The Rise Of Xanax: Understanding Its Popularity And Dangers

September 20, 2023
5 mins read
Xanax Addiction: The Truth About The Risks of Xanax Use
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Last Updated on September 20, 2023 by Randy Withers, LCMHC

In today’s fast-paced, anxiety-ridden world, Xanax, also known by its generic name alprazolam, has risen to an almost iconic status. It has infiltrated not just the medical sphere but also popular culture, appearing in lyrics, social media posts, and casual conversations.

Primarily prescribed as a short-term treatment for anxiety disorders and panic attacks, Xanax has garnered a large following of devoted users who vouch for its effectiveness.

However, the soaring popularity of Xanax also invites a deeper investigation into its potentially harmful aspects—chiefly, its addictive nature and the risk of adverse effects. 

In this discussion, we aim to delve deeply into the multi-faceted character of Xanax by examining its widespread use, therapeutic and recreational effects, inherent risks, and the telltale signs of Xanax addiction.

Xanax Addiction: The Truth About The Risks of Xanax Use
Xanax Addiction: The Truth About The Risks of Xanax Use

What Exactly Is Xanax?

Xanax is a pharmaceutical medication categorized under the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. This category of medications interacts with the central nervous system, specifically the neurotransmitter GABA, to induce a calming effect on the brain and body.

Physicians typically prescribe Xanax for patients grappling with various forms of anxiety, panic disorders, and occasionally insomnia. By depressing neural activity, Xanax helps to alleviate symptoms, letting the individual experience a greater sense of calm and relaxation.

What Does Taking Xanax Actually Feel Like?

If you’ve ever wondered, “What does Xanax feel like?”, this blog will shed some much needed light on the uses and dangers of the substance.

For many users, Xanax offers a sense of profound relaxation, drowsiness, and sometimes even a kind of euphoric high. For individuals who live with constant anxiety or recurrent panic attacks, the effect of Xanax can feel like a temporary but much-needed escape—a lifeline that helps them regain control over their lives, even if just briefly. 

This calming experience is one of the primary reasons why both legitimate users and recreational abusers are drawn to the drug.

The Factors Behind Xanax’s Meteoric Rise In Popularity

There are multiple reasons for Xanax’s high profile in both the medical and social spheres. 

  • First and foremost, the modern era’s relentless pace has contributed to a widespread increase in anxiety and stress, making a larger segment of the population seek out effective treatments. 
  • Secondly, the drug’s quick-acting nature makes it incredibly appealing. A single Xanax pill can start affecting the user within just 15 minutes, offering almost immediate relief from distressing symptoms. 
  • Additionally, the feeling it provides—often described as calming and euphoric—has led to numerous mentions in pop culture, further boosting its popularity.

Unveiling The Shadows: The Dangerous Side Of Xanax

While the allure of Xanax is considerable, it’s crucial to understand its darker side. Side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, and impaired coordination are common, increasing the risk of accidents. 

Moreover, Xanax poses a severe risk for abuse and dependency. When combined with other substances like alcohol or opioids, it can lead to life-threatening situations, such as respiratory failure, coma, or even death.

The Fine Line Between Short-Term Use And Long-Term Dependency

Xanax is designed for short-term treatment, with most medical guidelines suggesting that it should not be used for more than a few weeks at a time. However, continued use can quickly lead to the body developing a tolerance, requiring increasingly larger doses to achieve the same calming effect. 

This cycle often spirals into a long-term dependency, accompanied by a series of withdrawal symptoms like nausea, increased anxiety, and in severe cases, seizures.

Recognizing The Warning Signs Of Xanax Addiction

Recognizing addiction early is crucial for effective intervention. Signs of a potential addiction include:

  • Taking larger doses than what is prescribed or using without any prescription.
  • Experiencing intense withdrawal symptoms like nausea and shaking when the drug wears off.
  • A noticeable decline in performance at work, school, or in social situations.
  • An increasing obsession with obtaining and consuming Xanax.
  • Failure to quit taking Xanax even after acknowledging its negative impacts on one’s life.

