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Xanax is a benzodiazepine prescribed to relieve severe anxiety that has a high risk for addiction if it is not taken according to instructions. Available in tablet or liquid form, Xanax tablets are increasingly being crushed and snorted by addicts who crave more immediate, heightened effects.
Inhaling crushed Xanax delivers the drug rapidly to your brain via the nasal cavity, into the blood stream and onto the brain. Instead of being processed through the digestive system, it essentially goes right to the brain’s GABA receptors. In fact, this method triples the sensation of euphoria and sedation within several minutes of taking the drug.
- Doing this can lead to higher tolerance, quicker physical dependency on this powerful sedative and serious withdrawal effects that could be dangerous to the health of an addict.
Unfortunately for addicts, the Xanax “high” achieved by inhaling it does not last as long as the high achieved when swallowing tablets whole. This is why doing Xanax in this way increases the risk of quickly developing tolerance to its effects and the need to take larger amounts more often.
Inhaling Xanax through nose can makes someone feel sedated, and cause some of the following side effects;
- Joint aches and pains
- Slowed heart and breathing rates
- Possible visual hallucinations (when the amount snorted borders on an overdose)
- Suicide ideation
- Loss of consciousness
- Shock/stopped breathing/coma
Physical dangers of inhaling Xanax regularly are similar to the physical harm caused by snorting cocaine. These include frequent nosebleeds due to erosion of nasal cavity tissues, throat irritation/ulcers and development of seizures in long-term Xanax addictions. Users severely addicted to Xanax could permanently lose feeling in their throat, in their nose and around their nose. Inadvertently swallowing small amounts of crushed Xanax tablets while snorting the drug over a long period can also produce serious gastrointestinal irritation, bleeding ulcers and esophageal erosion.
People addicted to Xanax will suffer withdrawal symptoms more severe than those who swallow Xanax tablets whole. This is because the brain receives the drug in its pure form instead of in a slightly diluted form following digestion and dispersion into the bloodstream.
Xanax abusers who abruptly stop can expect to experience the following withdrawal symptoms within a short time, often within several hours of abstinence:
- Anxiety/panic/extreme irritability
- Uncontrollable trembling/muscle tremors
- Nausea and vomiting
- Heart palpitations/arrhythmia
- Joint/muscle pain and stiffness
- Chills and fever
- Hallucinations/psychotic episodes
- Dangerous suppression of breathing/heart rate
Anyone who abuses Xanax should not attempt to stop “cold turkey”. Detoxification should be completed in a medically supervised environment, followed by supportive care and individual counseling to help addicts deal with their addiction successfully and avoid relapse.
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