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January 5, 2021

Xanax is a drug that is valued for its medical use. It is a benzodiazepine that is majorly used for the treatment of anxiety. Unfortunately, it has become quite frequently abused as a recreational drug. This is a situation that has been worsened by its promotion in mainstream culture, particularly music. As a prescription medication, it can be relatively easy to obtain, even among very young people, which elevates the danger it has.

The drug is not abused for the euphoria that other recreational drugs tend to cause but for the sedation it produces instead. This article will discuss addiction to Xanax, the symptoms and effects of Xanax abuse, as well as how to treat addiction to it.

What is Xanax (alprazolam) and why is it addictive?

Alprazolam is a short-acting benzodiazepine. These drugs act by increasing the effect of GABA, one of the brain’s neurotransmitters. This neurotransmitter relaxes and sedates the body, so alprazolam increases that effect.

This is why this drug is used primarily in the treatment of anxiety disorders, which includes panic disorders. It is a prescription medication, so it cannot be obtained over-the-counter. However, despite this, it has become a drug easily available on the streets.

A Xanax addict holds a handful of alprazolam pills to abuse.

This drug has been established to have addictive potential. It is less commonly found to result in Xanax dependence during therapeutic use. This is likely as the doses used are well monitored. However, for recreational users, tolerance develops, which makes them abuse Xanax in higher doses. Research has attempted to answer the question of why is Xanax addictive? Changes in the production of neuropeptides have been linked to the development of dependence, partly answering this.

What are the symptoms of Xanax addiction?

An addict may exhibit certain Xanax addiction symptoms and signs. When these are seen in a loved one, it can be a sign that they have a Xanax addiction. You may notice changes in behavior to accommodate the habit, effects of the drug due to constant use, or withdrawal symptoms. If you notice multiple symptoms of addiction to Xanax, it may be time for them to seek help.

Behavioral signs

There will usually be changes in their behavior to allow for continued Xanax drug abuse.

  1. Financial issues or finding money missing.
  2. Continued use of Xanax even after recognizing its negative effects on them.
  3. Needing to use more of the drug to achieve the same effect as previously.
  4. Craving the drug frequently.

Symptoms of Xanax use

Some signs of addiction to Xanax relate to the drug’s effects that linger due to continuous use.

  • Frequent drowsiness
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Inattention
  • Lethargy
  • Dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Poor coordination

Get a free online consultation to learn how to manage these symptoms in you or your loved one >>>

Withdrawal symptoms

When an addict has been unable to use their drug for some time, they will begin to have withdrawal symptoms. These can be seen as the following:

  • Loss of consciousness or fainting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Seizures
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Excessive sweating

What are the side effects of Xanax addiction?

As with essentially any drug, there can be side effects with the use of alprazolam. The chances of these occurring are even greater when the dosage is increased, which occurs with abusers of the drug. These can be short-term and long-term effects.

Short-term side effects of Xanax addiction

Alprazolam is a short-acting benzodiazepine. This means its effects have a short duration in which they act. However, at this time, it can cause a variety of effects.

  • Reduced breathing
  • Reduced heart rate
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Lightheadedness
  • Impairment of reflexes
  • Increased impulsivity
  • Impaired sense of judgment
  • General sedation

Long-term side effects of Xanax addiction

Long term use of alprazolam can lead to some chronic effects in the body. Alprazolam long term side effects include the following:

  • Tolerance will develop, resulting in abuse of larger dosages
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Aggression and violent behavior
  • Suicidal thoughts and actions
  • Impairment in memory and confusion
  • Seizures
  • Liver damage, as the drug is metabolized by the liver
  • Cognitive impairment

How does Xanax addiction start?

There are two major ways that addiction to alprazolam can develop. This can be in individuals who are prescribed the drug for therapeutic purposes, or in individuals who abuse it for recreational use.

  1. In people who have the drug to treat anxiety or panic disorders, they may notice that its effectiveness starts to decrease even at the same dose. This is due to the development of tolerance. This may lead to a person increasing the dose that they take, without their doctor’s knowledge. This continuous increase in dosage can result in the development of alprazolam dependence.
  2. For those who abuse the drug recreationally, they seek out the desired effect which is the sedation that the drug provides. They are likely to continue to use the drug for this effect. With tolerance, they increase their dosages before finding they are addicted to Xanax.

What is the treatment for Xanax dependence?

When dependence begins to seriously impact the life of a loved one, Xanax treatment should be sought after. While an addict can attempt to stop the drug on their own, the withdrawal symptoms will likely push them back into their habits. They require professional help to get back on their feet. This involves benzodiazepine detoxification. It helps clear the drug from the system, and Xanax rehab to repair the social and behavioral damages their drug use may have caused.

An infographic that shows the timeline of benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms.

This is why professional alprazolam treatment programs exist for patients with alprazolam addiction. A patient dealing with addiction can check in to one of these clinics for rehab for Xanax. Under the watch of experienced clinicians, they will be taken care of and given medication to manage withdrawal symptoms. They will also undergo different therapies. These include group therapy, psychotherapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. These serve to address the psychological side of their dependence. Outpatient programs are also available, though not as effective.

How to Get Started with Xanax Addiction Treatment

This is a drug that many use recreationally, even from very young ages. They believe there is little harm, but when Xanax drug addiction develops, it can be devastating. It is important to get help for alprazolam addiction as soon as possible. This is the right way to a better, healthier life. Xanax recovery is just a step away.

We are here to ease your road to recovery from xanax addiction. Book a free online consultation to learn how to start >>>

Published on January 5, 2021
by Dr Vorobjev Clinic team

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