The green Xanax bar is a 2 mg version of the generic drug alprazolam manufactured by Dava Pharmaceuticals. Unlike the white or yellow Xanax bars with three grooves dividing the medication into four sections, the green Xanax bar only has two, separating the drug into three sections, labeled S 90 3. Any other numbers embossed on the bar likely indicates it is counterfeit.
Of note, most “Xanax” bars are generics. Pfizer manufactures alprazolam using the brand name Xanax. However, its patent, enacted in 1976, has since expired, meaning the vast majority of this medication is produced and sold by other companies in less expensive, generic form.
Xanax (alprazolam) is among the most commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medications in the U.S. Although this drug is considered relatively safe when used as directed by a licensed health provider, Xanax also comes with the potential for adverse side effects, dependence, and addiction.
Note: For simplicity’s sake and the purpose of this article, the terms Xanax and alprazolam may be used interchangeably.
What Is Alprazolam?
Alprazolam is an anti-anxiety and mild sedative prescription drug that reduces activity in the central nervous system (CNS). In addition to anxiety and panic disorders, Xanax may be used to treat seizures and relieve insomnia by increasing the presence of GABA, is an inhibitory neurochemical. GABA works to decrease the excitability of neurons and the nerve signals emitted. By heightening GABA activity, Xanax effectively relieves muscle tremors and anxiety and may produce drowsiness.
When abused, some individuals use Xanax as a self-medication method and consume tablets not prescribed to them or ingest the drug in higher doses than those directed by their health provider. Others enjoy the calming sensations that Xanax induces and use it independently or in conjunction with other substances to experience euphoric feelings.
Dangers of White, Yellow, or Green Xanax Bars
As with many prescription drugs, side effects can occur even with the doctor-recommended use of Xanax. If the drug is misused above prescription doses, side effects may be more likely to occur, and they can be ever-worsened if use becomes increasingly uncontrollable.
Side effects of misusing or abusing Xanax bars can include the following:
- Impaired memory
- Slurred speech
- Impaired coordination
- Mood swings
- Appetite and weight changes
- Libido changes
- Dry mouth
The most common route used to ingest Xanax bars are orally or sublingually, the latter of which involves administering a tablet that dissolves beneath the tongue. However, some people abuse Xanax by crushing tablets and snorting the residual powder, but injection is relatively rare.
If snorted, Xanax irritates nasal tissues and can lead to nosebleeds and damage to the septum and surrounding tissues. Injection is not a standard ingestion method because Xanax bars do not readily dissolve in water. It is possible to dissolve them in a liquid alcohol-based product known as propylene glycol, but this substance can cause significant pain when injected.
Can You Overdose on Xanax?
When benzos such as Xanax are sometimes used in conjunction with other CNS depressants, such combinations can be dangerous. Alcohol, opioids, or other benzos used with Xanax can cause the nervous system to slow down to an unsafe level, leading to severely depressed breathing, extreme sedation, coma, and death.
Combing Xanax bars with CNS stimulants, such as cocaine or amphetamines, also increases overdose risk. Stimulant and depressant drugs have counteracting effects that oppose each other. The combination of increased energy and relaxation may be attractive to some. Still, it can lead people to use more of these substances, as these two types of drugs can conceal the extent of intoxication of the other.
When Xanax is used with another substance, it may not be possible to determine how much is a “safe” amount. Different drug combinations have various adverse effects, and many increase the risk of overdose when used together.
Xanax Tolerance, Dependence, and Addiction
After repeated use, Xanax can result in the development of tolerance. This condition is hallmarked by an individual’s need to increase a drug’s dose to experience the desired effects, whether it is being used for a therapeutic purpose or not. Persons with a burgeoning tolerance of alprazolam are at an increased risk of developing physical dependence and full-blown addiction.
Even when taken as directed, alprazolam has the potential to cause physical and emotional dependence. When dependence has developed, the body and brain being to require Xanax to function correctly. The individual may then encounter highly unpleasant and potentially life-threatening withdrawal effects when they try to discontinue the medication. For this reason, healthy providers generally recommend tapering or weaning off of Xanax rather than abruptly stopping use “cold turkey.”
Tolerance and dependence are often soon accompanied by addiction. Addiction consists of both of these components but is also characterized by the compulsive desire to obtain and use a substance despite having incurred adverse consequences. When a person abuses Xanax, their brain chemistry begins to be adversely altered. Although the brain produces GABA naturally, using Xanax for a prolonged period can cause the brain to create less of this vital neurotransmitter to counteract the drug’s effects.
Signs of Alprazolam Abuse, Dependence, or Addiction
If someone abuses Xanax or becomes addicted, they risk severe consequences to their life and health. As noted, addiction to Xanax can promote a reassignment of priorities aligned with developing a compulsive need to obtain and use the drug.
Signs that an individual is abusing, dependent upon, or addicted to alprazolam include the following:
- Buying or stealing tablets or bars not prescribed to them
- Stealing items to sell to fund drug use
- Doctor-shopping, or seeking out and obtaining multiple prescriptions of Xanax from different health providers or pharmacies
- Losing interest in social obligations in favor of drug use
- Strained or broken relationships with loved ones or significant other
- Incurring financial or legal consequences related to drug use
- Displaying odd, erratic behavior
- Hiding the extent of drug use
- Exhibiting constant fatigue or sedation
Treatment for Xanax Addiction
Often, individuals do recognize that their loved one suffers from drug dependence or addiction, but not everyone knows how to help. Addiction tends to be a lifelong, chronic condition that is highly challenging to surmount. At Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery centers, our caring, highly-trained staff provides each individual we treat with the tools and support they need to recover and sustain long-lasting wellness and sobriety.
As with alcohol, withdrawal symptoms related to alprazolam discontinuation can be life-threatening. Our medically-assisted detox program ensures our patients are supervised closely around the clock and kept safe and comfortable as they navigate the withdrawal process.
Once detox is complete, persons seeking long-term professional substance abuse treatment work with medical and addiction professionals to develop an individualized treatment program. Each person has unique needs. For this reason, we implement a combination of evidence-based methodologies, including psychotherapies, counseling, group support, and many more services that ensure all individuals receive the most effective treatment.
We also offer treatment for co-occurring disorders to help those struggling with mental health disorders, such as addiction and anxiety. By addressing all of the unique problems related to Xanax abuse and addiction, we work to heal the whole individual and help them experience long-term recovery.