Xanax is a benzodiazepine and is the brand name for a prescription medication called alprazolam. The drug is prescribed to treat individuals who suffer from anxiety, panic disorders, social anxiety disorder, and phobias like agoraphobia. The drug works by decreasing abnormal brain activity that can be associated or cause anxiety. The result of the drug is a calming effect on the body. The drug can cause a feeling of euphoria, but for the most part help relieve anxiety and relaxes the body. This drug is a central nervous system depressant; meaning that it slows brain activity. Xanax works by increasing GABA activity, which curbs the brains excitability. It allows the brain to return to a natural and normal balanced level. Different central nervous system depressants work in different ways, but their ability to increase GABA activity is what produces the drowsy or claming effect. This drug is fast acting with the benefits establishing after an hour of consumption and lasting for at least six hours. It is also commonly abused for its sedative effects.

Xanax Abuse

Xanax is especially addictive when it is abused for non-medical purposes. Those individuals abusing the drug for its sedative side effects are more likely to become addicted or develop a dependency on the drug than those who are using it as recommended by their physician. The drug can cause an increase in tolerance, addiction, and dependence if it is taken in larger quantities or for extended periods of time. The chemical name for the drug is alprazolam. It is also known as xanax XR, Niravam, Xannies/Zannies, Handlebars/Bars, Blue footballs, or Benzos.

Signs and Symptoms of Xanax Abuse and Addiction

The signs and symptoms of Xanax abuse and addiction are displayed in physical, mental, and behavioral. The effects of the drug on the mind and body will change how the individual looks, feels, and behaves. Like other drugs the behavior with change over a period of time and become worse as their dependency for the drug increases.

Physical Signs and Symptoms

Physically the individual with experience:

-Feelings of elation
-Drowsiness
-Extended periods of sleep
-Light-headedness
-Difficultly concentrating
-Memory problems
-Sluggishness
-Nausea
-Headache

Mental and Social Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Xanax abuse are similar to those of other drugs. Xanax addicts will have a tough time keeping healthy relationships with others. As the drug drives them further down a hole, the addict will slowly lose contact with those they are closest with; unless those people are also abusing drugs. Addiction often forces an individual into seclusion. What they are doing is bad for them, most know this fact, but continue to do so. In attempts to hide it from others, they will live more isolated than before. Xanax addicts will also change their friends and/or normal hangouts. People and environments that are more conducive to their drug abuse will benefit their addiction.

Most addicts have trouble holding down a normal job. Xanax addicts are no different to this rule. As the drugs begin to take control of their life other responsibilities will begin to take a back seat. The effects of the drug will cause the individual to be ineffective at work because they are sluggish and have difficulty concentrating. Their performance will also begin to suffer if they are having a difficult time getting the drugs or have run out. Those suffering from Xanax withdrawal will feel sick and might miss work as a result.

Financial troubles are a common sign for drug addicts; especially those who abuse prescription medications. Prescription drugs are very expensive and most require physicals from licensed physicians. Other bills and responsibilities could become after thoughts as the need for more drugs increases. Drug addicts often lie, cheat, and steal to get more of their drugs. Many prescription drug addicts steal their medication of choice from family and friends, therefore if you or a close friend is missing pills addiction could be the culprit. Addicts make frequent visits to the doctor or to the E.R. for refills of their drugs. Any online purchases of drugs or delivers of prescriptions are also signs of Xanax/prescription drug abuse.

The over use of Xanax, more than anything else, will cause the individual to be unusually tired. They will appear lazy or lethargic. They will not have motivation to participate in normal everyday activities. Addicts will think about where they are going to get more of the drug, even if they are not finished with their current supply. Cognitive problems also occur, which make it difficult for Xanax addicts to articulate words.

Effects of Xanax Addiction and Abuse

Xanax is a central nervous system depressant; therefore taking the drug can cause severely negative effects on the body. The drug slows down the mental and physical aspects of your health. The most common side effects of Xanax abuse are: lack of coordination, slurred speech, confusion, and disorientation. It is also known to slow down respiratory rates. Slowed breathing becomes extremely dangerous when the drug is mixed with alcohol. Both of these drugs are depressants, which can lead to injury, coma, or death. Short term memory impairment is common. Those that abuse the drug heavily can also experience severe sedation, which can last three to four days.

Xanax Addiction

Xanax addiction is a serious issue that affects the entire country. Like other prescription drugs many individuals see it as a safe alternative to illicit drugs. They believe that since the drug is legal it can be used without dangerous side effects. The drug has been proven to be addictive and can cause serious injury. Addiction is a progressive issue that worsens over time. The 2011 Treatment Episode Data Set Report shows that 60,200 people getting drug abuse treatment were addicted to benzodiazepines. This is a huge increase from the last survey in 1998, where there were 22,400 who claimed to abuse benzodiazepines.

Teenage Xanax/Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drug abuse in general is a major concern for the United States. These drugs have quietly risen to become the most commonly abused drug in the country. It is also the number one gateway drug as well. It is the leading cause for injury and fatal overdose in the United States. A Monitoring the Future Study reported that 13.9 percent of teenagers claimed to have used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes. Recent research has compiled a plethora of shocking prescription drug abuse information. In the U.S., 52 million people over the age of 12 have used prescription drugs for on-medical purposes. This county contains 5% of the world’s population, yet it consumes 75% of its prescription drugs. There was enough prescription painkillers prescribed in 2010 to medicate every American adult every four hours for an entire month. In 2010, there were 8.76 million prescription drug abusers. Of those 8.76 million, 1.1 million abused stimulants, 2.2 million abused tranquilizers, and 5.1 million abused painkillers. Over 50% of those who admitted to abusing prescription drugs stated they received the drugs free from a friend or relative. The three reasons for teenage prescription drug abuse was that they were easy to obtain, available everywhere, and because they were not illegal drugs.

Xanax Abuse and Addiction Treatment

Like all addictions the best treatment comes from a certified inpatient treatment program. There are thousands across the country. Each one is slightly different from the next, but most follow a similar 12-step-ish structure. Individuals will enter the program with an entrance interview, which will allow the interviewer to be able to prepare a sufficient program that is unique to that individual. They will then follow a structured program of Detox, therapy, counseling, activities, learning, and finally aftercare. Getting proper treatment for Xanax abuse/addiction is important because the withdrawal symptoms can be severe and include seizures.