According to an article published by Medical News Today, alprazolam, more commonly known as Xanax, ranks as the single most prescribed psychiatric drug in America today. But to fully understand how prevalent this particular drug is in this country, we should look to a separate study published by Statista.
The study revealed that the number of prescriptions for Xanax legally prescribed by licensed physicians went from 18 million in 2004 to nearly 21 million in 2018. Generally speaking, these prescriptions were, and are still today, written to combat anxiety, depression, and other genuine mental illnesses. And individuals who have taken Xanax often credit the drug with changing their life for the better. However, for some people, the opposite is true. As effective as Xanax is in combating mental illness, it can be just as addictive when it is misused or abused. And this is often the case for those who misuse or abuse Xanax to achieve a euphoric high.
What Is a Xanax “High” Really Like?
To fully understand what a Xanax high is like, we should familiarize ourselves with what happens physiologically and psychologically when someone takes the medication. As a benzodiazepine and a Schedule IV controlled substance, Xanax works by intensifying the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, which, in turn, promotes a sense of calmness and relaxation. Additionally, Xanax helps to lower levels of excitement in the brain associated with anxiety and panic disorders.
Some individuals also credit the drug with providing them with relief from insomnia and muscle tension. Getting back to the “high” associated with Xanax, it is not the same as the kind of high someone might experience when abusing other drugs, such as cocaine, for example. Instead, the benzodiazepine drug triggers a sedating effect, which, of course, explains the sense of calm and relaxation that many users say they experience. While we are on the topic, misusing or abusing Xanax can also trigger the following:
- Changes in heartbea
- Clammy or sweaty skin
- Dilated pupils
- Shallow breathing
How Long Does a Xanax High Last?
Something to note when it comes to Xanax is the sedating effects associated with the drug come on quickly and can take hours to wear off fully. Current data shows that Xanax typically reaches peak concentration in an individual’s bloodstream within 1 to 2 hours after being ingested. And within another 45 minutes to an hour, most will experience the sedating effects of the drug. According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, the average half-life of Xanax is roughly 11 hours. In plain English, this means that the active substances in the drug are reduced in an individual’s body by half in about 11 hours. At the same time, the sedating effects of the drug will also start to wear off.
Understanding Xanax Addiction
When the sedating effects of Xanax wear off, most individuals will immediately do everything in their power to get more of the drug into their system. And this is not too surprising when you consider the withdrawal symptoms that come about once the drug is no longer in their bloodstream. Some of these withdrawal symptoms include the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle cramps
- Profuse sweating
- Tremors and convulsions
To combat these and other ill effects, many individuals will take more Xanax than prescribed by their physician. And some people might even resort to buying the drug illegally on the street or purchasing it from online pharmacies that are willing to sell it to consumers without a valid prescription. All of these ways of procuring and ultimately taking Xanax leads many people down the path of addiction.
Getting Help to Overcome Xanax Addiction
Ideally, anyone struggling with an addiction to Xanax would do best to seek treatment at a licensed rehab facility. During this time, they can take part in counseling sessions with a licensed therapist to help address the psychological aspects of their addiction and even their struggles with anxiety or depression. Additionally, these same individuals can work with an on-staff physician to gradually wean themselves off of Xanax. While we are on the topic, many physicians at these same rehab facilities will prescribe prescription drugs to combat the withdrawal symptoms that most individuals experience as they seek to end their relationship with Xanax. To learn more about breaking the cycle of addiction as it relates to Xanax or for help finding a rehab facility in your area, consider speaking with one of our associates today. Call us at 833-610-1174.