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Updated on September 26, 2022

Xanax Effects, Addiction & Treatment

What is Xanax?

Xanax (alprazolam) is a sedative that is part of a group of drugs called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines (benzos) depress the central nervous system, which calms the brain. Benzos are also known as sedatives or minor tranquilizers. The drug also increases the amount of GABA (a neurotransmitter) in your brain, which calms the body and results in a relaxed state of mind.

Xanax bars

Other “street names” for Xanax include:

  • Xannies
  • Bars
  • Benzos
  • Handlebars
  • Blue footballs
  • Sticks
  • French fries
  • Ladders

Xanax is the most prescribed psychiatric medication in the U.S.

Difference Between Xanax and Farmapram

When it comes to function, there is no difference between these drugs. Xanax and Farmapram both contain the active ingredient alprazolam.

The difference between the two lies in their:

  • Country of origin: Xanax is from the United States, while Farmapram is from Mexico.
  • Manufacturer: Xanax is manufactured by Pfizer, while Farmapram is produced by Ifa Celtics.

In the United States, Farmapram is known by its generic name alprazolam. The name Farmapram is well-known in Mexico. It is a Schedule IV controlled substance that causes physical dependence.

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Dosage & How To Take Xanax

Xanax is commonly used to treat anxiety disorders, insomnia, and panic disorders. Depending on the patient’s needs and prescription, Xanax comes in four different dosage forms, including:

  • Tablets
  • Extended-release tablets
  • Disintegrating tablets
  • Solution (liquid)

For an adult with anxiety, the suggested dosage is: 

  • 0.25-0.5 mg of an immediate-release tablet 
  • Three times a day 
  • A maximum daily dose of 4 mg

For elderly patients with anxiety, the suggested dosage is:

  • 0.25 mg of an immediate-release tablet
  • Two to three times per day

For an adult with panic disorder, the suggested dosage is:

  • 0.5 mg of an immediate-release tablet 
  • Three times a day
  • A maximum daily dose of 10 mg

For extended-release tablets, the usual starting dose is 0.5-1 mg once a day. The maintenance dose is 3-6 mg, taken in the morning.

For elderly patients with panic disorder, the usual dose is:

  • 0.25 mg of an immediate-release tablet
  • Twice a day

For extended-release tablets, 0.5 mg should be taken once a day.

Take note of the following:

  • Immediate-release tablets should be allowed to dissolve in your mouth. Do not chew.
  • Extended-release tablets should not be crushed, chewed, or broken. Swallow it whole.
  • If you missed a dose, take it as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it's almost time for the next scheduled dose.
  • Do not take an extra dose to make up for the missed dose.

Side Effects of Xanax

When taken correctly and as prescribed by your doctor, Xanax is effective and safe. The drug is prescribed in 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, or 2 mg strength pills and stays in your system for 12 to 15 hours. Although, many people tend to abuse the substance, which can result in mild to severe health complications or death.

Some common side effects of Xanax, that should subside within a few weeks of properly taking the drug, include:

  • Tiredness
  • Drowsiness
  • Headaches
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Poor balance and coordination
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Talkativeness
  • Irritability

Depending on the dose taken, more serious side effects may occur. This is especially true if you take Xanax along with certain medications, such as codeine, hydrocodone, fentanyl, methadone, and oxycodone, among other medications containing opioids.

In addition, mixing Xanax with opioids or other central nervous systems (CNS) depressants can lead to health complications. This can include extreme drowsiness, breathing problems, coma, and accidental death. Common CNS depressants include alcohol, psychotropic drugs, antihistamines, and anticonvulsants.

Call your doctor if you experience any the following less common, but possible, side effects:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Appetite changes
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Trouble urinating
  • Dry mouth
  • Hyperactivity
  • Agitation
  • Chest pain
  • Extreme changes in mood
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
  • Speech problems
  • Blurred vision
  • Insomnia
  • Yellowing eyes or skin
  • Skin rashes
  • Swelling in hands or feet
  • Hallucinations
  • Memory problems

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Dangers of Xanax: Addiction and Risk Factors

Xanax is an extremely addictive drug, and tolerance develops quickly. In fact, some users may take up to 30 pills a day to obtain the same effects. If you develop withdrawal symptoms after stopping use, there is a high chance that addiction has already formed.

Symptoms of Xanax withdrawal may include insomnia, tremors, restlessness, anxiety, and convulsions (rare).

Overdosing from Xanax is common and often leads to death, especially when taken with other drugs or alcohol. Most overdoses occur from ingesting or snorting chewed or crushed pills. This is because Xanax pills are designed to release the effects over time, not all at once.

Symptoms of an overdose may include:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Slowed breathing
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Extreme dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Severe drowsiness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Coma and unresponsiveness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Seizures
  • Death

Over 10 percent of young adults between 18 and 25 years of age abuse Xanax, which is almost double the rate of those who are 26 and older.

Symptoms of Addiction

Using Xanax long-term often results in physical and emotional dependence. Physical dependence can develop after just two or more weeks of taking the drug.

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the following symptoms, a Xanax addiction may have formed:

  • Uncontrollable cravings for the substance
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities
  • Losing count of how many Xanax pills are consumed in one day
  • Participating in risky behaviors and dealing with legal problems
  • Using the drug interferes with everyday life, such as daily tasks, work, and relationships
  • Obsessing over getting more of the drug
  • Not wanting to use the drug, but doing so anyway
  • Ignoring the possible consequences and risk factors

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Addiction Treatment Options

If a user wants to stop taking Xanax after physical and emotional dependence has developed, it is crucial to seek medical supervision. This is because Xanax withdrawal symptoms are similar to those of alcohol withdrawal and can range from mild to severe, depending on the person.

Medical professionals recommend seeking comprehensive treatment for Xanax addictions. For example, common treatment options include medical detoxification and inpatient rehabilitation.

You should never try to overcome your addiction “cold turkey” at home or without supervision. This is because some side effects of Xanax withdrawal can be deadly, especially if convulsions or seizures occur.

Xanax tolerance and dependence increase significantly with continued use. As a result, it is challenging to quit using the drug without professional treatment. Find treatment today.

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