Alprazolam Addiction and Abuse

Alprazolam commonly known by its brand name Xanax – is a sedative in the benzodiazepine class ofdrugs that provides a relaxing effect when taken. If you need help dealing with constant feelings of anxiety, alprazolam may be safe and beneficial to use. However, it is also illicitly consumed by people seeking a feeling a feeling of euphoria – which can be dangerous. This is because alprazolam abuse will gradually intensify and heighten the effects and symptoms of the drug.

If you’re taking the substance without a prescription – or if you started out taking it as prescribed, and are now taking larger doses to combat tolerance – you may be unaware of the severe consequences of alprazolam abuse. This is a serious concern, as the drug can be habit-forming, which can result in addiction. It’s essential to know all the facts about alprazolam addiction and abuse before you take it.

What is Alprazolam?

Alprazolam is a powerful substance, most often prescribed as treatment for anxiety, panic disorders, insomnia and other substance-related disorders. It affects the functioning of the central nervous system and works by changing brain activity, slowing the natural functions of the body such as breathing and heart rate.When taken in large doses, alprazolam has some highly hypnotic effects.

Even if you’re using as prescribed, alprazolam can lead to a significant physical dependence with a variety of side-effects and severe withdrawal symptoms. It is not recommended to suddenly stop taking the drug; instead, you should gradually reduce your dosage under medical supervision.

History of Alprazolam Addiction

The first benzodiazepine, chlordiazepoxide (Librium), was created by Dr. Leo Sternbach on 1956, in an effort to offer less-addictive alternatives to alcohol, barbiturates, meprobamate and other traditional tranquiliser drugs. Alprazolam was first introduced in 1981 and quickly became one of the most popularly used sedatives, because of its immediate onset of action, shorter half-life and faster elimination from the body than Valium and other commonly prescribed benzodiazepines.

By the early 1990s, alprazolam had become one of the most prescribed drugs by many psychiatrists to help patients overcome panic and anxiety disorders,as it provides rapid relief within a week of beginning treatment, with no reduction in its effectiveness – even over a long period of time. As a result of its widespread availability and rapid efficacy, it quickly became a commonly abused drug,

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Causes and Risk Factors for Alprazolam Addiction and Abuse

Although alprazolam can offer some benefits when you have a legitimate need for the drug, it is also a medication with highly addictive characteristics. There are different reasons why people abuse or become addicted to alprazolam, including attempts to self-medicate and using for recreational purposes. In some cases, alprazolam addiction and abuse may be caused by genetic or biological influences (internal causes) or other environmental influences (external causes).

The risk factors for alprazolam addiction and abuse include: easy access to the drug, family history of abuse and addiction, living or working in extremely stressful situations, prior personal history of substance abuse or mental disorder, problems with managing anxiety, peer pressure, and personal history of abuse, neglect or assault. As a result, if you possess any of these risk factors and consume alprazolam without – or outside of – a prescription, you run the risk of becoming addicted to it.

Deadly Alprazolam Interactions

Harmful drug interactions occur when you consume your prescription medications mixed with alcohol, illegal drugs or over-the-counter medications. If you’re dealing with substance dependence, it’s essential to let your doctor know, so that you can avoid the potentially deadly effects ofmixingalprazolam with other drugs. While some combinations only change the effects of the drugs in the body, others can lead to dangerous side effects or even death.

For instance, if you’re dealing with depression, you may also suffer from an alcohol addiction. This type of dual diagnosis can cause you to mix alcohol with alprazolam, which can result in extremely high blood pressure. Consuming caffeine whilst takingalprazolam can also be dangerous to your health. Mixing alprazolam and Benadryl can cause dizziness and confusion. Therefore, you should avoid taking certain medications with Alprazolam to avoid amplified complications and side effects.

What is Alprazolam Addiction?

You can become addicted to alprazolam if you begin abusing it. Initially, your abuse may be voluntary and you might not feel the need to constantly consume the drug. After some time however, it may begin to affect how your brain works. Nothing you used to enjoy will be as important as experiencing the euphoric “high” from consuming the drug.

