Xanax Bars: X”ing Out the Anxiety

“X”ing Out the Anxiety with Xanax Bars

Xanax is the name brand of the drug alprazolam, which belongs to the class of drugs called benzodiazepines (benzos). Among benzos, alprazolam is one of the most commonly used in the world.

Rehab Xanax bars group laughing at table

There is often a triggering life event that brings on the need for Xanax, or another substance, to help someone take the pain away. 

Maybe you lost your job and the pressure to provide for your family has taken its toll to a point where you cannot control your anxiety on your own anymore. 

Maybe you lost a family member who helped raise you, and that loss left you feeling empty, and you just don’t want to feel so much right now. 

The constant need to escape can lead to building a tolerance to a substance over time, and you will need more and more of the substance to help control your bad thoughts and feelings. 

There is no denying that living in the present day is stressful, and we are pulled in directions that our ancestors never faced. The constant battle to maintain a professional life, a social life, a personal life, your mental health, and your physical health can take its toll. 

Sometimes maintaining your mental health is a struggle to do alone. Actually, “sometimes” is a mild word to use. 

In the United States, more than 51 million Americans faced a mental health disorder as of 2019. That is one in every five people, according to the National Institute of Mental Illness (NAMI). 

Many of those 51 million Americans face anxiety or panic disorder and need the assistance of medications like alprazolam, known commonly by the brand name Xanax. 

What is Xanax (alprazolam)?

Xanax is the name brand of the drug alprazolam, which belongs to the class of drugs called benzodiazepines (benzos). Among benzos, alprazolam is one of the most commonly used in the world. 

Other common benzos are diazepam (Valium) and clonazepam (Klonopin). Based on the shape of the tablet, they are sometimes called “bars.” The term “Xanax bar” only refers to a tablet and not a combination of the drug with anything else.

The American Journal of Public Health reported that in 2013, 31% of the almost 23,000 deaths related to prescription drugs were due to benzodiazepines. This trend continued throughout the years and now has experts worried a benzodiazepine epidemic is approaching.

Xanax is used to treat anxiety and panic disorder by acting on the brain and nervous system to create a calming effect. Its effects are similar to that of alcohol. 

Xanax is currently made and distributed by Pfizer, a pharmaceutical company. It was first released in the 1980s. 

The Food and Drug Administration approved alprazolam in 1981, and it was approved again in 1990 as a treatment for panic disorder. It was the first benzo to earn this approval.

Side Effects of Xanax

For such a popular and widely used drug, Xanax comes with a very long list of potential side effects. 

The most common are:

  • Forgetfulness 
  • Slurred speech
  • Clumsiness
  • Drowsiness
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Shakiness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Insomnia (inability to sleep)
  • Trembling

Less common but still noted Xanax side effects are:

  • Body aches
  • Chills
  • Mood swings
  • Color change in urine
  • Color change in stool
  • Diarrhea
  • Fainting
  • Loss of self-control
  • Hyperventilation
  • Seizures

Signs You, Or Your Loved One, May Be Misusing Xanax Bars

Someone who is misusing Xanax may face serious, negative consequences that could endanger their life and health. 

If someone builds up a tolerance that cannot be controlled, they could turn to much more potent and powerful substances to get the same or similar effects as they got with Xanax. If that substance can’t be found, they risk having to deal with horrible withdrawal symptoms until more Xanax can be found. 

Addiction to Xanax can result in an addicted person completely changing their priorities. Obtaining the drug may become the most important thing in their life — just so they can continue to function. 

If you fear that you may have a Xanax addiction but are unsure, or if you think you know someone who has a Xanax dependency or addiction and you’re not sure what to look for, here are a few signs:

  • Taking pills that are not prescribed
    • An easy way to tell is if the meds are stored in baggies and not bottles
  • Multiple prescriptions from different doctors
  • Choosing to miss social obligations to take or get more of the drug
  • Family and friend relationships are disappearing
  • Facing financial struggles due to the amount of Xanax purchased
  • A constant state of sedation and/or fatigue
  • New behavior that isn’t normal

Even with this list, it can be hard to tell sometimes. If there are thoughts that a Xanax use disorder may be there, it likely is. Begin finding treatment immediately to avoid further damage. 

Can You Overdose On Xanax Bars?

Xanax is usually taken orally. Using this method, as is usually prescribed, allows for the greatest amount of the substance to enter a person’s system. 

It can also be used by snorting, sublingually (meaning it dissolves under the tongue), or by injecting it. 

To snort Xanax, it has to be crushed into a fine powder. This method doesn’t give a person the feelings they’re looking for, and it also often causes nosebleeds and can eventually cause a hole in the septum (the inside wall) of the nose. 

Injecting Xanax is probably the most uncommon form of taking Xanax. Xanax bars do not dissolve in water, meaning that they have to be dissolved in a chemical solution known as propylene glycol. This solution causes pain when injected. It also is more difficult to do than simply swallowing a pill.

Regardless of how it’s taken, overdosing on Xanax is completely possible. An overdose from Xanax closely resembles severe alcohol intoxication.

The signs of Xanax overdose include:

  • Anxiety
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Extreme sedation
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Impaired reflexes
  • Drowsiness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Unresponsiveness

Another serious concern when overusing Xanax, even without overdosing, is mixing it with other substances, especially other depressants like alcohol. 

