Xanax is one of the most widely prescribed drugs in the U.S. It’s therapeutically designed to help people deal with symptoms of issues related to anxiety and panic disorder, but it’s also become something people take for situation anxiety, such as a fear of flying. Because of its effects and easy availability, unfortunately, Xanax has also become a drug that’s commonly misused.
A lot of people have become so used to hearing about Xanax and knowing people that take the drug, that they wonder why Xanax is dangerous? It’s not uncommon for people who take Xanax to be unaware of its dangers or risks because its use is so pervasive.
Xanax is in a class of drugs called benzodiazepines or benzos, which were first marketed to the public in the 1960s. These drugs are prescribed not only for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorder but also for sleeping disorders, convulsions, and seizures.
Currently, benzos account for about one out of every five controlled substance prescriptions.
Along with Xanax, other benzos that are commonly prescribed include Ativan, Valium, and Librium.
Xanax is dangerous because it has a short half-life. This refers to the amount of time it takes for the concentration of the drug in the blood to peak after one dose. When a drug has a shorter half-life it tends to take effect more quickly, and the person can feel it more rapidly, and this indicates a high potential for abuse of the drug.
When someone takes Xanax, it’s metabolized, and then it moves to the brain, where it increases GABA activity. Xanax creates a calming effect relatively quickly. Over time as someone continues to take Xanax, it tends to decrease their own natural production of GABA, and when that happens, they will feel like they need to take higher doses to get the same effect. This is one of the reasons Xanax is dangerous. When someone has to increase their dose quickly, they’ve built up a tolerance, and that’s one of the first indicators of abuse and dependence on a drug.
If you’re wondering why Xanax is dangerous, the potential of dependence is so significant that it’s impossible to ignore. People who take Xanax, whether for therapeutic or recreational reasons, may start to feel as if they can’t get through their life without the aid of the drug after only a short period of taking it.
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Also, if you’re a heavy user of Xanax, it can lead to withdrawal symptoms if you attempt to stop taking it suddenly. Withdrawal symptoms of Xanax can range from mild to severe, and for very heavy users these symptoms can include seizures or psychotic episodes, along with blurred vision, rapid heart rate, insomnia, and a host of other serious problems.
We frequently hear news stories about celebrities combining prescription drugs with alcohol or other drugs and ultimately dying as a result.
This is a very real and unfortunately common situation with Xanax.
People will often mix Xanax with alcohol to amplify the relaxation and sedative effects of the drug, but the side effects can be deadly.
Alcohol, like Xanax, depresses the central nervous system and inhibit the activity of GABA in the brain. When Xanax and alcohol are taken together, over-sedation can occur. With over-sedation, the results can include not only the risk of dangerous accidents but also extreme respiratory depression, heart problems and the person may lose consciousness. A person who has combined Xanax and alcohol may exhibit symptoms such as drowsiness, slurred speech, a slow pulse, troubles with coordination, delirium, seizures and even coma or death.
Xanax is also dangerous because of the risk of overdose. This risk is amplified with Xanax is combined with alcohol or other drugs, but it can also happen on its own if someone takes a large dose.
To answer the question of why Xanax is dangerous, it’s key to look at several risk areas. These include the potential for addiction and dependence, long-term health risks such as memory and cognition problems, but also the dangers of mixing Xanax with other drugs. While Xanax is a drug with therapeutic benefits in some cases, it’s important for people to take it seriously and understand why Xanax is dangerous, and what the adverse effects of its use can be.
If you or someone you know needs help stopping Xanax or another drug, The Recovery Village® can help. Our addiction professionals are experts in treating addiction to benzodiazepines, other substances and co-occurring mental health conditions. Call today to start the journey to recovery.