What is Xanax?

Xanax, known as a brand name for the drug alprazolam, that belongs to the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines.  Benzodiazepines include similar medications such as diazepam (Valium), clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), flurazepam (Dalmane) and many others. Xanax is a central nervous system depressant, sedative, and tranquilizer. Xanax is designed to slow down brain activity and treat the following disorder panic, anxiety, insomnia, and acute stress. Xanax is the most prescribed psychiatric drug in the US.

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How does Xanax affect the brain?

Xanax, just like other benzodiazepines, act on the brain by boosting the activity of Gaba receptors, a chemical that inhibits brain activity. After repeated use of Xanax, the changes in GABA receptors in the brain may occur, making them inadequate for stimulation.  This process activates the effects of the medicine that produce calmness and drowsiness, that are favorable for anxiety and sleep disorders. Xanax produces short-term effects within a few hours and usually result in sleepiness and some loss of coordination.  Other effects include:

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  • confusion
  • dizziness
  • slow breathing
  • low blood pressure
  • headache
  • slurred speech
  • loss of concentration
  • memory problems
  • difficulties with moving
  • dry mouth

What is Xanax addiction?

Repeated use of Xanax can lead to misuse and abuse problem, known as substance use disorder. and in many severe cases turns in to addiction. Long term use of Xanax, even if prescribed by a medical professional, may cause the development of tolerance to this benzodiazepine. Tolerance means that the person using the drug may need higher and more frequent dosages to satisfy the effects they crave. Addiction takes a toll when a person’s life is completely affected by it. Some negative consequences of addiction are :

  • inability to stop suing Xanax despite health problems
  • neglecting responsibilities at school, work and home
  • compulsive drug-seeking
  • inability to control Xanax intake
  • avoiding social activities
  • isolation due to drug use
  • engaging in risky and illegal behaviors
  • doctor shopping in order to get multiple prescriptions
  • family and relationship problems due to drug use
  • stealing and lying in order to get drugs

What are the withdrawal symptoms of Xanax abuse?

Withdrawal from Xanax addiction may occur when a person stops using or reduces the dosage benzodiazepine. The effects of withdrawal can be dangerous and life-threatening.  Many uncomfortable and often painful symptoms include:

  • tremors
  • anxiety
  • agitation
  • insomnia
  • seizures
  • rapid heart rate
  • high blood pressure
  • fever and sweating
  • hallucinations
  • severe cravings
  • twitching
  • blurred vision
  • depression
  • weight loss
  • suicidal thoughts
  • death from health complications

What is the treatment for Xanax addiction?

People with Xanax addiction are encouraged to get evaluated by a medical professional who specializes in the recovery process. A comprehensive treatment plan based on patients individual needs is designed to address medical and mental health disorders. The patient should undergo a medical detoxification process, performed in the medical setting and supervised by a medical professional. In the professional and safe environment, a patient gets help with withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Some medications can be used to curb many unpleasant physical effects, and other medications can be used to block the receptors in the brain associated with drug use.

The next step after the detox process, the patient transitions into residential program to undergo intense cognitive-behavioral therapy. This type of therapy helps a recovering addict to modify their thinking, expectations, and behaviors associated with drug use. Behavioral therapy had been proven to have the most successful results on patient’s recovery, and helped them to stop using benzodiazepines. Also, a recovering addict learns to cope with life’s stress without using Xanax and adapts the skills to manage and avoid triggers. Furthermore, the patient is offered individual and group counseling to reinforce newly received techniques to apply in real life after the rehab program and to avoid relapse.