Warning Signs of Alprazolam Abuse
Commonly known by its brand name Xanax, alprazolam belongs to the benzodiazepine class of drugs. As one of 15 different varieties of benzodiazepine drugs, alprazolam and drugs like it exist as the most often prescribed depressant medications in the United States, according to the University of Maryland.
Alprazolam produces anti-anxiety and sedative effects that work well as treatments for depression, anxiety and seizure disorders. Albeit so, the drug’s sedative properties still carry a high potential for abuse and addiction.
Whether taken as prescribed or used for recreational purposes, the potential for alprazolam abuse remains. Over time, users may start to develop warning signs of alprazolam abuse in their health and overall ability to function in daily life.
Alprazolam works by increasing the levels of GABA neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain. GABA inhibits or slows motor neuron activity, which decreases electrical activity throughout the brain.
Alprazolam’s ability to increase GABA levels accounts for its effectiveness in treating depression, anxiety and seizure disorders. The risk of alprazolam abuse increases when brain chemical processes start to rely on the effects of the drug to function normally. These developments mark the start of a growing addiction problem.
Physical Warning Signs
Physical warning signs of alprazolam abuse start to surface as the brain develop a tolerance for the drug’s effects. Tolerance level increases result when brain cells become less and less sensitive to alprazolam’s effects.
At this point, a person will start to experience withdrawal symptoms, which indicates the brain requires larger dosage amounts in order to carry out normal functions. Withdrawal symptoms typically take the form of –
- Dizzy spells
- Ongoing drowsiness
- Muscle twitches
- Coordination problems
- Slowed reflexes
Psychological Warning Signs
Alprazolam’s effects have a direct impact on central nervous system processes, so signs of alprazolam abuse will no doubt interfere with a person’s mental functions. Changes in GABA levels also affect other neurotransmitter chemical levels, some of which include –
Changes in the brain’s overall chemical make-up can cause a person to develop signs of psychological distress that take the form of –
- Manic behaviors
- Problems remembering things
- Feelings of rage
- Feeling agitated
- Aggressive tendencies
- Thoughts of suicide
Changes in Lifestyle
Over time, the effects of alprazolam abuse essentially reconfigure the brain’s chemical processes. This degree of change can alter a person’s priorities and sense of purpose to the point where noticeable changes in his or her lifestyle start to take shape –
- Problems at work or job loss
- Friendship losses
- Relationship difficulties
- Money problems
These warning signs ultimately affect a person’s quality of life, which will only get worse with continued drug use.
Since alprazolam directly affects the brain’s electrical activity, anyone considering stopping alprazolam altogether will want to consult with a doctor or treatment professional before doing so. Abruptly stopping alprazolam can send the body into withdrawal convulsions that can be life-threatening. Getting needed treatment not only reduces this risk but greatly increases your chances of breaking the addiction once and for all.
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