Xanax: History, Side Effects, Addiction

After opiates, Xanax is one of the most popular drugs of abuse, according to the an American Addiction Centers Resource. Because one’s body builds up a tolerance to this drug, those who are addicted can reach extraordinary levels of Xanax consumption. For example, a CNN report on Michael Jackson’s death stated that before he died, he was taking ten Xanax a night, which was a reduction from his earlier consumption of 30 – 40 Xanax a night.

A person who is accustomed to taking Xanax may not exhibit signs of being “high” but they may not be able to conceal the other symptoms of Xanax abuse.

History of Xanax

Xanaxis most commonly prescribed to treat anxiety and panic disorder.

Dr. Leo Sternbach created the first xanax pill in 1956 in an attempt to create safer, less addictive alternatives to traditional tranquilizer drugs such as alcohol, barbiturates, and meprobamate.

addiction-antibiotic-capsules-159211Xanax became widely used in anxiety disorders because it provides rapid symptom relief for these disorders and shows no decrease in its effectiveness over time, even when used for several years.

However ,while Xanax reduces feelings of anxiety and panic in patients, but it can also produce euphoria when taken in larger doses, leading some people to abuse this medication.

These signs of Xanax abuse include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Sedation
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Headache
  • Memory problems
  • Lack of focus
  • Insomnia
  • Swollen hands or feet
  • Nausea
  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Dry mouth or throat
  • Tremors
  • Confusion
  • Loss of interest in sex

These symptoms become more likely when a person has reached high levels of consumption. If you see these signs, then you might want to look further to see if you can find pills or pill bottles. Xanax comes in a bar-shaped pill that is scored so it can be broken into smaller doses. Xanax pills are white but the generic form of the drug (alprazolam) may be green or yellow.

More Serious Symptoms of Xanax Abuse

According to Acceptance Recovery Center, a luxury drug rehab that treats various addiction, including xanax addiction, when a person is taking a high dosage of Xanax, the more serious side effects of Xanax may start showing up.

You might see a person manifest these symptoms of Xanax abuse:

  • Suicidality
  • Thoughts of harming oneself
  • Depression
  • Hostility
  • Hallucinations
  • Chest pain
  • Uncontrolled muscle movements
  • Seizures
  • Hyperactivity


How Xanax affects the mind

bright-caution-color-1469196Often, people who are abusing Xanax have anxiety disorders they were trying to treat with the drug. Some 20 percent of Americans suffer from anxiety, Everyday Health reports.

Even when used in a medicinal fashion, dependency will generally still occur. The first sign of this is tolerance. With tolerance, Xanax stops working as well, even as a treatment medication. Those with anxiety will see a return of symptoms and may feel inclined to up their dose in order to keep symptoms at bay. Throughout this process, the brain is becoming more reliant upon the drug to feel normal.

When people are mentally addicted to Xanax, they won’t be able to keep their minds off thoughts of the drug. In addition to the health risks associated with detoxing alone, quitting without professional intervention is extremely hard to do since users’ minds are compulsively driving them to use again.

The mental impact of withdrawing from Xanax can be turbulent. The mind becomes accustomed to the drug and can go through periods of insomnia, depression, paranoia, and irritability while trying to come off it. The majority of withdrawal symptoms can be treated during medical detox to make the process as comfortable as possible for those in detox.

As many as 44 percent of chronic benzodiazepine users ultimately become dependent on their drug of choice, the Journal of Addictive Behaviors notes. Addiction is often due to psychological factors that influence individuals to keep using.

How Xanax affects the body

adult-alone-anxiety-1161268Physical addiction is apparent when a person’s body can no longer function in a healthy way without the substance it’s become accustomed to abusing.

In the case of Xanax, physical addiction is marked by physical withdrawal symptoms that ensue when the substance is discontinued. Some common side effects include headaches, nausea, vomiting, profuse sweating, blurred vision, and convulsions.

Physical dependency develops over time as the individual’s body becomes used to the substance. Without it, the person may feel achy all over as the body starts processing the substance out. This discomfort can be treated with mild over-the-counter pain relievers. These side effects, among others, are common occurrences that land many in emergency rooms when they try to detox without professional help. Last year, 44,796 people were treated in American emergency rooms for issues stemming from the use and abuse of benzos like Xanax.


alone-clouds-golden-hour-670720A person who has become dependent on this drug – which means they have come to rely on this drug psychologically as well as being physically addicted – will probably need rehabilitation before they can embark on a new, sober life. When a person is addicted, they have found an escape from life’s problems and now they must learn how to have a productive, enjoyable life while also not needing this kind of escape. This normally takes some time and also takes learning sober living skills.

A person who is addicted to a drug will very often feel that life will be unbearable without that drug. This is one of the reasons that an addicted person will fight the idea of rehab. Very often, they are just taking the drug they are addicted to so they will feel “normal,” so they can function in daily life. You take the drug away that they think makes them feel “normal” and they may not believe they can cope with life.

But they can. It takes a thorough, effective drug rehab program.

When choosing a drug rehab, it is important to choose the one that recognizes that specific causes of addiction vary from person to person and there is no one, single, perfect solution. For example, at Acceptance Recovery Center, individual wellness plans are created by taking into account initial patient assessments and ongoing reporting, counselor observations, and medical examinations. Each treatment plan is meant to be a product of, and owned by, the individual in care.



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