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Xanax Addiction

Q) What is Xanax?

A) Xanax is prescription tranquilizer which depresses the nervous system in a way similar to alcohol.

Q) How is Xanax used?

A) Xanax when abused is taken orally, chewed, crushed (then snorted like cocaine), or crushed (then dissolved in water and injected like heroin).

Q) What are the effects of Xanax addiction?

A) Xanax has depressant effects on brain areas that regulate wakefulness and alertness, very similar in effect to alcohol and sedative barbiturates. They enhance the action of receptors that inhibit central nervous system stimulation, and conversely, inhibit the action of receptors that stimulate the nervous system. In other words, if the nervous system were a car, these drugs help press down the brakes but make it harder to press down on the gas.

  • difficulty concentrating
  • "floating" or disconnected sensation
  • depressed heartbeat
  • depressed breathing
  • excessive sleep and sleepiness
  • mental confusion and memory loss
  • addiction

Q) What are the symptoms of withdrawal?

A) Essentially, withdrawal symptoms for the tranquilizers feel like the opposite of the therapeutic effects. The short-acting benzodiazapines (Xanax, Halcion, Restoril, Ativan, and Serax) can produce especially severe withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms, that are similar to those in alcohol withdrawal, include jittery, shaky feelings and any of the following:

  • rapid heartbeat
  • shaky hands
  • insomnia or disturbed sleep
  • sweating
  • irritability
  • anxiety and agitation

Q) What is Xanax addiction?

A) The tranquilizer, which was introduced in 1973, can become psychologically and physically addictive if taken in high doses for longer than eight weeks. Therefore, it should be - and usually is - prescribed as a temporary solution for people with stress and anxiety disorders, doctors say.

But while addiction is Xanax's primary risk, there's another breed of abuser out there. Like other pharmaceuticals such as OxyContin and Ritalin, Xanax has found its way from pharmacies to drug dealers, and is being abused by young, healthy people who want to get high. These club-hopping, twentysomething, casual ``Xannie poppers'' are using the drug in combination with other stimulants, from booze to cocaine.

Q) How offten is Xanax abused?

A) It is estimated that in 1999, 4 million people were currently using prescription drugs non-medically. Nearly 5 million people have at one point taken Xanax or a similar anti-anxiety medication for nonmedicinal reasons, according to a 2000 survey conducted by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Possession of a prescription drug without proof of a prescription is a felony.

More than 22,000 Xanax-related emergency-room visits were reported in the United States in 2000, up from 16,000 seven years before, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.