Xanax Street Names
Bars, Z-bars, Blue Footballs, Benzos, Upjohn, School Bus, Planks, White Boys/Girls,
Synopsis of Xanax
Xanax—also known as alprazolam—is an anti-anxiety medication that belongs to a family of drugs called benzodiazepines. These drugs effect the central nervous system and acts on a group of group of brain receptors called gamma-aminobutyric acid-A receptors. Xanax, as with other drugs in the benzodiazepine family, enhances the response and production of the neurotransmitter GABA, which is the brain’s own natural relaxant. With the influx of GABA in the brain, the feelings of nervous tension as the result of anxiety and panic are greatly reduced and users regain mental balance.
Xanax is quickly metabolized by the body and its’ powerful calming effects can be felt by users within 15 to 20 minutes. Initially, Xanax will supplement the amounts of GABA that the brain naturally produces, but within a few days to a few weeks the drug leads to a gradual decrease in the amount of GABA secreted in the brain. Once this effects occurs, users will start taking more Xanax in order to compensate for the lack of the GABA neurotransmitter and users will quickly develop a tolerance to the drug.
The History of Xanax
The history of Xanax has its origins in the late 1960’s. Originally created as a sleep aid, Xanax was first developed by Upjohn Laboratories in Kalamazoo, Michigan and was seen as an alternative to the harsher and more toxic antidepressants that were on the market during that time period. Xanax was introduced in the United States in 1981 and by the early 1990’s the drug became one of the most prescribed drugs in the country.
Xanax is the most prescribed psychiatric drug in the United States with over 47 million prescriptions written in 2012. According to data compiled in that same year from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an estimated 14.7 percent of Americans ages 21 to 34 have taken tranquilizers like Xanax without a prescription or on a recreational basis. Additionally, the number of emergency room visits due to the misuse and abuse of Xanax jumped 172 percent from 2004-2011. Of all the prescriptions for Xanax that were written in 2012, approximately two-thirds of those prescriptions were written for women.
How Xanax is Administered
Xanax is most often prescribed in pill form for oral use and it comes in a variety of dosages. For those who use the drug recreationally, they may crush the tablets and snort the drug. By snorting the drug, users can experience a quicker rush of calm, but the effects wear off quicker in comparison to taking the drug in tablet form. Those who abuse Xanax have also been known to smoke the drug, and this route of administration also allows the effects of the drug to be quickly felt. However, if users smoke the drug they will be breathing in the fillers and binders which can irritate the lungs, throat and nasal cavity.
NO MATTER THE WAY THE DRUG IS ADMINISTERED, IT IS HIGHLY ADDICTIVE AND DANGEROUS IF MISUSED OR ABUSED.
The Short-Term Effects of Xanax
For those who take Xanax, the negative short-term effects of using the drug can be felt within a short time period. A common short-term effect is cognitive impairment and the difficulty to speak and form thought. With increased doses, speech becomes more slurred and people under the influence of Xanax sound like they are drunk. Other short-term effects can include dry mouth, headaches, fatigue, difficulty urinating and constipation, and sexual dysfunction. Additionally, users can experience more serious short-term effects such as skin rashes, seizures, depression and unusual mood swings.
The Long-Term Effects of Xanax
Among the most common long-term effects of Xanax misuse is extended periods of sedation and lethargy which can last for 3 to 4 days. Another common long-term effect associated with chronic Xanax use is the impairment of memory, and especially the short-term memory. Long-term users of the drug can also experience bouts of depression and anxiety along with hyperactivity, agitation and periods of rage.
Long-term misuse of Xanax can lead to a host of physical complications such as blurred or double vision, seizures, tremors, jaundice, heart palpitations and tachycardia (or a faster than normal resting heart rate). Using Xanax chronically and over a long period of time has been linking to a greater risk in developing dementia. Additionally, users can experience suicidal thoughts, chest pains, experience flashbacks and uncontrollable muscle twitching and spasms.
The Importance of Drug Treatment for Xanax Addiction
If you or a loved one is in the grips of Xanax addiction, you must seek intensive drug treatment and receive the care and support from experience and professional medical personnel. Trying to quit Xanax on your own is extremely dangerous and the symptoms of Xanax withdrawal can potentially be life-threatening depending on the presence of other drugs in the body, their concentrations and past medical history. Because Xanax causes normal function in your brain to slow down, your body can try to overcompensate if you come off of the drug too quickly. This can result in your brain racing out of control. Seizures are common among Xanax addicts who quit using the drug abruptly, and rage, hyper alertness and more can also occur with withdrawal.
Undergoing medical detoxification is a crucial step in achieving an effective, long-term recovery. While the process may be difficult, detox is done to minimize the physical and psychological effects experienced in withdrawal. During this process, detox staff will use a variety of methods (including IV therapy) to safely reduce the amount of Xanax that is in your system and will evaluate you for any co-occurring medical or mental issues that lie at the root of your Xanax addiction. In general, the detox process lasts about a week but can last longer depending on the severity of one’s addiction.
Once the detox process in completed, formal drug treatment begins and treatment staff will employ a variety of therapeutic methods and programming in order to uncover the underlying social, behavioral and environmental factors that led to your addiction. Additionally, you will be given the life skills, tools and support needed to continue working your plan of recovery once you complete treatment and resume your day-to-day life.
If you have questions regarding the dangers of Xanax addiction and the treatment options that are available, Sober Nation provides a comprehensive resource base and treatment directory to help you become more informed and aware. Our experienced staff is available around the clock and can ask any and all questions you may have while treating you with compassion and respect. Give yourself or a loved one the gift of sobriety…call Sober Nation today.