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The darling of the benzodiazepine family of prescription sedatives is Xanax, a fast acting drug with almost immediate calming effects. With the crazy hectic lifestyle most adults live, navigating the compounding demands of childrearing and work, it is not surprising that anxiety levels have ratcheted skyward in recent years. Enter Xanax, the most heavily prescribed of the benzo family with over 49 million scripts written in 2011, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The problem with this little miracle stress-reducer is its high tendency to lead to addiction or dependency. The addictive potential of the drug are stoked by its swift effects, which begin to create a reflex response in the individual. Reaching for a Xanax every time one feels the least bit ruffled can quickly evolve into addiction. Over time, as tolerance climbs, so does the number of pills swallowed, potentially leading to Xanax dependency.
There is a tendency to use Xanax alongside alcohol, which can have serious consequences. Both substances have a depressant effect on the central nervous system, increasing the risk of overdose. The risk for Xanax and alcohol overdose happens when someone either inadvertently takes more of the two substances than their body can handle, or if someone uses the drug as a means to end their life. Understanding the dangers of Xanax and alcohol overdose symptoms is essential if an individual has been prescribed the drug.
Xanax, the brand name for alprazolam, is a benzodiazepine commonly prescribed for conditions such as anxiety and panic disorder. Xanax works by intensifying the GABA neurotransmitters and depressing activity in the central nervous system, causing the individual to feel less excitable and to experience a sense of calm. The drug is intended to be used only when the individual is feeling acute symptoms of anxiety or panic, not as a long-term regular panacea for numbing the stresses of life.
Unfortunately, it is so successful at producing a sense of tranquility that the brain’s reward system remembers the positive response and establishes a connection between the Xanax and pleasure. The individual, when facing another stressful situation, remembers the relief they experienced with Xanax the first time and will reach for it again. But because tolerance to the effects of Xanax increase so rapidly, it isn’t long before that original dose doesn’t suffice, leading to increased dosage.
How Does Xanax and Alcohol Overdose Happen?
Xanax and alcohol overdose can happen whether the poly-substances are being used together. The individual taking Xanax as prescribed for occasional short-term relief is not in danger of overdose, but few can remain disciplined with the drug. Tolerance leads to more excessive use, and the individual may simply lose track of how many pills they have taken in a given period. Depending on their weight and size, the excessive dosage can overpower their body’s ability to metabolize the drug, and overdose occurs.
Others may overdose on Xanax as a result of combining it with alcohol or other depressants. Because Xanax causes the heart rate and respiratory rate to slow, adding another depressant can result in overdose.
Some may abuse Xanax by obtaining the higher dosed pill forms, the oblong-shaped pills known on the street as “planks” or “bars. These potent pills are short-acting, with the buzz only lasting about 15 minutes, so people abusing the drug may lose track of how many they have consumed, and overdose.
Sadly, some individuals may intentionally overdose on Xanax in an attempt to end their lives. In these cases, the individual may use a huge number of the pills in order to achieve death.
What are the Dangers of Xanax and Alcohol Overdose Symptoms?
Because of the powerful effects of Xanax and alcohol on the central nervous system, the reduced respiratory rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and heart rate can be overwhelmed if too high a concentration of the drug is in the body. Certain factors can affect this situations, including the age of the individual, their hydration level, their BMI, what they ate that day, and their gender.
Xanax and alcohol overdose symptoms include:
- Shallow or stopped breathing
- Gurgling sounds, or snoring
- Blue-tinged finger tips or lips
- Floppy limbs or muscle weakness
- Loss of balance
- Mental confusion and disorientation
- Unresponsive to stimuli
Treating Xanax and Alcohol Overdose
When a Xanax overdose has occurred it is considered a emergency and immediate intervention is necessary. The responders will assess the individual’s status and possibly pump the stomach, known as gastric lavage. Fluids may be introduced through an I.V. line, and flumazenil, an antidote for Xanax, may be given.
Treatment for Xanax Addiction
Someone struggling with a Xanax addiction or dependency needs professional treatment to learn how to overcome the addictive response they have acquired for dealing with stress. The maladaptive response of using the Xanax must be replaced with different coping skills and stress management techniques.
Before beginning therapy, however, the individual will need to undergo a step-down drug-tapering schedule in a residential detox. Abruptly stopping the use of any benzodiazepine, including Xanax, can cause serious health risks, which is why accessing a detox professional is the essential first step in recovery.
After detox is completed, the individual will work closely with therapists who can teach them relaxation strategies to help them manage stress moving forward. These strategies might include deep breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation, yoga, massage therapy, and art therapy. In addition, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective form of psychotherapy that helps individuals shift their unhealthy response to reach for a Xanax when triggered by stress to a healthy new behavioral response.
Capo By the Sea Provides Effective Treatment for Xanax Addiction
Capo By the Sea is an elite drug and alcohol rehab situated in Orange County, California. Amid a beautiful, serene setting, an individual battling Xanax addiction can find relief from the grip of this dangerous drug, or the poly-drug use of Xanax with alcohol, at our premier rehabilitation center. Offering ly supervised detox and customized treatment, the dedicated therapists at Capo By the Sea provide the most current treatment methods available. With top-notch accommodations, a stunning coastal location, and luxury spa-like amenities, Capo By the Sea is the perfect choice for someone needing to overcome Xanax dependency. For more information about Xanax and overdose symptoms, please contact Capo By the Sea today at 888-529-2114