What Is Xanax?
Xanax is a prescription medication and the brand name for the drug alprazolam. Xanax is a slow-acting benzodiazepine. It can be used to help people suffering from alcohol abuse disorder to wean off alcohol safely. Xanax is available by prescription. You may receive a Xanax prescription to treat anxiety and panic attacks. Xanax is very effective in calming anxious patients.
However, Xanax is also highly addictive. In 2015, there were about 8,000 benzodiazepine-related deaths. This includes Xanax and similar medications. When a doctor prescribes Xanax for an alcohol abuse disorder patient, it is because the detox effects of alcohol withdrawal can be deadly. So while it may be dangerous on its own, it is sometimes safer for heavy drug or alcohol users.
Xanax has a very quick effect, which contributes to why it is addictive. As Xanax enters the bloodstream, the user will instantly get feelings of euphoria. This pleasurable feeling doesn’t last long either, pushing users to use more and more often.
Doctors will usually offer Xanax in limited supply. If a patient develops an addiction to Xanax, they may go to other doctors to try to get more prescriptions. Eventually, they will run out of options there, too, and purchase from the black market. This is extremely dangerous.
What Is Xanax Abuse?
Xanax abuse is when an individual needs Xanax regularly to function normally. The highs become too short and the user craves them more and more. Xanax works in the same way alcohol does in terms of its effects on the brain. It can affect the receptors in the brain that create muscle relaxation and sedative effects.
If a patient is shopping around from doctor to doctor and pharmacy to pharmacy to try to secure more Xanax, they are likely suffering from Xanax abuse. If you are turning to the black market to get access to more Xanax, there is likely an addiction problem to deal with.
If you or a loved one are taking more Xanax than your prescription states, you are suffering from Xanax abuse. Snorting or injecting Xanax instead of swallowing the pill is also a form of Xanax abuse. If you are combining Xanax with other drugs or alcohol regularly, you are abusing the medication and putting yourself at risk of developing serious side effects.
Side Effects of Xanax Abuse
Xanax abuse can have several mental and physical side effects. The side effects of Xanax can vary by person and by the quantities of the medication you are taking. Here are some of the common side effects of Xanax abuse:
- Memory problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Slurred speech
- Delayed reflexes or reactions
- Upset stomach
- Blurred vision
Abuse of Xanax can cause these symptoms to be much more severe for many people. Some serious side effects could be life-threatening. These symptoms require immediate medical attention:
- Shallow breathing
If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms after taking Xanax, call emergency medical services immediately. Some of these symptoms can be fatal if the user does not seek treatment quickly.
What Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms Will I Experience?
If you are abusing Xanax and want to quit, you will have to go through withdrawal. This is basically when you cut your body’s supply of the Xanax it now depends on. This will you’re your body into panic mode, craving more Xanax to restore its balance. Of course, the only way to restore your brain’s chemistry is to detox from Xanax.
Because Xanax affects the brain the same way alcohol does, you cannot quit cold turkey. This can be very dangerous. To be safe, you should wean off of Xanax. The ideal way to do this is to consult with a doctor or a substance abuse rehab center to make sure you are not putting yourself in danger. There is a safe way to wean off Xanax for good.
Xanax withdrawal symptoms may vary based on how long the user has been dependent on Xanax and the dosage they currently take. Xanax withdrawal symptoms may also vary if you are taking any other medications or illegal substances. Here are some of the common symptoms to look out for when facing Xanax withdrawal:
- Faster heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Excessive sweating
- Numbness in fingers
- Loss of appetite
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Muscle pain
Most symptoms will improve and resolve in the first few weeks of withdrawal. If you notice your symptoms continue to get worse or you or your loved one begin to convulse or experience frequent seizures, seek emergency medical care.
Xanax withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable but they are normally not life-threatening. Once the body completes detox, the next phase of withdrawal will begin. This phase involves emotional and mental side effects.
Anxiety and panic may worsen in the first few weeks after a patient quits Xanax completely. It is important to seek proper therapy programs that can help you or your loved one deal with this emotional distress. If you experience suicidal thoughts or depression, seek counseling immediately.
The emotional and mental side effects of Xanax withdrawal may last for a few months after detox, but there are rehab programs out there to help. Call Windward Way Recovery to discover our inpatient and outpatient rehab programs which can help substance abuse disorder patients stay sober long after they complete detox.
How to Manage Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms
If you or a loved one are experiencing Xanax withdrawal symptoms, there are some things you can do to help. The first thing to do is make sure there are no medications that can be abused anywhere in the house. Remove alcohol and any other substances that can be addictive.
Next, remember to stay hydrated. Take a cool bath to combat sweating, but do so under the supervision of a friend or healthcare provider only. When you pass the initial days of Xanax withdrawal symptoms, try to start incorporating some light physical activity into your routine. Exercise will release endorphins to help control your mood and your level of anxiety. Again, remember to hydrate.
Next, prepare for a healthy diet free of processed foods and fast food. Eating healthy foods will give your body the strength it needs to better manage the unpleasant effects of Xanax withdrawal. You will also need to get enough sleep. One of the Xanax withdrawal symptoms you’ll face is insomnia. You can manage insomnia better by setting regular sleep times every night and getting into a solid routine.
Helping a Loved One Experiencing Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms
If you are looking to help a loved one go through Xanax withdrawal symptoms, you should start by learning more about prescription drug abuse disorder. Once you understand the battle your loved one is fighting, you will be better able to help them through it.
To truly help someone into recovery, you must approach them with positivity. This is not the time to hold them accountable for past mistakes. Instead, offer them the love and support they need to build their self-esteem back up and stay sober.
If you want your loved one to stay sober, call Windward Way Recovery to find out what types of therapy programs we offer. You can also find therapy for family and friends to better understand how to continue to help your loved one as they struggle to recover from their addiction.
How Do I Get into Recovery?
If you understand that you have a Xanax abuse problem, you have already taken the first step to recovery. Next, find a treatment program that can support you through withdrawal and recovery. At Windward Way Recovery, you can choose from group therapy, individual therapy, art therapy, nature therapy, and more.
In most cases, a combination of several types of therapy can be the most beneficial for patients on their journey to recovery. If you are ready to commit to recovery, you can achieve your goal with the right support network around you. If you don’t have your own support network, Windward Way Recovery can offer you one.
The journey to recovery and the path through Xanax withdrawal symptoms is challenging. But you can find your way to sobriety and we can help you. Start by calling us today. The first step in healing begins right now.