Despite being often prescribed by doctors for anxiety, Xanax is considered highly addictive. Even those who properly use the drug as prescribed are at a high risk of abusing the substance. Are you unsure whether you or a loved one may have a Xanax addiction? Learn more about the drug, the signs of addiction, and how Xanax addiction can be fully treated.
Xanax and Its Uses
Known as a type of benzodiazepine, Xanax is a fast-acting drug that commonly treats anxiety, insomnia, panic disorder, depression, and even nausea for those in chemotherapy. Despite initially being considered a non-habit-forming drug, time on the market has shown that Xanax is, in fact, highly addictive.
As the number of people becoming addicted to Xanax increases, doctors continue to prescribe the drug. Xanax is considered the most prescribed benzodiazepine and the most commonly prescribed psychotropic drug in the United States. In 2013, Xanax made up more than 48 million prescriptions in the U.S.
Xanax, also known as alprazolam, shows rapid results within just ten to thirty minutes. While its quick effectiveness makes the drug an often prescribed medication for those with panic disorders or anxiety, it can also significantly contribute to dependence and addiction.
How Addictive Is Xanax?
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 17,019 people struggling with substance abuse cited benzodiazepines like Xanax as the primary substance affecting their addiction. This large number was just from the year 2012 alone.
It can take as little as a few weeks for someone to become addicted to Xanax. Over time and with prolonged use, individuals will feel less of an effect when taking the drug and will seek out an increased dosage or higher quantities of the drug. Not long after, a tolerance will develop, and physical dependence on the chemical will be solidified.
According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, four out of 10 people using Xanax daily for longer than six weeks will form a dependency. Even when using Xanax as prescribed by their doctor, users can become dependent and addicted. Despite common opinions, even the most careful person can become addicted to Xanax. Our bodies cannot differentiate between a prescribed drug and an illicit drug. Research by the Journal of Addictive Behaviors has revealed that 44% of regular benzodiazepine users become dependent on their drug.
Not only is Xanax an abused prescription drug, but also commonly abused through illegal consumption. “Xannies,” “bars,” and “benzos” are just some street names for the often-abused benzodiazepine. As a treatment for anxiety and panic disorder, Xanax provides a high feeling of tranquility and relaxation. Those abusing the drug may even mix it with alcohol or other drugs, which is extremely dangerous.
Xanax and the Cycle of Addiction
When Xanax is used on a continual basis, your body will become physically and mentally dependent on the drug. The pleasant effects of the drug will lessen over time. As a result, a user may be advised or take it upon themselves to increase their dosage. When this continues, it will take more and more pills to gain the desired effects of Xanax.
An addiction has formed when users have become dependent on the drug to carry out their daily lives. Some signs and symptoms of a Xanax addiction include:
- Sustained Xanax use even though it is making personal problems worse
- Worrying excessively about getting and taking Xanax
- Having no control over how much Xanax is taken
- Unwillingness to quit taking Xanax despite wanting to
- Loss of interest in past hobbies or activities
- Risky actions include operating a vehicle while under the influence of Xanax or mixing substances
- Weight loss
- Increased irritability or aggression
- Issues with thinking clearly
- Fatigue and sleep issues
Dangers of Xanax Overdose
Abuse of Xanax can lead to overdose, which may be fatal. Overdose can occur when too much of the drug is taken, mixed with other substances, or chewed or crushed. This is because Xanax is designed to be time-released into the body, but when crushed or chewed, it immediately sends it into your system.
Knowing the signs of a Xanax overdose can better help ensure that you or your loved one seeks medical care as quickly as possible. Some symptoms of a Xanax overdose include:
- Slowed heart rate
- Trouble breathing
- Weakness in muscles
- Intense fatigue or drowsiness
- Loss of balance
Medical professionals may use a stomach pump to remove as much unabsorbed Xanax as possible in the case of an overdose. As an antidote, drugs like Flumazenil may also be given. Additionally, doctors may place an IV to administer the required fluids. Anyone experiencing an overdose should be completely honest with the emergency medical staff about the precise chemicals they consumed and in what dosage.
Treatment for Xanax Addiction
When recovering from a Xanax addiction, going “cold turkey” is strongly discouraged and potentially dangerous. Instead, users should seek treatment from medical professionals and slowly taper their drug dosage. Overcoming any addiction can be daunting, but it will save your life.
At Avalon Malibu, our team takes a holistic approach to Xanax addiction treatment. Not only do patients receive first-class medical supervision when detoxing, but they also are introduced to healthy activities, therapy, and coping skills. Addiction treatment should include detox and counseling to discover the root cause of the addiction. To overcome Xanax addiction, users must heal the mind, body, and spirit.
Once someone understands they may have a problem, the next step is seeking recovery. While Xanax may have been originally taken to remedy mental or physical ailments, it can quickly become an addiction. Seeking treatment for Xanax addiction is vital to saving lives and avoiding fatal overdose. At Avalon Malibu, patients can stay in our picturesque treatment center while overcoming their Xanax addiction. Compassionate medical staff will ensure that you or your loved one will safely embark on recovery. Our research-backed holistic approach allows patients to see a brighter future ahead without substance abuse. To learn more about our recovery programs and treatment, call our Avalon Malibu team at (844) 857-5992.