Xanax is simply the brand name of the generic drug alprazolam. It is an anti-anxiety medication that is commonly prescribed to treat anxiety disorders. It is a part of the benzodiazepine family, a group of drugs known to calm people's nerves.
Alprazolam pills are regularly prescribed, in both generic forms and Xanax, contributing to it being one of the most abused prescription drugs in the US. Although the drug is effective in reducing anxiety symptoms, it also has a high potential for recreational use and abuse due to its calming effects.
If you or someone you love is living with a Xanax addiction or Xanax dependency, there are a range of treatment options out there to support you on your road to recovery. This article will explore what Xanax is, specifically Blue Xanax, its side effects, and the treatment options available.
What is Blue Xanax?
Xanax are all formulated in similar ways, the key difference between the pills is the dosage. Xanax is a potent medication that is prescribed at different dosages. A blue Xanax comes in an oval or rectangular shape and is identified as 1 mg Xanax.
There are over 40 million people living with different anxiety disorders in the US so it is no surprise that nearly 17 million prescriptions of alprazolam pills are given every year. Alprazolam is actually prescribed twice as much as other benzodiazepines, such as Valium, Ativan, or Klonopin.
Blue Xanax is commonly prescribed to individuals struggling with panic disorders, such as panic attacks. When a patient has been prescribed Xanax for anxiety disorders, the prescription dosage typically begins at 0.25 mg. Over a period of time, the body and brain will slowly adjust to the medication, and in order for the desired effects and for symptom control to be effective, the prescription dosage will be adjusted and increased. There is a maximum recommended dosage of 4 mg a day, typically spread out throughout three or four doses.
If a blue Xanax bar is taken orally, the drug will typically start working within one hour and the peak levels within the bloodstream occur one to two hours after consumption. If people are abusing Xanax bars, they may crush the Xanax tablet into a powder in order to snort it. This means the effects of the drug will settle in much quicker as it instantly enters the bloodstream.
Different Xanax Bars
Xanax bars come in a large variety of sizes, shapes, and colors according to strength and dose. The other colored Xanax pills are colored according to FDA-approved colorants. Understanding their different colors, shapes and dosage can be useful in identifying the amount of the drug individuals are taking.
Green Xanax bar
The green Xanax bar comes in a variety of shapes such as rectangular, triangular, and oval, and has a potency of 1 mg to 3 mg, typically it will contain 2 mg. Although different colors, the green Xanax bar has the same potency as yellow and white Xanax bars. The oval form of the green Xanax bar is often referred to as green football Xanax and has a strength of 1 mg. The green bars are produced by different pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer, DAVA, Mylan, and Actavis.
White Xanax bars
White Xanax bars are the most commonly prescribed Xanax color and are often referred to as 'sticks'. A white Xanax bar can have a potency from 0.25 mg up to 2 mg and is manufactured by different pharmaceutical companies around the world. This form of medication induces strong sedation or a feeling of euphoria that is experienced soon after consumption. Due to the drug's high potency, quitting the drug without support can be dangerous as it may produce adverse symptoms.
Yellow Xanax bar
A yellow Xanax bar is often referred to as a yellow school bus due to its shape and color. This pill has a strength of 2 mg and is similar in effect to a white Xanax bar. The difference in color is due to the difference in manufacturing companies.
Peach Xanax bars
The peach Xanax bar is also known as orange alprazolam and comes in a low dosage of 0.5 mg. It usually comes in a football or oval shape and is prescribed for less severe pain.
Purple Xanax bars
A purple Xanax bar is a popular form of medication that Pfizer manufactures. They contain 2 mg of alprazolam, typically if the drug is prescribed for anxiety disorders, a doctor's prescription will start at around 0.25 or 0.5 mg.
If Alprazolam is used as prescribed, it is a relatively safe medication. However, the drug is often replicated and manufactured to look like the original, when in fact, it is a fake Xanax. Fake Xanax bars are usually cheaper and easier to obtain, however, fake Alprazolam is incredibly dangerous as it can contain Fentanyl. Fentanyl is part of the opioid family and is around 100 times stronger than morphine. When buying street drugs you can never be 100% sure of what they contain, this means the risk of experiencing adverse side effects is increased.
Side Effects of Blue Xanax
Although Xanax is not a central nervous depressant, it is referred to as a 'downer'. Xanax relaxes the mind and body and gives an overall sensation of calmness, hence its effectiveness for anxiety symptoms, such as panic attacks. Its relaxing side effects are a key factor as to why many drug users develop a dependency, as when individuals stop taking Xanax, they often experience a rebound of anxious symptoms they initially experienced before taking Xanax.
Xanax can interact with other drugs, increasing the risk of adverse side effects. Additionally, pregnant women should not take Xanax. Xanax can interact with:
- birth control
- sleeping pills
- muscle relaxers
- other benzodiazepines
Xanax is known to affect an individual's mental health in a number of ways, but it also has physical side effects.
Xanax induces feelings of relaxation and gives some users a sense of euphoria. As quick and easy as it improves someone's mood, the drug can also have the opposite effect, inducing mood swings and causing a user to become irritable.
