Benzos are so overused that they top all prescriptions in psychiatric medicine and are among the most prescribed medication of any type in the United States. Nearly 50 million benzos prescriptions are written every year.
Prescriptions for benzos have skyrocketed over the past two decades. Between 1996 and 2013, the number of prescriptions for benzodiazepines more than tripled and fatal overdoses more than quadrupled.
What’s the Big Deal?
Benzos are known for helping with anxiety disorders and insomnia, so what’s the big deal if they are heavily prescribed?
Well, there are a couple of reasons why this is a major problem.
First, there is evidence indicating these drugs do not work well over the long-term. Studies reveal that long-term use of benzos can increase anxiety symptoms. Furthermore, it is possible to treat anxiety and sleep disorders without medication, or at least with other medications besides benzos.
The second problem is the addiction and dependence risk. People who receive high doses of benzos can become physically dependent fairly quickly. Without medical supervision, the withdrawals from benzos are severe, ranging from intensified anxiety to high blood pressure, seizures, and convulsions.
The longer someone uses benzos, the greater the likelihood of addiction. People who misuse benzos tend to take higher-than-prescribed doses or mix the pills with alcohol or other drugs. Benzos are often chewed or crushed which interferes with the timed-release formula and speeds up the effects. This way of using benzos is extremely dangerous.
A Deadly Combination?
The true dangers of benzos really amplify when they are taken with other substances like opioids and alcohol. The risk of combining benzos and opioids is well-known, yet many doctors prescribe benzos and opioids together to patients.
From 2001 to 2013, benzos and opioid prescriptions increased by 80%, according to an analysis by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. It is not considered safe to use both together yet this is fairly standard practice.
Opioids vs. Benzos?
Highlighting the dangers of benzos is not intended to diminish the significant dangers of prescription painkillers. Make no mistake, we are in the midst of an opioid epidemic, and opioid addiction has become a national crisis. However, in 30 percent of opioid-related deaths, a combination of benzos and opioids caused the overdose. That’s why it is so important to talk about benzos when we are discussing the opioid epidemic.
Why is this combination so deadly?
Opioids and benzos both slow down the body systems, particularly the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Therefore, it is not difficult to understand why this combination is so risky. You are essentially combining two substances that slow down the functioning of your body. If you add a cocktail on top of that, it only compounds the problem. In worse case scenarios, this combination of substances causes breathing to stop.
In addition, alcoholics regularly abuse the benzo alprazolam, known by its brand name Xanax. Alcohol is a depressant so combining alcohol with the sedative effects of benzos increases the likelihood of overdose and respiratory failure.
Should Doctors Take the Blame?
The use of benzos often begins in the form of a prescription. Dual prescriptions of benzos and opioids are far from uncommon. Doctors are more likely to prescribe to patients who complain of pain, anxiety, and insomnia during a limited 15-minute consultation time.
In this rushed state, a physician may desire to help a patient but not have the time to explore the underlying causes. Therefore, medication becomes the easiest treatment. It unclear whether doctors are adequately warning their patients of the potential dangers of combining these drugs to help prevent addiction. As for now, it is difficult to place the blame on one person or thing, but one thing is for certain: people need to know the risks.
Overall, more and more people are struggling with addiction, and overdose death numbers have reached epidemic levels. If you are currently struggling with addiction, please do not wait. Recovery is possible. Call toll-free today.
CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398
Xanax is a brand name of the drug Alprazolam; one of the most popularly prescribed medications in the country, and yet it is associated with plenty of side-effects and very serious health problems. In the benzodiazepine (benzo) category of medications Alprazolam is the most prescribed and often most abused substance on the list. Xanax is used to treat:
It is also prescribed to be used as a muscle relaxer, stress reliever and sleep aid. However, it has earned its name on the DEA list of schedule IV controlled substances, and comes with a laundry list of side effects. These side effects will vary in frequency and intensity depending on many factors. Some are more common, while others are indications of a more serious health risk.
