The alarming trend of prescription drug misuse has become a grave concern in the United States. A recent study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse reveals that 16 million individuals in the country misuse prescription drugs yearly.
These medications, which include antidepressants, painkillers, sedatives, and stimulants, are often taken in ways that were not intended or prescribed to achieve a feeling of euphoria. However, ingesting large doses can result in physical dependence, addiction, and severe health problems, including overdose and death.
The abuse of prescription medications like Xanax is a complex issue with many contributing facets, including the availability of drugs, societal attitudes toward medication use, and individual factors such as mental health and personal history.
This article will specifically delve into the effects of the antidepressant drug Xanax, the risks and consequences it poses on an individual’s health, and ways to address this significant public health issue.
What Does Xanax Do?
Xanax treats anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and other conditions that cause feelings of anxiety or stress.
When taken as prescribed by a medical professional, it can effectively reduce anxiety and bring tranquility. It slows down the functions of the central nervous system and increases the activity of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain.
However, when taken in ways not prescribed initially, Xanax can elicit feelings of euphoria. This can lead to abuse, especially among people seeking to self-medicate for anxiety or those wanting to get high.
What Are The Standard Xanax Dosages?
Its strengths include 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg tablets. The usual starting dose for adults is 0.25 mg to 0.5 mg thrice a day but may be increased every three to four days if necessary, up to a maximum of 4 mg per day.
The optimal dosage of Xanax for an individual is dependent upon various factors, including age, the severity of their anxiety or panic disorder, and any underlying medical conditions they may have. Considering these variables is crucial to determine the most appropriate dosage for an individual.
Are Xanax Pills Addictive?
Xanax’s ability to induce feelings of relaxation and euphoria makes it prone to abuse. It can lead to addiction, as the body becomes accustomed to the presence of the drug and begins to rely on it to function normally.
It can result in adverse effects when the drug is stopped abruptly, as the body can no longer regulate certain functions, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature regulation.
In addition to its sedative effects, Xanax also impacts the pleasure center of the brain by releasing dopamine, which can further contribute to its potential for addiction.
The extended-release version of Xanax, known as Xanax XR, has the same risks as traditional Xanax, as it acts on the same central nervous system receptors.
The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies the medication as a schedule IV drug, meaning it has some therapeutic value but is also considered potentially addictive.
What Are Xanax’s Side Effects?
Xanax is generally safe and effective when used as directed, but it can be habit-forming and may cause side effects. Some common side effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Decreased appetite
- Weight changes
- Trouble concentrating
Less common side effects of Xanax include:
- Blurred vision
- Changes in sex drive
- Swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- Itching or Rashes
- Feeling sad or empty
What Is The Drug Class For Xanax?
Xanax falls under a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. These are a type of psychoactive drug that works by increasing the activity of a neurotransmitter called GABA in the brain.
Using them can have a calming effect on the body and can help reduce anxiety and induce sleep. They can also treat muscle spasms, alcohol withdrawal, and seizure disorders.
In addition to Xanax, other commonly prescribed benzodiazepines include Valium (diazepam), Ativan (lorazepam), and Klonopin (clonazepam).
How Long Does Xanax Last In Your System?
The metabolism and elimination of Xanax from the body is a relatively rapid process, with a half-life of approximately 11 to 20 hours. This means that within this timeframe, the concentration of the drug in the body is reduced by half.
The liver metabolizes Xanax, which is subsequently excreted through the urine. It is possible to detect traces of Xanax in the urine for up to 4 to 6 days after the last dose. However, this can vary depending on the dose and frequency of use. In instances of heavy usage, the detection period may be extended.
Despite the fast metabolism of Xanax, it is vital to be aware that the drug can still impair cognitive function and physical coordination for a certain period after it has been metabolized. Therefore, caution is advised when operating heavy machinery or driving when you have taken Xanax.
What Happens If You Take Xanax Without Being Prescribed?
Taking Xanax or any other medication without a prescription from a healthcare provider can be hazardous. The misuse of Xanax can lead to physical dependence and addiction, which can have severe consequences on an individual’s mental and physical well-being.
Furthermore, the possession and consumption of prescription medication without a valid prescription may be considered illegal, depending on the laws in the relevant jurisdiction.
It is essential to remember that all medications, including Xanax, have the potential to interact with other substances or exacerbate pre-existing medical conditions. Without the guidance and supervision of a qualified healthcare provider, an individual may unknowingly expose themselves to significant health risks.
Additionally, self-medicating without a prescription makes it impossible to accurately determine the appropriate dosage for an individual’s specific needs, increasing the likelihood of experiencing side effects or suffering from an overdose.
Can You Overdose On Xanax?
The short answer is yes.
An overdose can cause symptoms such as extreme drowsiness, confusion, difficulty walking, slurred speech, and problems with coordination and balance. In severe cases, it can lead to coma or death.
You will likely overdose when you combine Xanax with other substances that can depress the central nervous system, such as alcohol, opioids, or benzodiazepines. It is important to avoid mixing Xanax with these substances, as the combined effects can be dangerous and life-threatening.
How to Deal With Xanax Addiction
There are plenty of ways to address Xanax abuse:
Follow your prescription instructions: If your doctor prescribes Xanax, follow instructions and only take the medication as directed. Do not take more than the prescribed dosage, and do not mix the drug with other substances, such as alcohol.
Properly store and dispose of medications: To prevent Xanax from falling into the wrong hands, you must keep the medicine safe and dispose of it properly when it is no longer needed.
Educate yourself and others: Learning more about the risks and consequences of Xanax abuse can help you make informed decisions about your use of the medication and can also help you educate others about the dangers of abuse.
Seek professional help: If you or someone you know is struggling with Xanax abuse, it is vital to seek help from a healthcare professional or a treatment center. They can provide support, guidance, and treatment to help you overcome your addiction and address any underlying mental health issues.
Xanax is an effective treatment option for anxiety and panic disorders. However, exercising caution when using this potent medication is vital, as it can be addictive and may cause side effects.
Despite its efficacy in mitigating anxiety and panic symptoms, it is crucial to use Xanax under the guidance of a qualified healthcare provider only. You must take Xanax as directed by a medical professional to avoid the risks associated with its improper use.
If you know someone who struggles with prescription drug abuse, let them know to seek help as soon as possible.
At Owl’s Nest Recovery, we offer comprehensive treatment programs to address the underlying issues behind prescription drug abuse and help individuals achieve lasting recovery.
Don’t let prescription drug abuse control your life any longer. Take the first step towards recovery today and contact Owl’s Nest Recovery for more information about our treatment options.