Xanax Active Ingredient
Millions of people are prescribed Xanax for short term use every year. Though Xanax has a legitimate medical use, it’s also commonly misused, especially among young people. If you or someone you know is struggling with Xanax misuse, you aren’t alone. Read on to learn more about Xanax, the dangers of Xanax abuse, and how you can seek help.
Active Ingredient in Xanax
Xanax is the brand name for the drug alprazolam. Alprazolam is often prescribed by doctors to treat symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), insomnia, or panic disorder, but is also labeled as a Schedule IV controlled substance in the United States. This is because, though it has a medical use, it also has a high chance of being misused.
The active ingredient in Xanax is alprazolam. This ingredient is a benzodiazepine, which is a class of sedative drugs also known as benzos. Usually taken by mouth, Xanax often comes in small, rectangular pills sometimes called Xanax bars. Xanax bars may be white or yellow and can be broken into smaller doses.
When used to treat GAD or panic attacks, Xanax quickly calms the patient’s brain by attaching GABA receptors in the brain, but fewer doctors are recommending treatment with Xanax because of concerns about patients quickly developing a tolerance, leading to dependence and abuse. In addition, Xanax bars are often abused by people without prescriptions for the drug.
Xanax abuse is particularly common among teenagers and college students, and these pills are sometimes combined with other drugs like marijuana, alcohol, or opiates, creating dangerous interactions. Even when taken on their own, there are a few alarming side effects that come with the abuse of Xanax bars. The side effects of Xanax include:
● Memory and concentration problems
● Impulsivity or loss of inhibition
● Slurred speech
● Dizziness, drowsiness, impaired coordination, or lightheadedness
Some less common side effects include seizures, hallucinations, jaundice, aggression, thoughts of suicide, agitation, vomiting, or tremors. Though it’s one of the most commonly prescribed psychiatric medications in the United States, for the most part, doctors recommend Xanax use for only short periods because it’s so common to become dependent on the drug. Tolerance develops quickly, and some users take dozens of Xanax pills daily to keep getting the same effects of the drug.
How Long Does Xanax Stay In Your System?
When a person takes a Xanax bar, they will likely start to feel the effects of the drug within 20 minutes, and then will continue to feel the sedating effects for the next two to 11 hours, depending on how much they took and their body type and metabolism. After taking Xanax, the drug will stay in your system for around three days. Users who abuse Xanax report feeling extremely relaxed both physically and mentally, and will continue to experience calmness and sedation for a few hours after taking the drug. First time Xanax users often enjoy the feelings of relaxation, euphoria, and sedation achieved from only a small dose of the drug, and try to continue to chase this feeling, but find that they have to quickly up their dose. For most people, tolerance can develop after taking Xanax regularly for only a few days.
When Xanax bars are prescribed by a doctor, over time, the doctor will gradually lower your dosage to wean you off the drug. Quitting Xanax suddenly can lead to withdrawal symptoms that are common among benzos. When you stop taking benzos “cold turkey” the severity of withdrawal symptoms can vary. For some people, especially casual users, Xanax withdrawal is uncomfortable, with symptoms like restlessness, rapid heartbeat, sweating, nausea, headaches, or muscle tension. Sometimes, these symptoms are known as a Xanax hangover.
For others, especially those who use Xanax frequently, withdrawal symptoms can be more severe. Frightening side effects like paranoia, intense depression, panic attacks, body pain, hallucinations, racing heart rate, and even seizures may happen. And if someone has used Xanax for a long time and is dependent on the drug, they may experience benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. If seizures or convulsions do occur, Xanax withdrawal can be life-threatening. For this reason, Xanax should always be stopped under the supervision of a doctor.
Though Xanax is usually swallowed, those who abuse the drug may snort crushed pills, or chew pills to bring on the effects quicker. Xanax dependency will lead to an obsession with obtaining more of the drug and being high as often as possible. This can lead to the user neglecting their duties, taking drugs instead of attending work or school, and spending all their money on Xanax.
When a user becomes tolerant and they continue to take more and more of the drug, Xanax overdose may occur. Symptoms of Xanax overdose include confusion, slow heart rate, shallow breathing, extreme sleepiness, trouble with balance or walking, and even coma or death. When combined with other drugs, Xanax bars can be particularly dangerous, and overdose is even more likely. Xanax is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, and when Xanax is taken in conjunction with opioids or other depressants like alcohol, that person may have trouble maintaining basic nervous systems functions like breathing and heart rate. When someone becomes dependent on Xanax, they often use both Xanax and alcohol to keep achieving its relaxing effects. The dangers of mixing Xanax and other drugs are clear, but when a person is experiencing addiction, they are more likely to make poor choices in order to get high.
With such a high potential for misuse, taking Xanax when not prescribed the drug commonly leads to addiction. Luckily, Xanax addiction can be treated and recovery is possible. Even if you’ve been abusing Xanax for a long time, it’s important to seek out treatment to get the help you need. Because of the dangers of quitting Xanax suddenly, it’s important to talk to your doctor if you or a loved one is struggling with Xanax addiction.
Inpatient or outpatient drug rehab, drug addiction counseling, and therapy are all potential treatment options for Xanax addiction, and the course of action that’s right for you will be based on your personal situation, including how long you’ve been using the drug and if you have any co-occurring mental health conditions. Getting support from drug addiction professionals is the first step towards living a drug-free life.