Human biology is a very enigmatic and fickle thing. We tend to take states of optimal health for granted, as if we should just remain naturally health on our own without any conscious thought or effort. However, that’s certainly not the case. Throughout each day, we make a number of decisions and behave in ways that either promote or curtail our health, from deciding what and when to eat to choosing to take the elevator rather than the stairs. There’s this assumption that a person will remain healthy until some outside force depletes his or her health, and while there are plenty of external sources that can diminish our health, the average person’s health conditions can frequently be traced to poor lifestyle choices.
When a person suffers from some sort of health problem, he or she must determine whether it’s something that will pass on its own or whether it warrants professional evaluation and treatment. Generally, any sort of health conditions that don’t impose on one’s day-to-day life are just dealt with, but when the affliction is debilitating in some way, we will visit a doctor, physician, or some other medical professional who can help us. Depending on the affliction, we may be prescribed a medication that’s intended to mitigate whatever issue we’ve been experiencing. Even though many medications have some type of side effect or effects, we determine that we’d rather deal with the adverse effects of the medication than to deal with the health problem.
This becomes quite complicated when the health problem is severe, but the adverse effects of its medicinal treatment are severe as well. Especially when the health condition is chronic and, therefore, requires a person to take medication either for an extended period of time or indefinitely, there’s an argument to be made that the adverse effects of the medication negate any relief it might offer, essentially taking away one problem while leaving a different one. This is often the case with many psychological afflictions and particularly those that are mood-oriented rather than cognitive impairments. Xanax is a prime example, which is why the following will explain what Xanax is, what it’s intended to treat, and the health effects that have been associated with long-term Xanax use.
What exactly is Xanax and what is it used for?
Xanax is the more widely known brand name of a drug called alprazolam, which is in a class of drugs that’s called benzodiazepines, or “benzos” for short. Benzodiazepines are psychoactive drugs that alter the brain’s neurochemical level. Most notably, benzodiazepines amplify the effects of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which causes sedative, anxiolytic, hypnotic, muscle relaxant, and anticonvulsant effects. Since they induce relaxation, lethargy, and drowsiness, benzodiazepines are used to treat conditions involving anxiety and panic attacks, insomnia, muscle spasms or tension, headaches that result from high blood pressure, epilepsy, and some other conditions. Moreover, benzodiazepines have been so widely use for medicinal treatment because they’re fast-acting and get either be short-, moderate-, or long-acting as well.
In addition to Valium, Ativan, and Klonopin, Xanax is one of the most widely used and recognizable benzodiazepines on the market. The reason that Xanax has been preferred over other benzodiazepines for treating anxiety-related conditions is because Xanax is moderate in strength, moderately fast-acting, but also short-acting; this means that in the event that a person were to need to take Xanax for something like seizures or a panic attacks, the drug’s effects would alleviate his or her symptoms and wear off not long thereafter. This makes the minimum period of time between doses much smaller, which is helpful for conditions like epilepsy where a person may need to take the drug multiple times in a day without fear of intoxication or overdose. Of the many conditions that Xanax has been prescribed to treat, some of the most common include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), anxiety derived from depression, epilepsy, insomnia, and many types of phobias such as social phobia.
Long-term use of Xanax found to cause many physical effects
Although we’ve found that it’s risky for people to take benzodiazepines for extended periods of time, there are countless people who have been taking Xanax for years up to decades for chronic health conditions. Any substance that alters a person’s neurochemical levels is inherently dangerous, but it becomes exponentially more dangerous when it’s taken repeatedly for a period of time. Much like someone who abuses alcohol or drugs habitually, the body of someone taking Xanax regularly must adapt to the near-continuous presence of the drug and its effects. For instance, due to the Xanax enhancing the effect of inhibitory neurotransmitters that cause relaxation, the body accommodates the Xanax by making less of neurochemical on its own. This causes cognitive instability during the times when a person is without Xanax, making it difficult for the individual to think, causing unstable moods, and poor memory.
With continued use of Xanax over years or decades, more serious effects become apparent. A person will begin exhibiting serious memory impairments, much more profound and comparable to dementia or amnesia. Many of the effects that a person might experience in the early stages of regular Xanax use – reduced sex drive, rashes on the skin, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, shortness of breath, difficulty urinating – become much more pronounced while he or she also begins to have trouble with speech; in particular, it will see that he or she has difficulty saying certain words or will exhibit slurred speech as if he or she was intoxicated from alcohol. There’s often issues with respiratory depression, occasional states of delira, severe depression, potential violent episodes, impulsive behavior, and even the potential for occasional states that resemble psychosis.
Are there safer alternatives to Xanax?
When a person becomes addicted to Xanax, he or she can overcome the dependence by finding an effective benzodiazepine addiction treatment program. However, once a person has been using Xanax for an extended amount of time and has begun to experience more profound effects, it’s likely too late to hope that getting off Xanax would restore a person to their former health. As such, it’s important for people to know that there are, in fact, alternatives to Xanax and other benzodiazepines that are safer and even a number of ways to manage symptoms of anxiety or depression without any medication at all.
Call the Palm Beach Institute and get help for benzodiazepine addiction
There are millions of people who are currently suffering from addiction, and we believe that each and every one of them deserves a second chance at health and happiness. If you or someone you know would benefit from a free consultation with one of our caring, experienced recovery specialists, give us a call at 855-960-5456. We’re available anytime, day or night, and are ready to match you or your loved one to the right rehab, so call now.