It is a sedative for the Central Nervous System (CNS) that falls into the category of drugs known as benzodiazepines.
This category includes tranquilizers such as Ativan, Valium, and Librium. Xanax is prescribed by licensed doctors and is classified as a category IV controlled substance. Manufacturers recommend Xanax for the treatment of tension, nervousness, and panic attacks.
Benzodiazepines are under public investigation mainly because of their highly addictive properties. When these drugs were originally developed (Xanax was patented in 1969), the pharmaceutical manufacturers declared that they were not habit-forming or that they were not addictive, but experience has shown that these are some of the most addictive medications on the market. It is estimated that three million people in the United States have used benzodiazepines daily for periods of at least one year.
On the street, Xanax is known by the following names:
- * Bars,
- * Stairs, and
- * Yellow Trucks
The fact that an estimated three million people have been taking benzodiazepines daily for more than a year indicates that patients should be more aware, and be more careful not to follow doctors’ suggestions blindly when they recommend and prescribe psychoactive medications. This statistic also demonstrates how doctors ignore recommended prescribed information about medicines such as Xanax, since the Federal Secretariat of Drugs recommends that Xanax be prescribed for periods of less than eight weeks for the treatment of panic attacks and anxiety.
As with many psychiatric drugs, the defense and original presentation to establish its effectiveness was made by the pharmaceutical company Upjohn (now part of the Pfizer company) and was based on reports from third parties compiled by psychiatrist David Sheehan who said that Xanax helped patients suffering from panic attacks, even though previous research had established that benzodiazepines had little or no effect on panic disorders. The pharmaceutical company Upjohn paid Dr. Sheehan for his “research” that helped persuade the government to approve Xanax. The Xanax, and to a lesser degree the Valium, not only cause a feeling of relaxation, but initially cause a feeling of euphoria and enthusiasm, or a period of high activity followed by an artificial feeling of relaxation. Many people have reported that after having been taking Xanax for one to two weeks, they began to manifest physical symptoms of withdrawal, mainly headaches that were only removed by taking more medication.
This potential addiction is stronger with Xanax than with any other benzodiazepines. However, the DEA (Agency of the United States Department of Justice that requires compliance with drug and drug regulations) under the Controlled Substances Act classifies drugs according to their potential medical benefit in relation to their potential for abuse. and of addiction on a Class I scale, considered highly addictive as heroin, up to Class V. Xanax and the other benzodiazepines are classified as Class IV, which are drugs that have low potential for abuse, have medical therapeutic acceptance and they have a limited risk of physical or psychological dependence. Addiction professionals report that benzodiazepines are so addictive, both physically and psychologically as painkillers (opiates) derived from opium and other Class II narcotics. In some ways Xanax is more problematic than opioid-based painkillers (opiates) in that stopping suddenly can cause seizures, requiring medical help for withdrawal while withdrawing opiates is painful, but is not medically dangerous.
Xanax is so easily prescribed to relieve joint stress and lack of sleep, there have been many older patients who have become addicted to their medicine “for nerves” inadvertently and when they try to leave they discover that their original complaints are now greater.
Everyone should read and understand the side effects of any psychoactive medication before accepting a prescription, to make sure that the outcome of the treatment implementation is not going to be worse than the original discomfort.
The following are documented side effects of Xanax:
- * Eruptions
- * Respiratory problems
- * Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, and throat
- * Drowsiness
- * Decreased inhibition (lack of fear when facing dangerous activities)
- * Hallucinations, emotional disturbances, and hostility
- * Hyperactivity
- * Dizziness, swirling, and fainting
- * Fewer urine than usual, or no urine
- * Headaches, fatigue, joint pain, and unusual weakness (flu-like symptoms)
- * Problems with speech
- * Total memory loss (amnesia), and concentration problems
- * Changes in appetite (including weight gain)
- * Blurred vision, instability, and clumsiness (decreased coordination and balance)
- * Decreased sexual desire
- * Dry mouth, or increased production of saliva
- * Nervousness, restlessness, lack of sleep, and sweating
- * Strong or rapid heart palpitations (panic attacks)
- * Inflammation of the skin
- * Muscle bridging, tremors, and fits (convulsions)
The list of side effects should stop anyone from risking the thought that Xanax could be beneficial. However, people who are addicted to benzodiazepines or who are withdrawing from other medications will take that risk to relieve themselves sooner, only to realize that they have now increased their addiction problems.