exceeding 4 times a day.

    If you feel as though your current dose is not working well enough, please consider the risks before taking a larger dose without guidance. It may even be beneficial to seek out alternatives to help cope with anxiety.

    Using Xanax Safely

    Since it is classified as a controlled substance because it is so easy to form an addiction, it is important to use it responsibly. Doctors will prescribe the lowest dose for the shortest amount of time to avoid the user developing a dependency. They will also seek to gradually lower dosages when possible as the risks associated with rapid withdrawal can be just as life-threatening as an overdose.

    What are alternatives to Xanax?

    If you suffer from anxiety or an anxiety disorder, there may be other options when it comes to managing it. In some cases, the need for prescription drugs can be avoided by using:

    • Therapy
    • Exercise
    • Mediation
    • Proper sleep

    In other cases, taking drugs may be necessary — but there are many effective alternatives to benzodiazepines with far lower abuse potential. Antidepressants, for instance, may be a viable option. While they do not offer immediate help, they can be suitable for long-term treatment.

    As with any medication, there are side effects when using antidepressants, but when compared to benzodiazepines, the risk of addiction is far less.

    Common Drug Interactions with Xanax

    It has been mentioned to not mix Xanax with alcohol or opioids, but there are other medications that can negatively interact with it.

    Opioids and other central nervous system (CNS) depressants can cause sedation effects in a user, leading to breathing problems, coma, and even death. These CNS depressants include:

    • Psychotropic drugs
    • Anticonvulsants
    • Antihistamines

    Some drugs block specific enzymes, such as Cytochrome P450 3A, that are used to break it down in the body changing the levels present in the blood. Birth control and Fluoxetine are both known for blocking this enzyme.

    It is important to take this into consideration when using Xanax. If at all possible inform your doctor or pharmacists about other drugs you are taking to avoid negative side effects. Or consider doing your own research online about possible drug interactions.

    Xanax Overdose

    Can you overdone on Xanax? In short, yes. If a user builds a tolerance to the drug it could result in unguided overuse. In turn, it is very easy for a user to fall into a pattern of dependence and addiction. The end result is a high likelihood of an overdose.

    While there are many cases in which a user will abuse the drug as a result of deliberate drug abuse, most Xanax overdoses are not the result of purposely misusing the drug. Instead, they are often accidental and often occur when the user is unknowingly taking an additional CNS depressant, such as opioids or alcohol. When it is combined with another central nervous system depressant, the drugs dangerously suppress the central nervous system. Doing this can be fatal, as it impacts a person’s breathing or circulatory system.

    How Much Xanax Does it Take to Overdose?

    There is no single answer for how much it takes to overdose as there are many factors involved such as a person’s tolerance, weight, or even genetics.

    Mixing it with other substances like alcohol or opioids also influences the likelihood of overdose. There is also the possibility that the user has abused counterfeit Xanax which cannot be regulated like those prescribed by a doctor.

    These factors would make the amount required to overdose different depending on each case.

    Recognizing Xanax Overdose Symptoms

    Since it is possible to overdose without realizing due to unknowingly mixing substances, it is important to notice overdose symptoms in order to react accordingly.

    However, it is common for users to experience a Xanax hangover. A hangover is another term for withdrawal. This often happens when the effects of the drug wear off. This can occur for new users, those who abuse it, and those who need an adjusted dosage or have recently adjusted their dosage. Symptoms of a hangover include:

    • Insomnia
    • Fatigue
    • Increased pulse, blood pressure, and body temperature
    • Excessive sweating
    • Rapid breathing
    • Blurred vision
    • Headache
    • Decreased appetite
    • Diarrhea, nausea, or stomach cramps
    • Muscle tension and tremors
    • Difficulty breathing, concentrating or thinking clearly
    • Impaired Memory
    • Agitation
    • Depression
    • Increased Anxiety
    • Thoughts of suicide

    Most of these symptoms should decrease or disappear within a day. When physical dependence is strong, however, it can last for months — and they can even be fatal.

