Xanax - Learn about Xanax, Signs of Abuse, and Xanax Treatment Options
What is Xanax?
Xanax is a brand name of the drug Alprazolam, which is classified as an hypnotic benzodiazepine and a sedative. Doctors prescribe Xanax to patients who experience anxiety, depression, or panic attacks. Some doctors may also prescribe Xanax as a sleep aid, but the FDA has not approved the drug for this usage. It is also occasionally prescribed as a treatment for nausea related for chemotherapy. Xanax is a fairly popular drug, with over 50 million prescriptions written each year in the U.S. alone.
Is Xanax addictive?
At one time, Xanax was considered low-risk for addiction, mostly because it is classified as a Schedule IV Substance. However, recent statistics indicate that more and more people are struggling with their Xanax abuse.
In 1998, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states the number of admissions for benzo substance abuse was just 1.3% – or 22,400 people. However, by 2008, that number had more than doubled to 3.2% (60,000 people).
These statistics clearly indicate that Xanax abuse is growing among both teenagers and adults. While Xanax alone is rarely lethal, even in large amounts, overdoses are more common when used concurrently with other drugs, including street drugs or alcohol.
Signs and Symptoms of Xanax Abuse
Xanax dependency and abuse is usually a gradual process. The person may start with at normal dosage of Xanax before realizing that the effects aren’t quite as strong as before. Gradually, the person takes more of the substance in order to feel the same high. Eventually, the person may realize that oral administration of Xanax pills no longer gives that high, no matter what dosage is used. At this point, they may consider other methods, such as snorting crushed pills or even direct injection.
Today, snorting is a popular method of administration for Xanax because users are seeking a high that is quick and powerful. While snorting most drugs will produce this high, Xanax does not work this way. Snorting Xanax is essentially the same as swallowing the pills when it comes to feeling its effects.
However, once a person starts snorting Xanax, there is a great chance that they’ve become addicted to the substance – or that they will become addicted with continued use.
Some recent research on Xanax abuse indicates that some people are more predisposed to addiction than others. These people include those with:
A history of substance abuse or alcohol addiction
Insomnia (Ironically, Xanax itself may cause insomnia.)
Other mental disturbances
When a person stops using Xanax suddenly, they may experience symptoms of withdrawal. These may include:
Nausea and/or vomiting
Rapid heart rate
Seizures, including Grand mal seizures (lack of consciousness is possible with these seizures)
Hyperthermia (raised body temperature)
Myths About Snorting Xanax
While many people believe that snorting Xanax will produce a more intense high, Xanax isn’t absorbed in the same way as other drugs. It passes through the bloodstream, and its effects aren’t felt in the brain immediately. Xanax produces the same high whether it’s taken orally or nasally.
It’s also commonly believed that there are no side effects to snorting Xanax, but this is false. Though there are no advantages to snorting the drug, doing so may cause severe damage to the nasal passages and throat.
Xanax Abuse Treatment
If you or a loved one are addicted or dependent on Xanax, you should consider treatment immediately. However, do not attempt to stop the drug completely without assistance. Immediately stopping all Xanax use without assistance can lead to severe side effects, even including death. Medical supervision is required when withdrawing from Xanax. The detoxification process could take a significant length of time, and the symptoms can vary from one person to the next. Most patients seek a medical drug abuse treatment facility that specializes in benzodiazepine addiction. This is the best method for effective long-term treatment.
Xanax Abuse Treatment Programs
There are different treatment programs available for Xanax addiction.
With inpatient treatment, the patient lives at the treatment facility for a period of time while withdrawing from Xanax. This is the most effective method for decreasing the risk of serious side effects, including seizures. Inpatient treatment is the most recommended option for all patients, but especially those who have attempted other treatment methods with poor results.
If the patient has only mild to moderate side effects from Xanax withdrawal, you might consider outpatient treatment instead. While inpatient treatment generally has a greater chance of success, many patients overcome Xanax addiction with outpatient treatment. The benefits are that treatment is less of a disruption to everyday life (work, school, etc. can usually continue as scheduled), and the treatment costs are lower.
Xanax Abuse Treatment Methods
Patients should never stop Xanax “cold turkey”; doing so could lead to fatal side effects. Xanax abuse treatment focuses on reducing the dosage of Xanax gradually to minimize the side effects of withdrawal. In addition, behavioral therapies are used to prevent relapse.
When choosing a treatment program, it’s important to remember that withdrawing from Xanax can be somewhat distressing and even embarrassing for the patient. Many patients seek inpatient treatment or take additional measures for privacy when utilizing outpatient treatment. The comfort of patients is crucial when undergoing treatment as it helps ensure the treatment program is completed. Because of this, many patients take their treatment one step further, opting for “luxury” or “executive” programs. These treatment facilities offer many modern luxuries, including swimming pools, spa services, fitness gyms, and Internet access.
While these programs are more expensive than traditional inpatient facilities, they may help distract the patient from the unpleasant side effects of withdrawal. They may also provide recreational activities as part of the treatment program.
If you are seeking Xanax treatment, it’s important that you form a strong support group and ask for assistance when necessary. Call us for immeidate help.