What is Xanax?

Xanax is a sedative medication typically used to treat anxiety, panic disorders, and insomnia. The generic name for Xanax is alprazolam, and the medication is prescribed by doctors. It falls into the category of benzos (benzodiazepines). People who abuse Xanax obtain it from their friends or drug dealers who first receive it by prescription from their doctors. It is usually only prescribed for 2-6 weeks because it is easily addictive, and a dose usually lasts up to 6 hours.

Xanax is typically used to achieve a sense of calamity and relaxation for those using it. It enhances GABA, a natural chemical in the body and acts on the brain and central nervous system for a calming effect. When a user takes more pills than prescribed, they can get a high from the drug. Abusers may fall asleep, pass out, or blackout when they take more than the recommended dosage. Some users who don’t abuse the drug may quickly develop a tolerance and become addicted to Xanax.

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What does Xanax look like?

Xanax comes in white, rectangular bars with indentations that look a “ladder,” which is a street name for the drug. Xanax also comes in blue, yellow or peach circular pills.


How is Xanax taken?

Xanax is typically taken orally in its pill form. Those who abuse the benzo swallow multiple pills, crush up the pills and snort them, inject them with a needle, or take them with blotter paper.

Why do people use Xanax?

People use Xanax to help their symptoms of anxiety. But when abused, people use Xanax to either feel calm or to get high. They often combine it with other drugs or alcohol, which can be a deadly combination. Xanax pills can be laced with other drugs, such as fentanyl.


Slang Terms

  • Zan / Zannies
  • Ladders
  • Totem poles
  • Handlebars
  • Xanbars or Z-Bars
  • Footballs
  • White boys / White girls
  • Planks

History of Xanax

Xanax, a controlled substance, was created in the U.S. in the 1970s. It’s currently the most commonly prescribed and abused benzo in the nation. When Xanax pills were created in a lab in Kalamazoo, Michigan, they were predicted to not be addictive or easily abusive.

Today, 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety. In 2018, doctors reported a “skyrocket” increase in teens and adolescents abusing Xanax. Teens use Xanax as a substitute for opioids and heroin because they get a similar feeling of euphoria. Some teens obtain the prescription pills from their parents or grandparents. Some teens get Xanax from the Internet’s black market or make designer pills in their bathtubs.

What are the Symptoms of Xanax Addiction?

Symptoms of Xanax addiction may begin with an obsession around using and obtaining Xanax. You or your loved one may start to lose interest in activities and social situations that were once enjoyed. You or your loved one may be tired all the time and start to show impulsive or risky behavior. Over time, Xanax abuse and addiction can lead to impaired coordination, memory, and cognitive abilities.


Signs and Symptoms

  • Unable to stop usage
  • Unable to control dosages
  • Obsessing over Xanax
  • Risky behavior with Xanax
  • Disinterest in favorite activities
  • Constantly looking to obtain it
  • Getting into legal trouble
  • Ignoring daily responsibilities


  • Pills
  • Pill crushers
  • Blotting paper
  • Pill cutters
  • Rolled up dollar bills
  • Needles


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What are the Effects of
Xanax Addiction?

Xanax addiction can sneak up on the average user who intends to use the drug only as intended. This is because some people can easily build a tolerance to benzos, and they may not even realize that they are addicted to the drug, which is normally prescribed short-term for that very reason. Xanax users begin to show symptoms such as being tired often or lethargic, and abusers may pass out or blackout. Here are more symptoms users may experience day-to-day.

Short Term Effects of Xanax Addiction

  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Oversleeping
  • Slurred speech
  • Vertigo
  • Weakness
  • Drowsiness
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures

Long Term Effects of Xanax Addiction

  • Depression
  • Impaired thinking
  • Increased impulsivity
  • Psychosis
  • Delirium
  • Aggression
  • Manic moods
  • Memory problems

Xanax Addiction Statistics

4 in 10

users become dependent on daily doses of Xanax.


increase in people filling prescription benzos from 1996 to 2013.


Of chronic benzo users become addicted to their drug.

How is Xanax Addiction Treated?

Though it may seem contradictory, Xanax addicts shouldn’t quit cold turkey. If they do quit cold turkey, they can experience effects similar to before they started taking the drug, including intense panic attacks and anxiety. They could also suffer from cravings that could easily lead to an overdose. Instead, Xanax addicts can go through addiction recovery in a rehabilitation facility, starting with detox. During Xanax detox, patients will be medically supervised as they go through the process of getting the Xanax out of their systems.

The detox process for Xanax is a bit different from other drugs. In most cases, medical professionals will help Xanax addicts slowly reduce their dosage of the drug until the doses have been reduced to nothing. In other cases, some physicians may recommend going on another benzo during the detox period, such as Valium (diazepam). This is a way to slowly come off the drug and take it less often because these medications have doses that last for longer periods of time. Xanax addicts could also take antidepressants or beta-blockers during detox.


Common Drug Combinations with Xanax?

Xanax is usually taken with alcohol or pain killers to achieve a high effect. Deadly Xanax pills can be laced with fentanyl, a narcotic used to treat pain. When combined with alcohol or other drugs, Xanax can result in sedation, shallow breathing, respiratory depression, coma, or death.

  • Alcohol
  • Fentanyl
  • Opioids
  • Prescription pain killers
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone
  • Cocaine
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