Xanax Addiction

Introducing Xanax

Xanax belongs to a family of drugs known as benzodiazepines. It is a type of medicine that is most often prescribed for anxiety. Xanax is actually only a trade name and the proper title is Alprazolam. Like other types of benzodiazepines this drug can be highly addictive. It is used recreationally, often to counteract the effects of other drugs. In the United States Alprazolam is a schedule IV drug and so only available legally by prescription. There is a market for illegal Xanax.

How Xanax Is Used

Alprazolam can be used to treat a number of medical conditions including:

* Anxiety disorders
* Panic attacks
* Anxiety related to depression
* To combat nausea due to chemotherapy

How Alprazolam Works

Xanax works in a similar way to the other types of benzodiazepines. It enhances the effect of type of neurotransmitter known as GABA A by binding onto certain receptors. This neurotransmitter is responsible for inhibiting the activity in the brain. By enhancing the effects of this chemical it causes to a dampening down of central nervous system activity. The individual feels calmer and more in control as a result.

Side Effects of Xanax

This drug can produce a number of unwanted side effects such as:

* Lightheadedness
* Drowsiness
* Impulsivity and a loss of inhibitions
* Hallucinations
* Headaches
* Nausea and vomiting
* Memory problems
* Fatigue
* Sweating
* Inability to sleep
* Dry mouth
* Muscle weakness
* Changes in libido
* Slurred speech
* Urinary retention

Xanax Abuse

Xanax is used recreationally for two reasons: as a way to deal with the effects of other recreational drugs, and to experience the CNS depressant effects of this drug. It is frequently given to individuals who react badly to hallucinogens – those having a bad trip. Alprazolam can also be used to enhance the effects of alcohol. Many individuals begin using Xanax under instructions from their doctor. They grow to like it and move into recreational use later. Xanax abuse can lead to addiction in a relatively short period of time.

Xanax Addiction

Alprazolam use can easily lead to addiction if people regularly take the drug for recreational purposes. Those who have been prescribed this medication can also develop a dependency if they are on it long term. Doctors are aware of the addictive potential of benzodiazepine drugs and so tend to be careful when prescribing it. Once an addiction has developed it can completely take over the life of the individual. Those who only take the drug under the instructions of a physician and keep to low doses are less likely to develop an addiction.

Alprazolam addiction will have physical as well as mental components. The individual starts to depend on this drug to make it through the day. It reaches a stage where they can’t imagine how they would be able to cope without it. The body adapts to having this toxic substance in the blood stream remarkably well. The problem is that this adaptation is the cause of physical addiction. The body now depends on this drug and will react badly should the levels of it fall too low in the bloodstream. This reaction is referred to as withdrawal symptoms.

Symptoms of Xanax Addiction

Addiction to benzodiazepines tends to creep up on people. Most won’t even realize they have a problem until they have problems obtaining a supply. Like other addicts they can experience a lot of denial. The most common symptoms associated with this type of abuse include:

* Spending more time thinking about the drug
* Increased tolerance
* Withdrawal symptoms
* Loss of interest in personal cleanliness and grooming
* Mood swings
* Depression
* Suicidal thoughts
* Financial problems
* Family problems
* Work problems
* Inability to cut down on the drug
* Denial
* Secretive behavior
* Memory problems
* Slurred speech
* Confused thinking
* Impulsive behavior
* Loss of interest in hobbies
* Criminality

Dangers of Xanax Addiction

Dependence on any drug takes much of the enjoyment out of life. The other dangers of addiction to Alprazolam include:

* Risk of overdose
* Organ damage
* Deterioration of mental health
* Increased risk of suicide
* Increased risk of personal injury. Xanax makes people drowsy and this can increase the risk of injury
* Seizures
* Breakdown of relationships with family and friends
* Inability to hold down a job
* Willingness to break the law to obtain a supply of the drug
* Xanax can be a stepping stone to other drugs

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

The withdrawal symptoms that people experience when they stop using Alprazolam abruptly can be unpleasant; in rare cases they may even lead to death. People may experience these symptoms because they have decided to take a clean break from the drug, or because they have been unable to locate a supply. The most common symptoms include:

* High levels of anxiety
* Panic attacks
* Diarrhea
* Body shakes
* Body cramps
* Nausea and vomiting
* Heart palpation
* High pulse rate
* Convulsions
* High temperature
* Hallucinations
* Dry mouth
* Inability to sleep
* Agitation
* Depression
* Loss of appetite

Most individuals who are coming off Alprazolam will not experience the more severe withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment of Xanax Withdrawal

Because the symptoms of Xanax withdrawal can be so unpleasant it is unusual for doctors to get patients to stop it abruptly. Instead they will be weaned off the drug by taking a reducing dose over time. This tapering off should mean that they escape the worst of the withdrawal symptoms.

Adapting to life after addiction can be a real challenge for those who have become dependent on substances like Xanax. It can be hard to manage life again without this chemical crutch. A lot of people will become dependent on chemicals in the first place because they were finding life difficult to manage. Things can be equally as difficult when they escape their addiction. This is why many will choose rehab or some type of recovery program. This will provide them with the tools they need to build a good life in recovery – on that is much better than anything that they’ve ever experienced before.

Alternatives to Xanax

Because of the addictive potential of Alprazolam it is usually not recommended that people take this drug in high doses for a long time period. The alternatives to this drug will very much depend on the reasons why it has been prescribed. Natural remedies such as Kava Kava and Valerian are said to have at least some ability to reduce feeling of anxiety. Such herbs should never be used to replace prescribed medication until first speaking with a doctor.

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