Xanax Abuse Dangers
For people with anxiety disorders, Xanax is remarkably helpful. During an episode of anxiety, electrical activity deep within the brain spikes, causing the person to feel yet more nervous and out of control. Xanax can dampen these electrical signals, bringing about an artificial sensation of calm and release.
Some teens have a legitimate need for Xanax, because they live with anxiety disorders on a daily basis. But there are some teens who come to Xanax via a completely different route.
In a study of the issue in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, researchers found that users ages 13-18 claimed that they needed benzodiazepines like Xanax because they had mental health issues, but these teens didn’t get their drugs from doctors. They got their drugs from family members instead. They went to their mothers, in most cases, and got pills for symptoms they felt they couldn’t live with.
Family members tend to know one another quite well. But these caring family members may not have medical backgrounds, and they may not understand the risks involved with providing medications like Xanax. As a result, a mother might easily provide a teen with a much too large dose of Xanax, which could spark a feeling of euphoria. That could lead to addiction.
Similarly, some teens access Xanax through friends in party situations. These friends may have no idea what a proper dose might be, or how the drug might work, so they might again provide a dose that can spark euphoria. When that happens, an addiction might follow.
Teens who develop a taste for Xanax may become tolerant to the drug’s effects. They may find that they need to take larger and larger doses to bring about euphoria. In time, they may look for ways to get the Xanax into their bodies faster, so they can almost guarantee a euphoric response. Injection can seem like a reasonable solution, as it puts Xanax in contact with the brain quite quickly, but Xanax pills are filled with ingredients that shouldn’t go into the bloodstream. According to the Upjohn Company, inactive Xanax ingredients include:
- Corn starch
- Silicon dioxide
- Sodium benzoate
A user injecting Xanax could develop blocked blood vessels, as these ingredients just don’t break down in the blood. Those blockages could lead to abscesses, infections, and pain. In addition, research from Britain suggests that Xanax and medications like it can cause a form of brain damage. That’s information researchers discovered 30 years ago, according to news reports, but it’s only coming to light right now. Teens who abuse these drugs could experience intellectual losses that stick with them for years, and it’s all due to drugs these teens might think are safe to abuse.
Addictions to any drug can also cause a number of serious consequences that can reverberate throughout a teen’s life. It’s hard to complete classes, develop person-to-person skills, participate in a family, and otherwise learn to navigate the adult world when a teen is nursing an addiction. The drive for Xanax takes over, and the rest of the teen’s life can suffer.
Seeing the Signs
Some teens with a Xanax addiction are open and honest about the need for help. These teens recognize that the drug is causing harm, and they head to family members for advice and/or coaching about how they should handle the problem. Any teen who asks for help should be taken seriously, and that conversation should be quickly followed by admission into a qualified treatment program.
But teens who don’t speak openly may exhibit a variety of signs parents can look for and act on. Mayo Clinic suggests that these are a few common side effects of Xanax use that outsiders might notice:
Teens who abuse Xanax may also struggle to keep a supply of drugs at hand. Desperate teens might resort to stealing to get the medication, or they might sell off their possessions in order to buy more drugs. Teens with an addiction need understanding, not punishment. These addictions can be terrifying to a teen, and it’s vital that these young people understand that there is a solution available to them. That solution is treatment.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that young people with addictions are often terrified of what sobriety might feel like. That’s especially true of teens with a Xanax abuse history. This drug can change brain chemistry to such a degree that teens can grow violently ill when they try to get sober. A teen with a DIY sobriety attempt in the past can become convinced that sobriety means death.
Detox can help. Here, teens have access to medical teams that can provide tapering medications. Teens won’t go through a cold-turkey attempt at sobriety. Instead, they’ll slowly grow sober over a period of weeks or months. With this approach, the risk of sobriety illness is lessened and the chances of recovery can grow. It’s ideal for teens with Xanax addictions.
Counseling and therapy can also help teens with Xanax addictions. In sessions, they have the opportunity to focus exclusively on why they took drugs in the past and why they might be tempted to do so in the future. There’s no blame or attacking in a therapy session. It’s a safe place for teens to be completely open and honest about everything they think, feel, and want. The relationship between a teen and a counselor can be intense and nourishing, and it can help a teen to feel strong enough to attack the addiction at the source.
Every teen with a Xanax addiction will have separate triggers and separate goals, but they might also have a great deal of shared attributes. Teens with these addictions might understand one another at a deep level, and they might be able to support one another in a way that outsiders never could. Therapists can use this advantageously by performing group therapies.
Skill-building sessions allow teens with Xanax addictions to strengthen thought patterns and behaviors that can lead to relapse. In peer groups, teens can learn together, support one another, and practice with one another. For teens with years of history of isolation behind them, this can be a transformative experience.
At Next Generation Village, counselors use a combination of individual therapy and group therapy to help teens overcome an addiction issue. Specialized treatment ensures that teens get the targeted help they need for their addictions, and unique programming helps teens to build up skills in almost every single area of life. Enrollment is quick and easy, and there are operators standing by to help.
If your child is dealing with a Xanax abuse problem, or if you’re a teen and you know you need help for yourself, get in touch to begin your journey to recovery today. There’s always someone to answer.
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Medical Disclaimer: Next Generation Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.