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Addiction to Xanax and Drug Abuse


The same kinds of withdrawal problems found with sedatives and alcohol can be seen with Xanax. These symptoms run the gamut from a mild depression and a lack of getting to sleep at night to convulsions, muscle tremors, sweating, vomiting and stomach cramps. Sometimes, Xanax doses must be regained to an earlier amount in order to eliminate the withdrawal signs. Withdrawal problems of Xanax seem to be directly related to a sudden or fast decrease in daily doses.

When someone is taking more than 4 milligrams of Xanax per day, withdrawal symptoms are more likely. Anyone with a history of seizures or who has epilepsy should never go through a fast Xanax dosage withdrawal.

Anyone taking Xanax can become dependent on the drug. Once doses of Xanax increase above 4 milligrams per day, such an addiction risk becomes pronounced. People who take doses of 4 milligrams or higher per day for an extended period of time, which amounts to time greater than three months, have a greater difficulty decreasing the dose without seeing side effects, so these people can develop a greater addiction to the drug. Those who have a history of drug or alcohol abuse have a greater risk of becoming addicted to Xanax.

A New York Times September 14, 2011 article reported that in 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted an 89 percent boost in nationwide visits to hospital emergency rooms due to the use of benzodiazepine classes of drugs, of which Xanax belongs, that were used for nonmedical purposes, between 2004 and 2008. In other words, Xanax was being used for recreational purposes and those using it were suffering severe side effects when they stopped taking the drug.

In 2006, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated in their report about drug-related emergency visits that alprazolam, the active drug in Xanax, is one of the most prescribed and abused forms of the benzodiazepine class of drugs in the U.S. Furthermore, this report found that a 36 percent increase of emergency room visits due to benzodiazepine drug abuse occurred between 2004 and 2006.
A major and sometimes deadly risk is taken when alprazolam is mixed with other recreational drugs. Sometimes extreme panic sets in with the wrong combination of drugs. Another possibility with taking a cocktail of recreational drugs which combines alprazolam with drugs such as opiates, heroin, marijuana, or alcohol is that overdoses resulting from the combination can lead to a situation where oxygen and carbon dioxide gases are not exchanged at an adequate rate in the lungs, resulting in death.

Another damaging effect of the recreational use of alprazolam is to inject it directly into the blood stream with a needle, since this practice can rapidly decay muscle tissue, close off blood vessels, thereby damaging these blood vessels and muscles. As outlined in the second paragraph of “What is Xanax,” above, this drug doesn’t dissolve in water, which is why it has a detrimental effect on water-based muscle tissues and blood vessels.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration classifies alprazolam as a prescribed drug that is assigned as a Schedule IV drug of the Controlled Substance Act, which gives drugs a rating from Schedule I to Schedule V, with the later classified as the most addictive drugs. In other words, it’s illegal to share Xanax with others. It can only be taken by the person it is prescribed to in the U.S.
The UK drug misuse classification puts all benzodiazepines, including alprazolam, as a class C drug. It cannot be obtained from UK’s National Health Service (NHS) and is only found as a private prescription. Alprazolam is a prescription drug in Sweden with a List IV classification. The Netherlands classifies alprazolam as a List 2 substance under their Opium Law.

In Australia, alprazolam is classified as an S4 drug. A May 24, 2013 article in The Sydney Morning Herald reports that even tighter restrictions were planned for Xanax in Australia. A May 28, 2013 write-up in the Australian Medical Observer reports that alprazolam will be moved into a Schedule 8 classification in 2014.