Xanax or alprazolam is associated with the category of drugs known as benzodiazepines. It retards the activity of chemicals in the brain which may become unstable. This drug is prescribed for the patients who are suffering from nervous tension and panic disorders. It works like a sedative causing the user to relax and feel lighter. Due to the pleasant effect that the drug produces, the dependence on Xanax escalates with extended use.
If the user consumes Xanax for longer than 2 weeks, he runs the risks of becoming an addict. The addiction of this central nervous system depressant causes grave xanax effects. In fact, an overdose can even be lethal.
- Insuppressible thoughts about the drug
The abuser is preoccupied with the thoughts of taking Xanax. He feels a strong compulsion of consuming the drug frequently and these thoughts occupy his mind during most of his waking hours. The thoughts become so potent that the abuser does not mind employing any means of getting hold of the drug.
- Loss of sense of responsibility
Xanax becomes the center point of the abuser's life. His responsibilities towards his family, career, education and himself do not matter anymore. He is only concerned about procuring the drug and taking it as per his cravings.
- Depression and aggressive behavior
One of the xanax effects is that the abuser is constantly depressed. He looks troubled and restless. He nurtures antagonistic feelings and has an angry disposition. The thoughts of causing self-injury or pain to others cross his mind frequently.
- Unhealthy skin
The skin of the abuser becomes dry and it starts peeling. He experiences a tingling sensation. The skin may appear swollen.
The abuser suffers from hallucinations and has lesser inhibitions. He takes dangerous risks. Light-headedness, dizziness and fatigue are usual xanax effects. He also suffers from insomnia.
- Changes in appetite
The appetite of the abuser is affected. He may eat more or less than usual.
Even if the abuser shows just one of the above xanax effects, he should seek medical advice as soon as possible.
- Tolerance to the drug
Consuming Xanax for more than the prescribed period allows the body to become tolerant to a particular dosage of the drug. The user does not feel the same sort of relaxation and lightness anymore. Hence, he keeps increasing the dosage with every intake but fails to experience the same euphoria that he felt in the beginning.
At this point, the abuser is totally dependent on the drug for avoiding the withdrawal symptoms which are highly painful and critical.
- Memory loss
Xanax causes loss in the memory retention ability in the abuser. He may suffer from long-term or short term loss of memory.
- Motor skills are affected
The abuser's motor skills are impaired and his movements show lack of control. He may meet with road accidents as he cannot drive properly. He may get injured in an industrial accident if he is working. He may also injure himself by falling and getting fractures.
- Alterations in the personality
The abuser starts showing carelessness in his thoughts and behavior. He demonstrates extreme confidence as he becomes narcissistic in his attitude. He overlooks precautions and the dictates of common sense. Empathy for others is noticeably reduced.
Xanax depresses the neurotransmitters that are responsible for inducing empathic feelings for others and fear in threatening circumstances. That is why the abuser is unconcerned about his safety and that of others.
- Impaired cognitive skills
Cognitive impairment is another one of the long-term xanax effects. When the drug is used for a prolonged period, even in small doses, it causes the cerebral ventricles to enlarge. The condition is called brain atrophy in which the abuser's cognitive skills are damaged.
It is important to understand that Xanax is an excessively potent drug. It produces very grave withdrawal symptoms when the user halts its intake suddenly. The symptoms have the potential of causing death. Hence, the dosage needs to be reduced slowly under medical guidance and not stopped abruptly.
The withdrawal symptoms are mostly the same ones for which the user started the consumption of Xanax in the first place. Panic, anxiety, depression, hallucinations and hypertension all become evident. However, the greatest damage that the withdrawal symptoms cause is seizures which prove fatal for the patient.
The abuser following treatment for Xanax addiction needs to understand the xanax effects on his body. He has to learn the skills of handling the cravings for the drug and desensitizing himself to those triggers that may lead to a relapse.