Xanax (Alprazolam) is a short-acting benzodiazepine (benzo) drug commonly prescribed to manage symptoms of anxiety, panic disorder, seizures, and insomnia. Yes, Xanax can be snorted, but it is considered abuse and can rapidly lead to addiction.
Xanax addiction can occur because of its powerful effects on the brain’s reward center. A special brain chemical called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is responsible for the inhibition of nerves, inducing feelings of physical and emotional relaxation, and well-being. Moreover, Xanax use increases GABA concentrations in the brain, which results in these effects.
When prescribed by a doctor, Xanax is most often consumed orally in tablet form and is, therefore, the most common route of abuse. Nevertheless, another method of abuse includes Xanax being crushed into a fine powder then snorted into the nose.
After inhalation, Xanax is quickly absorbed through mucous membranes in the nasal passages into the bloodstream next to the brain. Whereby oral ingestion leads to digestion of the drug first, snorting is a more direct route. Snorting Xanax expedites the onset of its effects on the central nervous system, making it an ideal means of use for those who are seeking a more intense high.
Because snorting delivers the most rapid high, the habit of snorting can quickly result in addiction.
Xanax Tolerance and Dependence
Prolonged use of Xanax can result in the development of tolerance when the brain’s chemical pathways become more desensitized to higher levels of the drug. This condition leads to the need for ever-increasing dosages to achieve and maintain the sought-after high.
As dependency develops, unpleasant and potentially painful withdrawal symptoms will ensue if the user attempts to discontinue use abruptly. The presence of withdrawal symptoms is direct evidence that the user’s central nervous system is no longer able to function normally in the absence of Xanax. These symptoms may persist for several days following the last dose, driving the user into dangerous patterns of consumption to escape these adverse effects.
Withdrawal symptoms from Xanax include the following:
- Sleep disturbances
- Rebound anxiety
- Blurred vision
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
- Impaired sense of smell
- Increased sweating
- Impaired concentration
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Numbness and tingling
- Shakiness and tremors
Increasing tolerance in conjunction with dependency often leads to addiction and, in some instances, life-threatening complications. While the dependency-withdrawal cycle is in of itself a critical health concern, snorting Xanax raises the risk of developing nose infections significantly and can cause damage to the septum, surrounding nasal tissues, sinuses, and lungs.
Addiction to Xanax occurs in stages and when a person is not only dependent on the drug but will seek out its use compulsively despite the adverse effects that the habit is causing.
Benzos are not easy to overdose on as a stand-alone drug, but can easily prove to be lethal when used with other psychoactive substances, particularly other depressant substances, such as opioids or alcohol. This is also referred to as combined drug intoxication (CDI).
According to reports from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), in 2016, there were over 63,000 drug overdose fatalities in the United States, and more than 10,000 involved the use of a benzo such as Xanax. Many deaths involving benzos were also related to the use of prescription or illicit opioids, such as heroin. In fact, nearly one third (30%) of overdoses involving opioids also involve benzodiazepines.
An overdose of Xanax, especially when used in combination with other drugs or alcohol, is considered to be a medical emergency. If you or someone you know is using Xanax and presenting with the following symptoms, please call 911 immediately:
- Profound drowsiness
- Slurred speech
- Impaired cognition
- Blurred vision
- Impaired coordination
- Shallow or labored breathing
Treatment for Addiction to Xanax
Treatment for Xanax abuse or addiction often begins with a medically-assisted detox. Throughout this process, the individual is monitored around-the-clock by medical professions for several days until withdrawal symptoms subside and the risk of significant complications has dramatically diminished.
Following detox, persons are urged to participate in an intensive, long-term residential or partial hospitalization rehab program, such as one offered by Just Believe Recovery. During treatment, individuals are provided with comprehensive, evidence-based therapies, such as behavioral therapy, individual and group therapy, counseling, group support, and experiential activities such as art and music therapy.
Following intensive treatment, individuals can benefit from aftercare planning services and outpatient treatment programs. We help former patients connect with therapists and counselors for continuing care, as well as community resources and group support meetings.
If you or someone you love is battling an addiction to Xanax, other drugs, or alcohol, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible to discuss treatment options! Find out how we help people reclaim the sober, healthy, and fulfilling lives they deserve!