Taking Xanax on top of drinking alcohol or taking opioids can slow your nervous system too much. This can lead to breathing problems, coma, or even death. 

By mixing Xanax with stimulants like cocaine or amphetamine (such as Adderall), you can overdose while your body battles the opposite effects the drugs have. Since a depressant like Xanax does the opposite of a stimulant like Adderall, you might end up taking too much of one or the other trying to feel as good as possible. This can easily lead to overdose.

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Withdrawing From Xanax

Withdrawing from Xanax is scary, just like it is with any substance. As your body has grown used to the substance, it wants more. Taking Xanax away makes your body fight back and causes extreme pain at times. 

When facing withdrawal from Xanax, the most uncomfortable times range between 24 hours after the last dose until around 96 hours after the last dose. This also depends on how dependent you are on Xanax. 

Your dependence, which might be the first step to addiction, happens because of the changes occurring to your brain’s chemistry. When you take Xanax, you are lowering your brain’s need to produce the chemical gamma-aminobutyric acid (GAMA). GAMA is a chemical that makes you feel calmer and more relaxed. 

When you stop taking Xanax, your brain is not prepared to immediately begin creating GAMA again. It got used to Xanax producing the chemical for you. That’s why you will start feeling the pain and discomfort of withdrawal.

The most common symptoms of withdrawal from Xanax are:

  • Tremors
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anxiety/panic
  • Sweating
  • Heart palpitations
  • Insomnia
  • Numbness or loss of feeling in fingers/toes

Treatment For Xanax Bar Addiction

Treating an addiction to Xanax often begins with detox. For the reasons listed above, in serious cases of addiction and dependence to Xanax, it’s very important to have medical help to guide you through the hard time of withdrawing from the Xanax. 

If you need to detox, you start there and then move into the next steps of treatment. This means things like counseling and therapy. 

Some of the best forms of treatment for Xanax addiction are:

  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Co-occurring disorder treatment
  • Mindfulness/stress management
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Aftercare support

By taking part in these forms of treatment, you’ll learn about the triggers for your addiction (what caused you to start in the first place and keep using), learn about ways to stop your destructive behavior, find out if there are any additional mental health disorders you’ve been struggling with, and learn to set yourself up for long-term recovery. 

Find the Comforting Care To Get Your Life Back

Finding the right fit in treatment is as important as finding treatment in the first place. 

Rehab Center acts as the first line of communication for many looking to overcome their substance use disorder. We’re here to provide those with an addiction, or their loved ones, with relevant resources, a network of support, and helpful information. 

At rehabcenter.net, you’ll find all the information you need to know more about your struggles and what decisions you need to make next to get help.

You can either call our helpline or fill out a form on the website. Our admissions team will connect you with a treatment center that meets your individual needs. 

Rehab Center is part of the Vertava Health family. Vertava Health centers specialize in drug and alcohol treatment. They offer medically supervised detox programs, residential/inpatient programs, intensive outpatient programs, rehab programs, counseling, and aftercare to assist patients with their ongoing recovery after treatment ends. 

Call Today For Assistance With Drug Rehab

You are not alone if you have fallen into an addiction to Xanax. Every year thousands fall into a cycle of addiction to benzos like Xanax. 

If you need help finding a treatment center that will help you reclaim your life, give Vertava Health Rehab Center a call at  877-630-2970 or visit our website rehabcenter.net. 

FAQ

How long do Xanax bars stay in your system?

Generally, within 12 hours after a dose of Xanax, the drug has met its half-life. This means half of the drug has metabolized and left your body. However, it takes anywhere from 2-4 hours for the drug to not be evident in the body entirely. 

The length of time Xanax bars stay in your system depends on a lot of factors. Your age, any other substances in your body, your general health, your metabolism, your weight, your diet, and even genetics play a role in how long it takes the drug to metabolize and leave your body. 

These factors, along with the size of the dose taken and the method of the test administered for detection, determine the length of time Xanax bars are detectable. 

How can I spot fake Xanax bars?

If you have any sneaking suspicion that you have fake Xanax bars, they are probably fake. These fake Xanax bars are also likely much more dangerous than what you intended to get. 

In some communities, like Portland, Oregon, local law enforcement has stepped in to warn its citizens that they have not seen real Xanax bars in years despite the public’s belief that they are taking Xanax. 

If you are looking for specific signs that a Xanax bar is fake, look for a few things. 

  • First, and most blatantly, some suppliers on the street will not take the time to even make it look like the real thing. If you do not recognize brands and logos associated with the pill, it is fake. 
  • Colors may also be slightly different. Usually, one way to tell is if the pill has been cut with a different colored substance. The subtle discoloration can be a sign it’s fake.
  • Real Xanax bars have tapered edges. Fake bars often have a ridge around the rim of the pill. 

It is safe to say, regardless of the look of the drug, you more than likely have a fake Xanax bar if it wasn’t obtained directly from a doctor or pharmacist.

What are Xanax bars used for?

Xanax is the brand name of the drug alprazolam, which belongs to the class of drugs called benzodiazepines (benzos). It is used to treat anxiety and panic disorder. They produce a calming effect in the body.

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