What Is Xanax?
Xanax is the brand name for the drug alprazolam. Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine,
or “benzo.” Benzos are man-made psychoactive drugs that enhance
the effect of the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitter in the
brain. In doing so, Xanax slows down certain brain and body functions.
Thus, Xanax is a central nervous system depressant.
Xanax itself comes in the form of an FDA-approved medicinal pill. Doctors
mainly prescribe individuals Xanax to help them treat stress and anxiety
disorders. This is because using Xanax can help people who suffer from
these conditions slow down their thinking and nervousness. Because Xanax
helps slow down certain brain and body functions, doctors also sometimes
prescribe Xanax to people to help them manage seizures.
Xanax may also be prescribed to treat the following conditions:
- Muscle spasms
- Alcohol withdrawal symptoms
- Sleep issues
Signs of Xanax Abuse
What Does Xanax Do to the Brain & Body?
Anxiety causes the brain to go into overdrive. As a result, the brain needs
to receive tranquilizing neurotransmitters to help calm it down. GABA
neurotransmitters act as such tranquilizing neurotransmitters by sending
messages to the brain during times of high anxiety to help calm it down.
Because Xanax enhances the effects of GABA neurotransmitters in the brain,
it helps to calm down the brain even more during times of high anxiety.
The GABA-enhancing effects of Xanax are so strong that they can even relax
the muscles in the body. This is why doctors also prescribe Xanax to people
to help them manage their seizures and muscle spasms.
While Xanax can help slow down the brain and body in a way that helps treat
anxiety and stress disorders, along with physical conditions such as seizures
and muscle spasms, it can also cause people to experience memory loss,
feelings of hostility and irritability, and vivid dreams. Excessive Xanax
use can even cause people to experience shallow breathing, clammy skin,
dilated pupils, and weak and rapid heart rates.
Xanax abuse can even cause a person to fall into a coma or die. That’s
why it’s so important to monitor any side effects or symptoms with
Xanax use. Additionally, anyone who is suffering from Xanax abuse or addiction
should receive professional Xanax addiction treatment as soon as possible.
Side Effects of Xanax Use
Like any medication, Xanax can cause certain side effects.
Common side effects of Xanax include:
- Loss of sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Mood swings
- Dry mouth
- Memory loss
- Problems concentrating
- Poor coordination
- Slurred speech
- Stuffy nose
- Joint pain
- Weight fluctuations
- Trouble breathing
- Trouble sleeping
While people use Xanax to help treat anxiety, excessive use can cause a
person to experience adverse effects. In some cases, taking too much Xanax
can cause a person to actually develop anxiety or
depression. There are even reports of people who abuse Xanax experiencing suicidal
thoughts. That’s why it’s so important to monitor one’s
Xanax use, as well as any other substances a person uses (such as
alcohol) while also using Xanax.
What Happens When You Mix Xanax with Other Substances?
The effects of Xanax on the brain and body can change depending on what
other substances a person is also using. For example, drinking alcohol
or taking another central nervous system depressant while using Xanax
can cause many of the negative side effects previously mentioned.
Smoking cigarettes while using Xanax can decrease blood levels. Taking
medications and drugs such as azole antifungal medications, cimetidine,
certain antidepressants, HIV medications, macrolide, antibiotics, rifamycins,
and other seizure medications while also using Xanax can affect how Xanax
leaves the body. In fact, some medications can make Xanax stay in the
body’s system longer than normal, leading to Xanax overdose.
Due to the many negative effects of using Xanax at the same time as other
substances, people should notify their doctors of any other medications
or substances that they are using prior to beginning Xanax use. Otherwise,
using certain medications can make it easier to develop a Xanax addiction.
How Long Does It Take for Xanax Effects to Kick In?
Xanax is a fast-acting medication. This is because the body quickly absorbs
Xanax. In fact, the human body absorbs Xanax so quickly that people can
feel its effects within one to two hours, or even less.
Just as the human body absorbs Xanax quickly, it also releases Xanax in
a relatively short period of time. In fact, within just about 11 hours,
the body removes half of the Xanax that it absorbs. As a result, doctors
advise individuals who need to take Xanax to do so three times a day,
every several hours.
