Meth (methamphetamine) is a potent, illegal stimulant drug that produces feelings of energy and euphoria. Xanax is a benzodiazepine and central nervous system (CNS) depressant used to treat anxiety and insomnia. Mixing meth and Xanax is dangerous and potentially deadly because meth works to increase heart rate and blood pressure while Xanax has the exact opposite effect.
Moreover, the reaction that results is a product of two drugs with contradictory effects. Thus, the body is placed under severe stress and effects can lead to risky, unpredictable health risks and complications. For one, this pair can put excessive strain on the heart and may directly contribute to cardiac arrest or stroke.
Meth itself is often mixed with other substances to enhance a high or reduce manic symptoms. Users sometimes report using too much meth and then turning Xanax or other CNS depressants to calm nervousness and anxiety and maintain a higher level of functionality.
As a result, the user may erroneously believe that they are indeed back to normal, but in reality, they are still impaired. Indeed, driving and other activities can still be dangerous and lead to injury or death to the user or others encountered in their path.
Recent statistics from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) revealed that in one year, nearly two-thirds of emergency department visits related to meth also involved another substance – and more than 10% included the use of benzodiazepines such as Xanax.
In fact, polydrug abuse (the use of one or more illegal drug or misuse of multiple prescription medications in combination with alcohol) often leads to overdose because when these substances are combined, effects are unpredictable and often far more intense and dangerous than any one substance alone.
Meth and Xanax Overdose and Death
Combining meth and Xanax increases the risk of complications and deadly side effects. The following symptoms may manifest due to use of this combination:
- Excessive drowsiness/sleepiness
- Cardiac arrest (heart attack)
- Slow/impaired breathing
Using meth and Xanax can also result in a life-threatening overdose. Benzodiazepines contribute to thousands of deaths each year and are highly addictive. If used to ameliorate an intense and uncomfortable meth high, both dependence and tolerance (in which the user needs increasing amounts of the drug to achieve the desired effect) can occur and the risk of overdose substantially increases.
Addiction and Withdrawal Symptoms
Meth, like Xanax, is highly addictive. Just a brief period of use can compel the user to repeat consumption long-term. The method of ingestion is most often smoking, but some snort or inject it to induce a faster and more intense high.
When addiction develops, discontinuing meth use can be extremely challenging due to the very unpleasant and uncomfortable effects of withdrawal. Symptoms may include depression, lethargy, fatigue, insomnia, anger, irritability, anxiety, nervousness, paranoia, and strong cravings.
Over time, using an increasing amount of Xanax can lead to physical dependence, especially when more than the recommended or prescribed amount is consumed. Abrupt cessation of Xanax can result in severe withdrawal symptoms, and these effects may increase when other substances are used simultaneously.
Meth use, in addition to increasing energy and hyperactivity, can lead to anxiety that follows the euphoria. When users start experiencing a “comedown” from meth, they may consume downers such as benzos, sleep aids, and alcohol to mitigate unpleasant stimulant effects. Using CNS depressants such as these can take the edge off, both slowing down brain activity and causing sedation.
For these reasons, most healthcare and addiction professionals strongly recommend that users seek a professionally monitored medical detox to prevent relapse, overdose, and death.
Using Xanax to Prevent Tweaking
The use of meth may lead to a condition known as “tweaking.” This refers to the aftermath of an intense rush, usually following a binge.
Users binge to prevent withdrawal symptoms and a comedown, but after multiple using, effects decrease to the point that the user can no longer achieve a high and has no choice but to tweak and crash.
During the tweaking phase, the user experiences feelings of apathy, paranoia, intense cravings, insomnia, and may exhibit odd, unpredictable behavior and sometimes psychosis and hallucinations. To mitigate or prevent the effects of tweaking, users may turn to Xanax as a means to counteract the effects of a meth comedown. There may be unpredictable effects, however, from combining these two opposite-reacting substances.
If a person uses both drugs in conjunction, the effects that are produced can be very disturbing and unpredictable. Users may alternate back and forth from hyperactivity to excessive sedation. These polarizing effects can lead to increased anxiety and further drug use.
Meth and Xanax: Recommended Treatment
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most common, most researched, and effective form of treatment. CBT works to change a person’s attitudes and behaviors, as well as their thoughts, and feelings toward drug abuse and stressors or trauma they have experienced. CBT also focuses on the adoption of coping skills and fosters a patient’s ability to deal with triggers.
If the patient is dependent on Xanax, the psychiatrist or physician will likely recommend a tapering schedule in which the person is slowly weaned off the drug by decreasing dosages over time to lessen dependence and mitigate withdrawal symptoms.
Following a tapering schedule or detox, meth and Xanax users should participate in a residential (inpatient) or outpatient treatment program. Our center offers both formats which include behavioral therapy, counseling, and group support.
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