Xanax abuse as a party drug continues to rise each year. Xanax is a prescription medication typically prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders. Xanax is from a class of similar drugs known as benzodiazepines, which together account for some of the most commonly prescribed medications.
Xanax, however, also has a high potential for abuse due to its calming and euphoric effects, which mimic alcohol. Like all drugs of abuse, long-term Xanax use comes with several long-term consequences.
One of the most pronounced side effects of Xanax is blackouts or the complete loss of memory over the given time period of intoxication. Even worse, those who abuse Xanax over long periods of time may lose memory of entire gaps of their lives, from days to weeks to even months.
Long-term repeated use of Xanax (and other benzodiazepines) leads to a physical dependence on the drug. Stopping its use can cause a much more severe rebound anxiety, plus physical withdrawal from the drug. This makes the user a slave to the substance.
Constant use of Xanax causes the brain to counteract its effects by shutting off the GABA receptors in which it binds to. This change leads to tolerance; meaning more of the drug is required for the same effect. Over the long-term, this change in the brain chemistry can take quite a while to change back to normal.
Long-term Xanax abusers with benzodiazepine dependence experience a severe withdrawal [link to Xanax withdrawal blog] that can be fatal in some cases. The withdrawal symptoms include severe rebound anxiety, tremors, sleep disturbances, headaches, and seizures that can be life-threatening.
Long-term cognitive effects
Long-term Xanax use can cause serious cognitive problems that remain long after the chronic use has stopped. These include long-term and short-term memory problems, attention problems, and other difficulties. These symptoms may improve in approximately six months, or in some cases remain permanent.
This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783.