Xanax is the brand name for a chemical known as Alprazolam. Xanax is available in several different forms including as a tablet, as an extended release tablet and as an orally disintegrating tablet.
These are typically taken between two and four times every day depending on the recommendations of a physician and the specific needs of the patient.
One form of Xanax, known as Xanax XR, is designed to be taken only one time per day, and it is designed to quell feelings of anxiety all day long rather than requiring that additional pills be taken.
Xanax falls into a classification of medications known as Benzodiazepines. The way that these medications work is by decreasing the level of abnormal excitement within the brain. All Benzodiazepine medications are designated for the treatment of anxiety disorders and anxiety attacks. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, Xanax is a Schedule C IV controlled substance.
Why is Xanax Prescribed?
Xanax, which is a form of Alprazolam, is primarily prescribed for the treatment of panic disorders and anxiety disorders. Both of these disorders are characterized by sudden and unexpected attacks of anxiety, fear and worry, and the patient can become just as anxious about having an attack as they become during the attack. Xanax can also be prescribed for treating Agoraphobia, which is a condition where the sufferer is afraid of places or situations where they feel they may not be able to get out or protect themselves, such as large crowded shopping malls or airplanes.
Statistics Relating to Xanax
According to statistics in the state of Florida, in 2006 alone 456 Florida residents overdosed on the drug Xanax. Because it is capable of impacting the brain and the central nervous system, reducing anxiety and agitation, it is a commonly abused drug. In the same study, 177 drivers in Florida had been suspected of driving under the influence and turned out to be taking Xanax. If you apply these numbers to the rest of the country, it is easy to imagine how serious a problem Xanax abuse and addiction is becoming.
How is Xanax Abused
Xanax or Alprazolam is actually considered to be the most abused of all Benzodiazepine drugs in the United States. Xanax addiction typically begins when it is taken in a high dosage amount over a long period of time. As a tolerance is developed, a physical dependency is born and more of the drug must be taken in order to achieve the same results as before. The most common types of Xanax abuse involve taking the drug in ways that go against the recommendations of the physician or pharmacist. For example, someone taking Xanax more often than they are supposed to, in higher dosage amounts than they are meant to, or simply taking it for a longer period of time than they are meant to are all examples of Xanax abuse.
Someone who has a dependence on Xanax may attempt to use the drug in ways that are contraindicated for this medication, such as chewing it rather than swallowing it whole, or crushing and snorting it. Some people even crush and dissolve the tablets in water, then inject them directly into the blood stream as you might see with heroin. They do this in hopes to see results more quickly, but this will only serve to intensify their dependence on the drug.
The way that Xanax works is by binding to specific locations on the gamma amino butyric acid receptor or GABAA. In doing this, it can reduce the abnormal level of excitement in the brain that is causing the feelings of anxiety, reducing those feelings of excitement either on a short term basis or a longer term basis depending on which Xanxa formula is used. Xanax XR is an extended release formulation, but traditional Xanax is a short-acting or immediate release formula, which means that it may be able to deliver results more quickly, especially in situations where the anxiety or panic is already present.
Xanax Abuse Treatment Options
Xanax can become addictive just like any other substance can, and as such, a well-rounded treatment needs to consider both the physical and the emotional aspects of the problem. Someone dealing with a dependency to Xanax should visit a drug rehabilitation center where they can wean themselves off of the medication slowly, avoiding chemical withdrawal symptoms in the process.
Next, they can work on the behavioral training aspect of treatment, which will create new habits and a sober lifestyle in order to prevent the potential for re-occurrence In this case, cognitive therapy is highly recommended for Xanax abuse problems as it can help an addicted person modify both thinking and coping skills regarding the drug use. Both of these aspects of recovery are essential to ensure that the person does not return to their addiction in the long run.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration