Every day, tens of millions of Americans take sedative medications called benzodiazepines. Among these medications, one of the most widely prescribed options is alprazolam, also known as Xanax. Xanax has demonstrated usefulness as an anti-anxiety treatment. However, it also frequently serves as a target of prescription drug abuse. If you or someone you know is abusing this medication, a Xanax addiction treatment program can help. This is the best possible way to avoid the potential side effects of sedative abuse.
Defining Prescription Drug Abuse
Almost five million people in the U.S. abuse Xanax or another benzodiazepine. This same behavior is often known today as medication misuse. What do the terms abuse and misuse mean in this context? They refer to a number of actions, including:
- Taking higher amounts of Xanax than intended
- Cutting down the time between Xanax doses without consulting your doctor
- Using the medication for recreation instead of legitimate treatment
- Doing things to modify Xanax and speed up its drug effects
- Taking medication prescribed to another person
You can also misuse Xanax by doctor shopping, i.e., getting prescriptions from more than one doctor. In addition, you can misuse the medication by purchasing it through a third party.
Addiction as a Side Effect of Xanax Abuse
All benzodiazepines are potentially addictive. However, some of these medications are more addictive than others. Xanax poses a strong addiction risk for two reasons. First, it’s a relatively potent medication. In addition, it only stays in your system for a short amount of time.
Why do these properties increase your addiction risks? A powerful sedative like Xanax is likely to trigger feelings of euphoria when you take it. But since the medication is short-acting, you won’t feel this intense form of pleasure for long.
Some people feel motivated to take more Xanax to experience euphoria. This is often the beginning of a pattern of severe medication abuse. In turn, recurring abuse is one of the surest ways to bring about the onset of addiction.
Other Potential Effects of Abusing Xanax
Addiction is just one of the many potential side effects of Xanax abuse. Even if you never become addicted, you may experience problems such as:
- Heightened levels of anxiety
- Muscle weakness
- Unstable or erratic behavior
- Rapid mood changes
- Altered vision
- Confusion or disorientation
- A declining ability to control your movements
- Difficulty speaking clearly
In addition, you may experience a severe decline in your normal appetite. In extreme cases, you may lose as much weight as someone affected by anorexia.
Overdose is an additional risk for anyone who abuses Xanax. Why? The medication is a central nervous system depressant. This means it slows down your spinal cord and brain nerve activity. If this slowdown goes too far, you expose yourself to various potentially life-threatening symptoms.
The most dire of these symptoms include breathing disruptions and complete breathing stoppages. They also include unresponsive unconsciousness, also known as a coma. Without prompt medical attention, you can die from a Xanax overdose.
Learn More About the Side Effects of Xanax Abuse at Northpoint Colorado
Are you or someone you know abusing Xanax? Talk to the addiction specialists at Northpoint Colorado. We can help clarify all of the potential outcomes of sedative abuse. We can also help you take steps to halt Xanax misuse before serious problems occur.
Are you already affected by Xanax addiction? Northpoint offers a full slate of services for your treatment and recovery.
Regardless of the seriousness of your addiction, we support your gradual return to sobriety and day-to-day stability. For more information, call us today at 970.579.4569 or fill out our online form.