There are many different substances to which a person could become addicted. In fact, there are even a number of behaviors that have shown to be similarly addictive, but most associate addiction with alcohol and drugs due to those being the most concerning forms of dependency. Drugs like cocaine, heroin, and crystal meth are illicit street drugs that not only produce dangerous effects, but they’re also dangerous because they’re produced by people who have no formal knowledge of chemistry and who are using dangerous chemicals to synthesize substances to be sold on the street; moreover, the drug dealers who sell these toxic drugs frequently add additional impurities in them, diluting them in order to give the illusion of having more. This means that those buying the drugs on the street can’t ever be certain which substances that they’re putting into their bodies.
On the other hand, there are a number of substance that many people abuse and which are actually available legally. In particular, alcohol can be purchased in grocery stores, liquor stores, and even many convenience stores by anyone of legal drinking age; however, with so many individuals able to buy alcohol and keep it in their homes, there are inevitably a lot of adolescents and teens who have access to it and abusing alcohol underage. Marijuana is traditionally an illegal substance, but has recently been legalized to some degree in several states. Additionally, pharmaceutical medications are available legally as well, but individuals must receive them via a prescription obtained from a doctor. In theory, this should prevent medications from getting into the hands of people who would abuse or misuse them, but that’s not been the case.
After OxyContin was released to market in the 1990s, the misuse of dangerous medications like painkillers and benzodiazepines spike alarmingly fast. People from all over and from all walks of life had become addicted to prescription medication, and the trend continued into and through the 2000s. Although there have been a number of recent efforts that have curbed some of the prescription medication abuse, this is still a major concern. It may be more difficult for individuals to obtain addictive pharmaceuticals, but there are still many individuals able to do so, making it important for everyone to become aware of some of the effects that these substances have on the mind and body. Therefore, the following will be a concise discussion about Xanax, explaining what the drug is, why it has such a high potential for abuse, and the effects that Xanax has on the mind and body.
What Exactly is Xanax?
Prescription medications are broken down into a number of different categories and classes, some of which are controlled — federally regulated due to a high potential for abuse and addiction — while others are less dangerous and not usually monitored so extensively. Although even controlled substances that can be addictive when taken incorrectly can be beneficial in the right circumstances, there are many that are unfortunately targeted for abuse due to the effects that they offer. Xanax is a benzodiazepine, which is a class of psychoactive pharmaceuticals that affects the body’s central nervous system, modifying the production and functioning of certain neurochemicals. In effect, benzodiazepines are intended to counter feelings of stress and anxiety that are caused by adrenaline and neurochemicals. Similar to the effect of depressants, benzodiazepines help individuals that experience more anxiety than the average person to relax.
Why Xanax Has Such High Potential for Abuse
Between the years 2004 and 2010, Xanax abuse increased exponentially. According to emergency room surveys conducted during those years, emergency room visits relating to the misuse and abuse of Xanax increased from 46,000 to nearly 125,000, which is very nearly a threefold increase. Additionally, it was found that as many as 96,000 of those emergency room visits could be attributed to individuals misusing Xanax in combination with another substance such as cocaine, alcohol, marijuana, or heroin and other opioids. Used for such conditions as generalized anxiety disorder, insomnia, epilepsy, and sometimes cases of severe alcohol withdrawal, those who abuse Xanax typically seek the relaxing and calming effects of the drug, which are amplified into a sort of intoxication when taken to excess.
The Effects of Xanax on the Body
The intoxication caused by Xanax and other benzodiazepines is often compared to that of alcohol, impairing mental alertness and acuity, impairing motor coordination and mechanical performance such as driving, slurring speech, causing dizziness, and evoking a strong sense of drowsiness and lethargy. These varied effects are caused by the drug’s more specific effects on the brain and its chemistry. In short, Xanax causes an increase in the production and effectiveness of a neurochemical referred to as GABA, which is responsible for calming a person during times of stress. However, with continued abuse of Xanax over an extended period of time, the brain becomes ineffective at producing GABA, which means that individuals who abuse Xanax persistently over time actually become less able to overcome stress and anxiety naturally without the use of medications. Moreover, Xanax addicts are also prone to experiencing confusion and an inability to think clearly, racing thoughts, excessive and erratic risk-taking behavior, and bouts of severe depression with and without suicidal ideas due to one’s brain chemistry being severely thrown off balance.
Continued Xanax use and abuse is also associated with a number of other symptoms and effects, which range from the physical to the psychological. The psychological effects were outline just above, but the physical effects include symptoms such as pronounced trembling and shaking, an inability to control one’s bodily movements, rapid heartbeat and/or palpitations, loss of equilibrium and balance, and having difficulty speaking.
Choose Life by Calling the Palm Beach Institute Today
Although Xanax can be incredibly dangerous in the wrong hands, there are many other mind-altering substances that are exceedingly dangerous as well. It’s important to be informed and aware of the diverse effects caused by the abuse of various substance, but one should also be aware that addiction to those substances is a treatable condition. At the Palm Beach Institute, our goal is to help any and every person suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction to get the treatments he or she needs to live a happy, healthy life. For a free consultation and assessment, call the Palm Beach Institute at 855-960-5456 as soon as you can. Don’t continue allowing an addiction ruin your health, your relationships, and your life — call us and begin the healing journey now.