    Signs of a Xanax Overdose

    While it might be easy to dismiss an overdose as a hangover, any symptoms should warrant medical attention. Common signs of an overdose include but are not limited to:

    • Drowsiness
    • Poor coordination
    • Blurred Vision
    • Confusion
    • Slurred speech
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Respiratory arrest
    • Coma
    • Death

    If you or someone you know are experiencing any of these symptoms or might have also consumed alcohol or other opioids alongside Xanax, it is crucial to seek medical assistance immediately.

    If a person collapses, has a seizure, trouble breathing, or appears to be unconscious, do not hesitate to call 911.

    An overdose can result in death if it is combined with other substances, taken in excess, or unregulated by a medical professional. It is important to use it only as directed and to practice safe use.

    Xanax Addiction Treatment

    If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, there are a few Xanax addiction treatment programs available. Most will be through supportive care by monitoring vitals, giving intravenous fluids, and breath support, if the case is severe enough.

    In very rare and severe occasions of Xanax overdose, doctors may choose to administer a Flumazenil injection. Flumazenil will reverse the effects of an overdose, but it is known to be somewhat controversial. The use of Flumazenil can result in seizures. The medication is best used as a last resort, such as when an individual is in a coma or suffering from other dire conditions.

    If a dose is taken within the past 1-2 hours, a doctor may choose to pump the stomach to expel the Xanax.

    In cases where it was used as a means of self-harm, such as when it is taken in large quantities or with other substances, a psychiatric evaluation may be conducted. This is done in an effort to offer the best help to the user.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Addiction occurs when a person finds they cannot function without a substance. It involves psychological and physical dependency and is not exclusive to only drugs. Addiction can involve alcohol, food, and even behaviors such as gambling, exercise, or other acts. Once a person finds something that gives them a “feel-good” response that can become the focus of their lives. For some, chasing this “rush” can be just as fulfilling as the act of taking whatever substance or behavior they are addicted to.

    For substance abuse, the addiction is centered around a drug or substance that can change the way the brain reacts to things around them. For example, a person suffering from severe anxiety might find the only way to function normally is to use Xanax daily. Here lies the trouble with substance use. If a substance is needed daily to manage daily life, it can no longer be classified as therapeutic. After a certain point of repeated use, the body will build a tolerance to the substance. This is where the risk for addiction first occurs.

    For Xanax specifically, people who take a dose of 4mg/day for longer than 12 weeks are at a high risk of developing a tolerance and addiction. This dependency is common for some four in 10 Xanax users. Not only is the risk of addiction increased at this point, but a person might take it upon themselves to self-medicate to maintain their “normal” feeling.

    Changing their doses without medical guidance is very dangerous. Not only does this further increase the chances of addiction, but it also puts them at risk of overdosing or developing complications. Since Xanax is a depressive drug on the central nervous system, it has the potential to depress other important systems in the body, such as the respiratory system. This is further increased if Xanax is combined with other substances, like alcohol.

    Still yet, the rush or sense of normalcy the users gain from using Xanax can cause them to habitually seek out the drug. This alone puts the severity of Xanax’s addictive nature in perspective to how serious abusing it can be.

    There are certain signs of addiction a person should look out for. Several of which might be not overtly obvious at first. For example, if a person is reaching for the substance every time the onset of withdrawal symptoms appears, they may just see it as managing their problems. This, however, can indicate addiction. Along with this idea, if a person is altering doses to counteract their tolerance, they might not see this as dependency or addiction until it is too late.

    More obvious indicators of addiction might involve avoiding family or friends as it could be seen as conflicting with their drug use. Worrying about their substance supply or when they will get their next dose is another indicator of addiction.

    If the Xanax, or any other substance abuse, reaches the point where the user can no longer control how much or how often they are using this is a very clear indicator that the substance use has gotten out of hand. In general, if a person begins to question their substance abuse, they should take a moment to reflect on their drug habits. It may also be beneficial to seek out counseling to help determine the best route of help for them.

    Once addiction has been established it is best to seek medical help to manage it. First, a person will want to manage the physical and mental withdrawal of Xanax. This can be dangerous to do on their own. However, through medical detoxication, a patient can safely expel the drug from their body. Many doctors will seek to taper the body from Xanax to help counter the severe withdrawal effects. This will not prevent withdrawal symptoms but perhaps minimize them as much as possible.

