Is Xanax a narcotic? No. Xanax (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine commonly prescribed to treat anxiety, seizures, and sometimes insomnia. Narcotics are currently defined as a drug that promotes analgesia (pain relief), narcosis (state of stupor or sleep), and physical dependence or addiction to the drug.
How Do Xanax and Other Benzos Work?
Xanax (alprazolam) works by increasing the concentrations of an inhibitory neurotransmitter called GABA. This works to help individuals feel at ease, relaxed, and comfortable. It is currently the most commonly prescribed anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) remedy in the U.S. It is generally considered safe when taken appropriately and can effectively treat the symptoms of anxiety or panic attacks.
Benzos, in general, are human-made substances used as a medication that can cause side effects such as mild nerve depression and severe drowsiness. When an individual experiences an excessive amount of activity in the brain, it may cause them to encounter feelings of anxiety, panic, seizures, or other conditions that necessitate the use of benzos to address them.
What Are Narcotics?
Narcotics as a drug category consist of naturally occurring and semisynthetic opiates, and fully synthetic opioids are all in a group of drugs classified together because they are all derived from alkaloids found in the opium poppy plant. Some prescription opiates or opioids are made naturally directly from the plant, and others are artificially created in a lab by researchers. They are used to block or dull pain sensations transmitted between the brain and areas of the body.
Narcotics are most often used to treat moderate-severe pain, but some, such as those based on codeine, can be used to treat other conditions, such as coughing or diarrhea. The relaxing feelings and euphoria these drugs produce can make it attractive for some people to use them for self-medication or recreational purposes. Opiates and opioids can be very addictive, and, therefore, it is not recommended that they are used long-term frequently due to the risk of overdose and death.
Types of Narcotics
Some popular prescription opioids include the following:
Although it is commonly used in a clinical setting, fentanyl is a fully synthetic opioid that is often illegally manufactured and found on the black market. It is incredibly potent at anywhere from 50-100 times more powerful than morphine. It can be purchased independently but is also frequently found laced into other substances such as heroin, cocaine, or meth to intensity effects.
Note: When used clinically, fentanyl can be administered to those who require relief from severe, acute pain or sedation for surgery. It also can be used to help those with cancer or for palliative care.
Heroin is another illegal opioid that is commonly used across the U.S. and worldwide. Use is prevalent among both men and women and across many age, racial, and socioeconomic divisions. It is several times more potent than morphine. The most popular methods of administration (e.g., smoking, snorting, injecting) are used to deliver the drug more rapidly and intensely into the brain and body.
Is Xanax a Narcotic?
As noted, Xanax is not a narcotic but is frequently abused in combination with them. However, it is hazardous to combine opioids in any form with benzodiazepines due to the risk of life-threatening respiratory depression, which requires emergency medical intervention. It is not uncommon for this to occur among persons who take an excessive dose of either substance. Due to the development of tolerance and dependence, individuals may begin to ingest ever-increasing amounts of the drug(s) to stave off withdrawal symptoms and achieve a high.
Signs of Drug Abuse
When a person becomes addicted to narcotics, Xanax, other drugs, or alcohol, they no longer are interested in things they were before, such as education, employment, family, or personal relationships. Some of the signs can include:
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Impulsivity and engagement in risky behaviors such as driving while intoxicated
- Obsessing about obtaining the substance(s) of choice and planning out how to get more
- Legal and financial issues that arise from using the drug
- Inability to stop using the drug despite multiple attempts
- Continuing drug use despite the incurrence of adverse consequences associated with it
When deciding to quit using Xanax or narcotics, it’s important to avoid stopping “cold turkey.” The severity of withdrawal symptoms will differ between individuals but is often quite unpleasant and sometimes painful. Although opioid withdrawal is rarely lethal, discontinuing Xanax abruptly can, in extreme cases, cause life-threatening seizures and death.
Professional Treatment Offers a Solid Foundation for Recovery
Addiction to any intoxicating substance is a potentially devastating condition that often requires medical detox and long-term intensive treatment. Residential and outpatient programs need to be comprehensive and customized to each individual to offer them the best chance for success.
Just Believe Recovery uses science-based, clinically proven treatment methods that provide a safe and effective detox process and prepare the client for ongoing aftercare and sustainable recovery. Our programs feature a variety of therapeutic services and enjoyable activities, including the following:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Mindfulness meditation
- Stress management
- Substance abuse education
- Health and wellness education
- Dual diagnosis treatment
- Art, music, and adventure therapy
- Relapse prevention
- Aftercare planning
- Alumni events