Xanax, Valium, Ativan and Klonopin are a few brand name drugs that are part of the benzodiazepine family. Many people have heard of these drugs because they are heavily regulated yet still widely abused. Benzodiazepines send signals to the brain to calm emotions and muscles and promote sleep. While powerful and highly effective, there are many reasons these drugs are addictive.
Xanax is also known as Alprazolam and shares many traits with other benzodiazepines including addictive properties. Alprazolam promotes the creation of neurotransmitters in the brain that reduce abnormal excitement caused by anxiety and panic. It is prescribed to those with panic attacks, anxiety disorders, social phobias, depression and alcohol dependence. Alprazolam provides many benefits but taking the medication can be a risk. Doctors try to limit the chances of addiction, but this is not always possible.
Alprazolam is especially effective because a small dose is more potent than large quantities of other medications. Even among benzodiazepines, Alprazolam is one of the strongest medications. This means that taking a tiny amount of Alprazolam seems safe but is actually a large dosage when compared to other drugs. Many doctors only prescribe Alprazolam for serious cases, but not everyone is fully aware of the differences in potency.
Alprazolam metabolizes in the body fast and provides almost full benefits only an hour after ingestion. Most people start on a dosage of .5 mg daily and increase to 1mg over time. Letting the body get used to Alprazolam helps prevent addiction. Normally, the medication is taken 2-4 times per day so that the effects will last the longest. This is done because over time the medication is only half as potent as it used to be. Alprazolam has a half life of 6-12 hours. At maximum, half the properties of the medication are still in the system after 12 hours. This means people taking at least two doses a day could still have a large amount of the earlier doses in their systems. Normally, Alprazolam will wear off quickly making the multiple doses necessary. However, even if half the properties are not still in the system, some traces of previous dosages remain throughout the day. This could make addiction more likely especially in children and the elderly. These groups take longer to metabolize the drug than others, so they will have large quantities of the drug in their systems when taking Alprazolam regularly.
The potency and the lingering amounts of Alprazolam in the body combine with the effectiveness of the drug to make it addictive. Alprazolam has many therapeutic properties that can build a physical or emotional dependence. Many people may become convinced they can only find relief while on Alprazolam. This is because Alprazolam removes a number of symptoms associated with anxiety disorders. These symptoms include heart palpitations, dizziness, chest pains, difficulty breathing or swallowing, nausea and trembling. These positive changes combine with the calming properties to bring mental and physical relief. Alprazolam is normally prescribed temporarily, but it can be difficult to give up a drug that provides powerful benefits.
Dependance on Alprazolam can cause changes to your sleep architecture that led to sleep deprivation. The dependence on Alprazolam makes it difficult to stop the medication without developing withdrawal symptoms. Instead of treating anxiety, the medication may start causing problems like increased anxiety, depression or hyperactivity. While the medication makes conditions worse, those with dependence will think they need Alprazolam for everything to function normally. Dependence is a form of addiction, and users will not want to lessen or stop the medication. When the treatment ends or the amount is lowered, users may seek other doctors to prescribe the drug or resort to stealing or black market Alprazolam.
Those who are dependent on Alprazolam will need more of the medication to achieve the same results. This is because the body has developed a tolerance. A tolerance can also trigger an addiction because users may need to increase the dosage to receive benefits. An addiction can develop when it was not previously occurring because of the higher yet necessary dosage.
Since Alprazolam is highly addictive, improper use of the drug makes addiction more likely. Some of these behaviors can occur purposely or on accident, but either case can result in addiction.
Alprazolam is addictive because the wrong method of discontinuing use can cause withdrawal symptoms. If one is experiencing negative symptoms on the medication, they may lower the dosage or quit taking the drug without consulting a doctor. This may relive the bothersome symptoms but causes others when withdrawal occurs. Withdrawal symptoms make the body need Alprazolam and an addiction can develop. A doctor usually decreases the dosage of Alprazolam when patients are going to stop using the drug. This prevents the withdrawal symptoms from occurring.
One does not have to take a large amount of medication to overdose, and overdosing does not always have immediate serious consequences. Overdosing is done when one takes more than the prescribed amount of a prescription. Those taking Alprazolam illegally are always overdosing. There may be no side effects or repercussions at first, but this is an easy way to develop an addiction and severe side effects. Overdosing can also occur accidentally when people have too much of the drug in their systems. This happens most with the elderly and the young because they take longer to metabolize the dosage. Though the elderly are still prescribed Alprazolam when needed, it is infrequently given to those younger than 18. Many young people illegally take the drug. While this normally starts as a way to get a high, it often leads to addiction.
While some are more susceptible to addiction, anyone who overdoses on Alprazolam is in danger. There is no way to tell if the drug is right for a person or how one's body will react. The potential for abuse is high in individuals who overdose especially when many outlets are available for purchasing the drug. Individuals can get black market Alprazolam from India and Mexico. This can be more addictive and dangerous than regular Alprazolam because there is no way to know what is in these unregulated drugs. There is also high potential for abuse when using Alprazolam bars. Bars contain larger dosages of Alprazolam and are often snorted and used with other drugs.
Alprazolam and alcohol are both depressants and should not be taken together. They can slow organs like the heart, lungs and brain until breathing stops or the heart rate slows. This puts a person's life at risk and increases the chances for addiction.
Those that have had substance abuse problems in the past find Alprazolam more addictive than others. Alcohol and Alprazolam have a calming influence, and Alprazolam is often prescribed to those overcoming a drug or alcohol addiction. This can make the recovery process easier by reducing excitement and withdrawal symptoms but causes new problems when addiction occurs. Alcoholics can develop dependence even if they have stopped drinking. Doctors may still prescribe the medicine if it is necessary, but monitoring is important because some people get addicted and also start drinking again.
Alprazolam is a powerful, fast acting medication. Doctors try to control Alprazolam use because it is often abused. The mechanism of the drug and the numerous ways to become dependent make Alprazolam so addictive.