Snorting Xanax – Side Effects and Dangers
Xanax is the trade name for alprazolam, a sedative/hypnotic drug that’s used to reduce anxiety, relieve panic attacks, prevent seizures and promote sleep. Alprazolam is also prescribed to reduce the symptoms of acute alcohol withdrawal, such as agitation and convulsions.
Xanax consistently appears on the list of the most commonly prescribed medications in the country, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. When taken orally under a healthcare provider’s supervision, Xanax has legitimate medical applications as an anti-anxiety, anti-seizure drug. But when Xanax is abused, especially when it’s snorted and taken along with other drugs that depress the central nervous system, alprazolam can have dangerous side effects, including respiratory suppression, overdose, coma and death.
*Is Xanax Abuse on the Rise?
Statistics from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration indicate that the number of Americans ages 12 and older who are abusing Xanax increased between 1998 and 2008:
- In 1998, the percentage of substance abuse treatment admissions related to benzodiazepines was 1.3 percent.
- In 2008, the percentage rose to 3.2 percent.
- About 22,400 people were admitted for treatment for benzo abuse in 1998.
- Over 60,000 were admitted for treatment in 2008.
Xanax abuse is part of a growing trend in prescription drug abuse across the country, affecting teens and adults alike.
Dangers of Recreational Use
Available in tablet form, alprazolam is intended to be taken by mouth in small doses. To prevent chemical dependence and addiction, it is typically prescribed for short periods of time or on an as-needed basis. Because Xanax acts almost immediately to calm anxiety and prevent seizure activity, it is highly effective as a sedative. Recreational users are drawn to the calming effects of Xanax, which slows down brain activity and alters the brain’s production of the chemicals that affect your sense of well-being.
Xanax can be found in a lot of medicine cabinets around the US, which means that it’s readily available to teens and adults who don’t have a prescription for the medication. Like other benzodiazepines, Xanax can be ground up and snorted to intensify its effects. But snorting this central nervous system depressant can have dangerous side effects, including:
- Damage to the delicate tissues of the nasal passages, with the potential for permanent harm to the internal structures of the nose
- Physical and psychological dependence on the drug
- Depression and an increased risk of suicide
- Suppression of breathing and heart rate
- Liver and kidney damage
Snorting the drug accelerates its effects on the brain, heightening the risk of a fatal overdose. To make matters worse, many recreational users snort Xanax in combination with other drugs that slow down the central nervous system, such as alcohol, prescription painkillers, methadone or heroin. According to Drugs.com, Xanax is usually prescribed for no longer than two to four weeks because of its high abuse potential.
Getting Help for Xanax Addiction
If you’ve become dependent on Xanax to function physically and mentally, trying to stop on your own could cause severe side effects. Suddenly discontinuing Xanax can cause headaches, anxiety, agitation, nausea, vomiting and a rapid heart rate. In users who have been snorting large doses of the drug for a long period of time, withdrawing from Xanax can cause life-threatening seizures.
To get over Xanax safely and effectively, contact a drug abuse treatment facility that specializes in treating benzodiazepine addiction. Under the supervision of qualified addiction professionals, you can avoid the serious consequences of Xanax withdrawal. Through the support of your treatment team and your peers in recovery, you can regain control over your life. Contact us for advice and referrals to the top exclusive addiction treatment facilities in your area.