Benzodiazepines are medications that produce a sedative effect by triggering an increased release of GABA in the brain. Activity in areas of the brain that control memory, rational thought, and emotional responses are also decreased – making this alone a primary one of the dangers of Xanax abuse.
GABA, which is short for gamma-aminobutyric acid, decreases activity in certain areas of the brain.When a benzodiazepine is consumed, a person’s essential functions (e.g. breathing, heart rate) slow down. This is why people who use benzodiazepines like Xanax experience feelings of sedation and relaxation.
For anxiety disorders and sleep problems, Xanax can be a life-saver when used as prescribed. It can help restore people’s quality of life. However, Xanax is an extremely addictive drug. Anyone, regardless of race, class, or sexual orientation, can get hooked on it in just a matter of days.
Xanax addiction is highly dangerous and it often leads to serious mental, physical, and emotional consequences. Unfortunately, many of those consequences are irreversible, such as fatal overdose.
Dangers of Xanax
There exists a common misconception that prescription drugs are safe because they are provided by a healthcare professional. Prescription drugs like Xanax, while beneficial in many ways when taken as prescribed, can be extremely dangerous. Someone who is addicted to Xanax will experience that many more of the dangers of Xanax abuse, and more frequently than a casual user.
When Xanax enters the brain, it alters the way that the brain functions. This is the case for all types of addictive substances. When exposed to drugs/alcohol regularly, the brain starts to operate differently. The structural changes that the brain undergoes is what causes the disease of addiction to develop.
As previously mentioned, Xanax influences GABA in the brain, allowing for sedative effects to develop. A particularly pronounced danger lately comes from combining opiates with Xanax and other benzodiazepines, a growing factor in overdose deaths. When a Xanax addiction is occurring, the GABA in the brain becomes reliant on Xanax in order to function. As users continue to abuse Xanax, the physical need to do so gets stronger.
Xanax addiction often leads to several physical risks that can comprise your overall health and wellbeing. Some of the most common physical dangers of Xanax addiction include:
- Changes in the structure of the brain
- Increased risk for heart attack
- Weakened immune system
- Greater risk for developing cancer
- Sexual dysfunction
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Liver damage
Continued abuse of Xanax can lead to these and other physical effects. Arguably the most dangerous physical effects associated with Xanax addiction develop when you are in withdrawal. Unlike most other types of drug withdrawal, benzodiazepine withdrawal can be fatal. There exists a risk for seizures, high blood pressure, and stroke when your withdraw from Xanax. Plus, seizures are dually-risky, as death can result from a fall that occurs during the seizure. It is never recommended to withdraw from Xanax on your own. Going through the process of professional detox can ensure your safety.
As mentioned before, Xanax can help treat serious psychological disorders like anxiety and sleep problems. But when Xanax is abused to the point where an addiction develops, it is not helpful at all. In fact, Xanax addiction has the potential to cause symptoms associated with mental illness to develop, another of the dangers of Xanax abuse.
Anxiety and depression are two of the top mental illnesses that you can experience as a result of your addiction. You might already have one depression and/or anxiety, or you may develop it because of your addiction.
Either way, the presence of depression and anxiety can be extremely upsetting. If you do not obtain professional care for these or other mental illnesses, you are at risk for relapsing or continuing to abuse Xanax.
Other psychological dangers that may occur as a result of Xanax addiction include:
- Sleep problems (e.g. insomnia)
- Poor memory
- Cognitive setbacks
- Inability to concentrate
- Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
The psychological effects that you can experience because of your Xanax addiction can set the stage for further issues. For example, problems concentrating can affect your work performance. Sleep disorders like insomnia can weaken your resolve because of the exhaustion you experience. The continuation of Xanax addiction can make these and other effects more severe.
Xanax has the ability to completely alter your inner workings, including your emotional health. As long as you are abusing Xanax, the emotional turmoil you can experience can be dangerous in many ways. Although less well-known than the physical symptoms, this can be an even greater one of the dangers of Xanax abuse. Consider the following:
- Increased interpersonal conflict — Your Xanax addiction can cause you to have mood swings, struggle with patience, and stay self-involved. As a result of those characteristics, you are likely to bump heads with your friends, family, and loved ones. Your relationships with them can deteriorate and bonds can be broken.
- Avoidance of emotional trauma — Most people turn to the use of drugs like Xanax to mask their emotional trauma. If you are using for that reason, you will only make things worse. The emotional issues you have can easily become agitated and more pronounced, leading to further drug abuse. The more you use, the more intense these issues become and the more you put your life in jeopardy.
- Ceased emotional development — Abusing any drug, including Xanax, affects your emotional development. In fact, it can stop your brain from developing/functioning in ways that support emotional growth. This is why many people who get sober find that they have a great deal of catching up to do.
With Xanax addiction can come deep, pervasive sadness that can continue to remain with you even if you get sober. Plus, you are at risk for experiencing depression and/or anxiety as a result of your use. These mental illnesses are commonly associated with suicidal ideations and behaviors, as well as continued substance abuse.
Do You Need Professional Help?
If you are struggling with a Xanax or any other addiction, know that you are not alone. You do not need to continue using, even if you feel like there is no way out. With our help, you can overcome your active addiction. Recovery is just a call away.
So, do not wait any longer to reach out for the help that you deserve. Call Circle of Hope right now. We can help.