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Understanding the Dangers of Xanax Bars

Woman sitting on floor, experiencing the dangers of Xanax bars

Are prescription Xanax bars becoming just as dangerous as opioid pain pills? Recent reports show that from 2002 to 2015, the number of benzodiazepine-related deaths rose by more than fourfold. The dangers of Xanax bars are real—but you may be wondering: What are Xanax bars in the first place? Call 888.341.3607 to speak with someone from Ashwood Recovery about the dangers of Xanax bars and our prescription drug addiction treatment options in Idaho.

What Are Xanax Bars?

Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam, a benzodiazepine medication used to treat a number of mental disorders—such as:

  • Panic disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
  • Separation anxiety disorder (SepAD)
  • Specific phobias
  • Insomnia

“Xanax bar” refers to the shape of the medication, which comes in several formulations. Colors and shapes include white, orange, pink, peach, yellow, and green Xanax bars, tablets, and pills.

Are Xanax Bars Addictive?

Xanax increases levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that has a calming effect on the central nervous system and brain. When the brain becomes desensitized to the presence of the drug, a tolerance develops, and the regular Xanax bar dosage becomes less effective. Anxiety symptoms return and increasing amounts of the medication are needed to realize the same results.

Furthermore, because of the artificial Xanax-triggered increase in GABA levels, the brain attempts to compensate by reducing the number of GABA receptors. Xanax is a fast-acting, powerful medication that can create a physical dependency in as little as four weeks or less.

Xanax Bars, Alcohol, and Opioids: The Risk of Addiction and Overdose Are Real

Opioids, alcohol, and benzodiazepines are each depressants. This means their effects multiply when used in combination. Death due to respiratory failure can and does occur.

Anxiety Drives Xanax Bar Misuse

Almost a third of American adults will have a diagnosable anxiety disorder at some point in their lifetime. Every year, approximately 50 million alprazolam prescriptions are written. Since 1983, Xanax has been the most-prescribed psychotherapeutic medication available.

Benzodiazepines During Opioid Addiction Recovery

Regular benzo users participating in an opioid replacement program generally need higher-than-normal daily doses of methadone. Additionally, they are likelier to abuse alcohol than individuals who aren’t dependent on benzodiazepines.

Polydrug Abuse and Dual Diagnosis

Mental disorders associated with substance abuse are much more common in benzodiazepine and opioid abusers. People who co-abuse both are three times as likely to have been hospitalized for a psychiatric emergency during the previous year.

Xanax Bars and the Newest Drug Trends

The threat from Xanax abuse spreads beyond misuse of one’s own prescription when you take into account the myriad ways that the drug is illicitly available, especially among adolescents:

  • Pharm parties – Teens will bring whatever medications they can obtain, bring them to a party, mix them with what others have brought, and wash it all down with alcohol.
  • Xanie Tarts – Reports have surfaced of popular Sweet Tart candies that have been laced with liquid Xanax. Because they look nearly exactly the same as the unadulterated candies, police are worried about accidental overdoses.

Teens surveys often say that they get addictive medications like Xanax from their family home’s medicine cabinets.

Withdrawal from Xanax Bars Can Be Dangerous

When the Xanax bar dosage is significantly reduced or abruptly discontinued after long-time or heavy use, serious withdrawal symptoms may result, such as:

  • Extreme anxiety and restlessness, up to the point of panic
  • Concentration, memory, and focus concerns
  • Depersonalization and feelings of unreality
  • Depression and dissatisfaction
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Fatigue, muscle aches, and cramps
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Increased heart rate and elevated blood pressure
  • Pronounced sensitivity to light, sound, or touch
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite and abnormal weight loss
  • Hallucinations, nightmares, and paranoia

Quitting Xanax “cold turkey” can trigger even more dangerous symptoms, including convulsions severe enough to be fatal. The only way to quit benzodiazepines safely is to taper the dosage in a controlled setting, such as an outpatient detox program.

Find Benzodiazepine Abuse and Addiction Treatment in Idaho at Ashwood Recovery

If you or someone you love is struggling with abuse or addiction to Xanax bars, contact Ashwood Recovery today at 888.341.3607 to learn more about the help you need to overcome this concern.