Xanax is one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States. Doctors prescribe it for use as an oral tablet, or as an extended-release tablet. However, like with many drugs, there is a risk of dependency or addiction. This can cause an individual to seek out ways of feeding that addiction. This could mean abusing a variety of substances or attempting to find ways of getting the substances in their bloodstream quicker.
A user who abuses Xanax might attempt to snort it to receive a quicker high. Contrary to public opinion, there is no evidence supporting the idea that this route of administration is at all effective. However, when a user decides to snort Xanax it puts them at a higher risk of developing other health complications. This severe misuse of the drug can do lasting damage and put the user’s life at risk.
This article will explore why snorting Xanax is dangerous and how an addict can get help.
What is Xanax?
Xanax, also known as its generic form alprazolam, is most frequently prescribed to treat anxiety and other related conditions. It is the number one psychiatric medication used to raise the GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain, a neurotransmitter that helps to reduce stress. This sort of treatment is effective for those who suffer from severe or general anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or an otherwise high-stress lifestyle. Xanax can also be used to treat insomnia or some seizure disorders.
However, because of the relief and the release of endorphins the drugs bring Xanax is highly addictive. Addiction to Xanax can be extremely dangerous because of the high chance of forming a tolerance resulting in an overdose. Xanax also acts as a depressant on body systems that can be potentially lethal especially when combined with other substances, such as alcohol or opioids. If combined, these substances can depress the central nervous system to the point of causing a person to lose consciousness. Some overdoses can even cause death by completely suppressing the respiratory system.
Why Do People Snort Xanax?
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.
Is Snorting Xanax Actually Effective?
The efficacy of the method of snorting Xanax to get a faster high is a myth. Xanax does not transport through the nasal passage as fast as one might think due to it not being water-soluble. This means the method of snorting is neither faster nor more effective in treating anxiety than taking it orally.
Still, despite this misconception, snorting Xanax leads the user to believe it is more effective. Perhaps this is due to societal misconceptions, peer pressure, or just general misinformation. In any case, using Xanax in such a way is an extreme misuse of a substance that is potentially dangerous. This puts the user at risk of developing an addiction, overdosing, or potential death.
Long-Term Effects of Snorting Xanax
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.
As mentioned above, the process of snorting Xanax 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 Withdrawal Risks
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
- Increased anxiety
Recovering from Xanax Addiction
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.
Recover from Xanax Addiction at NuView Treatment Center
NuView Treatment Center is an outpatient program centrally that is located on the Westside of Los Angeles. Our safe, comfortable, and up-to-date facility is known for offering the latest evidence-based treatment modalities to help clients recover from the devastating effects of Xanax addiction as well as other substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions. At NuView Treatment Center, we believe that evidence-based therapies combined with compassion can help people suffering from addictions of all severities.
We believe that substance addiction recovery should not one-size-fits-all. Instead, our highly trained staff come up with individualized treatment plans for every client. We recognize that all clients have unique underlying issues that need to be worked on during the recovery process. These issues range from mental health disorders to conflictual family dynamics. In our outpatient programs, clients work daily to learn new coping skills and strategies to face their unique triggers. Meanwhile, they take concrete steps forward toward building new and fulfilling lives for themselves in sobriety.
Our outpatient programs include all levels of care, including partial hospitalization programs (PHPs), intensive outpatient programs (IOPs), outpatient programs (OPs), and aftercare planning services. We offer medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and dual diagnosis treatment as well. No matter what your background, anyone can achieve recovery at NuView Treatment Center.
If you or your loved ones are ready for freedom from Xanax addiction or any other substance addiction, contact NuView Treatment Center today.