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Alprazolam: What You Need to Know

Learn more about alprazolam, what it treats, its side effects, and if it might be a good treatment option for you.

What is Alprazolam?

Alprazolam belongs to a class of medications known as benzodiazepines. It acts on the brain by enhancing the activity of some neurotransmitters. It helps to treat panic disorders and anxiety disorders.1

The misuse of alprazolam can lead to death, addiction, and overdose. Because of this, it should only be taken with a prescription. Alprazolam can cause emotional and physical dependence even when prescribed because of its addictive effect. It should be avoided by patients that have depression and are at risk of suicide. Several individuals use alprazolam for recreational purposes more than for medical purposes.

Alprazolam

Benefits and Dangers of Alprazolam

Benefits and Dangers of Alprazolam
Although the medication is addictive, it has many benefits for individuals. Some of these benefits include the following:

  • The medication often produces a calming effect by acting on the brain and enhancing the effects of GABA in the body.
  • It can effectively treat conditions like panic disorders, depression, and agoraphobia.
  • Since the medication acts as a depressant, it helps to lower brain activity and create a calming effect, thereby helping individuals with insomnia.
  • It is also used to treat generalized anxiety disorder, which is a condition that causes uncontrolled worries and anxiety.

Potential Risks

Before using the medicine, consider potential risks such as allergies and other drug interactions. It is vital to inform your doctor of any medical problems or conditions you may have before being administered the drug. Some medical history or conditions, such as glaucoma or mental health problems, can affect the proper use of this medicine.

Forms of Alprazolam

Alprazolam may be available in a solution, tablet disintegrating, and tablet extended-release dosage forms.

Disintegrating Tablet

The orally disintegrating tablet often dissolves in the mouth and is often taken twice to four times daily. Make sure to handle and remove the tablet with a dry hand and place it on the top of the tongue immediately. It will melt immediately and be swallowed.

Concentrated Solution

To take the concentrated liquid form of the drug, only use the dropper that is available with the prescription. Squeeze the contents in the dropper into a semisolid food or liquid, then stir for a few seconds. Consume the entire mixture immediately when the concentrated liquid blends with the food. Avoid storing any residue for future use.

Extended-Release Tablet

The release tablet is often taken once daily in the morning. Always make sure to take the medication exactly as directed by the medical practitioner.

Side Effects

Alprazolam side effects can range from mild to severe. It is advisable to seek medical help when you experience any allergic reaction to alprazolam. Some of the common side effects include:2

  • Drowsiness
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Upset stomach
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Increased sweating

Serious Side Effects

More serious side effects of this medication need to be monitored. You may need to stop or change medications to prevent serious illness. The following are some of the more serious side effects of the medication:

  • Seizures
  • Chest pain
  • Hallucinations
  • Depressed mood
  • Changes in sexual ability
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Nightmares
  • Constipation

Severe Side Effects

Severe side effects of this medication may lead to permanent damage or death. You need to seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of the following side effects:

  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Constant loss of memory
  • Slurred speech
  • Fractures
  • Bladder control problems
  • Withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, suicidal thoughts, and confusion

Addiction Treatment Options

Many people develop an addiction to this medication. These individuals tend to become physically dependent on the substance and need an increased dose each time to feel its effect. Some common treatment options for benzodiazepine addiction are detailed below.

Detoxification

Detoxification is the first step when treating alprazolam addiction. Going through this process with proper guidance is advisable because it can be dangerous. Individuals may experience severe withdrawal symptoms as the body purges the substance. Proper monitoring is vital to ensuring patient safety during this process. 

During detox, the individual’s health will improve as the body eliminates the substance. Several factors determine detox duration and how severe the withdrawal symptoms will be. Some of these factors include:

  • Duration of substance use
  • Dosage and frequency of use
  • Co-occurring psychiatric disorders

Withdrawal

The withdrawal symptoms often begin around six to hours after the last intake of the medication. However, the symptoms will peak on the second and third days.

Intensive Outpatient Programs

An intensive outpatient program is a treatment option that enables individuals to attend some daily activities. During withdrawal, these individuals will receive care from a healthcare provider while attending a scheduled counseling session.

In 2019, the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services reported that about 46% of facilities offering substance abuse treatments offer IOP. These programs will focus on the smooth recovery of the patients, and they can be group or individual.3

Partial Hospitalization

This program provides structured medical and recovery service care for the patients. This program helps patients through withdrawal and smooth recovery. These patients often meet with medical professionals for up to twenty hours weekly.4

Outpatient Programs

Outpatient programs offer the patients supervision and medical treatment; however, the patient is not admitted into the treatment facility. These patients often receive their treatments around their regular schedules. The patient will see a medical practitioner for advice and prescriptions to manage the withdrawal symptoms effectively.

Inpatient Programs

Most inpatient programs offer patients experiencing alprazolam addiction 24/7 medical care and detox services. The patient stays within the facility to receive the utmost care. After detox, these patients transition into an effective addiction treatment program. These programs often include several recovery activities, therapy, 12-Step meetings, and relapse prevention.

When making your plan, be honest and realistic about what you can handle. It is also important to know when and where to seek help if you find yourself struggling.

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Receive Treatment for Alprazolam Addiction at Essence Healthcare

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to alprazolam, you don’t have to go through it alone. Essence Healthcare is here to help you overcome your addiction and achieve lasting recovery.

What We Offer

At Essence Healthcare, our goal is to help you achieve long-term sobriety and improve your overall wellness. We have a team of licensed medical specialists on staff to support you through any withdrawal symptoms during detox. We understand that every person’s recovery journey is different. Our compassionate professionals will develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs.

Contact Essence Healthcare Today

Alprazolam addiction can be dangerous, and in some cases, even fatal. Reach out to Essence Healthcare today for more information about our programs and available treatment options. Get the help you need today. We’ll be with you every step of the way.

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Questions About Treatment?

We are a patient-first substance abuse and mental health treatment facility located in Los Angeles, California. At Essence Healthcare, we provide different levels of care from detoxification to drug rehab aftercare. Our team is standing by to address your questions. Your call is confidential and no obligation is required.