Tag: anxiety

Social Media: How to Quit the Opium of the Masses

Mason Mohon | @mohonofficial

The moment I wake up. Seconds before I drift into sleep. I am on my phone, mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. Because that next post just might be it. What is it? I don’t know. Nobody does. But one day, one of us may find it. This is the endless hell of social media. A dopamine infused scroll-marathon has all (or most) of us in its tendrils. Thankfully, I am a reformed and recovered social network addict. And I hope I can help you take care of this problem too.

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Xanax Makes Doctors Rich and People More Anxious

Cassandra Twining | United States

Doctors in the United States write 50 million Xanax prescriptions per year. That’s over one prescription per second. You can buy 30 Xanax pills at your local pharmacy for on average $100. That amounts to five billion dollars being spent on Xanax every single year. But what exactly is Xanax and how does it work?

Xanax, also commonly known by its cheaper off-brand counterpart Alprazolam, is a Benzodiazepine. It is commonly used to treat general anxiety disorder, panic disorders, and insomnia. Benzodiazepines are a specific category of drug that works in specific receptors in your brain. The Benzodiazepines, in this instance, Xanax, attaches to the gamma-aminobutyric acid-A (GABA-A) receptors in your brain and diminish sensitivity to stimulation, which in turn produces the calming effect so many people love. Xanax is listed by the Drug Enforcement Agency as a schedule 4 drug. This essentially means that it is the second least likely to lead to addiction and it is very safe to take. At least according to their classification that is… So let’s look a little more into what exactly Xanax does to your brain along with the long term effects.

Treating anxiety disorders can be very difficult for some people because of the vast amount of kinds of ways anxiety can present itself. While Xanax is not the only option for treating anxiety medically, it is certainly the most commonly prescribed and most well-known option. There are 3 fundamental problems with Xanax and its long term effects on the brain.

Treating Symptoms, not Problems

The first problem being that Xanax doesn’t stop one’s anxiety, it merely numbs it. When the medication goes into the receptors in your brain and dims the sensation in the brain it effectively reduces the release of the chemicals in your brain that causes anxiety. However, the issue arises from the fact that a reduction of the release of the chemicals does not mean they go away, it just builds up.

This is why when people try to quit taking Xanax or the dosage they took wears off the anxiety feelings not only come back but comes back more forcefully. It’s essentially like sweeping dirt under a rug; it’s still there and it’s still going to affect you eventually. The problem is just continuing to build up and get worse.

This problem is enhanced by the second problem faced with Xanax: it has an incredibly short half-life. Meaning that the amount of time it takes for the drug to completely leave your system is really quick. Which makes people want to take more of the medication even when they’re not scheduled to because of the adverse effects that come when it wears off.

Xanax Addiction and Overdose

Both problems, in turn, contribute to the third and final problem that Xanax is highly addictive. Because of the short half-life, the increase in anxiety when it wears off, and the effectiveness of the drug, people quickly become both physically and emotionally dependant on Xanax as a treatment for their anxiety.

It is also very possible to overdose on Xanax, especially taken with other opioids or alcohol. In 2015 over 30,000 drug overdose deaths were the result of opioids mixed with benzos like Xanax. It is also important to note that these numbers of Xanax use are only those prescribed by doctors; Xanax is also a very commonly used recreational drug. Doctors and pharmaceutical companies are making billions of dollars from prescribing and encouraging the consumption of a drug that is continuing to increase the amounts of anxiety and addiction in our country.

Treating Anxiety

Nevertheless, anxiety is a very real and serious issue. So what can people do to change the current system for go to treatment options? A community health center in Louisville, Kentucky started to notice how the mass amounts of Xanax prescriptions for patients were not only dangerous but also a drain on their resources.

Because of the lack of education surrounding the long term effects of Xanax they were also spending an enormous amount of time just simply educating people about it. This is why they decided to switch to prescribing clonazepam a similar drug with less adverse long term effects. They are trying to completely wean their patients off of Xanax altogether. There are some people who do truly benefit from its effects. However, it is such a dangerous drug that the risk just doesn’t appear to continue to be worth it.

