Xanax, also known as alprazolam, is a prescription medication that’s normally used to treat anxiety, panic disorders, and insomnia.
Like any medication, Xanax is relatively safe when taken correctly, but can cause severe side effects when and if misused or abused. Unfortunately, Xanax is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the United States. In fact, between 2011 and 2016, over 26,840 deaths were related to alprazolam; it’s considered one of the top 10 drugs responsible for unintentional overdoses. The professionals at our drug and alcohol treatment center in Philadelphia share some risks of abusing these prescription drugs, particularly the danger of Xanax bars.
What Are Xanax Bars?
Xanax bars, also known as Zany bars, refer to alprazolam tablets that come in colors like white, green, or yellow. Although the green and yellow tablets are not labeled as alprazolam, they’re still called Xanax bars. Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine prescribed to patients who have anxiety or panic disorders. Like most benzos, Xanax works by attaching itself to GABA-A receptors in the brain, otherwise known as gamma-aminobutyric-acid-A. They induce a calming effect, allowing the person to relax; this is why it’s used to prescribe conditions related to anxiety.
After its initial release in 1981, it quickly became one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the US.3 It’s currently still considered an effective drug and is therefore heavily regulated by doctors. It’s not uncommon for physicians to switch patients to different medications after a certain period of time in order to prevent addiction. If anything, alprazolam is often used as a sort of bridge between one form of treatment to another, allowing the person to slowly become accustomed to a steady form of treatment that isn’t as addictive. People who fail to quit taking Xanax or begin abusing it often require a detox program to quit.
What Are the Effects of Taking Xanax Bars?
Because Xanax works quickly and powerfully, patients often develop a tolerance to it fairly quickly. As tolerance grows, the person may take a higher dosage more frequently in order to experience the same relief from their symptoms. This pattern of behavior may eventually develop into an addiction. Without prescription drug treatment, the dangerous side effects of Xanax can cause long-term damage.
The dangers of Xanax bars include:
- Slurred speech
- Lack of coordination
- Difficulty concentrating
- Risky behavior
- Memory loss
- Mood swings
- Extreme fluctuation in weight
A prescription does not mean that the drug in question is not dangerous. Even when taking prescription medications, you have to be cautious and follow the directions given to you by your doctor. Many people become addicted to Xanax because they take their family member’s or friend’s alprazolam without a prescription. Taking a medication that wasn’t prescribed to you is dangerous. People may also begin abusing Xanax by taking more pills than prescribed, injecting it, snorting it, or mixing it with other drugs or alcohol. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to Xanax bars, Banyan Treatment Centers Philadelphia offers a partial hospitalization program that can help them get sober.
Signs of a Xanax Overdose
Like many other prescription drugs, you can overdose on Xanax. One of the most common dangers of abusing Xanax bars is the possibility of overdosing. Dangerous drug interactions involving alprazolam can also increase a person’s risk of overdose. If you or someone you know takes this medication, it’s important to be aware of alprazolam overdose symptoms.
Some signs of a Xanax overdose you should look out for include:
- Floppy or weak limbs
- Physical weakness
- Blue lips or nails
- Shallow breathing
The dangers of Xanax bars often affect people who misuse or abuse them. Any form of substance abuse can be dangerous and lead to a variety of health problems.