Alprazolam is a potent, fast-acting drug that is commonly prescribed for short-term use to treat anxiety disorders, panic attacks and moderate to severe stress. Alprazolam, which also goes by the trade name Xanax, is effective in providing relatively quick relief of anxiety symptoms; however, Xanax is the most commonly misused benzodiazepine.
Alprazolam and Memory
According to the Memory Disorder Project at Rutgers University, “anterograde amnesia is a selective memory deficit, resulting from brain injury, in which the individual is severely impaired in learning new information.” While anterograde amnesia is most often associated with an injury to the brain, excessive use of alprazolam can damage the brain sufficiently enough to cause anterograde amnesia. This type of amnesia results in a person being able to remember events that occurred before the damage, but events after the damage are lost.
Retrograde amnesia is a loss of access to events that occurred or information that was learned before an injury or the onset of a disease. Alprazolam use can promote retrograde amnesia.
In addition to impaired memory impact, alprazolam is a central nervous system depressant which can often impact a person’s motor skills, sometimes putting the user at risk.
While alprazolam has been shown to be very effective as a short-term medication to treat anxiety and panic attacks, it is a medication that must be used with extreme caution. As alprazolam is a benzodiazepine, you need to tell your physician if you have any of the following prior to using the drug:
- Alcohol or drug dependency
- Myasthenia gravis, which is an autoimmune disorder
- Asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) or other breathing problems
- Pulmonary insufficiency
- Acute narrow-angle glaucoma
- Severe liver deficiencies
- Kidney disease
- Sleep apnea
- Allergic reaction to any drug in the benzodiazepines class
- Plans to become pregnant
- Thoughts of suicide
In addition, children, teens and the elderly should be cautious about using alprazolam because they are at increased risk of side effects.
Signs of Alprazolam Abuse
As is true with the abuse of most prescribed or illegal drugs, the two top signs of abuse are compulsion and preoccupation. If a person demonstrates an obsessive urge to take the drug, even though he or she suffers the consequences of its use, that is considered compulsion. Preoccupation is demonstrated by the fact that a person places obtaining and using alprazolam ahead of the other responsibilities. This often results in a person being unable to fulfill his or her obligations to family members or at work.
Alprazolam Abuse Effects
When people take alprazolam longer than the recommended 30 day period, they are putting themselves at risk to experience abuse effects, including the following:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Dry mouth or increased salivation
- Decreased sex drive
- Suicidal tendencies
- Shortness of breath
These side effects reflect the fact that alprazolam affects the functioning of the central nervous system.
Treatment for Alprazolam Abuse
It is recommended that withdrawal from alprazolam should be supervised by medical professionals and should include gradually weaning the person off of the drug. If detox is not carefully managed, a person can experience withdrawal symptoms, including seizures, depression and aggressive behavior.
Get Help for Alprazolam Abuse
Recovering from alprazolam with proper medical supervision and support services is possible. If you or someone you know is addicted to alprazolam, call our toll-free number today. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you have about alprazolam addiction treatment. We are here to help.