    The patient might find themselves feeling achy or uncomfortable as the body starts to expel the substance. Over-the-counter medication can help manage these symptoms, but professional help and guidance are key to managing this detox period.

    After the detox is complete, therapy in all different forms can be beneficial to help a patient learn how to cope without Xanax. Many rehabilitation centers will offer different forms of help such as music and art therapy, group therapy, and other wellness activities aimed to rebuild the confidence of the patient. These steps can help a user take control of their lives once again.

    The common misconception is that snorting Xanax will cause the substance to reach the bloodstream much faster. This would allow the user to feel the effects quicker. However, there is no evidence to support this claim, unlike with other substances such as cocaine and heroin.

    This method makes Xanax extremely addictive. If the user believes this method makes the substance abuse more effective, they will likely use more. As a result, this route of administration creates a tolerance to the substance and then the user will habitually continue to snort the substance to keep the high, which is ultimately likely to contribute to the forming an addiction. It can also do lasting physical damage when a person is snorting the substance continually. It is important to dispel this myth, since snorting damage not only results in short-term damage but long-term dangers as well, including addiction and life-threatening overdoses.

    In general, snorting anything can irritate nasal cavities or even cause damage impacting the sinuses and respiratory tract. This damage can cause more major health problems such as severe infections for the respiratory system. A compromised respiratory system can result in chronic breathing complications or even death.

    In addition to the symptoms in the nasal passage and respiratory system, long-term use of any drug, whether it is taken as prescribed or not, can cause side effects. Many of these side effects being dependency and organ damage. Misusing a drug will only increase the risk of these side effects occurring sooner. As well as creating greater damage done to the body.

    Long-Term Use and Inflammation

    The damage done to the nasal passage or respiratory system can cause the body to react as a means of protecting itself. If an infection occurs, the body will produce white blood cells to attack the infection through inflammation. While this is exactly what a healthy body is supposed to do, it can put an individual at risk as more attention is given to one problem area but taken from another problem area. This could leave the body compromised to bigger and more dangerous risks.

    Furthermore, the constant attack on infections causes more cells to die. These dead cells have the potential to slow down the work done by healthy cells and even risk far more serious diseases, like cancer, occurring.

    So, whether the damage is from constant substance abuse or reoccurring damage to the nasal cavity, snorting Xanax will only put a user in trouble of having complications. If it is used with other substances such as alcohol or other depressants, the risk of overdose is significantly increased.

    Irreversible Damage

    As mentioned above, the process of snorting can cause damage to the nasal cavity. This damage and irritation can in turn cause infection which puts the respiratory system at risk for complications. A compromised respiratory system not only leads to breathing problems and possible lifelong changes, such as the need for breathing support, but it can damage the lungs.

    Damaged lungs can result in the hardening of the lung tissue. This impedes oxygen from being properly absorbed and cutting off the air supply to the brain. A healthy air supply to the brain is necessary for proper brain function. If there is a lack of oxygen, damage can occur which could result in brain damage or dementia in the long term.

    While the lung tissue can be treated it is likely that once the problem persists the damage is done. This means lifelong complications with breathing and possibly other organ damage. After that point, only time can tell the full extent of the brain’s functionality.

    These symptoms are common for any substance abuse that gets out of hand. It is important to recognize when using a substance, such as Xanax, has reached past being clinically helpful. Once addiction is formed there may come a time where a person will need help resolving their addiction. However, Xanax withdrawal can be complicated and something an individual should seek help to get through.

    Xanax is a potentially dangerous drug that should only be used under medical supervision. The relief it provides might push an individual to easily abuse the substance. If an individual is suspected of abusing Xanax, they might have the drug removed from their treatment plan. If this person seeks to continue abusing Xanax, they might seek it out illegally.

    Not only does this put them at risk with unguided drug use, but it also increases the risks of using counterfeit Xanax. Counterfeit Xanax bought on the streets, or wherever found, is unregulated in dosages and ingredients. A user could potentially be putting anything into their body every time they snort or even orally take counterfeit Xanax.

