Xanax belongs to a class of medication known as Benzodiazepines and is widely prescribed for those suffering from anxiety, panic disorders, and insomnia.
Xanax – Common benzodiazepines for medical use
Xanax belongs to a group of drugs known as Benzodiazepines which acts on the brain by enhancing the effects of GABA, a neurotransmitter that helps a person relieve anxiety and panic attacks. The effect of the medication can be felt within an hour and the drug reaches its maximum potential in 2hrs as the drug is absorbed easily int5o the bloodstream. Xanax is usually prescribed separately therefore notify your doctor if you are taking any other medication while on the course of treatment.
Xanax is quite a strong drug and it is mandatory that you follow the dosage instructions as prescribed by your doctor. The duration of your therapy will be decided by your doctor based on the severity of your condition. Unsupervised intake of Xanax can have adverse reactions and in extreme cases can lead to coma and death. The medications tend to make a person feel drowsy so do not drive, operate heavy machinery or perform tasks that require high concentration.
A little history about the drug
Since the introduction of this medication in the mid-1970s, Xanax is predominantly used to treat anxiety disorders in people. However, when used for a long period the drug produces a euphoric high and that is the reason why Xanax is highly abused.
A survey conducted recently by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) showed that in the year 2013 alone, 14 million prescriptions were handed out. That is a sharp rise compared to the 8 million prescriptions in 1996. Benzodiazepine is commonly abused by adults over the age of 50-64 which accounts for a 20% increase among this age category.
This rising popularity of the medication has captured the attention of people and current statistics claim that over 500,000 people use Xanax or any other type of benzodiazepine.
How does Xanax works on the body?
The primary action of Xanax is to calm the activity of an overexcited brain. Though it might sound dangerous, slowing down the activity is necessary to reduce the risk of sudden bursts of anxiety and panic attacks.
Slowing down the mental reaction is an effective easy way to deal with the issue. That is the exact effect of Xanax and the medication works really well for anxiety. With lesser brain activity they tend to react lesser and become less proactive.
The reason is that Xanax works on the central nervous system and that is the reason why the mental alertness of a person is lowered. The medication’s high effect has made it closer in resemblance to light synthetic drugs and ecstasy and that is the exact reason why Xanax is prescribed for only short-term usage. Regular consumption for more than 4-5 days can become a habit. The most vulnerable users of Xanax are those who people with stressful jobs. It has been surveyed that such people consumed the pills for over 18 years.
Prolonged Xanax usage can develop tolerance and dependency among the users and that is the reason it is always prescribed for a short duration. The International Convention classifies the drug as a controlled substance and is available only if you produce a prescription from a licensed doctor.
Indication and contraindications to the use of Xanax
- Acute treatment of generalized anxiety disorder
- Specific anxiety disorders like separation anxiety, OCD and so
- Panic disorder( with or without agoraphobia)
Contraindications to the use of Xanax:
The following are the contraindications of taking Xanax. Do not take the medication if you feel any one of these,
- Suicidal thoughts
- Wide-angle glaucoma
- Improper lung functioning
- Hepatic issues
- Renal problems
- Pregnant women
- Breastfeeding mothers
Do not take Xanax if you have the habit of smoking or if you are prone to alcohol usage. Xanax is to be administered only under the influence of a doctor in reduced doses. Do not combine the drug with any other medications. Xanax is a nervous system depressant and along with alcohol the sedative effect of the medication is experienced even more which caused uncoordinated motor movements. The medication is administered through oral means and the therapeutic effect of the drug is felt only after an hour. Xanax is not prescribed for people below the age of 14.
Take Xanax only for the prescribed period. Taking them for long will develop tolerance. Tolerance is when you no more feel the effects of the drug as you used to during the initial dosage, so you feel the need to increase the dosage to experience the effects of the medication.
Xanax is available in the form of a tablet, an extended-release tablet, an orally disintegrating pill, a concentrated solution.
The forms of orally disintegrating pills and concentrated solution are taken 2-4 times a day whereas the extended-release is taken only once per day in the morning. Kindly follow the instructions of your doctor and take the medication as per the prescription.
The concentrated solution should be taken only using the dropper that comes along with the solution. Draw the required prescription amount of solution and squeeze them into a liquid or semisolid food such as water, juice, or applesauce and drink the entire mixture immediately.
The orally disintegrating tablet should be removed from the bottle only when it is time for your dose. Do not open the bottle with wet hands, once you take the pill pop it into your mouth immediately. The tablet will dissolve and you can swallow them along with your saliva. The pill can be taken with or without water.
Do not crush, chew or break the pills. Gradual increase of Alprazolam will be done after 4-5 days.
