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Xanax

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Xanax

xanax-08Xanax is a brand name for alprazolam. This is a type of benzodiazepine, a commonly prescribed sedative. Alprazolam is the only active ingredient in Xanax, it is not combined with any other drugs.

Xanax is primarily used for the relief of anxiety symptoms, but it may also be prescribed for sleep or as a muscle relaxant. It is often prescribed in a 2mg tablet that is segmented so that it can be broken up into doses of .5mg. It is also possible to find it in tablets of 1mg or less that are not segmented.

Alprazolam is listed as a Schedule IV drug. It is considered less of a risk for addiction than opiate pain pills and most stimulants, but does present some risk.

This medication is only prescribed in tablet form. When used in an illicit way, however, it may be crushed and injected. Some side effects may include extreme drowsiness, impaired motor skills, slurred speech and generally appearing to be drunk. There is a risk of death by overdose due to respiratory depression.

Street Names

Xanax may be called school bus, white ladder, handlebar, totem pole, candy bar, Tonka toys, zannies, footballs or planks. Most street names refer to the shape and color of the pills.

Common Forms of the Drug

Xanax is medically prescribed as a pill. The different dosages come in different shapes and colors, leading to many of their different street names. The largest tablets (2mg) are long and white, and are segmented so that they can be broken into smaller doses of .5mg each. These are referred to as “white ladders” on the street. The smaller doses are usually oval-shaped and come in different colors to indicate their dose — blue for 1mg, pink for .5mg and white for .25mg. Xanax pills can either be in an instant-release or extended-release formula.

Drug Class

Xanax is the most common trade name for alprazolam, a benzodiazepine. It is used medically for the treatment of anxiety and panic attacks. It is both the most prescribed and most abused benzodiazepine in the United States.

What is the DEA Schedule?

Xanax is a Schedule IV drug, indicating it has some potential for abuse but also significant medical use.

Common Forms of Use

Xanax is used medically and also abused recreationally by simply taking the pills orally. This prescription medication is usually not crushed or administered any other way as it is not soluble in water, but some abusers may crush and snort the extended-release variety in the belief that it will strengthen the effects.

What are the General Effects?

Xanax treats all forms of anxiety, and brings on a general state of calm and well-being. It may also make the user tired or lethargic.

Negative Short-Term Effects

Some common side effects include skin rash, constipation, slurred speech, loss of inhibitions, dizziness or lightheadedness, vertigo, fatigue and problems concentrating. Less common side effects include trouble urinating, dry mouth, hallucination, and a paradoxical state of anger and agitation.

Negative Long-Term Effects

Long-term abuse of benzodiazepines can cause depression, learning disabilities, chronic insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome and a compromised immune system.

What are the Dangers of Use?

Addiction is possible with enough exposure to benzodiazepines. Overdose that can lead to a coma or death is also possible, usually due to respiratory depression. Risks are increased greatly when they are combined with other sedatives or depressants.

What Drugs is Xanax Commonly Mixed With?

Users may take alcohol with Xanax in an attempt to increase the effects. This greatly increases the risk of an overdose, however. This medication may also be taken as a secondary drug by stimulant abusers in an attempt to “even out” their high or to feel better when coming down off their primary drug. Xanax and Vicodin are also a common combination that can lead to serious health issues including overdose, organ failure, brain damage, and even death. 

Abuse and Addiction Rates

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that Xanax is the fifth most prescribed drug in the United States. It is the most frequently prescribed of the benzodiazepines, a class of drugs for which about 50 million prescriptions will be written each year.

About 125,000 people show up in emergency rooms each year with an issue related to Xanax. The overwhelming majority however, 86%, are using Xanax as a secondary drug to another primary drug of abuse.

Education about the dangers of Xanax overdose also appear to be lacking. Almost 50% of teenagers who used this drug recreationally reported also taking alcohol along with it.

The Best Treatment for Xanax Addiction

Xanax addiction usually takes a very strong hold on the patient. A period of detox followed by an inpatient treatment stay at a certified medical facility is the best way to ensure a complete recovery. For information on personalized addiction treatment and options for overcoming dependence, visit Xanax Rehab.

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