    If Xanax use has reached this extreme it is easy to see assume addiction has taken hold. The danger now lies in when a person decides they no longer want to abuse the drug. Xanax withdrawal is very risky as there is an increased risk for seizures and panic attacks once the drug is abruptly stopped. Due to this, it is important to not abruptly stop Xanax use at the risk of several withdrawal symptoms.

    Common benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms often include:

    • Mind fog
    • Nausea
    • Increased anxiety
    • Sweating
    • Irritability
    • Seizures

    If an individual seeks to abruptly stop using Xanax, they are putting themselves at risk. As the likelihood of seizures and other complications increases with unguided Xanax use, removing Xanax from their system should not be done alone. Therefore, it is important to undergo medical supervision in a rehab program. Several outpatient programs can be utilized to help an individual overcome and recover from their addiction.

    Not only can these centers provide safe places for an individual to experience withdrawal and medical detoxication. They can also help a person learn the tools necessary to live a life free from addiction. These new life skills can help prevent relapse and help an individual manage life stress in healthy ways. New functioning coping skills could mean the difference between life and death for an addict.

    If the addict does not see the problem or has a desire to seek help, the responsibility may fall to family or support systems. Staging an intervention might be the first step in saving the life of a loved one. It may take some convincing, but seeing the impact their substance abuse has on loved ones might be all they need to turn their lives around. In any case, help is not far away for anyone who seeks it.

    Smoking Xanax is a relatively recent method for using Xanax. In the past, the most popular methods of illicitly consuming Xanax were snorting it and taking it orally. However, smoking Xanax is possible. To do so, a person must take Xanax pills and crush them up into a fine powder. Once the pills have been pulverized, it is possible to smoke this powder.

    Another popular method that is spreading in online forums like Reddit involves dissolving Xanax using glycerin. After dissolving the medication, it becomes easy to combine the dissolved Xanax with tobacco or marijuana. In this form, drug abusers can smoke Xanax in their joints, spills, or bongs. It is even possible to “vape” Xanax in an e-cigarette using this method.

    The side effects of smoking Xanax can be unpredictable because this method has not been studied in clinical trials. It is a relatively new route of administration even among people who abuse drugs, which means that even word-of-mouth stories about smoking Xanax might not be sufficient to cover all the dangers.

    However, the side effects of Xanax abuse are well-known. Short term consequences of Xanax abuse include:

    • Dizziness
    • Slurred speech
    • Drowsiness
    • Impulsive or uninhibited behavior
    • Lack of motor coordination
    • Weakness
    • Confusion
    • Short term memory problems (blackouts)
    • Problems breathing
    • Coma

    Heating Xanax pills can have unpredictable effects on the molecular level. Altering Xanax by heating it, crushing it, or dissolving it can actually change how the drug works. As a result, the effects on people who smoke Xanax are unclear — and may be more dangerous than anticipated.

    The dangers inherent to smoking are well-publicized, however. When people consume any substance via smoking, they put themselves at risk for a variety of negative effects. These include:

    • Mouth burns
    • Mouth, throat, and lung cancer
    • Respiratory problems

    It is also possible that smoking Xanax encourages individuals to abuse other drugs as well. Since it is far easier to smoke Xanax when it is combined with tobacco, marijuana, crack cocaine, and other smokeable drugs, people who smoke Xanax are highly susceptible to polysubstance addiction. Polysubstance addiction carries far more overdose risks than other types of addiction, partly because drug interactions can often be fatal.

    When a person develops a substance use disorder with Xanax, they may use a variety of methods to consume it. These methods may include snorting, smoking, taking it orally, and even injecting it. If your loved one is regularly smoking Xanax, it is likely that they will go to great lengths to avoid detection. However, you can usually tell if someone is developing a Xanax addiction problem by looking out for several signs. Common signs of a Xanax addiction include:

    • Difficulty stopping Xanax use even when they want to
    • Using Xanax continually even though it is leading to personal difficulties
    • Feeling obsessed with obtaining and using Xanax
    • Losing interest in activities and hobbies that they once enjoyed
    • Suffering from legal or financial problems as a result of smoking Xanax
    • Losing control over the quantity and frequency of Xanax being consumed
    • Engaging in risk-taking behaviors while taking Xanax, or in order to obtain Xanax

    Xanax falls under the benzodiazepine drug class, which is considered a psychoactive substance that changes the way a person thinks and behaves. It is utilized mostly to manage anxiety disorders, insomnia, and sometimes seizures. Since benzodiazepines are used to improve the effectiveness of the GABA chemical in the brain to create a calming effect rather than treat pain, Xanax would not be classified as a narcotic.

