Last updated on August 12, 2019 – Snorting Xanax – (Alprazolam) is a short-acting benzodiazepine (benzo) medication prescribed to manage symptoms of panic disorder, general anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder. Xanax has anxiolytic effects, meaning it is a minor tranquilizer. As a benzo, Xanax carries a high risk of habit formation and abuse.
Xanax addiction occurs because of its potent effects on the reward center of the brain. A special brain chemical called GABA is responsible for inhibition of the nerves, producing feelings of mental and muscular relaxation and well-being when active. Ingesting Xanax increases GABA concentrations in the brain.
Can You Snort Xanax?
The answer is yes – when prescribed by a physician, Xanax is most often administered orally in tablet form and is, therefore, the most common method of abuse. Nevertheless, another method of abuse consists of Xanax being crushed into a fine powder then snorted intranasally.
After inhalation, Xanax is rapidly absorbed through mucous membranes lining the nasal passages into the intracranial bloodstream next to the brain. Whereas oral ingestion requires digestion first, snorting is a more direct, expedient route.
Snorting Xanax accelerates the onset of its anxiolytic effects on the nervous system, making it ideal for users who want a faster high. Since snorting delivers the most rapid high, the habit of snorting can quickly result in dependency and addiction.
While addiction itself a critical health concern, snorting Xanax also significantly increases the risk of developing nasal infections and can result in damage to the septum, neighboring nasal tissues, sinuses, and lungs.
Xanax Tolerance and Dependence
Long-term use of Xanax can lead to the development of tolerance when the chemical pathways of the brain become increasingly desensitized to higher and higher concentrations of the drug. This results in the need for ever-increasing dosages to achieve and maintain a desired high. Moreover, persistent Xanax use may produce dependence.
As dependency develops, unpleasant withdrawal symptoms ensue if the user attempts to cut back or quit altogether. Withdrawal symptoms reveal that the user’s nervous system has become incapable of normal function in the absence of Xanax. These symptoms may be endured for several days following the last dose, compelling the user into dangerous cycles of consumption to escape the adverse effects.
Withdrawal symptoms from Xanax include the following:
- Trouble sleeping
- Rebound anxiety
- Agitation and aggression
- Blurred vision
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
- Impaired sense of smell
- Increased perspiration
- Diminished concentration
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Numbness and tingling
- Uncontrollable shaking
Increasing tolerance in combination with dependency often leads to an addiction and, in many cases, life-threatening complications.
Snorting Xanax and Overdose
Benzos are not easy to overdose as a stand-alone drug, but can easily prove fatal when used with other psychoactive substances, particularly other central nervous system depressant drugs or alcohol. This is known as combined drug intoxication (CDI).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2016, there were more than 63,000 drug overdose deaths in the U.S., and more than10,000 involved the use of a benzodiazepine such as Xanax. Many deaths involving benzos also included the use of an opioid, either prescription (e.g., oxycodone) or illicit (e.g., heroin.)
An overdose of Xanax, especially when used with other drugs or alcohol, is a medical emergency. If you or someone you know is currently using or abusing Xanax and exhibiting the following symptoms, please call 911 immediately.
- Excessive drowsiness
- Blurred vision
- Impaired coordination
- Slurred speech
- Depressed respiration
Treatment for Xanax Addiction
Treatment for Xanax abuse or addiction typically begins with a medical detox or a process in which the patient is monitored 24/7 by professional staff for several days until withdrawal symptoms abate and the risk of complications has diminished.
Following detox, patients are urged to participate in an inpatient rehab program of 30 days or longer at our center. During a residential stay, patients are treated using comprehensive, evidence-based approaches such as behavioral therapy, individual and group therapy, counseling, 12-step programs and holistic activities such as yoga and music and art therapy.
After residential treatment has been completed, many patients choose to engage in intensive outpatient treatment (IOP), which provides many of the same services as residential treatment. However, IOP patients are allowed to live off-site of the center while they continue to participate in therapy and counseling several times per week. The objective of IOP is to ensure that patients receive ongoing treatment and support while transitioning back to the outside world.
Following intensive treatment, patients can benefit from our aftercare planning services, which help would-be graduates of our program locate mental health and supportive service outside of the center to help sustain lasting recovery. Former patients can also participate in alumni activities and enjoy the benefits of long-term peer support and fellowship.
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