Like most prescription drugs when used properly, Xanax (Generically known as Alprazolam) can be the gateway to better health and an improved quality of life. The way Xnanx works is that it slows down the central nervous system which is exactly what most people legitimately using this need as it stems anxiety and can help reduce the effects of a panic attack in a rapid manner. The downside of this is that it also becomes an attractive drug that can led to dependancy, abuse, or both.
As a person that has held a long term prescription for Xanax to stave off panic attacks I fully know the feeling it provides. For me it is like a magic bullet, at the first sign of panic rising I can take this as a rescue medication, much like an asthmatic person may use an inhaler, and reduce the liklihood of the attack fully manifesting. In a low dose this works exceptionally well and the effects are short lived.
That does not mean however that the idea of those effects lasting longer is not an attractive thing. The best way to describe it is that it is like having three or four alcoholic drinks when I use it in a slightly larger dose. I feel calm, relaxed, in control, and ultimately ready to take on the world, impaired as I may be, which is a bad and dangerous thing. There are other medications to provide long term relaxation when needed but they don’t work as fast which is in part a reason why Xanax is so abused. With so much stress in life, aggravation, and fear even though we may not admit it readily, Xanax is a drug many adults opt for to get through the day. It’s cheaper and easier than taking a drink, easy to conceal the use of initially, and generally considered harmless to novices. It is quickly becoming the twenty first century version of “mother’s little helper.”
To understand Xanax better it is easiest to explore the family of drugs it resides in. Xanax is at it’s base an anti-anxiety medication of a tranquilizer nature falling under the benzodiazpine family which includes Valium and Halcion. This is a psychotropic drug and a schdule IV narcotic under the Controlled Substance Act. Abuse of this drug most commonly leads to an alcohol like high with feelings of euphoria and increased sociability. While the user may feel in control their behavior is often markedly different.
Xanax abuse has been a problem since almost as soon as it hit the market in 1973. Addicts of other drugs have used it in some combiantion to provide altered effects thinking this is a basicaly harmless drug. The fact is Xanax is both physically and psychologically addictive and when mixed with depressants like alcohol can prove to be fatal.
According to a 2000 survey nearly five million people are using Xanax for non medical reasons. That is abuse. The same auditing showed 22,000 emergency room visits related to Xanax which was up from 16,000 seven years earlier. More current surveys generally estimate the number to be 30,000 cases in 2007 although this is based by extrapolating numbers on an audit less then 40% complete. Stopping the use of abuse of Xanax is not an easy thing and comes with a myriad of withdrwal problems including; dizziness, nausea, vomitting, insomina, chills, tremors, crying, myalgia, dystonia, lethargy, fatigue, anxiety, headaches, moodiness, and anxiety. The onset of these symptoms makes quitting cold turkey extremely difficult.
It is extremely difficult to gauge the number of adults currently abusing Xanax in the U.S. alone never mind world wide but it’s ready availibility and low price make this a a drug which is easily and widely abused. With the rate of adult drug abuse of the benzodiazapine family of drugs Xanax resides in having doubled over the last ten years and tripled in the teen community many of whom will soon be adults this is a problem which is not going to go away but rather get worse the more it is ignored.