You’re stuck at home. Your once busy, demanding lifestyle came to a screeching halt. Suddenly, you have time in your hands. However, this is not a vacation. You can’t relax. You can’t stay still. You can’t stop worrying and you’re continuously feeling anxious about so many things. All because of the novel virus called Covid-19. What are you supposed to do to calm down? For some people, the answer is a pill called Xanax.
Xanax is a brand name for an anti-anxiety medication called alprazolam. Alprazolam belongs to the benzodiazepine class of drugs, also known as “benzos”. People who suffer from anxiety or other mental health disorders are usually prescribed Xanax or other benzos such as Ativan (lorazepam), Valium (diazepam), and Klonopin (clonazepam).
Xanax is one of the most popular benzos as it has infiltrated pop culture. Many famous celebrities have been known to take Xanax and have confessed to being dependent on Xanax at one point in their lives. Many rap and hip hop songs even make references to this drug also known as Xans or Xannies. Alprazolam soon became the drug of choice for many recreational users.
The reason why many people are taking Xanax is because of the calming, sedative effect it provides. For average Americans who are constantly struggling to satisfy the daily demands of their career, personal life, and now, the pandemic, Xanax may seem like a heaven-sent temporary relief designed to give them some breathing room. While this may not seem like a bad thing, the real problem lies on how addictive Xanax and other benzos are. These drugs were not designed to be taken in the long-term. The more you take these drugs, your tolerance is also being increased. This means that your body will become more accustomed to the drug and for you to feel the same calming effects overtime, you have to take a higher dose. These continuous higher doses also increase the chance of dependency and addiction to the drug.
Spike in Xanax and anti-anxiety medication prescriptions since Covid-19
In many parts of the world, the coronavirus pandemic has led people to go panic-buying or hoarding of essential items. In Australia, toilet paper became a prized commodity with grocery stores and supermarkets running out of it. In some parts of the United States, however, people began panic buying liquor, guns, and marijuana.
Not surprisingly, a recent news report also indicated that there was a 34% increase in the number of anti-anxiety medication prescriptions from mid-February to mid-March. This usage increase is said to be twice as high for females whose prescriptions are up by 40% compared to males who saw only an increase of 22.7%. This increase coincided with the coronavirus pandemic and when states started issuing stay at home orders. Aside from anti-anxiety meds, there was also an increase of 21% in depression and insomnia medication prescriptions during the same period.
Should you use Xanax and anti-anxiety meds during the pandemic?
The uncertainty of what’s going to happen is enough to cause anxiety in most people. Being physically isolated and not being able to go about old routines can take a toll on your mental health. These feelings of anxiousness may make you consider taking pills like Xanax.
Unless you have been previously diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and a medical professional has advised that you take alprazolam to treat your condition, you should think twice before taking the drug. Even if you have a legitimate prescription, keep in mind that Xanax should not be taken longer than the duration advised by your doctor nor should you take higher doses than what was recommended.
If you have not been diagnosed with anxiety prior to the pandemic, you should not take benzos that were not prescribed to you. If there are old benzos in your medicine cabinet prescribed to other members of your family, refrain from taking the drugs as this could have adverse effects and could even lead to addiction. Taking Xanax recreationally can lead to addiction.
You should also be cautious about ordering Xanax online or buying illicit drugs from social media. Because people are advised to stay at home, some may think that it is safer to buy illegal drugs online, however, this could lead to more dangers. If you are not familiar with the person selling the drug, you could end up with fake Xanax or Xanax bars. These counterfeit drugs are often cut with dangerous substances like fentanyl which could lead to death.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, help is available.
Contact Anaheim Lighthouse today.