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If you or someone you care about has been snorting Xanax they have likely acquired an addiction to the drug. Snorting Xanax will increase the risk of an overdose, among other dangers.
It might be hard to believe that the little pill you took to help relieve some anxiety could lead to an addiction. But this is exactly what happens with Xanax (alprazolam) and other benzos when they are used on a prolonged basis. To learn more about Xanax and the dangers of snorting this potent drug, read on.
Xanax Abuse and Addiction
Xanax is a drug in the benzodiazepine class of sedatives. It also happens to be the most prescribed psychotropic drug in the U.S. Xanax is primarily used for the treatment of anxiety disorder and insomnia. It is not intended for long-term use.
The way that Xanax affects the brain and central nervous system helps explain its allure. It boosts the GABA brain chemicals, which slows nerve cell activity. It is also a central nervous system depressant. This equates to a fast acting drug that helps promote a calm mood state and deep relaxation.
A study reports that up to 44% of those who take Xanax regularly will develop chemical dependence or become addicted to it. With continued use, the brain makes adaptations to the constant presence of Xanax, which carves out new neural pathways. In time, with increased tolerance to the drug, it doesn’t achieve its early results and that causes more frequent dosing.
Dependence has taken root when the person has withdrawal effects after the Xanax dose wears off. Psychological addiction is present when there is a compulsive need to take Xanax, as if you cannot function without it.
Over time, some may seek new ways to increase the effects of Xanax. One of those methods is to crush the pills and snort the drug. As with any benzo, this increases the risks of overdose. In fact, in 2019 nearly 11,000 overdose deaths in the U.S. involved Xanax or other benzos.
Short-term Xanax Effects
At first, the effects of Xanax are quite pleasant. In about fifteen minutes, the smooth sense of calm kicks in and makes the person feel very relaxed. But with prolonged use of Xanax, some adverse effects begin to show up. These include:
- Memory problems.
- Extreme drowsiness.
- Lack of coordination.
- Mood swings.
- Trouble concentrating.
- Aggressive behavior.
- Slurred speech.
- Physical weakness.
- Difficulty making decisions.
- Symptoms of depression.
- Increased anxiety.
Dangers of Snorting Xanax
There are three main dangers related to snorting Xanax:
- Increased risk of addiction. With increased dosing, a Xanax addiction is at greater risk of developing. Snorting Xanax may cause the person to take ever-higher doses of the drug.
- Damage to nasal tissue. Snorting Xanax has a direct impact on the tissues along the nasal airways. It can cause nasal inflammation, nasal airway blockage, loss of smell, and infection of the nasal passage.
- Increased risk of overdose. The liver can only handle a certain amount of Xanax. If someone snorts a crushed 2mg Xanax it is enough to cause toxicity in the liver. Symptoms of a Xanax overdose include:
- Slowed heart rate.
- Profound confusion.
- Floppy limbs.
- Snoring or gurgling.
- Blue tinge to fingertips or lips.
- Slowed breathing.
- Being unresponsive.
Signs of Xanax Addiction or Dependence
It takes only weeks to acquire a Xanax problem. At first, the signs of addiction are not present, so the person feels safe in continuing to take the drug. But at some point these signs and symptoms of addiction will become visible:
- Lying about the Xanax problem.
- Obsessed with obtaining Xanax and looking forward to the next dose.
- Try to cut back or quit taking the Xanax but cannot.
- Doctor shopping for more refills, or buying Xanax from illicit sources.
- Physical symptoms, such as blurred vision, increased saliva, manic moods, decreased libido, constipation, feeling lightheaded, or dry mouth.
- Keep taking the Xanax even in light of negative consequences.
- Have withdrawal symptoms when Xanax wears off.
Some people may combine Xanax with alcohol. This presents a new layer to the dangers of snorting Xanax. The mixing of Xanax and alcohol creates an enhanced sedative effect. This further raises the risk of an overdose, which could result in death if it causes breathing to stop.
Xanax Detox and Withdrawal
Detox is the first step toward breaking the grip of a Xanax addiction. However, it is critical to take this step carefully. Stopping the Xanax cold turkey is very dangerous. This is true for any benzo, such as Ativan, Valium, and Klonopin. As such, a doctor should always manage the Xanax detox.
The doctor will create a tapering schedule. This means there will be gradual weaning off of the drug over about a two-week timespan. By doing a taper, much of the pain and discomfort of the detox is reduced. Xanax withdrawal symptoms include:
- Stomach cramps.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Muscle cramps.
- Hand tremors.
- Increased anxiety.
- Increased heart rate.
- Increased breathing rate.
- Rise in blood pressure.
- Jerky movements.
- Grand mal seizures.
Treatment Options for Xanax Addiction
Treatment for Xanax addiction is available in outpatient or residential settings. The more severe Xanax addictions should be treated in residential rehab.
To make lasting changes and therefore overcome the Xanax addiction it is necessary to complete a rehab program. By engaging in a menu of therapies, group sessions, 12-step programming, classes, and holistic activities it’s possible to succeed.
If you or a loved one has been snorting Xanax then a rehab program will definitely benefit you. Reach out today.
The Treatment Specialist Offers Guidance for Addiction and Mental Health Issues
The Treatment Specialist is an online resource for informative articles on mental health conditions and treatment options for adults, teens, and families. If you or a loved one is struggling with Xanax abuse or addiction, our helpful team can offer guidance. Please call us today at (866) 644-7911.