Non-prescription Treatments

Finally, there are a lot of ways to try and alleviate anxiety using natural methods of treatment. Exercising can release endorphins and be a cathartic experience that can help with anxious feelings. Meditation and relaxation exercises like slowly relaxing each muscle group and breathing techniques can also help. You can also try reading, writing, natural medical treatments, or anything you may feel will help.

It’s most important to remember that anxiety isn’t the same for everyone and what might work for you might not work for someone else. It takes hard work and bravery to evaluate your options and find the best course of treatment for you. It’s okay to not want to try modern medical solutions, and it’s okay to want to! What’s not okay is not having the full story of how these solutions actually affect you. Do your research and make sure you’re not just making the problem worse while trying to solve it.

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The Current Education Model Benefits No One

William Ramage | United States

Public education in America is more restrictive than it is beneficial to one’s knowledge. Students are compelled to memorize facts and become experts in subjects they cannot personally relate to or have no interest in whatsoever. With no enthusiasm or will to learn, students gain little from the learning experience. They often forget what they study shortly after the unit draws to a close and question why the information is a necessary use of their knowledge and time. This is equally detrimental to the teacher as their career begins to lose its sense of value and purpose. Educating students daily who have no desire to learn the material other than to boost their GPA, and with it their prospects of being admitted to a good college is demoralizing to the teacher who has studied that subject their entire life and found value in its practice and development.

The true meaning of learning and acquiring knowledge has been lost within the modern public education system, as students are more concerned with improving their grades than thoroughly learning the material, resulting in academic dishonesty and the feeling of dissatisfaction with the system. If students aren’t truly learning and engaging in the material, what knowledge are they gaining from the 12 years of public schooling? While studying and organization skills are also valuable takeaways from secondary school, they should not be the main outcome of many hours spent studying. In practice, public education just barely reaches the intended outcome of preparing students to become economically self-sufficient but falls short of giving students a chance to think for themselves and take their own stances on issues. Most subjects do not have a black and white objective answer, and many perspectives can be reasonably argued from multiple viewpoints. Many potentially correct arguments are shot down by teachers as they disagree with the stance or believe that their perspective is the only defensible one. It is within our nature to believe something is wrong when we do not agree with it, so it is unfair to blame educators for this behavior. It is important for students to learn that there are often multiple correct viewpoints in the real world, and schooling fails to provide examples of this reality to its students.

The grading scale used in the typical American classroom is systematically incorrect in the sense that it is very difficult to assess knowledge by a singular number. Many uncontrollable factors determine our intelligence and how we may apply it to the world. Yet, all students are measured up against each other and graded the exact same way. One student can be passionate about the subject matter at hand and devote great amounts of time to the course, while another student may earn an equal or better grade by engaging in forms of cheating. Therefore, measuring one’s knowledge and potential for success by a number is inaccurate and a very poor reflection on the student’s effort and actual desire to learn.

Many students find it difficult to concentrate in a traditional classroom environment, resulting in distraction, fidgeting, and as a consequence, poor performance. When these symptoms are brought to the attention of a parent, the student may be evaluated by a doctor and diagnosed with an attention disorder. Many of these “disorders” are falsely diagnosed, resulting in the drugging of many children who simply don’t learn the same way as lawmakers and bureaucrats want them to. This is a drastically overlooked problem as many of these students are placed on medications that may influence the formation of their personality from when they are very young, damaging their emotional state and creating future problems. This is simply the public education system forcing its participants to conform to its style to an extreme extent. Rather than mandate that all kids learn in the same way, the government should fund a variety of learning environments that can appeal to multiple learning styles.

Students are often overworked as well, leaving them with little time to enjoy their short-lived youth. Schools cram students with unnecessarily large amounts of work, with little regard to mental health or stress. While homework itself is beneficial and serves a good purpose, excessive amounts do the opposite. Overburdening students with class work can cause them to dread participating in the class and kill the last bit of innate curiosity within them. Stress disorders, sleep deprivation, and lack of free time plague the modern youth. American education needs a major reform that appeals to the needs of a younger and more involved generation. The youth is the future of our nation, and it is important to provide them with the true meaning of knowledge and cultivate a passion for learning from a young age. 

71 Republic is the Third Voice in media. We pride ourselves on distinctively independent journalism and editorials. Every dollar you give helps us grow our mission of providing reliable coverage. Please consider donating to our Patreon.

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