The term “narcotic” seems to generate a lot of buzz today. Many people associate it with any illicit drug in the United States. The truth is that many drugs technically classify as “narcotics,” but this umbrella term refers to many different drugs, both prescription and illicit. Both Vicodin and heroin classify as narcotics, yet a doctor would never prescribe heroin. Narcotics are simply another name for the drug class called opioids. These are prescription-strength pain killers. With the risk of addiction associated with pain killers being very high, many drugs are grouped in this category. Due to this, many people have a tendency to see narcotics in a negative light, as they can be associated with any and all illegal or addictive drugs.
The question is: Is Xanax a narcotic?
What is a Narcotic?
Narcotics are used to treat pain in individuals who do not get relief from non-opioid regular pain killers. These drugs have the potential to be dangerously addictive. They are also called opioids. Narcotics work by binding themselves to the pain receptors in the nervous system blocking pain signals. Due to the highly addictive nature of these medications, many doctors will try not to prescribe them for any long-term treatment.
Narcotics are commonly abused in the United States, so they have a bad stigma for the public. However, not all narcotics are illegal. Many are used to treat pain that is not responsive to other forms of pain management treatments, such as over-the-counter drugs.
Legal narcotics commonly prescribed by doctors are:
On the other hand, there are several illegal drugs also classified as narcotics. Such as:
- Any prescription taken outside of a doctor instructions
Why are Narcotics Abused?
If an individual is suffering from debilitating pain the only way they might find relief is to use narcotics to manage it. Living with pain can make everyday life incredibly difficult. This makes earning a living, being present in the home life, or just functioning daily a real struggle. Using opioids to help dull the pain can help with these daily struggles.
However, due to its addictive nature, some doctors will restrict patients’ use of opioids. While this is done in their best interest, this could result in illegal abuse. An individual might seek out ways of obtaining this substance to help make daily life easier. With it being unregulated use at this point, the person puts themselves at risk for developing a dependency on the substance. This can easily lead to addiction.
Furthermore, opioids trigger the release of endorphins in the brain. These are feel-good chemicals that help your body block the pain and increase a feeling of general well-being. It increases feelings of pleasure and happiness. When the effects of the opioid wear off, the users might continually seek out that feeling. This can lead to rampant abuse of narcotics even without the presence of any sort of pain or need.
Whether it is to function daily without pain or compulsively seeking out pleasure chemicals, such as endorphins, narcotic abuse is dangerously high in the United States. In 2019 alone, for instance, over 50,000 people in the US died from opioid overdoses.
While not an opioid, Xanax abuse is similarly very high in the United States. However, despite both drugs being widely abused, Xanax does not fall under the same classification as many opioids.
Is Xanax a Narcotic?
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.
Mixing Xanax with Narcotics
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.
Protecting the Public from Narcotics and Other Dangerous Substances
Xanax, like many narcotics, is a legal substance that should be used under medical guidance. However, the risk of addiction and dependency is high. Due to this, doctors have faced some restrictions when prescribing benzos and narcotics. This could mean keeping extensive records about drugs prescribed as well as regulating and tracking prescriptions more carefully. These would be done by state and federal laws. This also means if a person is caught with a controlled substance and no prescription the consequences could be severe.
All of this does little if a person seeks out narcotics or benzos outside of a medical treatment plan. In this case, a person with a compulsive-seeking drug habit could risk serious consequences for using substances. In some cases, if a person is found to have an illegal substance on them, they could risk losing their driver’s license. In others, jail time is likely. However, these consequences vary from state to state.
Seeking Treatment for Xanax or Narcotic Abuse
If a person is habitually seeking out Xanax, other benzodiazepines, or narcotics they may feel as though life is too difficult to face without the release these substances provide them. Whatever the underlying reason behind their substance abuse is, they may find it too difficult to quit, especially when their physical dependence causes severe withdrawal symptoms. Seeking help for addiction to Xanax or any other substance is completely possible. There are many clinical treatment centers were a person can not only receive medical detox treatment that will help them safely expel the drugs from their body, but where they can also receive support in rebuilding their lives. These rehabs can also help a person learn how to manage cravings, stress, and pain in healthy ways. These life skills can help an individual regain control of their life from addiction.
Taking the first step to acknowledge the problem, whether it is with Xanax, other benzodiazepines, or narcotics can mean life or death for an addict. If an addict does not see the problem themselves it may fall to the family or support system to take the first steps for them. While no one can force recovery on an addict, staging an intervention might be the first step to helping a loved one see the extent of their addiction. Addiction hurts not only individuals but also loved ones around them.
Recovery is possible for any person who decides to take it upon themselves to get better. Nothing should hold an addict back from seeking help.
Xanax Addiction Treatment at NuView Treatment Center
NuView Treatment Center is the foremost outpatient rehab located in West Los Angeles. At our safe and clean facility, clients can take part in a range of evidence-based treatment programs. We offer every level of outpatient care, including partial hospitalization programs (PHPs), intensive outpatient programs (IOPs), outpatient programs (OPs), and aftercare planning services. More importantly, clients can benefit from clinical addiction treatment without breaking the bank. NuView Treatment Center is covered by the vast majority of health insurance policies, as well as a wide range of other health insurance plans.
We believe that addiction recovery involves more than merely quitting drugs and alcohol. Clients in our outpatient addiction treatment programs work daily to rebuild their lives from the ground up, creating a lasting foundation for long-term sobriety. Staff members at NuView Treatment Center are highly trained and professional, but they put compassion above all. We are committed to addiction treatment that is never one-size-fits-all. With that in mind, our individualized treatment plans are holistic and comprehensive. We work with clients to help them address underlying issues, rebuild their lives in recovery, and learn new coping techniques for mitigating the potential for relapse.
If you are ready to put down Xanax, narcotics, or other substances and begin a new way of life, reach out to NuView Treatment Center today.