The Negative Effects of Xanax Addiction


Doctors prescribe the benzodiazepine Xanax in dosages determined according to individual needs. However, this is usually taken orally as a standard or extended-release pill or an orally disintegrating tablet. Snorting Xanax is a harmful misuse of the drug and can cause long term negative side-effects.

Why Do People Snort Xanax?

Xanax, often prescribed for anxiety and stress, raises a compound in the brain called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). This reduces stress, creating a feeling of comfort. When taken as prescribed, the drug’s effects are felt for several hours as it metabolizes in the system.

Snorting Xanax, though, is a way to get the substance directly into the bloodstream for a more rapid effect. Taken in this way, the drug becomes highly addictive, prompting users to require more of this controlled substance beyond the amount legally prescribed by medical professionals.

Snorting Xanax can have significant medical side effects, including making individuals more vulnerable to a fatal overdose, especially when mixed with alcohol. 

The Snorting Myth

Xanax is not a water-soluble pill, unlike some other controlled and illegal substances, therefore it does not transport as effectively through the nasal passages to the brain as we might imagine. Pharmaceutical studies have demonstrated that snorting is not a faster route than oral treatment in reducing anxiety.

However, the misconception persists, and snorting Xanax, and other benzodiazepines remains a preferred method of transport into the body among some users. The bottom line is that when we crush and snort Xanax or any pill that should be taken orally, we are misusing the drug.

Long-Term Effects of Snorting Xanax

By themselves, long-term prescription medications of any kind, taken as directed, can create negative side-effects, and even organ damage over time. Misusing and abusing medication has the potential to speed up these long term side effects into the short to mid-term, leaving damage that will require treatment or mitigation in addition to any addiction recovery you may need to address.

Nasal insufflation or snorting can damage our nasal cavity, sinuses, and respiratory tract over a relatively short period. As COVID-19 has demonstrated over the last twelve months, our respiratory tract is vulnerable to infection and even chronic, irreversible failure when compromised.

Inflammation Danger

It is worth considering that our body produces inflammation as a way to combat or prevent infection. Inflammation can therefore be a good thing in some situations. However, once our body starts deploying tons of white infection-fighting blood cells over to problem area A, it leaves us vulnerable to an attack at problem area B. While this might not be a big deal when we are healthy, it can be a major problem when we’re sick.

When our body fights to prevent or attack an infection, our cells eventually run low on fuel. Unless we either stop the thing causing the issue or load up on healthy food, our cells, specifically the mitochondria, split off until the cell eventually dies. Dead cells lurking near the healthy cells slow those down, too, creating further inflammation. In turn, the inflammation causes disease. 

Long Term Damage

The inactive ingredients in Xanax, like cornstarch, can irritate the delicate tissue of the nose. This irritation may increase the risk of the respiratory tract and nasal blockages leading to infection and lung damage.

Damaged lungs can include a type of fibrosis or hardening of lung tissue resulting in reduced oxygen absorption capacity. This fibrosis will continue until treated, resulting in brain damage or dementia, in severe cases, due to lowered oxygen levels to the brain.

Addiction and Recovery

Due to its high strength, Xanax must be taken only as directed under medical supervision, when it’s prescribed. Withdrawing from Xanax addiction due to its potential for seizures and panic attacks should be undertaken in a professional detoxification program under medical supervision.

Depending on the length of dependence, withdrawal symptoms might include:

  • Difficulty focusing
  • Nausea
  • Hand tremors
  • Increased strain and nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Panic strikes
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sweating
  • Seizures

Detox is only the first step in restoration. A professional treatment program at an experienced inpatient facility that includes targeted support counseling will help you reach your long term recovery goals.

 Often prescribed to treat generalized anxiety disorders (GAD), Xanax is the number one psychiatric medication prescribed in the United States. When used long term, it is highly addictive. Users often crush and snort this prescription medication because they believe it will deploy anxiety-relieving benefits faster. No evidence supports this theory, however. What it does do is create inflammatory health problems when crushed. Surrounded by the sublime landscape of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, the Detox Center of Colorado offers a solution-based transitional residence program aimed at accountability and recovery. Against a backdrop of clean, mountain air, we support your substance abuse or mental health recovery by a range of treatment and aftercare options. Call the Detox Center of Colorado at (303) 952-5035. 

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