You have more than likely heard of Xanax or maybe even been prescribed it yourself, but have you ever wondered why Xanax is so popular or widespread? This article will give you a glimpse of how Xanax gained popularity in clinical and unfortunately, recreational settings.

When did the popularity start?

Xanax is a powerful benzodiazepine that was introduced in the mid-1970s, and it is the most frequently prescribed drug in the benzodiazepine class in the United States. There were around 49 million prescriptions written for it in the U.S. in 2013 alone. It’s prescribed at significantly higher rates than other benzos such as Ativan and Klonopin.

Reasons for Popularity – The Good and Bad

One of the key considerations to understand why Xanax is so popular is its effects on people when they use it. There can be plenty of negative side effects, particularly with long-term abuse, but in the short-term, people often have positive feelings that come from using Xanax.

Good: Treatment for Anxiety

It’s prescribed for issues related to mental health disorders and, more specifically, anxiety. It can be used to treat general anxiety, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder and phobias. It can also be used to treat seizures. For people who suffer from anxiety, it can create a sense of relief to focus on their lives without issues of anxiety or phobias plaguing them. When used as prescribed, it can calm people down and make them feel relaxed.

Xanax can also reduce physiological symptoms of anxiety and fear, such as a racing heart or hyperventilation. These drugs are so often prescribed because they work well on anxiety and they’re cheap.

Xanax can also reduce physiological symptoms of anxiety and fear, such as a racing heart or hyperventilation. These drugs are so often prescribed because they work well on anxiety and they’re cheap.

Bad: Euphoric Highs & Abuse Risks

Unfortunately, Xanax is also popular among people who don’t have a legitimate need for it, or take larger doses or more frequently than prescribed. In these cases, Xanax is popular because it can create a euphoric feeling, especially at higher doses. Xanax tends to start acting quickly after a person takes it, and the euphoric effects of the drug will usually manifest themselves within about an hour after taking it.

A tendency has grown in some social circles to view benzos, like Xanax, as a type of “alcohol” in pill form. It’s become socially acceptable among these groups of friends to get together and share Xanax with one another. Of the 30.5 million people who used benzos in 2015, 17.1% misused them. Misusing Xanax or combining it with other substances like alcohol can amplify its effects, but the results can also be deadly.

Along with recreational use, many people rely on Xanax to deal with issues like situational anxiety without having to commit to therapy, which can be expensive and time-consuming. Xanax is popular in America, for example, because there is a tendency for people to love things that are looked at as a quick-fix. Xanax isn’t a long-term medication, so some people “take it when they need it” for relief. The temporary relief they feel can help in a fast-paced world with constant exposure to negative world news, stressful jobs and uncertainty.

Popular does not equal safe – side effects of Xanax abuse

Xanax has become so mainstream that people don’t see the potential harm it can bring. The popularity of Xanax has also led to an increase in overdoses as a result. Benzodiazepines and opioids are the two most common classes of prescription drugs involved in overdose deaths.

When it’s mixed with alcohol, the sedative effects are amplified. Mixing Xanax with other substances, especially alcohol or opioids, also significantly increases the risk for overdose.

Long-term Xanax use also has consequences. People who use Xanax for extended periods of time can experience long-term side effects like memory impairment. They tend to develop a dependency on it, and then they can’t function properly without its presence. As people develop that tolerance, they need more and more Xanax to get the same effects, which increases their likelihood of an overdose or even death.

For people with debilitating anxiety disorders, it can be life-changing when taken as prescribed. However, it shouldn’t be viewed as a casual drug or a quick fix. It doesn’t matter how popular Xanax is, it shouldn’t be taken without a prescription, or taken with friends as a social drug. It is a serious drug that can have potentially deadly consequences when misused, intentionally or unintentionally.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.