Candy, downers, benzos, tranks . . . they are all one in the same; a pharmaceutical medication called Xanax.
Also known as alprazolam, Xanax is an anti-anxiety medication belonging to a family of drugs called benzodiazepines. It was first created in the 1960’s as a sleep aid, but gained popularity as an alternative to the more toxic antidepressants available at this time. Xanax was introduced in the United States in 1981 and by the early 1990’s the drug became one of the most prescribed drugs in the country. These drugs affect the central nervous system, acting on a group of brain receptors called gamma-aminobutyric acid-A receptors. Xanax, like other drugs in the benzo family, enhances the response and production of the neurotransmitter GABA, a natural relaxant. With the influx of GABA in the brain, the feelings of nervous tension brought on by anxiety and panic are reduced, allowing users to regain mental balance.
Because Xanax metabolizes quickly, its calming effects can be felt within fifteen to twenty minutes of consumption. Sounds like a great way to get a quick fix, right?
Occasional use of Xanax will supplement the quantity of GABA the brain naturally produces. However, continual use of the drug leads to a gradual decrease in the amount of the neurotransmitter being secreted in the brain. Once this happens, users have to increase their dosage in order to compensate for the decrease. The result: users can develop a tolerance to the drug, with addiction coming up on the heels of tolerance in no time at all.
In 2014, antidepressants were the third most frequent medication subscribed.
The possible short-term repercussions of extended use include drowsiness, slurred speech, poor concentration, confusion, dizziness, problems with movement and memory, lowered blood pressure, and slowed breathing. Long term effects are not yet known.
There are also some concerns over the other health-related issues that can crop up.
Xanax is most often prescribed in a range of dosages for oral use via pill form. It is sometimes prescribed as a liquid for injection. Recreational users of the drug may crush the tablets and snort the drug. Snorting Xanax allows users to experience a quicker rush of calm, but the effects wear off faster in comparison to taking the drug in tablet form. Xanax abusers have also been known to smoke the drug, another way to feel it quick. Smoking the drug they will have users breathing in the fillers and binders which can irritate the lungs, throat, and nasal cavity.
No matter HOW the drug is administered, it is HIGHLY ADDICTIVE and DANGEROUS if ABUSED.
There are currently no FDA-approved medications to treat addiction to prescription sedatives. However, lowering the dose over time must be done with the help of a health care provider. Research is still needed to determine if behavioral therapies might be used to treat sedative addiction in the future.
Trying to quit Xanax on your own is extremely treacherous. Because Xanax causes normal brain function to slow down, your body can try to overcompensate if you come off of the drug too fast. Seizures are common among addicts who quit abruptly, along with rage and hypersensitivity.
If you or a loved one falls prey to Xanax addiction, Banyan Treatment Center can offer a program that will include professional care and support from an experienced medical staff. We’ll help you break the physical addiction and give you the tools to create a future worth living.