11 Jul Xanax Addiction & its Deadly Consequences
Xanax is an antianxiety agent (trade name Alprazolam) of the benzodiazepine class. “Xanax is used to treat anxiety disorders such as general panic disorder. It’s also used for the short-term relief of anxiety, to relieve anxiety associated with depression, and for panic disorder with or without agoraphobia (fear of open spaces),” as defined by everydayhealth.com. It’s no wonder that these drugs find their way into the recreational habits of many young adult and teenage users, as the medication itself produces a high similar to alcohol, and can most likely be found in a medicine cabinet near you. Even if you don’t have a prescription, doctors seem to be passing it out more and more for even slightest sign of an anxiety disorder.
In an article written at thehuffingtonpost.com, they state, “Xanax…is America’s most (over) prescribed psychiatric drug, outpacing even the antidepressants that made us, “The Prozac Nation.” Every year, doctors write more than 50 million “benzo scripts” — more than one per second — and 11 percent to 15 percent of all adult Americans have a bottle in their medicine cabinet, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA).” This drug isn’t your every day over-the-counter medication however, as it can have dire consequences if not taken properly.
The drug itself is known to give the user a high similar to alcohol in half the time, but only lasting a short while. The dangers of this are outlined in an article from Hannah Comstock of Recovery Today:
“The drunken feeling associated with Xanax is unlike actual alcohol intoxication in that it wears off rapidly and impairs memory as well. These two factors play a large role in a potential overdose. With a drug that’s wearing off and a user with an impaired memory, the probability of taking one too many rises dramatically.”
“It’s a fast-acting high and rapidly metabolized out of the body,” licensed clinical social worker Kirk Broaddus says. “The high disappears really fast, and [the users] want another one so they take it again. Real high, real quick and it goes away. Sometimes they forget they took the first one, so they take another one; now they have ingested two even though they don’t feel high. They think they can take another one. Taking more and more in a short period of time can be lethal.”
“Mixing drugs with alcohol is dangerous in any case, but it is known to be especially dangerous with Xanax. Due to the fact that the two substances have the same affect on the body, they end up magnifying the feeling of intoxication to hazardous levels.”
When put into comparison with other benzodiazepine drugs of its class, it’s much easier to see how dangerous Xanax really can be. In a report done by Novus, they explain that, “5 milligrams of Xanax is equivalent to 10 milligrams of Valium. When you hear that someone is taking 5 milligrams of Xanax, you should realize that they are taking the equivalent of 100 milligrams of Valium. This is a very heavy dose and means that their tolerance to Xanax has increased markedly.“
Xanax is also dangerous when used in copious amounts consistently. It is one of the few drugs where people can actually die from the withdrawals. When someone becomes chemically dependent on the drug, a prescription to wean him or her off may be necessary, as was the case with a close friend of mine. Because of the addictive nature of the drug however, he would sell his prescription to buy a higher dosage of the drug, and take even greater quantities when his body built a tolerance to that.
Fortunately, that wasn’t my experience. I used it as somewhat of a gateway drug when I started experimenting with harder substances. It caused me to blackout when I took enough, and I usually wouldn’t remember what had happened while on the drug. I was on it throughout my using and mixed it with many other substances, including alcohol, which is a deadly combination.
The most dangerous thing someone can do after abusing a prescription medication like this for an extended period is to quit abruptly. Detoxing slowly is imperative, because withdrawal from a drug like this is known to cause seizures, which can be fatal. A drug this common is too dangerous for people not to understand the devastating effects it produces once someone is hooked. If you or someone you know has been taking the drug and is hoping to embark on a recovered life, become aware of the necessary actions it takes to safely get off the drug, and on to a better way of living.