What Are the Side Effects of Xanax: Common
The more moderate side effects of Xanax include:
- Cognitive dysfunction
- Decreased sex drive
- Feeling light headed
- Slurred speech
- Memory impairment
- Weight gain/loss
- Blurred vision
- Changes in appetite
What Are the Side Effects of Xanax: Less Common
There is a very extensive list of side effects people have reported in connection to Xanax that are less common. Some of these side effects of Xanax include:
- Abdominal/stomach pain
- Body aches
- Drastic behavioral changes
- Decreased frequency and/or volume of urine
- Dry mouth
- Ear congestion
- Irregularities with eyes
- Irregular heartbeats
- Joint pain
- Loss of bladder control
- Painful urination
- Swollen joints
- Tightness in the chest
- Uncontrolled movements
- Unpleasant breath odor
- Yellow eyes or skin
What Are the Side Effects of Xanax: Severe
There are also some side effects that are listed that are more severe than others. Some of these should be taken extremely serious, and can be signs of a much more severe and potentially life-threatening condition.
- Suicidal thoughts
- Vomiting Blood
- Chest pains
- Breathing problems (deep and slow or fast)
- Ear pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Feeling unusually cold
- Hearing loss
- Lack of feeling or emotion
- Loss of control of limbs
- Severe sleepiness
In 2012, a study released by SAMHSA found that benzo drugs like Xanax accounted for around 35% of drug-related visits to hospital emergency and urgent care facilities.
What Are the Side Effects of Xanax: Withdrawal Symptoms
Xanax works very fast and has a relatively short half-life, which causes withdrawal symptoms to begin very rapidly once the individual discontinues their use, which is why a Xanax addiction detox program is so important. Most people will start to feel withdrawal symptoms within 12 hours once they stop using Xanax, and those symptoms will peak within 3-4 days. Residual and long-term symptoms of withdrawal can even last for up to months at a time.
Going through a medical Xanax addiction detox program is so important because of the severity of some of these symptoms, especially in combination with other substances such as alcohol which will increase the discomfort. The most common withdrawal symptoms from Xanax include:
- Blurred vision
- Muscle aches
- Tension in the jaw and/or teeth pain
- Numbness in fingers
- Tingling in limbs
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Alteration in sense of smell
- Loss of appetite
- Heart palpitations
- Impaired respiration
There are other side-effects that happen when combining Xanax with other substances, especially with other depressant type drugs such as alcohol. When combining Xanax with alcohol, it can create even more serious health problems, like:
- Behavioral changes
- Severe sedation
- Psychomotor agitation
Withdrawal from either substance can be risky, but the combined effects can be lethal.
What Are the Side Effects of Xanax: Important Factors
When it comes to the Xanax side effects, or side effects for any drug, there are important factors that come into play. For instance, the amount of the substance used matters. If someone takes a higher dose of Xanax more frequently, they will most likely experience side effects different than someone who takes lower doses less frequently. The method of use can also impact the side effects.
Also, any additional substances or medications being used along with Xanax can cause the side effects to become more severe. Someone combining Xanax with other sedatives may experience side effects in a different way than someone combining Xanax with stimulant drugs.
Finally, side effects may also vary for anyone dealing with pre-existing health conditions or co-occurring mental health disorders. If an individual already has kidney or lung problems, their side effects may be very different than someone who is physically healthy but struggles with a mental illness like bipolar depression.
What Are the Side Effects of Xanax: Addiction
Out of all the side effects for Xanax, addiction is definitely a serious problem. Developing a physical dependence that then evolves into a substance use disorder can not only cause extensive damage to the individual’s life, it can exacerbate all other side effects and symptoms.
Extended use of a drug like Xanax can cause new health problems. With the brain, benzo drugs can cause malfunctions in coordination and damage brain cells. It can affect how the brain operates and have lasting psychological effects. One of these can be the cravings for the drug, as well as dramatic mood shifts.
Some research published in 2016 actually suggests that long-term use of benzodiazepine drugs like Xanax significantly increases the risk for brain, colorectal, and lung cancers.
Addiction is something that doesn’t only manifest in a physical form. Drug addiction also takes a mental and emotional toll. All the effects can be extremely difficult to overcome, and can even be dangerous when unmonitored. Anyone trying to overcome Xanax addiction should attend a safe medical detox program. Even with some prescriptions of symptom controlling medications, a quick detox can be very tough and uncomfortable. A drastic drug detox should never be attempted without medical supervision.
