Xannies. Z bars. Tranks. Handlebars. Footballs. Xanbars. No matter what they’re called on the street, Xanax is a highly addictive prescription drug that when mixed with alcohol can be lethal for teens and adults.
Xanax is a brand name for Alprazolam, which is under a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines or benzos are tranquilizers or sedatives that produce a calming effect.
They are usually prescribed for someone with anxiety, panic attacks or insomnia. However, when they are prescribed or taken for too long, not only does tolerance build up but the likelihood of addiction intensifies along with the combined use of alcohol.
Easy Access, High Risk
As a powerful sedative, Xanax has become the go-to drug to help sedate tens of millions of Americans. With approximately 12,535,978 Americans who were prescribed Xanax in 2013, the anti-anxiety drug is everywhere and only increasing in use.
Approximately 2.2 million people over the age of 12 abuse tranquilizers such as Xanax. About 1 in 11 seniors in high school have abused tranquilizers in their lifetime, according to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.
It’s no surprise that teens are experimenting with Xanax and combining it with alcohol to have a lasting effect. As one of the most commonly prescribed drugs, teens can easily get a hold of Xanax from their doctors, peers at school, and their family’s or friend’s medicine cabinets.
Effects of Xanax and Alcohol
Xanax increases the calming effect on the brain that we get from the neurotransmitter, GABA. It slows the excitement in the brain and sedates or calms those who are anxious or can’t sleep. Once Xanax is ingested, it depresses the central nervous system and affects the brain much like alcohol.
Benzodiazepines in general metabolize quickly in the body and their effect lasts for about 12 to 15 hours and often kicks in within 15 minutes. Once it wears off, it’s easy to become dependent on it. Since both Xanax and alcohol are depressants, the effects from alcohol are increased. When these two forces combine, the side effects are extremely harmful.
Teens who combine Xanax with alcohol might experience the following side effects along with withdrawal symptoms:
Physical Side effects of Xanax and Alcohol
- Loss of short-term memory
- Feeling of being drunk
- Brain atrophy
- Slurred speech
Psychological Side Effects of Xanax and Alcohol
- Violent behavior
- Suicidal ideation
Withdrawal Symptoms from Xanax
- Increased anxiety (worse than before)
- Memory impairment
Xanax is the strongest of all benzodiazepines, which is about 10 to 20 times more potent than Valium. Teens may think that prescription drugs are more harmless than illicit drugs, but often the abuse of Xanax can cause a fatal overdose.
Ways to Monitor Your Prescription Drugs
If you’re a parent with a teen who is experimenting with prescription drugs, there is something you can do. Some helpful ways to monitor your prescription drugs is to have an open discussion with your teen about prescription drugs, and keep track of how many pills are used daily.
If you are worried that your teen might be abusing your prescription drugs and drinking alcohol, the best thing to do is to enroll them in a residential drug treatment program as soon as possible.
If your teen is abusing Xanax and alcohol, find help today by calling us at (844)319-5239 or chat now. Our admissions counselors are glad to answer any questions you may have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.