Even though Xanax moves through the body quickly, it is still a very powerful
drug. Thus, doctors suggest that all individuals who take Xanax stop doing
so after two to four weeks. Taking Xanax for a longer period of time can
cause a person to develop a Xanax addiction. Once individuals develop
Xanax addictions, they must attend Xanax addiction treatment, like our
Xanax addiction treatment center in Memphis.
What Are the Signs of Xanax Addiction?
The sooner a person is aware that he or she is suffering from a Xanax addiction,
the quicker that person can attend addiction treatment and achieve recovery.
As such, it is important to know the signs of Xanax abuse, dependency,
Some common signs of Xanax addiction include:
- Taking more Xanax at a time than one’s doctor prescribes a person to take
- Taking Xanax for a longer period of time than prescribed
- Not being able to stop using Xanax even when one tries to
- Shopping at different medical facilities or pharmacies for Xanax
- Exhibiting risky behavior just to gain more Xanax pills
- Having strong cravings for Xanax
- No longer keeping up with one’s work or school responsibilities
- Continuing to use Xanax even after doing so has negatively affected one’s life
- Exhibiting sudden mood swings
Once a person begins chronically abusing Xanax, they are at risk of becoming
addicted. At this point, they will likely experience some of the following symptoms:
- Trouble breathing
- Severe confusion
- Extreme drowsiness
- Poor reflexes
- Impaired coordination
- Struggling to think and make decisions
- Poor memory
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty saying words
- General weakness
Xanax Detox & Withdrawal
Because of how strong Xanax is, individuals who suffer from Xanax addiction
must typically attend medical detox followed by professional addiction
treatment. Medical detox for Xanax addiction is the process of ridding
the body of the medication.
While detoxing from Xanax, individuals will likely experience withdrawal
symptoms. In fact, Xanax withdrawal symptoms can appear within hours of
one’s last use of the medication and peak in severity within one
to four days. Xanax withdrawal symptoms can be severe.
Common Xanax withdrawal symptoms include:
- Irritability and aggression
- Blurred vision
- Muscle pain
- Numb fingers
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble breathing
- Heart palpitations
- Suicidal thoughts
To treat Xanax withdrawal during detox, a person must taper one’s
use of the medication. To taper means to slowly diminish until something
is all gone. Thus, to taper one’s Xanax use during detox means to
slowly stop using Xanax until one is no longer using the medication and
the medication is completely removed from the person’s bodily system.
To further ensure that Xanax detox runs smoothly and that Xanax withdrawal
symptoms don’t become too severe, individuals can receive a little
bit of a long-acting benzodiazepine. This can help subdue cravings and
withdrawal symptoms until all benzos and Xanax are removed from the person’s
system during detox.
Xanax Addiction Treatment
Once a person safely removes all Xanax from their system during detox,
that person can start attending Xanax addiction treatment. Xanax addiction
treatment can occur in an inpatient or outpatient format. The right option
depends on the severity of a person’s Xanax addiction.
Some common types of Xanax addiction treatment programs include:
Inpatient or Residential Xanax Addiction Treatment: Individuals with severe Xanax addictions should attend inpatient or residential
treatment. This is because inpatient and residential treatment programs
provide 24/7 care and monitoring.
Partial Hospitalization Programs: Individuals with moderate to severe addictions who may not be able to live
in rehab facilities 24/7 may consider attending a
partial hospitalization program. Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) are the most intense form of
outpatient treatment. PHPs require patients to attend rehab for around
five to eight hours a day, five to seven days a week. When PHP patients
aren’t receiving treatment, they can return to the comfort of their
Intensive Outpatient Programs: The second most intense form of outpatient treatment is intensive outpatient
treatment. An intensive outpatient program (IOP) requires patients to
attend rehab for around three to four hours a day, a few days a week.
Just like all outpatient forms of treatment, IOPs allow patients to live
in their own homes when not receiving care.
Outpatient Programs: The least intensive form of Xanax addiction treatment is standard outpatient
treatment. Standard outpatient programs (OPs) require patients to attend
rehab for around a couple of hours a day, once or twice a week.