    However, Xanax does share many similarities with narcotics. Doctors seek to use both benzodiazepines and narcotics as a treatment for only short periods. This is due to both drugs being habit-forming and increasing the likelihood of addiction for the user.

    Both drugs can influence the brain similarly by having a depressive effect on the central nervous system. This can cause the user to feel as though they are intoxicated when using the drug. This makes both drugs equally dangerous if they are mixed with other depressive substances such as alcohol. They have the potential to slow the central nervous system that could influence other important systems in the body, such as the respiratory system.

    Benzodiazepines and narcotics also have similar withdrawal symptoms, but benzodiazepines are far riskier when it comes to suddenly removing them from the body’s system. If an individual suddenly stops using a narcotic painkiller they might suffer from unpleasant side effects that are often excruciatingly painful. However, suddenly withdrawing benzodiazepines from an individual’s system could be deadly. There is an increased risk of seizures and other severe side effects when stopping the use of benzodiazepines.

    Despite the similarities, Xanax still does not classify as a narcotic though there is a concern with abuse when used. Xanax abuse is a leading problem in the United States as it is one of the most prescribed substances. This makes the risk high for addiction and life-threatening consequences.

    The depressive influence Xanax has on the central nervous system makes it dangerous to mix with any other substances. Some notable ones include alcohol, other depressant drugs, and especially narcotics. This can also be said for narcotics, which tend to make the user feel intoxicated even without combining them with any other substances.

    When Xanax is combined with narcotics it can suppress the central nervous system to the point of causing a person to lose consciousness or die. This is because Xanax and other depressants can relax the body to the point of stopping important organ functions. This could involve the respiratory system shutting down. This reaction is likely if Xanax is mixed with alcohol. Xanax and alcohol tend to increase the effects of each other, causing the chances of an accidental overdose to increase. If the users do not realize these interactions are bad they could be putting themselves at risk.

    This deadly mixture of drugs has caused an increased number of overdoses and deaths in the United States. With the misconception of what a narcotic is, aside from being deadly, it is no wonder there is some confusion about whether Xanax would be considered one.

    Barbiturates are central nervous depressants that cause muscle relaxation. This reduces heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. They act like Xanax by affecting GABA chemicals in the brain. Barbiturates are used to treat headaches, insomnia, and seizures. They function in similar ways as Xanax, but they are not the same.

    While Xanax is known to influence the nervous system causing relaxation they are classified as a benzodiazepine rather than a barbiturate. Despite the similarities, barbiturates and benzodiazepines are very different drug classes.

    What is the difference between Benzodiazepines and Barbiturates?

    Benzodiazepines and barbiturates are both drugs that impact gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). The chemical in the brain helps to control stress and anxiety in an individual’s central nervous system. This leads both benzodiazepines and barbiturates to be used to treat the same conditions such as insomnia and seizures. However, benzodiazepines are known the treat a greater number of conditions such as anxiety, panic disorders, muscle spasms, and alcohol withdrawal.

    Common benzodiazepines are:

    • Alprazolam (Xanax)
    • Diazepam (Valium)
    • Lorazepam (Ativan)
    • Clonazepam (Klonopin)

    These benzodiazepines come with their own unique side effects such as changes in appetite, constipation, unplanned weight gain, and fatigue. Though they share side effects with barbiturates such as confusion, lightheadedness, drowsiness, impaired coordination and memory, and nausea or vomiting.

    Barbiturates, on the other hand, do not seem to be as common as benzodiazepines. This is likely because they are used to treat fewer conditions. Common barbiturates are:

    • Secobarbital (Seconal)
    • Thiopental (Pentothal)
    • Pentobarbital (Nembutal)

    Barbiturates also share many side effects with benzodiazepines, but ones specific to barbiturates are dizziness, headache, and abdominal pain.

    Both drugs are known for treating insomnia and seizures.

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