Before taking any prescription medication like Xanax, patients should learn as much about the substance as possible. Use this Xanax guide to learn about this medication prescribed by your doctor, including its uses, dangerous interactions, and possible side effects. Reading this guide also helps you identify any abuse of this medication you may experience and ways to seek treatment of addiction to alprazolam.
Alprazolam, commonly known under the brand name of Xanax, is a benzodiazepine1. Even if someone does not take this medication, many people have heard about it because it has become a drug of choice in recent decades. Mixed with fentanyl, it also has been the cause of many overdoses.
Because it is a benzodiazepine, Xanax is a Schedule IV drug2. It is classified as a sedative-hypnotic with a low potential for abuse compared to other drugs in its class. Of course, this classification is misleading because alprazolam is a highly addictive drug responsible for many overdoses in communities across the country.
Similar to other drugs, Xanax has street names including Xanax Bars, Xannies, Zannies, Hulk, Zan, Ladders, Blue Footballs, French Fries, Z-bars, Benzos, School Bus, and Handle Bars. A particular street name may be more prominent in each community other others.
Physicians prescribe Xanax to treat panic disorder and anxiety. They also use it to treat anxiety brought on by depression.
Physicians prescribe alprazolam more than any other psychoactive drug in the US. It is responsible for the second-highest number of prescription medication-related emergency room visits. Experts estimate that at least 40% of individuals prescribed Xanax who take the pills every day for more than five weeks become addicted3.
Having this information can help you properly use Xanax and understand why your physician prescribed it to you in the first place.
Xanax, when misused or deliberately taken to get high, has proven to be highly addictive, as with most prescription medications.
Xanax relaxes people and makes them feel calm. It is one of the main reasons individuals get high, to enter an altered state of peace.
When taken as prescribed, Xanax is safe. It is recommended you read instructions that accompany the medication. Your pharmacy can answer any additional questions.
It is recommended you avoid taking Xanax with other drugs known to cause breathing problems or drowsiness4. You should avoid taking Alprazolam with the following medicines:
You also should avoid mixing Xanax and alcohol. By avoiding these interactions, you lower the risk of misuse and addiction.
Like other drugs, how you use Xanax determines whether it is safe. The drug is not inherently unsafe. Any drug mixed with alcohol is dangerous. Xanax and alcohol are no exception.
Xanax is available in pill form. The primary way individuals abuse Xanax is by using it in ways other than prescribed. They might take more than they should get a larger dose of the sedative or hypnotic effects of alprazolam. Individuals who use it to get high will either crush the pill to snort it or chew it. Using Xanax and alcohol together is another way to abuse it.
You can prevent misuse and abuse of the drug by knowing its intended use. Proper use of the medication helps you avoid Xanax addiction.
Specific Xanax side effects last longer than others. Following are long-term side effects of Xanax:
Most of these long-term effects are corrected once the use of Xanax ends.
There are short-term Xanax side effects that are likely to occur when you first begin taking the medication. These side effects include:
Short-term side effects of Xanax eventually go away. If they do not, you should notify your physician immediately.
Understanding the side effects of Xanax helps you decide if it is the proper medication for you. You might be willing to risk-specific side effects but not others.
There are signs of addiction not unique to Xanax and symptoms specific to Xanax addiction. Following are things to watch out for to determine if you or someone you love has an addiction to Xanax:
Watching for these signs and symptoms of Xanax addiction can save your life or the life of someone you know.
As stated earlier, it is common for Xanax users to become addicted to the drug. When that occurs, the risk of overdose and withdrawal increases. Following are examples of Xanax overdose and withdrawal6 symptoms all patients should know:
These symptoms are like overdose symptoms of other drugs. They include:
Having a combination of these symptoms is a sign of a possible Xanax overdose. If you cannot focus or concentrate in addition to the above-listed symptoms, you should seek medical assistance right away.
Certain medications are dangerous to stop taking suddenly. Your physician will help you withdrawal from prescribed alprazolam use. However, withdrawal also can occur if you are addicted to Xanax Bars. Common withdrawal symptoms include:
Withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable but temporary. You will get through the shaking, cravings, and physical sickness. Once you understand the Xanax withdrawal process is the beginning of your recovery, hopefully, you are more accepting of the process.
Xanax overdose and withdrawal are adverse outcomes of this substance’s addiction and abuse. Fortunately, there are treatment options for individuals who find themselves in this situation.
You can get your life back to normal with addiction treatment. The following are the typical forms of Xanax addiction treatment:
Depending on the amount you have taken, you may need to go through detox to get alprazolam out of your system before you overdose. Detox allows you to safely withdraw from the drug with side effects that can be fatal for some individuals.
Typical therapies used during Xanax addiction treatment include:
Individuals who need more intensive treatment and around-the-clock care may require inpatient care. They will stay in a facility for Xanax addiction treatment, participating in group therapy, individual therapy, and others as determined by their treatment plan.
Xanax addiction outpatient treatment involves individuals attending structured treatment programs at least three days each week, maybe five for at least three hours at a time. Group therapy is part of outpatient care. Patients may be required to keep a journal, participate in 12-step groups in the community, or other do activities.
Each Xanax addiction treatment plan is customized to address the specific needs of everyone. Without this personalization, treatment will not work because patients will not buy into the process. The entire process begins with motivational interviewing to determine what will “motivate” the patient to succeed in their recovery.
Xanax can treat specific mental health conditions successfully. It also can lead to addiction. This guide provides the information you can use to take the medication safely. The risk of addiction should not prohibit the use of Xanax for giving individuals a chance at a mentally healthy life. However, using the medicine with caution is necessary.