Xanax is an anti-anxiety medication that is commonly used to treat panic attacks and anxiety disorders. The generic name for Xanax is alprazolam, which belongs to a group of medications called benzodiazepines. Xanax is a central nervous system depressant that works by acting on certain neurotransmitters in one’s brain, specifically the GABA-A (gamma-aminobutyric acid-A). The GABA receptors in one’s brain carry properties such as anticonvulsant, hypnotic, anti-anxiety, sedatives and muscle relaxants. Xanax connects onto GABA-A receptors altering the natural effects of one’s GABA receptors. When taken as directed, within the first hour of experienced anxiety ninety percent of the anxiety-reducing effects are achieved, with relief beginning eight to twenty-five minutes after ingestion. Xanax can be a highly effective medication when used properly and under the direct supervision of a medical professional.
Signs and Symptoms of Abuse
An individual could abuse Xanax in different ways (e.g., taking it more frequently than prescribed, taking it in addition to other substance and/ or alcohol, taking an improper dose, ingesting it in a different way than prescribed…etc.). There are a variety of signs and symptoms with which an individual abusing Xanax could present. Common examples of signs and symptoms a person may exhibit could include but are not limited to, any combination of the following, provided by the Mayo Clinic:
- Slowed breathing
- Poor coordination
- Slurred speech
- Blurred vision
- Cognitive impairment
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and/ or vomiting
Every individual is different and will exhibit a unique set of signs and symptoms with varying levels of severity and duration when it comes to Xanax abuse. Often individuals that abuse Xanax will develop a tolerance to the substance, meaning they will require more of the drug (e.g., higher dosage, more frequent use, etc.) to achieve the same desired effects that were previously accomplished using less of the substance. If left untreated, Xanax abuse can lead to severe long-term consequences, including overdose.
There is a common misconception that crushing Xanax pills and snorting them will result in a faster and more intense high. Although, alprazolam is a fat-soluble molecule that can easily cross mucous membranes in the nose and enter into one’s bloodstream, there is minimal scientific data that provides information on whether or not snorting Xanax actually does yield a faster onset with stronger effects. Xanax is designed to be ingested orally, and includes certain ingredients (e.g., cellulose and other suspension chemicals) to accommodate this method of consumption. When these ingredients are exposed to one’s nasal cavity by crushing and snorting Xanax they could damage one’s nasal mucous membranes. Further, when one abuses Xanax or uses it regularly for extended periods of time it can cause neurological changes, as it affects one’s benzodiazepine receptors, which makes them less powerful and less sensitive to stimulation.
For Information and Support
If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one in regards to substance abuse and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.
Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcome to contact us anytime below.