During the dark throes of addiction, there comes a point of no return where an individual develops a severe psychological drug or substance dependency. They may continue to use even though they know it might be causing them harm. The acute cravings make it very difficult to quit using drugs, especially if the profound root causes aren’t addressed fully.
As is the case with many drugs, if you stop using suddenly after a period of regular use, or go cold turkey, you may experience unpleasant and even fatal withdrawal effects. Sadly this can also become the reason for continued use among addicts as the physical and mental burden of withdrawal becomes too much to bear.
One drug responsible for many fatalities after withdrawal, is Xanax. Those who take it in large doses or against the advice of the prescription are substance abusing and run the risk of developing a dependence. Dependence ultimately increases the likelihood of suffering from deadly withdrawal symptoms.
Alprazolam – available under the trade name Xanax – is a potent, short-acting anxiolytic of the benzodiazepine class. It is commonly used for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders, but also in the treatment of generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) or anxiety caused by depression.
The drug is effective largely due to the properties it possesses such as anxiolytic, sedative, hypnotic, skeletal muscle relaxant, anticonvulsant, amnestic, and antidepressant.
Xanax – administered orally in a compressed tablet (CT) or extended-release capsule (XR) – works by boosting the effects of gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) which is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system. It plays the principal role in reducing neuronal excitability throughout the nervous system and induces inhibition of postsynaptic neurons – slowing down the activity of nerve cells in the brain.
Short-Term Effects of Xanax
When taken properly and as prescribed by a doctor, the short-term effects of Xanax are beneficial to those whose everyday lives are affected by anxiety. It has the potential to reduce the physical tension, restlessness, and feelings of unease common with the condition.
However the great dichotomy with Xanax is that although it is effective in the short-term, it doesn’t take long for the person taking it to start experiencing some of negative effects of the medication. Some of the effects of Xanax are manifested by things such as trouble with speech and cognitive skills: it isn’t unusual for those under the effects of Xanax to slur their speech and appear almost intoxicated. Xanax is a drug that acts quickly in the body with most of the desired effects occurring within the first hour of use and the total effects from the drug typically will last for at least 6 hours.
When Xanax is taken in larger doses, the effects become even more dramatic: some people become confused or disoriented which is worrying both for the user, and for those around them.
Dangers of Xanax Withdrawal
There is no way of sugar coating the pill: going cold turkey or quitting the abuse of Xanax abruptly without the supervision of a physician, can kill. Whether Xanax (alprazolam), Ativan (lorazepam), Valium (diazepam) or other variations, long term use of benzodiazepines requires medical supervision in order to minimise both the immediate risk, and also the long-term effects on the patient such as a developing dependency.
Xanax has some of the most dangerous withdrawal symptoms because it leaves the body more quickly than longer-acting benzodiazepines and can cause sudden and severe withdrawal symptoms leading to shock. Such side effects – convulsions, seizures, psychosis, paranoia, mood swings, mania, palpitations – are hard for the body and mind to handle. Furthermore, symptoms can appear quickly and just when they start to wane and individuals feel some relief, they return and continue.
The dangers of withdrawal are due to the body’s response to extreme changes in the chemical processes taking place in the brain and the rest of the body. Xanax interferes with the GABA system. When a patient abuses Xanax, the body becomes accustomed to the effects it causes, and without the drug, the body doesn’t know how to respond. As a result, it goes into overdrive trying to compensate for the loss of GABA activity, and it tries to reset the brain’s normal neurotransmitter production levels.
How to Quit Safely
There is only one recommended method for coming off Xanax and that is to incrementally reduce the dose under medical supervision. In a medical setting, the withdrawal process is managed by slowly reducing the dose and transferring the patient from a slow acting, to a long acting, form of the drug. This can take up to as much as 6 months or longer as some treatment centers in Memphis TN, treatment is preceded by a medical detox period lasting anywhere from two days to a week or more.
In many instances, an untimely death comes as a result of swiftly interrupting regular drug use. As a result, it is essential that anyone wishing to cease their drug use opts for a medical detox.