Drug use is on the rise, especially in Louisiana. In 2020, Louisiana led the country in overdose deaths, with nearly 1,930 deaths (a 48% increase from 2019). One type of drug that has been growing in popularity is benzodiazepines. These drugs are often used to enhance the effects of alcohol in social situations such as parties and concerts. Due to the recreational popularity of this drug, many people are unaware of just how dangerous it can be. One question popular among people who use Xanax is, “is Xanax addictive?”
To better understand why Xanax is addictive, it’s important to understand what it is, and how it affects your body.
What Is Xanax?
Xanax, the popular brand name for the drug alprazolam, is a type of benzodiazepine that works by enhancing the activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. Xanax is the most commonly prescribed psychoactive drug, and the second most commonly abused medication in America.
This medication is used to treat a variety of anxiety disorders and anxiety caused by depression. It is also prescribed to help treat panic disorders, seizures, insomnia, and alcohol withdrawal.
Benzodiazepines and other drugs that depress the central nervous system are often abused to achieve a high. Long-term substance abuse can lead to Xanax addiction, health problems, overdose, and death. In addition, long-term substance abuse can lead users to physical dependency, which can lead to painful withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking Xanax.
What Does Xanax Look Like?
Part of the reason why questions like, “is Xanax addictive?” are so difficult to answer is the fact that not all Xanax is created equal.
Alprazolam is made by the pharmaceutical company Pharmacia and Upjohn, which is owned by Pfizer. There are currently 13 generic companies that also produce alprazolam, most of which produce their tablets in the same denominations as Xanax is.
Between these companies, there are a total of 44 different alprazolam tablets, all of which have different colors, markings, shapes, and sizes. Additionally, fake Xanax is also produced and has various appearances.
Oftentimes, the language used to describe Xanax will vary depending on what it looks like. Xanax pills can vary in size, shape, and color, which can make identifying Xanax difficult. For example, some Xanax pills are white while others are yellow, orange, blue, or green, which gives them names like “Hulk” or “Yellow boys,” for green and yellow colored Xanax respectively. Other Xanax pills may be referred to as “footballs,” which are a type of blue, oval-football-shaped Xanax pills.
Below are some common street names for Xanax, each of which refers to a specific type of pill:
- Xanax bars or z-bars
- Hulk (green Xanax pills, often laced with fentanyl)
- Xannie or zannies
- Yellow boys (yellow Xanax pills)
- Footballs (blue football Xanax pills)
- White boys (white Xanax pills)
- Peaches (orange Xanax pills)
It’s important to remember that Xanax is made by multiple different companies, which means the dosage can vary from pill to pill. Oftentimes, people who obtain Xanax from street dealers will unaware of what type of Xanax they are given, which can be especially dangerous, and in some instances can lead to overdose.
What Does Xanax Feel Like?
Xanax works within minutes of entering the bloodstream and peaks within hours and results in a state of pleasure and euphoria. Many people who take Xanax recreationally, or without a prescription, describe the feeling as sedating or calming. Unlike drugs such as cocaine or methamphetamines that produce a “high,” Xanax users describe feeling more relaxed, quiet, and tired. Depending on the dosage, these feelings can even lead to a user falling asleep or passing out for a few hours.
Some people who use Xanax report memory loss or blacking out, a term known as “xanning out,” and not being able to remember what happened for several hours.
Xanax abuse can elicit pleasurable effects such as lightheadedness, a sense of unreality, a feeling of detachment, emotional numbness, and a greater sexual inclination.
People who use Xanax may experience some of the following symptoms:
- Slurred speech
- Blurred vision
- Poor motor skills
- Engaging in risky behavior
Since Xanax is such a fast-acting drug, it is one of the most frequently abused drugs in the United States.
Is Xanax Addictive?
Xanax is highly addictive, even for those who have been prescribed the drug for a condition. As a result, Xanax is considered one of the most addictive benzodiazepine medications on the market today. Most chronic abusers of Xanax claim that the drug is their only way to calm down after a stressful day, reduce anxiety, or get a proper night’s sleep.
There are two primary reasons why someone may become addicted to Xanax. The first is that a person decides to take Xanax recreationally and eventually develops an addiction. Xanax is most commonly used recreationally as a party drug for its sedative effects.
The second reason is that someone who is prescribed Xanax for legitimate purposes develops an addiction after prolonged use. This is most common in people who take more than the recommended dose, or who obtain prescriptions from other doctors to obtain more Xanax pills
(also known as doctor shopping).
Some researchers have suggested that Xanax is significantly more deadly than other benzodiazepines commonly used to treat anxiety. This results in more severe, complicated cases of overdose, which can often result in death.
Can You Overdose on Xanax?
A common question asked by recreational Xanax users is, “can you overdose on Xanax?” The answer is yes, Xanax use can lead to overdose and death.
Xanax poses such a serious threat of overdose because the effects of the drug occur quickly after the drug is ingested. When too many Xanax pills are consumed at once, the body may quickly become overwhelmed with the massive dose
Signs of a Xanax overdose include:
- Blurred vision
When consumed in large enough quantities, an overdose from Xanax can cause coma, respiratory depression, and death. Given that Xanax is a highly addictive drug, the symptoms of Xanax withdrawal can be equally dangerous.
Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms
Xanax withdrawal can be extremely difficult to cope with, and in many instances can be dangerous. Symptoms of Xanax withdrawal can begin within hours of the last dose, and they can peak in severity within one to four days.
Common Xanax withdrawal symptoms include:
- Muscle pain
- Numbness in fingers
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Loss of appetite
- Panic attacks
Withdrawal from Xanax after prolonged use can be especially dangerous. Health officials recommend that a person receive help from a professional program, such as a drug rehab center, that offers medical detox.
Xanax Addiction Recovery in Baton Rouge
If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to Xanax, the time to get help is now. Thankfully, there is help available at Baton Rouge Behavioral Hospital. We provide some of the most cutting-edge, specialized care for drug and alcohol addiction.
At our world-class treatment facility, located in the heart of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, we specialize in treating all types of addiction, which includes Xanax and other benzodiazepines. The first step towards recovery at Baton Rouge Behavioral Hospital is a drug and alcohol detox. Detox from Xanax can be extremely dangerous, which is why we take every precaution to make sure you can safely come down from the effects of Xanax under 24/7 medical supervision.
Once detox is complete, we offer a variety of different treatment methods to help you understand the root causes of your addiction, and find alternative ways to cope with the stresses of life. Some of our treatments include:
- Dual diagnosis
- Intensive outpatient treatment
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Recreation therapy
- Group therapy
If you’re looking to get help for Xanax addiction, or if you have more questions like, “Is Xanax addictive?” give us a call at 225-300-8470. You can also contact us online by using our confidential contact form. Whichever way you choose, we’ll be ready to help you on your way towards recovery.