Is Xanax abusive?
Since Xanax works by altering the chemicals in the brain the chances of becoming tolerant to the medication are high.
Benzodiazepines can make you feel emotionally and physically dependent on the drug even when taken as per the direction of your physician.
Consult your doctor before taking the medication. It is best if you start with as minimal dosage as possible. This is effective and it also lowers the risk of dependency on the medication.
The reason why people develop tolerance to the drug is that they are used to the effectiveness of the already prescribed dosage to a point where they no longer feel the effect of the medication. Their body then urges them to take a higher dosage than the previous one to feel the initial effects of the medication. This goes on until they reach a point where they can no longer live without the pills.
You can identify if a person has developed an addiction or not by noticing the changes in their behavior. Given below are symptoms to show that a person has developed an addiction,
- Lack of Coordination
- Difficulty in speaking
- Xanax cravings
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms
- Manic behavior
- Memory issues
- Lack of concentration
- Lack of interest and motivation to do anything
- Spending excessively on the medication
Once a person shows these symptoms, it affects their individual experiences and disrupts their relationship with others.
If you try to stop using the medication, you may also experience withdrawal symptoms. The longer you are used to the medication the more intense you will feel the withdrawal symptoms.
Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms
The following are the symptoms one might tend to experience due to Xanax withdrawal
- Blurred vision
- Muscle pain
- Numbness of fingers
- Tingling in arms and legs
- Loss of appetite
- Heart palpitations
The duration and the severity of these symptoms vary depending on the dose of Xanax intake and the duration of how long they have been taking. Taking higher doses for a long period can cause more intense and serious side effects which can last for several weeks.
On the other hand, the condition of those using lower doses significantly improved when given the right treatment.
How to overcome Xanax Withdrawal?
Contact your doctor as soon as you realize Xanax is taking over you if you feel the need to take the medication more frequently than you ought to.
A lower dose will be prescribed and as days go by it will be reduced furthermore until you are no longer dependent on the medication.
Note: Xanax should be taken only when Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) doesn’t work. Take medications only under the guidance and prescription from your doctor.
Xanax has worked miracles in the lives of patients suffering from anxiety and panic disorders and a variety of nervous diseases. However, like any other drug, the side effects are no exception.
Prescribing this medication is not an easy task for the doctors as there are so many pitfalls when it comes to this particular medication and getting the patients rid of Xanax after the course of treatment is another herculean task.
With the world moving fast, people try to keep with it and as a result develop stress, and anxiety. Since people don’t have time for therapy, prescribing sedatives is far easier. Though it sounds inhuman this is the reality of today’s world. The irony is the pills that have been prescribed for anxiety become another reason for developing anxiety because once you’ve experienced the effect of the medication then it is difficult to come out of it.
There has been a rapid increase in the number of prescriptions in recent years. The American Psychiatric Association is alert to treat people after the aftermath of prescribing such sedatives.
Risk of Dependence:
The effect of Xanax is similar to ecstasy drugs and that is the reason why it is so popular among people these days and with this pill being legal, there is no telling how far people are willing to take things. Once you’ve developed a dependency on the drug there is a wide range of side effects that occur. The medication that is supposed to make you calm will make you experience adverse effects when consumed long-term.
During the initial stages of side-effects, one may tend to have blurry vision and uncoordinated motor issues. The second stage makes its presence known when you experience an increased level of irritation and extreme mood changes. The reason why one experiences these mood swings is that the nerve cells that send signals to the brain regarding adequate perception are blocked during this altered state of mind.
It is therefore important to stop using this medication when you begin to experience the onset of initial stages of symptoms or else the mental capability of the person would be reduced. The longer one has been on Xanax the more difficult it is to come out of it. The rehabilitation procedures are sometimes difficult as well as painful as it involves the user battling both physical and psychological addiction.
Once the human body gets used to the feeling of lightness and ecstasy it is really difficult to bring it back to its original shape and condition, a way it used to work before the drug. Feeling overwhelmed and being in a state of delirium when using the medication and feeling emotionless in its absence are also one of the known effects of Xanax.
In truth, Xanax is an effective medication to treat anxiety, but, only when consumed at a minimal dosage. the effectiveness of the pill is well-spoken of and advertised on a large scale but no one talks about the adverse and negative effects of the drug when used for the long term. Though pills seem a viable and effective solution, look for any other safe alternatives that can help treat anxiety and always keep Xanax as a last resort.
Alprazolam is a controlled substance and the prescriptions will be refilled only for a limited number of times.
Consult your doctor before you take the medication and notify them if you are on any other prescription, non-prescription medication, or any other products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements.