Anxiety has become a problem of epic proportions. A recent report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) found that more than 40% of adults in Florida have experienced anxiety and depression. Benzodiazepines, also known as benzos or pharmaprams, are frequently prescribed by doctors to help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety. Their sedating effect on the central nervous system often leads to dependency.
Commonly used benzos include Xanax (Xans, Xannys), Flualprazolam (Flualp), Midazolam (Midaz) and Klonopin (Klon, Clon, Kpin). They help the brain process the neurotransmitters that make us relaxed, resulting in a calming and hypnotic effect. They may also cause dependency, producing massive waves of anxiety during withdrawal.
Benzos can be abused with or without a prescription, and there are many online communities dedicated to dosage experimentation and abuse. Keep reading to learn more about different types of pharmaprams and what to do if you feel you’re suffering from benzo dependency.
Pressed Bar Pharmaprams
Some prescribed benzodiazepines come in the form of pressed bars that can be broken into quarters. Certain dosages of Xanax, for example, are manufactured in long white bars and pressed with the brand’s name to avoid tampering.
There are numerous reports of illegal pill pressing to create Xanax copycats or new benzo combinations. The process of pill pressing involves mixing or cutting the drug with other dangerous drugs, then pressing it into the recognizable shape of a Xanax bar. Some illegal bars are styled to imitate the original, while others are pressed with designer names and colors.
Pressed bars are becoming a common format for experimental drugs that are more potent and addictive. Some consist of a combination of benzos, barbiturates or opiates to create a dangerous blackout effect. Though pharmaprams can be pressed into various shapes and sizes, they’re usually pressed into bar form to be more easily recognized as a benzo-based drug.
Xans (Xanax) is a benzodiazepine primarily prescribed to treat generalized anxiety, panic and sleep disorders. Also known as alprazolam, it’s a fast-working drug that can calm the body in as little as 20 minutes and allows the user to remain relaxed for up to 11 hours. Xanax is one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States and as a result, one of the most commonly abused.
Though prescription Xanax may potentially be abused, drug abusers often buy copycats with higher dosages of the active ingredient to experience a more euphoric effect. Fake Xans can be cut with other pharmaprams, as well as with highly addictive substances such as fentanyl, to increase the chances of dependency. There are many posts on social forums seeking help to identify illegally obtained pills as a result.
Xanax is popular among teens and college students to help cope with the stress of school. Benzo experimentation at a young age can lead to lifelong dependency, especially when combined with other drugs or alcohol.
Hydroxyzine vs. Xanax
Though prescribed to treat similar health concerns, hydroxyzine and Xanax are two different classes of drugs. Hydroxyzine is an antihistamine that works by blocking the body’s response to allergens. It increases levels of serotonin in the body, which reduces anxiety. Unlike Xanax, hydroxyzine isn’t a habit-forming substance and doesn’t cause withdrawal symptoms.
Flualprazolam, or Flualp, is a benzodiazepine similar in chemical structure and effect to Xanax. The main differences between the two are strength and duration. The effects of Flualp are described as more hypnotic and lasting much longer. It isn’t regulated under the Controlled Substances Act and has only been available legally for research purposes.
Because of its potency, Flualp is more sought-after by benzo abusers seeking a stronger high. Like Xans, it can come in the form of pressed bars and also mixed into candy to create edibles. There are reports of counterfeit Xanax containing Flualp leading to hospitalization.
Looking for a sustained high, Xanax abusers will seek Flualp as their tolerance increases. It’s often binged with alcohol or marijuana, significantly compounding the risk for overdose.
Midazolam is prescribed for sedation before major medical procedures. It’s a powerful benzodiazepine used as an anesthetic during surgery that causes patients to become sleepy and temporarily unable to form new memories. Midaz can be administered through a slow drip IV, by intramuscular injection or as a nasal spray or dissolved under the tongue.
In hospitals, a patient taking Midazolam would be under the watchful eye of a doctor or nurse. People who abuse Midaz attempt to achieve a rush or blackout effect by injecting it in large quantities, also known as slamming. Overdoses of Midaz can cause irregular heart rate, apnea, hyperventilation and extremely low blood pressure.
Klon or Kpin
Klonopin (Klon, Kpin) and Xanax are prescribed similarly to treat anxiety and panic disorders. The active ingredient in Klonopin, however, is clonazepam, a long-acting benzodiazepine that’s effective up to 40 hours after being taken. Due to its long-lasting effects, Clon is regularly prescribed in pill form for seizures and agoraphobia.
People suffering from a long-term addiction to pharmaprams will usually seek out Klonopin over Xanax since Kpin produces a stronger feeling of euphoria over a longer period of time. Like all benzos, higher dosages will be needed as the body develops a tolerance over time.
While withdrawal symptoms are different for everyone, their duration and intensity can be estimated based on certain factors. Duration of usage, dosage strength, underlying mental/physical health problems and concurrent abuse of other substances all play a major role during withdrawal.
Benzodiazepines aren’t meant to be taken on a long-term basis and can result in a physical and mental dependency. As soon as they’re out of your bloodstream, you may experience serious symptoms such as anxiety attacks, thoughts of suicide, insomnia and grand mal seizures. Many harrowing personal accounts claim withdrawal can go on for weeks, also known as protracted withdrawal.
Due to the severity of these symptoms, it’s not recommended to quit pharmaprams cold turkey. Dosages should be tapered down over time and under the supervision of a medical professional.
Break Free of Addiction
People with an addiction to benzos often feel the only option available to them is quitting alone. They hold on to the belief that they can stop anytime, but the reality is that quitting isn’t that simple. In the case of pharmaprams, doing so is potentially dangerous and can lead to serious medical complications. Making the decision to get help is hard, but it’s the single best choice you can make to ensure recovery.
FHE Health is committed to the holistic care of anyone attempting to end substance abuse. We offer customizable options based on the current challenges you’re facing. FHE provides a full continuum of care, from withdrawal to recovery. If you’re ready to break free of addiction, call us now at (833) 596-3502.