Physicians frequently prescribe drugs like Xanax for people with panic disorder or symptoms of anxiety. Although it can be an effective medication for those suffering from panic attacks and severe anxiety, Xanax is a drug that is commonly abused. The medication has a calming effect that eases stress but also makes it difficult to stop using.
Patients can find it hard to deal with stress and anxiety without the medication and they eventually become dependent on Xanax. Addiction to Xanax can be dangerous and potentially fatal. If you are currently using this medication or are considering getting a prescription then these are some important things you should know.
1. Xanax is Habit-forming and Addictive
While Xanax may provide some real help to people with frequent panic attacks, it is known to be a habit-forming drug. Most addiction to Xanax is due to prolonged use rather than abuse. It tends to be more habit-forming than other types of sedatives because it has a quick and powerful impact while only lasting a short amount of time.
This leads patients to continue taking more of the drug once the effects wear off. If you choose to take Xanax for your anxiety, then it is best to avoid taking it for too long because you can become physically dependent after only a couple of weeks.
2. Prolonged Use Can Mean a Difficult Withdrawal Period
As is the case with most addictive drugs, Xanax can lead to some intense and painful withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking it abruptly. Taking more than prescribed or being on the drug for too long can make the withdrawal period much worse. Symptoms can include nausea, diarrhea, loss of concentration and coordination, anxiety and slurred speech.
Patients can also have trouble sleeping and suffer from intense sweating when coming off the drug. Quitting Xanax cold turkey is not advisable as it can lead to hallucinations, seizures and resurgence of anxiety or panic attacks.
3. Fatal Overdose is a Possibility
Even though Xanax is a legal medication approved by the FDA, that does not mean it is never dangerous. There have been many cases of people overdosing on the drug or mixing it with other substances which can prove to be a fatal combination.
In order to avoid the possibility of overdose, it is a good idea to avoid mixing it with other medications or substances. You should also follow your prescription very carefully and do not take more than your doctor recommends.
4. It Leads to other Types of Drug Use
A common problem with prescription medication is that when people become hooked it opens a door to using other drugs. People may look for some other substance to help them through the Xanax withdrawal period or they may want to experience a similar type of high when they are finished with their prescription.
Medications like Xanax can be a gateway to substance abuse and addiction that continues long after they quit taking the drug.
5. Unpleasant Side Effects are Common
With a medication as potent and strong as Xanax, it is rare for people not to experience any side effects. Whatever kind of side effects the drug will have on you will be apparent right when you first begin taking it. The most common side effects are drowsiness, fatigue, impaired coordination, irritability, lightheadedness, memory impairment, insomnia and headache.
Depending on the severity and your individual response to the drug, these kinds of side effects can sometimes interfere with your regular routine and ability to work. It is best to consult your doctor about the possible negative effects of Xanax before you begin taking a prescription.