As Xanax is a downer, it relaxes the mind and body and has been noted to impact a user's sex drive. It is common for those who have been abusing Xanax for a prolonged period of time to have a loss of libido.
Although the medication is known to affect a user's mental health, the drug also induces several physical side effects, including:
- Shortness of breath
- Poor coordination
- Dry mouth
If the drug is taken recreationally it has been known to cause problems with coordination and balance and can cause an individual to have memory loss. Many individuals have described difficulty in forming coherent thoughts and communicating when on Xanax.
Is Blue Xanax Addictive?
Blue Xanax has a high potential for addiction due to it being a fast-acting benzodiazepine. This means that it induces changes within the brain in a short amount of time. Individuals who take 4mg doses for longer than a period of 12 weeks are at a higher risk for addiction, however, anyone who abuses the drug is putting themselves at risk of dependency and addiction. In fact, around 44% of individuals who use benzodiazepines for a long period of time become dependent.
Even if Xanax is taken as prescribed, after a period of time, tolerance may build. Those who are taking the drug for anxiety will experience a return of their symptoms and will feel inclined to increase their dosage to keep their symptoms under control. Throughout this, the brain becomes used to having Xanax within the system and feels reliant on it to feel 'normal'.
Addiction is recognized by the inability to stop taking a drug despite any negative consequences to one's life. Physical addiction is also marked by the experience of withdrawal symptoms once someone has tried to stop taking the substance.
Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms
Those who abuse Xanax will experience withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to stop taking the drug. A detox from blue Xanax can result in withdrawal symptoms that are known to be more severe than other benzodiazepines. To avoid experiencing the worst of Xanax withdrawal, it is recommended that detox is done under medical supervision or with support from a medical professional.
Even individuals who take Xanax for just a few weeks are likely to develop a physical dependency on the drug, this means withdrawal symptoms can be experienced at this point. Research has found that around 40% of individuals who have taken benzodiazepines for more than six months will experience moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms, while the other 60% experience mild symptoms.
Individual factors will help determine the exact plan of action but for many, detoxing from Xanax includes tapering off of the drug. This means that an individual takes less and less Xanax over a period of time until the drug is no longer in their system. For the majority of people, this process takes around six weeks.
The severity of the withdrawal symptoms differs for all, largely due to how long and how intense the Xanax abuse was. However, users are likely to experience some of the following.
- Aches and pains
- Blurred vision
- Light insomnia
- Irritability and mood swings
- Suicidal thoughts
How to manage withdrawal symptoms
Seeking support from a medical professional is the best option when deciding to stop taking Xanax. The detoxification process can be difficult and long, but with a well-thought-out plan and a strong support system, it is more than possible.
With the right help, you can learn to effectively manage and control your symptoms to ensure the detox process is as comfortable as possible. However, if you or a loved one is attending an outpatient program, there are some tips to ease your experience of withdrawal at home.
- Stay hydrated
- Engage in calming activities such as relaxation or meditation
- Take multiple baths and showers a day to ease and calm the mind and body
- Maintain a diet that consists of plenty of vitamins and minerals
- Stay in a safe and relaxed environment with support
Xanax Addiction Treatment Options
Substance abuse treatment for any drug is needed to help tackle the root cause of the addiction as well as any underlying mental health issues that influenced the condition in the first place. Additionally, treatment teaches individuals about how to change their thought patterns and behaviors to avoid the risk of relapse in the future. Xanax addiction treatment utilizes a number of evidence-based treatment methods that have been proven to be effective, a treatment plan may include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Family therapy
- Support groups
- Relapse prevention therapy
- One-to-one therapy
- Medication-assisted treatment
Treatment can be delivered on an inpatient or outpatient basis, depending on the individual receiving treatment and their personal circumstances. Inpatient treatment requires patients to live in residential housing for a set period of time where they receive 24/7 care and support from medical professionals. During this time, patients will undergo an addiction treatment program that is best suited to their needs. Inpatient treatment allows individuals to focus solely on recovery, away from high-risk environments, and gives them time to develop mental clarity.
Outpatient treatment programs deliver similar therapies and recovery skills but in a manner, setting, and timing that is best suited for the patient. Individuals are able to live in the comfort of their own homes while participating in a treatment program where they will be required to attend a rehabilitation center a few days a week for a set period of time. Throughout this period, patients are able to establish solid foundations for recovery while exercising newly learned behaviors and thought patterns in the real world.
Treatment at Cornerstone
At Cornerstone, we offer premier mental health and substance abuse treatment options that utilize a full range of services to give our patients the best chance of a successful recovery. We aim at healing an entire person and our evidence-based approaches and personally adapted for all individuals so we are able to restore and revive the best version of you.
From detox to rehabilitation, our extended care program and outpatient treatment programs allow clients the essential foundations to fully heal their bodies, minds, and spirits. We offer the most comprehensive alcohol and drug addiction treatment programs with an array of therapy options.
We understand that choosing a rehabilitation center that is fit for you can be confusing, give us a call today to discuss with our experts how we can help you. We are available to answer any questions you may have regarding the treatment process. Call today.