The Economic Impact: A Lucrative Market With Social Costs

As Xanax’s popularity continues to soar, it has become a lucrative market for pharmaceutical companies. However, the economic benefits for these corporations come with significant social costs. The strain on healthcare systems, including treatment for overdoses and addiction, is climbing. 

Furthermore, the illegal market for Xanax has exploded, increasing instances of criminal activity and unsafe, counterfeit versions of the drug circulating in the community.

The Role Of Social Media And Pop Culture

One cannot ignore the influence of social media and pop culture in the rise of Xanax’s popularity. On one hand, celebrity endorsements and mentions in music lyrics have glamorized the drug, contributing to its recreational use and abuse. 

On the other hand, open discussions on platforms like Twitter and Reddit also provide valuable user experiences that may inform potential users about the risks involved. It’s a double-edged sword where information and misinformation coexist, impacting public perception and use of the drug.

The Impact On Family and Friends: The Ripple Effect Of Addiction

The adverse effects of Xanax use do not exist in a vacuum. Family members and close friends often find themselves in the crosshairs, dealing with the emotional and sometimes financial burdens that come with supporting an addicted individual. Xanax addiction can strain relationships, erode trust, and lead to broader familial and social issues. 

Interventions, therapy, and constant worry become part and parcel of life for those closely connected to someone grappling with Xanax addiction.

Xanax Addiction, Side Effects and Withdrawal Explained

What To Do If You Suspect Addiction

If you or someone you know displays symptoms of Xanax addiction, the immediate step is to consult a healthcare provider for accurate diagnosis and guidance. Detoxification from Xanax is a delicate process that should never be attempted without professional medical supervision. 

Severe withdrawal symptoms can include life-threatening seizures, making it imperative to seek expert assistance for the process.

Final Thoughts

Xanax serves as a prime example of the complexities involved in modern healthcare and social issues. While it offers potent relief from debilitating symptoms like acute anxiety and panic attacks, it also presents a labyrinth of challenges, including abuse, dependency, economic impact, social influences, and the toll on loved ones. 

As the medication continues to gain popularity, it’s more crucial than ever for both medical professionals and the general public to understand its multifaceted nature fully. Armed with the right knowledge and resources, we can collectively aim for responsible use while mitigating the risks involved. If you suspect you or someone close to you is veering towards dependency on Xanax, immediate medical advice is not just recommended; it’s vital. Your physical, emotional, and social well-being could very well depend on taking timely action.

Further Reading

  1. Xanax: Side Effects, Dangers & Long-Term Impacts: This article provides information on the short- and long-term effects of Xanax use, including addiction, overdose, and other adverse effects1.
  2. Benzodiazepines and Opioids: This resource explores the risks associated with combining benzodiazepines like Xanax with opioids2.
  3. Xanax (Alprazolam) addiction: recognition and treatment: This article discusses the dangers of Xanax addiction, including depression, delirium, psychosis, impulsivity, aggression, cognitive impairment, increased risk of dementia, and death3.
  4. A Review of Alprazolam Use, Misuse, and Withdrawal: This scholarly journal article provides an in-depth review of alprazolam’s indications for use, misuse liability, withdrawal syndrome, pharmacodynamic properties, and clinical prescription practices4.

Please note that these resources are for informational purposes only. It’s important to consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice and support if you or someone you know is struggling with Xanax use.

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Randy Withers, LCMHC

Randy Withers, LCMHC is a Board-Certified and Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor at Practical Counseling and Wellness Solutions, LLC in North Carolina. He has masters degrees in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Lenoir-Rhyne University and Education from Florida State University, and is the managing editor of Blunt Therapy. He writes about mental health, therapy, and addictions. In his spare time, you can find him watching reruns of Star Trek: TNG with his dog. Connect with him on LinkedIn. If you are a NC resident looking for a new therapist, you can book an appointment with him.

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Randy Withers, LCMHC

Reviewed for accuracy by Randy Withers, MA, NCC, LCMHC, LCAS. Licensed Therapist and Managing Editor of Blunt Therapy

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