Xanax, or alprazolam, is a benzodiazepine that affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with anxiety. When used properly, it can treat anxiety and panic disorders, as well as anxiety caused by depression, however some people abuse the medication by most commonly chewing or snorting it. We’ll explore how and why people abuse Xanax, and the serious risks associated with its abuse.
Alprazolam—the generic name for Xanax—may be habit-forming, and it is recommended to not drink alcohol while taking it, because it can increase the effects of alcohol. It should only be used by the person for whom is was prescribed. Despite the warnings, Xanax is the second most popular drug of choice to abuse, following the opioid class of prescription drugs.
Xanax works by affecting the central nervous system, and over time users can develop a tolerance, or even a dependence to it. A tolerance means the user will have to take more Xanax in order to achieve the original effects it once produced. A dependence means the user’s body will go through withdrawal should they discontinue use, and may cause cravings for it as well.
Abusing Xanax means the user is taking it in a way that was not prescribed. This could be chewing, snorting, taking more than recommended, taking with alcohol, etc. Side effects of abuse can include:
- impaired cognition and movement
- slurred speech
- vision impairment
- uncontrolled movements
- suicidal thoughts
Because many people are prescribed Xanax for a legitimate reason, it may be difficult to tell whether they’re abusing it or not. If you believe someone you know may be abusing it, look out for the following:
- experiencing altered moods and demeanor
- changed method of administering the medication
- being disengaged from reality
- having financial problems
- running out of the medication before a new prescription can be filled
- seeking out multiple doctors in order to obtain more Xanax
- withdrawing from friends and family
- being lethargic and exhibiting apathetic behavior
People who abuse Xanax may be doing so simply because they’ve become tolerant and/or dependent on the drug. It is not a good idea to quit cold turkey if the user wants to stop, so make sure to seek professional help. If you believe someone you love is suffering from Xanax abuse, please reach out for help from the LEAD Recovery staff. Our experts are available to answer questions, so call today at 800-380-0012.