If an anxiety or panic disorder interferes with your quality of life, your doctor may prescribe you Xanax to manage your symptoms. Xanax, also known as alprazolam, is in a class of drugs called benzodiazepines, which have a sedative effect. Unfortunately, these prescription drugs also carry a high potential for abuse and accidental overdose, even when taken as prescribed. Here’s what you need to know about this drug.
How Does Xanax Work?
When you have anxiety, your body and brain are always on high alert. A continuous influx of stress hormones can lead to various health issues like a suppressed immune system, headaches, a rapid heart rate, digestive problems and extreme fatigue. Xanax floods your brain with dopamine, easing your body’s hyperarousal and creating pleasurable feelings.
Small amounts of Xanax can stay in your body for up to 24 hours, allowing your tolerance to build rapidly. Once you have developed a physical dependence on any drug, it becomes difficult to stop using it, and trying to quit can lead to cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
What Happens If You Take Too Much Xanax?
To minimize the risk of substance misuse, doctors prescribe low doses of Xanax for short durations. However, many people develop a tolerance for the way Xanax makes them feel, and start taking increasingly higher doses of benzodiazepines to prolong the sensation.
Some users may also combine Xanax with alcohol or other drugs, either because they’re unaware of the danger or they hope to heighten the effects. People who take too much Xanax or mix it with other mind-altering substances can experience an overdose. Based on nationwide emergency department visit data, alprazolam is the most common benzodiazepine involved in drug misuse-related emergency room visits.
Signs of a Xanax overdose include extreme sleepiness, disorientation, impaired coordination and blurred vision. In severe circumstances, people who overdose on Xanax or use it with other drugs may experience coma or death.
Natural Ways to Manage Anxiety
Knowing the risks of using Xanax might make you hesitant to use this drug to ease your anxiety symptoms, even if you know you would carefully follow all dosage instructions and be mindful of potential interaction warnings listed on the label. Consider these drug-free ways to manage anxiety.
- Exercise: Physical activity adds a host of health benefits to your life, including helping relieve anxiety. You can work off stress and tension with whatever form of exercise you enjoy, from daily walks around your neighborhood to something more strenuous.
- Mindfulness: Meditating and yoga are opportunities to slow the pace of your day, focus on your breathing and get in touch with yourself.
- Therapy: A therapist can provide an outlet for your anxiety by listening to your concerns without judgment. Evidence-based methods like cognitive behavioral therapy teach people how to recognize unhelpful, negative thought processes and replace them with positive ones.
- Nature: Being outdoors is inherently helpful for people who struggle with anxiety. Sunshine and fresh air bring mood-boosting effects with only a few minutes of exposure.
Comprehensive Recovery Starts Here
If you rely on Xanax or other drugs to cope with anxiety, trying to stop using on your own can be challenging and result in uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. You can break the cycle of addiction with a comprehensive, customized treatment plan tailored to your physical, emotional and spiritual needs. To learn more about recovery in Long Beach and our continuum of care, reach out to us at New Found Life. We’re here to take your call 24/7.