When abuse persists – despite the negative effects -alprazolam addiction may have developed, and you’ll likely sometimes taken illegal or dangerous measures to obtain more. You may be suffering from alprazolam addiction if you are constantly stealing prescription pads to write fake prescriptions or ‘doctor shopping’. Consistently taking large doses can lead to addiction and this is a particularly difficult cycle to break.

How Alprazolam Addiction Starts

If you’ve been taking alprazolam for a while, you might have noticed a few unwanted psychological and physical side effects. You don’t have to be illegally using alprazolam to become addicted. You can still become addicted if you’re using the medication exactly as prescribed by a doctor. Alprazolam addiction begins with you developing a tolerance to the drug, and needing larger doses in order to achieve the same feeling.Like other benzodiazepines, alprazolam hijacks the pleasure and reward centres in the brain, resulting in changes that make it difficult for you to experience pleasure as you once did.

Why is Alprazolam so Addictive?

Like heroin, marijuana and other more widely abused drugs, alprazolam causes addiction byproviding an increased amount of dopamine. This surge of dopamine in the brain can result in a strong euphoria that reinforces the desire for repeated use.

Alprazolam is a central nervous system depressant. In addition to providing a euphoric reaction, it is fast-working in its function of calming anxiety. This is another reason why the substance is so addictive. Typically, drugs with a fast onset period have a higher tendency to be addictive. Its short-term effects lead to desirable feelings of euphoria, which makes it easy to abuse.

How Alprazolam Affects the Mind and Body

If you’re taking alprazolam, you may start to notice the negative physical and mental effects of using it within a short period of time. A typical effect of the substance on your mind is cognitive impairment and finding it difficult to think and form thoughts. As you consume increased doses, your speech may become slurred, making you sound like you are under the influence of alcohol.

There is a real risk of damaging your brain cells when you abuse alprazolam for several months, as it changes the way your brain operates. In addition, there are a number of ways in which the drug affects your body, including headaches, fatigue, dry mouth, constipation, sexual dysfunction, and difficulty urinating. You may also experience more severe effects such as depression, unusual mood swings, seizures, and skin rashes.

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Signs, Symptoms and Effects of Alprazolam Abuse and Addiction

Signs of alprazolam abuse include using it without a prescription, ignoring the proper and prescribed methods of using the drug, or continuing to take it even after experiencing the negative consequences of alprazolam abuse. Abusing alprazolam may also involve snorting, crushing and changing its form in anyway, which can prove deadly. Some of the symptoms of alprazolam abuse and addiction include abdominal cramps or pain, depression, impaired thinking and memory, and slurred speech.

When you take alprazolam, you may experience sleepiness and relaxation, which is essential for treating anxiety and panic disorders. It is not recommended to drive or operate heavy machinery whilst taking the drug, as it can be very dangerous. If you are abusing or are addicted to alprazolam, you may experience different symptoms and effects, such asappearing sedated, jittery feelings as the medication wears off, frequent headaches, vision difficulties and becoming dizzy.

Short-Term Effects of Alprazolam on the Body

When you use alprazolam according to your prescription, it relaxes your muscles, relieves anxiety and induces sleep. Taking larger doses of the drug produces a “high” that is similar to the effects of alcohol intoxication. You enter a relaxed state, where your inhibitions are lowered and judgment is impaired. You may be taking the drug to achieve a soothing “high” or a sense of euphoria, but the drug only takes about 60 to 90 minutes to reach full effect.

Alprazolam can therefore have a serious impact on your health not long after you take it, causing a long list of side effects such as confusion, amnesia, weakness, fatigue, breathing problems, dizziness, loss of coordination, impaired judgment, seizures, skin rashes, unusual mood swings and depression.

