Xanax, generically known by the medical name alprazolam, is a prescription drug that has a fairly high risk of addiction. Classified as a benzodiazepine, it acts as a central nervous system depressant. It’s main function, which it is regularly prescribed for, is warding off feelings of anxiety and panic. It does this by decreasing overall brain activity, interacting with different neurotransmitters. While Xanax is a legal medication and many use it without ill effect, it can also be easily abused. People who abuse Xanax or those who are addicted are likely to attempt to hide their drug use. There are, however, a variety of signs and symptoms that loved ones can be on the lookout for. Here are common Xanax abuse side effects, signs and symptoms to watch for.
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Common Signs of Xanax Abuse
The major Xanax addiction sign are social and behavioral changes. As the drug begins to take precedence in a person’s thoughts, their behavior will reflect this shift in priority. People abusing Xanax will often display unpredictable mood swings, their emotions altering in accordance with their drug use. Mood swings can encompass everything from anxiety to lethargy to anger. Skipping school or work on a regular basis is also a red flag. It is a good idea to keep an eye out for a sudden drop in grades or performance, school or work involvement, and a sudden loss of interest in daily activities.
Another common Xanax abuse sign is secretive behavior. If a friend or family member goes to great lengths to keep people out of their room, they may be hiding something. The same can be said of quickly shutting doors when someone enters the house or always closing and locking the bathroom door, even when not using the toilet. Additionally, relational shifts often accompany the beginning of an addiction. A person’s friend group will begin to shift toward new people as they seek out the companionship of other people using or abusing substance and/or use people as sources of drugs. They may “doctor shop” — visiting a number of physicians in order to obtain more Xanax prescriptions. They may also become somewhat antisocial, hoping to avoid the detection of their addiction by others. If a formerly outgoing person has suddenly begun keeping to themselves, it may be a sign of drug abuse.
If a user is deep into their Xanax addiction, they may be crushing and snorting the medication in order to make it work more quickly. Paraphernalia from this habit can be a good indicator of abuse. Look out for a mortar and pestle, razor blades and credit cards. Rolled up dollar bills, papers and straws are also signs of snorting. A number of empty pill bottles should raise a red flag.
As a person addicted to Xanax searches out more of the drug — often extending beyond their prescription — they are likely to exhibit changes in their financial management. Frequent and sudden requests for money are often a sign of secretive spending, which may well indicate a non-prescription Xanax habit. Borrowing funds from friends and family without a valid explanation can also indicate such a struggle. If money suddenly goes missing or is stolen, or if valuable items are taken from your house, it can indicate that someone in your house is financing a drug addiction.
Another common sign of Xanax abuse, and a serious one at that, is legal trouble. If a person’s Xanax habit has reached the point at which they are having run-ins with the law and require legal representation in a Xanax-related matter, they are not a casual user. Many people do not realize that redistributing or reselling prescription medication from one individual to another is illegal. It carries similar consequences to dealing any number of illicit drugs, such as heroin or cocaine. High fees and significant jail time await the person caught redistributing Xanax. If a Xanax buyer dies or is seriously injured as a result of their use, the dealer may face a life sentence for their role in the tragedy.