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Article Summary


Xanax is a prescription medication in a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, which are central nervous system depressants. Benzodiazepines are used widely to treat anxiety, and Xanax in particular is the most prescribed benzodiazepine in use today. Xanax is also the most misused benzodiazepine, abused by both users who have a legitimate prescription for the drug and by those who abuse prescription and illicit drugs in general. The reason Xanax is so abused is that it can cause a calming feeling in small doses, but a type of high in larger doses which both legitimate and recreational users wish to experience. It can also produce physical and psychological dependence in both legitimate and recreational users, so it can be very hard to get off of the drug once an individual has become dependent.

Xanax Side Effects

Individuals who are prescribed Xanax legitimately for anxiety may not fully grasp what they are getting themselves into. While it may seem like a workable solution to relieve anxiety, there are many side effects and dangers involved. First of all, once an individual has become dependent to Xanax after long term use they can't just cold turkey stop using the drug. If they do attempt to stop using Xanax, this not only causes intense symptoms of withdrawal but is also causes rebound anxiety. This rebound anxiety is often more intense and profound than the level of anxiety the Xanax was meant to treat. So this can be very disheartening for someone who doesn't want to be on Xanax for the rest of their lives.

This type of rebound anxiety is extremely common, but many physicians who prescribe the drug to patients don't give sufficient information of warnings about these types of side effects or unwanted outcomes. For this reason, patients themselves must be diligent about knowing what the different side effects, drug interactions and long term consequences are and not only consider the intended benefits. In some cases, the anxiety which Xanax was meant to treat can be addressed and treated without any drugs at all, saving the individual the trouble of having to experience any of the negative effects and potential for dependence with these types of drugs.

For example, there are many instances of individuals making social and environmental and even diet changes which have all proven far more effective in treating anxiety than resorting to powerful drugs such as Xanax. Holistic and alternative solutions to treating anxiety are going to prove more effective in the long run for the individual because these solutions don't require any drugs at all and provide actual answers and technical expertise to the things which are causing anxiety in the first place. Some holistic and alternative solutions available can simple things such as meditation, yoga and other exercise programs as well as counseling and therapy to resolve environmental issues which could be causing one anxiety in their life.

Both legitimate users who use more than prescribed and recreational users of Xanax put themselves at risk of many side effects and outcomes which could prove to be extremely serious and even fatal in some cases. For example, someone who is taking Xanax with a prescription may become tolerant to a certain dose of the drug and may up their dose without consulting their doctor. This could result in serious health consequences due to the fact that Xanax is a central nervous system depressant. Someone who takes too much can simply stop breathing, go into a coma, or even worse. These dangers are of course multiplied when mixed with other drugs and/or alcohol, and even when taken with other prescribed medications which could result in a drug interaction unbeknownst to the individual taking these drugs.

Xanax Abuse

With recreational users who abuse Xanax without any kind of prescription, the dangers and risks are typically far greater. One might wonder why someone who is abusing illegal street drugs would abuse Xanax at all. To give you an example, someone who is high on an illegal street drug such as cocaine which is a stimulant might use Xanax to help them come down off of the drug or level off their high if they feel the need to. Recreational drug users are often ignorant about how dangerous such irresponsible use of Xanax is, and will mix it with a number of drugs and with alcohol on any given occasion. Because it is a central nervous system depressant, the risks are magnified when using Xanax with other central nervous system depressants such as alcohol. Unfortunately, this is often the case and individuals show up in emergency rooms around the country with a mixture of Xanax and other drugs and alcohol quite frequently. In fact, Xanax is the number one benzodiazepine mentioned in such emergency rooms visits.

Both legitimate and recreational Xanax users should be keenly aware of the fact that anyone who is trying to come off of the drug after long term use should never attempt to do so without medical supervision. Detox and withdrawal from Xanax sometimes causes symptoms which can be life threatening, and other medications may need to be administered during the detox process to avoid such circumstances. In a detox or treatment setting, detox staff can work to prevent such symptoms and monitor the individual's progress to ensure it is a safe and smooth process. It isn't worth putting one's life at risk to go through this process alone, so it is highly recommended that anyone wishing to come off of Xanax do so with professional supervision and assistance.

Xanax Addiction Treatment

If someone has become addicted to Xanax either through legitimate use or because they are a substance abuser, there is no shame in that. There is a problem if the individual doesn't get help for it, and continues to put their life and future in jeopardy. There is no need to go on abusing Xanax or find excuses to not get help, because there are many treatment options available for individuals who want to make Xanax use and substance abuse a thing of the past.

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