Long-Term Effects of Using Alprazolam

The common long-term effects of using alprazolam include prolonged periods of sedation and lethargy, and impairment of short-term memory. If you’ve been abusing alprazolam for a long time, you may also suffer bouts of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts in addition to agitation, hyperactivity and periods of rage. As mentioned above, one long-term effect of alprazolam use is the risk of developing addiction.

Other long-term effects include a number of physical complications such as seizures, tremors, blurred or double vision, heart palpitations and tachycardia. Abusing alprazolam for a prolonged period has also been linked to a high risk of dementia. You may also experience flashbacks and uncontrollable muscle spasms and twitching.

Physical Signs and Symptoms of Alprazolam Abuse and Addiction

If you suspect a loved one is abusing or addicted to alprazolam, there are some physical signs and symptoms that you can be aware of to identify the problem. These signs tend to vary from one person to the next, and may include: mood swings, loss of interest in day-to-day activities, depression, agitation, taking more than the prescribed amount, drug-seeking behaviour, neglecting responsibilities and crushing pills to snort.

Psychological Signs and Symptoms of Alprazolam Abuse and Addiction

Alprazolam abuse and addiction can make you appear excessively tired and lethargic. You may notice a lack of motivation to participate in tasks that require sustained attention. Generally, benzodiazepine medications can have an amnesic effect, so that you can easily forget important details of a conversation. You may also become preoccupied with thoughts of how to source more of the drug.

Abuse and addiction of alprazolam also involves a built-up tolerance to the drug. This means you’ll take bigger and more frequent doses to achieve similar effects to your initial “highs”. In addition, you could experience withdrawal symptoms such as muscle tension and tingling in your extremities without the medication. Your life may start to revolve around alprazolam, and you may even start to abuse other drugs when you are unable to access it.

Signs of Alprazolam Withdrawal and Overdose

It’s crucial to be able to identify the signs of withdrawal and drug overdose. If you overdose on alprazolam, the major symptoms are drowsiness, confusion and loss of coordination. You may also lose consciousness, which is markedly different from ordinary sleep. The severity of your symptoms will be determined by how much alprazolam you’ve taken, and if you combined the drug with any other medications.

If you abruptly stop using alprazolam, withdrawal symptoms may occur. These may include sensitivity to light, seizures, numbness in the hands and feet, twitching, aggressive behaviour, insomnia, headaches and blurred vision. It’s recommended you are gradually weaned off the drug and that any withdrawal symptoms should be medically supervised.

Dangerous Effects of Alprazolam Abuse and Addiction

The dangerous effects of alprazolam abuse and addiction are physical, as well as emotional. Physically, alprazolam puts you at risk of decreased respiration, especially if you have difficulty breathing or suffering from lung disease. Side effects such as tremors or seizures can make it impossible for you to work, drive or participate in certain activities. In addition, Alprazolam abuse also leads to abnormal risk-taking behaviour, which can result in serious injury or even death.

The emotional effects of alprazolam abuse may significantly affect the rest of your life. These can include decreasing of cognitive functions, depression and worsening of pre-existing depression. They can also lead to phobias, hallucinations, nightmares or psychosis. In addition, alprazolamcan make it difficult for you to interact with your loved ones, as family and friends are hesitant about getting too close whilst you’re under the influence.

Some of the common effects include: dizziness, headaches, fatigue, drowsiness, changes in sex drive or inability to perform sexually, dry mouth, difficulty concentrating, constipation, weight changes, increased salivation, difficulty urinating, seizures, skin rashes, memory problems, depression, shortness of breath and unusual changes in your mood.

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The Social Impacts of Alprazolam

Since alprazolam is the most commonly prescribed of the benzodiazepines, it is also the most commonly abused. The effects of alprazolam abuse and addiction go beyond the short- and long-term symptoms that may occur. The real effects of this medication can be seen in what it does to your life, relationships and other social issues. Alprazolam can erode your social life, tearing apart your relationships with friends and family.

Eventually, you could end up spending more and more time with other people who are abusing drugs, simply because they have more in common with you at that given time. In addition, abusing alprazolam can make you become paranoid about your relationships; for instance, it can make you think your friends and loved ones are turning against you. It could also cost you your job or career, because the symptoms you have may keep you from performing productively.