With Xanax addiction treatment, there should be a strong medical staff to assist in a comfortable transition from active substance abuse. There should also be levels of personal and professional therapy and a specialized team dedicated to designing an aftercare program that meets the specific elements of a long-term recovery plan. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.
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With prescription drug abuse being one of the biggest issues facing the country today, there is an increasing need for education and awareness as to what these drugs really are and how powerful they can be. One of the prescription narcotics most commonly abused is Xanax, a name brand medication in the Benzodiazepine (Benzo) category of depressant drugs. This medication can be very helpful to those who use it accordingly, but it can also be seriously addictive and even life threatening.
So in taking a closer look at specific substances, we want to of course answer the question- how long does Xanax stay in your system.
How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System: Understanding Alprazolam
Alprazolam is the generic name for a potent, short-acting anxiolytic drug in the benzodiazepine class. Xanax is actually a brand-name for Alprazolam, and is typically the most commonly known version. Alprazolam is frequently utilized in the treatment of anxiety disorders, such as:
The drug binds to a number of specific sites on the GABA receptor of the brain, and elicits responses as a:
- Anxiolytic (Anti-panic)
- Muscle relaxant
While there is some debate about people building a tolerance to the anxiolytic effects, there is a clear indication that tolerance to the sedative effects will build in a couple days of using the drug. Thus, withdrawal symptoms can occur after only a few weeks of use if the drug is suddenly stopped.
How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System: Side-Effects
There are various possible side-effects that may occur while taking Xanax or any Alprazolam drug. Some possible adverse effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Slurred speech
- Suicidal ideation
- Urinary retention
- Skin rash
- Respiratory depression
These side-effects can be uncomfortable and some are more common than others. However, probably some of the greater risks come with prolonged use, which can lead to severe dependence and withdrawal.
How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System: Withdrawal
Another reason people as how long does Xanax stay in your system is to determine how long the withdrawal periods are. Once the body has developed dependence on a drug, withdrawal or “rebound” symptoms can make it extremely difficult to discontinue use. Some common symptoms of withdrawal from Xanax include:
- Rebound anxiety
Some of these seizures and other reactions can actually become life-threatening, making Xanax withdrawals some of the most dangerous one can experience.
How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System: Overdose
When asking- how long does Xanax stay in your system- you may be concerned about the risks of overdose. An Alprazolam overdose can range from mild to severe depending on how much of the drug has been taken. One of the primary problems with an Alprazolam overdose is that it creates an excessive depression of the central nervous system. Some of the signs of Xanax overdose are:
- Impaired balance
- Muscle weakness
- Shallow breathing
These risks may be more or less serious depending on a number of factors, including if Xanax is taken with any other substances.
How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System: Half-life
As with all drugs, and even most chemicals or substances that enter our bodies, there are a number of factors that influence how long it takes for Xanax to leave the body, such as:
- Body fat content
- Health of the liver
- Kidney health
- Amount of the drug taken
- Length of time using the drug
Typically Xanax has a half-life of 9-16 hours, meaning it takes a healthy body 9-16 hours to get rid of half of a dose of the drug. Because of the half-life, the drug will typically be out of the systems after 4 days. However, this is usually just for the occasional consumption. Xanax can stay in the system for a week or longer for frequent or heavy users depending on the above factors.
How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System: Detoxing
A huge problem with drugs like Xanax is that a lot of people assume these prescription narcotics are safer because they are not street drugs. Yet, Benzodiazepine drugs like Xanax are commonly connected to serious health issues. Beyond that, the dangers of addiction and the potentially fatal withdrawals are exactly why these medications are not nearly as safe as some people like to think they are.
Because of the risks of Xanax withdrawal it is crucial to seek out safe medical supervision for the detox process. Because Xanax can be present in the body for over a week for long-term users, it is important to have a means to monitor the complications Xanax withdrawal may cause. This is especially true if the individual has been using other substances in combination with Xanax.
Detoxing does not have to be what stands between someone who is suffering and a full recovery from this progressive and far too often fatal disease. If you want to get Xanax out of your system in a safe and effective way, a medical detox is the best choice. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.
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