Xanax is perhaps one of the more widely recognized drug names. In America, it’s the most prescribed psychiatric medicine, used for treating people with intense anxiety and panic disorders.
A central nervous system depressant, Xanax slows processes in the body, bringing about an intense feeling of relief from anxiety or panic. Not surprisingly, these seemingly positive effects are what lead thousands of people to abuse the drug and begin a life of addiction. Knowing the signs of a Xanax addiction is key to helping.
How does Xanax affect users?
The biggest initial effect of Xanax on the body is the perceived sense of calm and lack of anxiety. This presents itself in the forms of low energy, drowsiness, or even a sense of euphoria because the feelings of negativity the user may have been experiencing are now “gone.” The drug typically begins working 30 minutes after taking it and can last up to 2-3 hours.
However, Xanax also has many side effects to be aware of. These include:
- Abnormal dreams
- Decreased libido
- Impaired coordination
- Inflammation of the skin
- Memory impairment
- Muscle twitching and cramps
Despite these negative reactions, it’s common for Xanax users to begin to misuse the drug and become addicted.
Xanax Use to Addiction
The path to a Xanax addiction can come in many forms. Due to the initial positive effects of the drug, you can only imagine how one might want to increase their dosage regularly. This is where addiction begins. When a drug such as Xanax is used at an inappropriately high amount, dangerous physical effects such as blackouts and impaired brain function often occur.
Xanax Addiction Statistics
As with most addictions, being aware of the problem and educated enough to teach others is so important in the fight to help individuals that are using. Below are some statistics on the use and misuse of Xanax from DrugAbuse.com:
- Xanax is legally available by prescription only but is one of the top 3 prescription drugs moved to the black market.
- A 2013 study showed that young adults, ages 18-25, are the most likely to have used Xanax for non-medical purposes.
- According to the CDC, more than 93,000 people died due to a drug overdose in 2020.
- Xanax when misused is commonly mixed with alcohol and other drugs, increasing the risk of overdose and other negative effects.
Xanax Overdose Warnings
Here are some common signs of Xanax addiction to look out for:
- Continued use of Xanax even after it is causing personal difficulties
- Loss of control over the amount being consumed
- Inability to physically stop using Xanax even if the desire to stop is present
- Obsessing over the thought of the next use and how to obtain more
- Common risk-taking behaviors occurring
An addiction to Xanax can unfortunately often lead to an overdose. This can be fatal and should not be taken lightly. If you or a loved one misuse Xanax and any of the following symptoms occur, seek immediate help.
- Drowsiness or “nodding off”
- Slowed heart rate
- Loss of balance
- Muscle weakness
Understanding Xanax Addiction
Xanax, also known by its generic name alprazolam, belongs to the benzodiazepine class of drugs. It is prescribed for the short-term management of anxiety and panic disorders. However, the drug’s calming effects, rapid onset of action, and high potency make it highly addictive, even when used as prescribed.
Tolerance, Dependence, and Withdrawal
Long-term use of Xanax can lead to tolerance, meaning the individual needs higher doses to achieve the same effects. This can quickly progress to physical dependence, wherein the body relies on the drug to function normally. When a dependent person stops using Xanax or reduces the dose, they may experience withdrawal symptoms, which can be severe and potentially life-threatening.
Xanax withdrawal symptoms include:
- Muscle pain and stiffness
- Rapid heartbeat
- Nausea and vomiting
Due to the potential severity of withdrawal symptoms, it is crucial to seek professional help when attempting to discontinue Xanax use.
Risk Factors for Xanax Addiction
Some factors may increase the likelihood of developing a Xanax addiction:
- Personal or family history of substance abuse
- Co-occurring mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder
- Chronic stress or exposure to traumatic events
- Peer pressure or social influences
- Easy access to the drug, either through prescriptions or the black market
Preventing Xanax Addiction
To reduce the risk of developing a Xanax addiction, it is essential to use the drug only as prescribed and under the supervision of a healthcare professional. If you are prescribed Xanax, consider the following preventative measures:
- Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully, and do not take more than the recommended dose.
- Avoid combining Xanax with other substances, such as alcohol or other drugs, which can increase the risk of addiction and overdose.
- Discuss any concerns or side effects with your doctor, who may adjust your dose or recommend an alternative treatment.
- Seek therapy or counseling to address any underlying anxiety or mental health issues that may contribute to the need for Xanax.
- If you have a history of substance abuse, inform your doctor so they can consider alternative treatments or closely monitor your use of Xanax.
By understanding the risks and potential for addiction associated with Xanax, you can make informed decisions about your treatment and take steps to prevent addiction.
Getting Treatment for Xanax Addiction
A Xanax addiction can be dangerous and scary but treatment is available. If you have questions or are ready to start your recovery journey, we’re here to help. Contact our skilled addiction and mental health professionals at Emerge Healing Center to learn more about our treatment and program options.