Therapy, Treatment and Rehab for Alprazolam Abuse and Addiction

A formal addiction treatment including rehab and therapy is needed to treat alprazolam addiction. If you’re struggling with alprazolam addiction, quitting can be very challenging, especially if you also have issues with addiction to other drugs such as cocaine, opiates or opioids, alcohol or marijuana. The first step to treatment is commonly a medically assisted detox at a rehab facility, after which you can begin the main stage of treatment.

Treatment for alprazolam abuse and addiction in most rehab facilities will utilise therapy. Behavioural therapy can help you change the way you view your addiction, and help you begin a new journey to recovery. Types of therapies well-suited to alprazolam treatment include Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), motivational incentives, group therapy and family and relationship therapy.

Staying off Alprazolam

Detox and drug rehabilitation are good steps in the right direction for treatment and recovery. However, to ensure long-term recovery and prevent relapse, some form of follow-up or aftercare is needed. After treatment, it’s crucial to stay away from people and places associated with your former drug habits, so that you can develop new and healthier ones. Doing so will also help you remove triggers and handle your cravings in the early stages of recovery.

Exercising during recovery is also an effective way to stay off alprazolam, since when you feel better physically, you stand a better chance of avoiding relapse. Exercise will not only tone and condition your body, it will also help you reduce stress and improve your overall health. In addition, ensure you attend all meetings, counselling and therapy sessions and participate actively.

Individual Counselling

Individual counselling is often the basis of an effective addiction treatment plan. It provides a forum for regular check-ins to ensure you are constantly moving towards achieving your recovery goals. Individual counselling sessions generally last between 45 minutes to an hour and occur in a therapist’s office. The sessions may also be scheduled weekly or more, depending on your individual needs.

During individual counselling, you’ll talk with a mental health professional to work through your issues, including underlying current or past traumas. You may also work on important interpersonal relationships, develop and work towards emotional and mental health goals. Individual counselling can also help you shift perspective to improve your quality of life.

Support Groups

If you’re dealing with alprazolam addiction, you may benefit from support groups for drug addiction, anxiety and panic disorders. Support groups provide a way for you to recover from drug abuse and maintain sobriety, whilst making connecting with other people with similar experiences. Some of the common groups you may consider joining include Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

You’ll be able to work on and improve your social skills, and find the confidence to interact with others while sober. In addition, it also provides you with a community of friends who understand what you’re going through, and can help you work through it in a positive way.

Family Therapy

Family therapy can be a vital component of recovery, because your family can be greatly exposed to and affected by your addiction, as they struggle with feelings of shame, disappointment, heartbreak, anger and neglect. The main goal of family therapy is to help your loved ones develop tools to improve their relationships.

Therapists make use of structured or strategic therapy, behavioural family therapy and multi-dimensional family therapy to help family members interact and achieve positive results. The main goal of family therapy is to create effective interactions and help family members (especially children and teens) feel safe from the effects of addiction.

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FAQs

What Is Alprazolam Abuse?

Alprazolam abuse occurs when you take the drug without a prescription or more than the prescribed dose.

What are the Dangers of Mixing Alprazolam with other Drugs?

Mixing alprazolam with other substances may set off dangerous effects of interaction, including high blood pressure and coma.

I What is Alprazolam Addiction and Treatment?

It includes the process of detox, inpatient or outpatient treatment, as well as counseling and therapy to help you recover from alprazolam addiction.

Is Alprazolam Addictive?

Yes. It is a habit-forming drug that can lead to addiction, and should only be used via a doctor’s prescription.

Do Controlling Parents increase Children’s Risks of Addiction?

While parents simply want the best for their children, controlling behaviour may only do more harm where addiction is concerned.

What are the Dangers of Overdosing?

Overdosing on alprazolam can lead to drowsiness, confusion, problems with coordination and loss of consciousness.

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