Prescription drugs can provide health benefits that help people live long and well for many years. Without them, severe discomfort and serious illness have access to nothing that can block their impact. However, they carry a significant downside risk. As one of the most often prescribed drugs in America, Xanax has become one of the most abused. The risk of addiction can ruin lives as surely as proper drug use can save them. While Xanax bars may seem like a harmless novelty, they can create more damage than you may imagine.
What are Xanax bars?
The small size of a Xanax bar and the pretty colors that manufacturers use to produce them can make them appear attractive and not dangerous. However, as a convenient delivery system for Xanax (alprazolam), a 1-inch bar contains 2 mg of a highly addictive psychiatric drug.
Doctors prescribe the depressant to work on the central nervous system to manage a variety of anxiety disorders. Scored marks on the bars allow users to break them into four sections of 0.25 mg each. The strong addictive qualities in the bars can make users psychologically dependent on its sedating effects.
Where does Xanax fit in the drug classification system?
The active ingredient in Xanax bars, alprazolam, puts it in the benzodiazepine class of drugs. Pharmacies in the United States issued about 92 million prescriptions for benzodiazepines in 2019, and almost half carried the Xanax brand name.
The drug can relieve symptoms that accompany anxiety and panic disorders, seizures, and insomnia, bringing a level of comfort that many can achieve no other way. Some doctors prescribe it before a surgical procedure. However, people can become physically dependent on it in days or weeks with frequent use.
What dangers come with using Xanax bars?
In euphoria and an altered state of judgment, a user can risk an overdose that presents a constant threat to life. The same risks apply to the bars as to the tablets that some people use as more traditional access to tranquilizers. The soothing and peaceful feeling that users get from taking the drug can make it seem OK to take more. However, the increase in dependency can make the next dose need to contain more of the drug to get the same effect. Similarly, an abrupt halt to taking the drug can trigger the start of withdrawal symptoms.
How does Xanax affect the body?
The active ingredient in Xanax, alprazolam, can significantly influence the central nervous system (CNS). As the control center for thought, emotion, and movement, the CNS manages everything in the brain and spinal column. A drug that affects functions that include breathing and heart rate, temperature, and release of hormones can produce an enormous effect on the body.
By slowing the brain’s activity, Xanax can lower blood pressure, make physical movement awkward and impede average speaking ability. In addition, as it creates drowsiness and a foggy feeling in the brain, it alters attention span, reduces memory capacity, and impairs judgment.
When anyone uses Xanax or alprazolam for a long time, the effects may produce aggressive tendencies. In addition, depression or psychotic experiences may occur.
What happens when the supply stops suddenly?
An abrupt end to a pattern of abusing Xanax can produce highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. The effects on the body can reflect the dependence that has become expected. As one may expect, the denial of a tranquilizing effect can produce agitation and anxiety. In addition, an immediate increase in blood pressure and heart rate can raise concerns about the stresses that they create in the body.
In addition, users can expect to experience intense cravings for the drug. Among the many reactions to withdrawal, losing the ability to sleep may rank highly. Hallucinations, sweating profusely, and seizures add to the misery. The extreme consequences of the side effects of alprazolam and withdrawal pose far too much danger for anyone to attempt without professional help.
What happens when users combine Xanax with narcotic pain relievers?
Opioids and benzodiazepines individually produce soothing effects on users and suppress breathing. However, in combination, they can create fatal results. The impact on breathing produces the most fatalities, but the impairment of cognitive functions poses unsafe outcomes.
In 2019, a government study reported a 16 percent rate of overdose deaths that involved both drugs. Overdosing on opioids kills about 140 Americans every day. Even so, prescriptions in the United States for benzodiazepines such as Xanax increased by 67 percent in 14 years. Unfortunately, many patients receive prescriptions for both drugs, making them available to others who do not have legal authorization to use them.
Combining Xanax with other drugs to enhance or minimize the jitters associated with some of them can produce dire outcomes. When users combine Xanax bars with alcohol, a hazardous situation can develop. A lowered respiratory rate and slowed heart rate result from using Xanax, and the addition of the depressant alcohol can create an overdose.
What does addiction mean?
Research at NIH shows that addiction means an inability to control actions. Researchers cite addiction as neither a moral issue nor a personal choice but a hijacking that takes over the brain’s circuits that recognize pleasure and reward.
When people become addicted to Xanax bars, they can lose friends, jobs, or even family members who want to help them. Scientists know that it becomes a complex disease that creates changes in the brain. Not surprisingly, they require dedicated effort and professional guidance to reverse. The biological aspects of addiction help explain that it takes more than willpower to break it.
How does addiction take over lives?
The power to dominate a person’s life comes from a combination of influences. Experts know that drug use and mental health issues sometimes occur at the same time. While some users may not consider Xanax illegal to use without a prescription, the Department of Justice states the opposite opinion. Penalties vary, but illegally distributing any form of Xanax breaks the law as well.
Statistics show problems with substance use occur more often when people have mental health problems. The combination of circumstances applies to at least one in four American adults.
Considering the risks to a person’s health and legal standing using a Xanax bar, anyone who does so probably relies on a powerful motivating force. People often deal with demands that may create stresses too hard to bear. Family ties, peer pressure, job situations, educational opportunities, belief systems, and the inability to cope can influence behavior.
Why do people keep using when they know it hurts them?
Admitting to a problem with Xanax may present too much of a challenge for some people. Xanax bars suppress hyperactivity in the brain, a cause of anxiety that discomforts many users. Unfortunately, people can respond by increasing tolerance for the drug and requiring more to get the desired effect. As a result, doctors usually prescribe benzodiazepines for short periods to prevent the likelihood of addiction.
The symptoms of Xanax use become easy for users or anyone else to notice. Dizziness and drowsiness provide the most common side effects, including nausea, blurred vision, confusion, headache, tiredness, and nightmares. Persistent symptoms that may require medical attention include these:
- drowsiness and dizziness
- unsteady movement and lack of coordination
- memory issues
- difficulty thinking
- pain in joints or muscles
- increase in saliva and urination
- changes in sex drive or performance
What specific health risks do Xanax bars pose?
In the benzodiazepine class of drugs, Xanax may cause dependency, withdrawal, and create other impacts. In addition, drug use can slow brain functions and breathing. The abrupt and unmonitored cessation of use can trigger withdrawal systems that may produce extremely unpleasant outcomes. However, the risk of overdose that can lead to death may create the most significant threat.