What Does A Xanax High Feel Like?
Xanax is a type of benzodiazepine prescribed to treat anxiety disorders. Though it is an approved and effective anti-anxiety treatment, recreational abuse of Xanax can lead to addiction and severe negative side effects. This form of addiction is seen in younger people, but it doesn’t produce a “high” like most other abused drugs.
By Phillippe Greenough
Alongside writing and editing for The Summit Wellness Group, Phillippe is a pers … read more
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Mary Gay
Dr. Mary Gay is a Licensed Professional Counselor of GA in clinical practice sin … read more
- Last Updated on July 24th, 2021
In this article
What Does Being High on Drugs Feel Like?
What Does Xanax Feel Like?
As a central nervous system depressant, Xanax slows down major processes in the body. Most people will experience a calming effect. The fact that these effects happen so quickly can lead to its misuse. Xanax abuse is much different than Xanax treatment for anxiety. As a prescribed medication, it can reduce feelings of anxiety and help people with debilitating panic disorders lead a normal lifestyle. When abused, the drug is taken at such an increased dosage that it often causes blackouts, impaired coordination, and total loss of inhibitions.
When someone abuses Xanax, they do so because of the relief it brings. Some users describe it as constant waves of relief from anxiety and panic. Even someone who doesn’t suffer from an anxiety disorder can become dependent because it calms the brain and the body to a degree that becomes addictive. Users may also experience a euphoric sensation as it takes away any of the negative feelings a person may have. Xanax begins working roughly 30 minutes after ingestion and can last up to several hours.
Immediate Effects of Xanax
Along with a loss of inhibition and possible blackouts, Xanax can also cause:
- Breathing Problems
- Loss of Coordination
- Impaired Judgement
Because of the way that Xanax depresses the brain, prolonged and increased use can reduce its ability to create memories. While the person may be alert and coherent, he or she may not remember the period of time that they were high. This increases the risk for injury or death, especially as Xanax abuse lowers a person’s inhibitions and may cause them to act in ways they normally wouldn’t. This can include driving while under the influence or mixing Xanax with other drugs or alcohol, both of which can be deadly.
The Science Behind the High
Xanax depresses the central nervous system. It also reacts with the calming neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. When consumed, the active ingredient in Xanax, the drug alprazolam, works to calm by binding to GABA receptors and stimulating the release of GABA. When someone abuses Xanax, their brain may become dependent on the drug to release GABA. When someone stops using Xanax, a common symptom is known as “rebound anxiety.” Users will experience increased anxiety, more powerful than it was before Xanax use.
When someone builds a tolerance to Xanax, more of the drug will be needed to create the same effects. And if someone stops taking it, the brain will be unable to produce enough GABA on its own. The drug takes away the body’s natural ability to cope with anxiety and other stressors. The absence of GABA can cause significant psychological distress, even for people who don’t have an anxiety disorder. Xanax abuse may actually cause the development of panic disorder or significant anxiety.
Chasing The High
Not only is Xanax accessible through prescription use, but it is also cheap and more acceptable than drugs like heroin or meth. This is because it is a legal substance approved for anxiety treatment. Despite its legality, Xanax is as dangerous as meth or heroin. It may be even more so as withdrawal from Xanax can be deadly.
People who become addicted to Xanax need it to produce GABA. People tend to chase that first high. It is the ultimate “chill pill” and allows the user to relax completely. On the other side of Xanax addiction, withdrawal effects are uncomfortable, painful, and can even be deadly. Many users will continue the abuse to stay away from them.
Xanax withdrawal produces dangerous physical effects. There may also be significant psychological effects as well. After the worst of the physical withdrawal symptoms have passed, there may also be a protracted period of “post-acute” withdrawal that can last for quite some time. This means that after initial detox, it may feel like someone is suffering from an anxiety or panic disorder. People may relapse during this period of time. They will often find a doctor to get a Xanax prescription for their “anxiety disorder” and then begin the abuse again.
Whether you use Xanax for the treatment of an anxiety disorder or not, if it has caused any blackouts, increased anxiety when not taken, or loss of inhibition that increases risk-taking behaviors, it is time to seek medical attention. When taken as directed and monitored by a doctor, Xanax can be beneficial in reducing anxiety. There is a fine line between treating an anxiety disorder and becoming addicted. If Xanax has caused any sort of interference with your regular day-to-day life, a rehab facility like The Summit Wellness Group is an invaluable resource. We can help you safely detox from Xanax at one of our partner detox centers and then continue the treatment process once the worst of the symptoms have passed. Our medical professionals are here to help get you through this process, find effective alternatives for treating anxiety and get back to living a full, happy, and sober life.
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