Anxiety Medication: Is Xanax an Opioid or Narcotic Medicine?

August 2, 2021
Is Xanax an Opioid?


Xanax (Alprazolam) is an effective sedative that physicians prescribe to people suffering from insomnia and disorders such as depression and anxiety. Xanax belongs to a family of drugs called benzodiazepines. In the U.S, the drug is one of the most abused because it lowers brain overexcitement and calms the central nervous system. 

While Xanax is not classified as an opioid, doctors can prescribe it along with certain opioids. According to a report released by the National Institute of Drugs, 12.5% of Americans have used different types of benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, and Ativan. A majority of people who abuse Xanax in the American streets refer to the drug as Blue Footballs, Xanbars, Xannies, Bricks, Xans, Benzos, or Bars.

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What is Xanax?

Although Xanax is not a schedule III drug (with a high potential for addiction), several people with drug abuse disorders use it along with other drugs and alcohol. The drug’s active ingredient is in the class of Schedule IV drugs. When prescribed along with other opioids and benzodiazepines, Xanax can be harmful to the patient. 

According to a 2016 Pain Medicine, patients who were under opioid and benzodiazepine prescriptions were 10 times more likely to suffer fatalities than those who only took opioids. Due to the increasing overdose death rates in the U.S, the government, through the Food and Drug Administration, enacted ordinances to try and regulate the combined prescriptions. 

Today, drugs that combine opioids and benzos are required to have a “black box” warning on their labels that clearly describe the potential risks of using the medications together. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has repeatedly warned physicians against prescribing these drugs together as effective pain relievers to their patients.

Just like the other drugs in the class of Benzodiazepines, Xanax is a very powerful central nervous system depressant. Therefore, it can be used as an effective tranquilizer capable of inducing sleep, producing sedation, relieving muscle spasms, preventing seizures and lessening pain, and mitigating anxiety.


Xanax Overdose
Symptoms of Xanax Overdose


Benzodiazepines and Opioids

Even though Xanax is not an opioid, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be dangerously abused in the streets. Interestingly, research has shown that a majority of opioid overdose deaths have been associated with the abuse of benzodiazepines. In addition, Xanax and the other drugs in the family of Benzos can send a patient’s brain into overdose, debilitating panic attacks, or anxiety. 

On the other hand, people who abuse Xanax find it a helpful tool for calming their minds and bodies very effectively. Unfortunately, abusing or misusing Xanax can easily occur because Benzos are known to be highly addictive. This happens because of the euphoric high that benzodiazepines produce, which in turn triggers the reward system of the brain. 

In other words, the body and mind are made to believe that everything that is happening is excellent and ought to be repeated. This is exactly how most patients end up misusing Xanax by building tolerance, followed by dependency, and in due course becoming addicted.

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Types of Opioids

Benzos and opioids have the same side effects, namely slowed brain function, slurred speech, benzos or opioid dependence, and slowed movements. But, while opioids are prescription medications for relieving pain, Benzos are prescribed to relieve the life-threatening symptoms of various anxiety-related disorders. Opioids send signals to the brain that trick the brain into thinking that the body is not in pain. 

Just like Benzos, opioids also depress the central nervous system. But it’s important to remember that an opioid is not a benzodiazepine. Some of the potential side effects of Xanax with typical use include fatigue, lightheadedness, reduced sex drive, confusion, appetite changes, memory issues, and weight gain. On the contrary, some of the side effects common with opioids that are not associated with benzodiazepines include dizziness, incessant headaches, addiction, and itching.


Popular Street Names for Xanax


Withdrawal from Xanax

Patients who are taking Xanax for medical purposes should be slowly tapered off the drug. Some of the Xanax cold-turkey withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, insomnia, sweating, seizures, headaches, vomiting, dizziness, and muscle spasms, can be debilitating. Averagely, the symptoms are likely to kick in about two weeks after the patient stops taking Xanax.

Acute withdrawal symptoms could last for months or years after the last dose if the addiction was so severe. That is why medical detox is the foundation for recovery from Xanax addiction.


Medical Detox

A person suffering from Xanax addiction should gradually be weaned off the drug. The addiction becomes more severe if the patient’s brain has been wired to think that they can’t survive without Xanax during the addiction. Hence, it requires intense medical detoxification procedures for the body and mind to readjust to its normal state. This is what is referred to as a holistic addiction recovery program in the world of drug rehabilitation and treatment

During the rehabilitation period, cravings for Xanax are very high, and the Xanax for opiate withdrawal symptoms is very unbearable. Since it’s very easy for a person with Xanax addiction to relapse during this period, it’s paramount that the individual is put under medical detox.

The program is designed to ensure that a patient is slowly tapered off the Xanax dependence and is introduced into new levels of readjusting his/her body. The medical detox program is packaged in such a manner that the devastating withdrawal symptoms are minimized without shocking the body. Moreover, the program helps the individual accept behavioral therapy and quickly begin working on living without Xanax.


Is Xanax a Narcotic Drug?

So, is Xanax an Opioid? While Xanax is not an opioid, it’s important for patients that take the drug to remember that it is highly addictive. It’s difficult for people with anxiety-related disorders to imagine spending their lives without Xanax. However, it’s possible to live a comfortable life without using or depending on Xanax.

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At Mango Clinic, we treat people suffering from disorders such as panic attacks and anxiety. We also help those suffering from Xanax addiction achieve full recovery. Our stress-free environment is not only welcoming but comfortable for people who need to start thinking about their clean and sober lives ahead. Mango Clinic offers the finest walk-in care and telehealth services that require immediate medical attention. If you’re looking for the highest quality of healthcare or simply concerned about your overall well-being, contact our experienced team of physicians today.

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