What is Xanax and Xanax Addiction

Don’t stop taking Xanax abruptly without consulting your physicians and/or calling our counselors. It could be life-threatening. 888-781-7060.

Xanax, generic name: Alprazolam, is a Central Nervous System (CNA) depressant within the category of drugs known as benzodiazepines, which includes many other tranquilizers such as Ativan, Valium and Librium, with Xanax being the strongest and most addictive. Xanax is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance.

The DEA (the Drug Enforcement Agency of the United States Department of Justice) under the Controlled Substance Act classifies medications according to their potential medical benefit in relation to their potential for abuse and addiction with a Schedule of classification from I, drugs like heroin and LSD which are dangerously addictive and only legally available for research and not patient consumption, to a Schedule V (5). Xanax, along with the other benzodiazepines mentioned above, are rated as a Schedule IV, which translates to drugs that have a low potential for abuse, have medical therapeutic acceptance and have limited risk of physical dependence or psychological dependence. Addiction professionals report that benzodiazepines are as highly addictive, both physically and psychologically, as opiates and other Schedule II narcotics. In some ways Xanax is more problematic than opiates in that abrupt stoppage of the drug can cause seizures, requiring medically assisted withdrawal, whereas heroin or opiate withdrawal is painful, but not medically threatening.

The manufacture recommends Xanax for the treatment of tension, nervousness and panic attacks. Benzodiazepines have come under public scrutiny mostly because of their severe addictive qualities. When these medication were first developed (Xanax was patented in 1969), the pharmaceutical manufacturer stated that they were non-habit forming or addictive, but experience has proven them to be one of the most addictive medications on the market. It is estimated that one percent of the people in America have used benzodiazepine medications on a daily basis for a period of at least one year. This means that 3 million people have been addicted to a drug whose withdrawals are more severe than heroin. We have found that many of these patients cannot confront the withdrawals and continue to take Xanax to their own detriment and for the profits of the pharmaceutical companies.

“Ladders”, “Yellow Buses” and “Bars” are some of the street names for Xanax. There are probably many more since this drug is being highly distributed in our high schools and college campuses.

The fact that an estimated three million people are taking benzodiazepines daily for over a year indicates that patients must be very aware and careful to not blindly follow the suggestions of physicians when psychoactive drugs are being recommended and prescribed. This statistic also demonstrates how physicians ignore recommended prescribing data of medications such as Xanax, since the FDA recommends that Xanax be prescribed for periods of less than eight weeks for the treatment of panic attacks and/or anxiety. As with many psychiatric medications, the original presentation and defense establishing efficacy by Upjohn (now a part of Pfizer) pharmaceuticals was based on anecdotal reports by psychiatrist David Sheehan who stated that Xanax helped his patients who suffered from panic attacks even though research had previously documented that benzodiazepines had little to no effect on panic disorders. Upjohn compensated Dr. Sheehan for his “research” that helped with the government’s approval of Xanax.

Xanax and to a lesser degree, Valium, not only cause a feeling of relaxation, but initially they cause a feeling of euphoria and enthusiasm, or a rush, that is followed by an artificial feeling of relaxation. Many have reported that after taking Xanax for one to two weeks, they began to have physical withdrawal symptoms, most commonly headaches that were only relieved by taking more of the drug. This addictive potential is more pronounced in Xanax than any of the other benzodiazepines.

With Xanax being so easily prescribed for help with common stress and/or sleeplessness, there have been many elderly patients that have unwittingly become addicted to their “nerve” medicine and when attempting to withdrawal have found that their original complaints are now more severe.

Everyone should read and understand the side effects of any psychoactive medications before accepting a prescription to help ensure that the outcome of a regime of treatment isn’t worse than the original complaint. Everyone should read this article “The Depressing News About Antidepressants” in NEWSWEEK on Feb. 10, 2010 before accepting any prescription for a psychiatric medication. http://www.newsweek.com/id/232781

Xanax has the following documented side effects:

  • Difficulty Breathing,
  • Urinating less than usual or not at all
  • Headaches, fatigue, joint pain and unusual weakness (flu-like symptoms)
  • Speech problems, Swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat
  • Drowsiness,
  • Decreased inhibitions (a lack of fear when facing dangerous tasks)
  • Hallucinations, agitations and hostility
  • Hyperactivity
  • Dizziness, light-headedness or fainting
  • Complete memory loss (amnesia) and concentration problems
  • Changes in appetite (including weight gain)
  • Blurred vision, unsteadiness and clumsiness (impaired coordination and balance)
  • Decreased sex drive (not a problem, however, since we have another drug to compensate)
  • Dry mouth or increased salivation
  • Nervousness, restlessness, sleeplessness and sweating
  • Pounding in the chest or rapid heartbeat (panic attacks)
  • Skin inflammation
  • Muscle twitching, tremor and seizures (convulsions)

This list of side effects should stop anyone from taking the chance that Xanax could actually be of help. However, those persons that are addict to benzodiazepines or those in withdrawal from other drugs will compromise their better interest to find quick relief and then latter find out that they now have added addiction problems. Many physicians will give patients Xanax as a supportive medication when they ask for help with opiate addiction. (Would these physicians throw gasoline on a fire in hopes of extinguishing it?)

We are here to help and that is our only motivation. We must stay constantly aware of the harm that can come from letting personal information into the hands of individuals and corporations, whose purpose is not to provide personal help but to increase profits. Think twice before you accept the idea that you need a drug like Xanax. The only way we can REALLY have a voice and impact the sale and marketing of dangerous drugs of this type is to refuse to ever accept it as a needed medication.

DISCLAIMER: None of the information contained here should be considered medical advice. Alcohol and other drug detoxification should be done under medical and/or professional supervision. At the first sign of alcohol or drug withdrawal symptoms or discomfort, immediately seek medical advice. Do not attempt to detox from alcohol or other drugs without proper medical supervision. If you feel that you have a medical emergency, call 911 and seek local advice.

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