What We Know
Xanax is the brand name of alprazolam, a type of benzodiazepine. Benzos are drugs that suppress the central nervous system. Xanax is often prescribed to treat anxiety, depression, or panic disorders, but even though Xanax is a prescription drug, it can still be widely abused. Xanax, like other benzos, change the way a user’s brain functions and can create dependency and addiction quickly. According to a report by the Department of Health and Human Services, more than 60,000 individuals who went through a drug treatment program in 2011 were addicted to benzos such as Xanax.
While some people might take Xanax responsibly as prescribed, many more abuse it and can become addicted. If one becomes addicted, it also causes extreme withdrawal symptoms that must be monitored by a detoxification specialist. Let’s learn more about Xanax and how you can get help for yourself or a loved one struggling with a Xanax addiction.
Xanax Addiction Symptoms
Xanax is known for its fast-acting symptom relief in slowing down how a user’s body and brain functions. When taken in excess, it can also lead to increased feelings of euphoria and relaxation. In addition, some other common Xanax addiction symptoms include:
Feelings of euphoria
Lack of motor skills
Even those prescribed Xanax can become addicted because of the drug’s ability to alter the brain’s reward circuit. Because of this, it’s extremely important to monitor a user’s addiction symptoms.
Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms
Like other benzos, Xanax withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable, dangerous, and potentially fatal. Withdrawal symptoms can take effect within hours of a user’s last dose and can last from 1-4 days to a week. These withdrawal symptoms must be monitored in a medically-supervised detox program because Xanax withdrawal can cause seizures, heart palpitations, and even death. Other Xanax withdrawal symptoms include:
Increased blood pressure
Sensitivity to environmental stimuli
Loss of appetite
A tapered Xanax dose that is medically guided is much safer than stopping Xanax use cold turkey. Contact us today for more information on Xanax withdrawal symptoms and detox options.
Effects of Xanax Use
Even prescription drugs can have adverse side effects, especially when abused. According to American Addiction Centers, “benzodiazepines [such as Xanax] are a class of prescription drugs with sedating properties that stem from their ability to increase the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter known as GABA.”
With long-term use, Xanax can actually influence the production of GABA, and without it, the brain may slow or stop making this chemical on its own. This leads to dependency and withdrawal symptoms when the brain is forced to function without the presence of the drug. In addition to changing the way the brain’s neurotransmitters work, long-term Xanax use can also cause:
Violent, aggressive, or hostile behavior
Decreased inhibition, which can lead to risky behavior
Lastly, BMJ investigated the link between benzos and dementia and found that benzodiazepine use may promote the development of dementia.
Xanax is often prescribed to treat mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety, but when a user becomes addicted to benzos, they may be diagnosed with a co-occurring disorder. According to Psychology Today, co-occurring disorders are defined as “the presence of both a mental health and a substance use disorder.” This is especially problematic when a user is prescribed Xanax to treat their depression or anxiety but then becomes dependent. This vicious cycle can lead to suicidal thoughts, a deeper depression than before the medication was prescribed, and more. In order to treat co-occurring disorders such as these, clients must undergo specialized programs that are built for both substance use disorders and mental health disorders.
Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment
Xanax addiction is treated with inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, or both depending on a client’s needs. Rather than fit a client to a specific treatment plan, we find the treatment plan that’s right for them and tailor it based on needs, substance abuse history, health factors, and much more.
Inpatient treatment is when a client comes to stay with us for a period of time, ranging from a month to three months. During this time, we work through many different types of therapies and address the behavioral, physical, and psychological components of Xanax addiction.
Outpatient treatment consists of similar therapies but is more flexible and meeting times are based on a client’s schedule. These outpatient treatments can be on weekends or nights to allow for a client to keep up their normal schedule during the week. Sometimes, clients can just do outpatient treatment and sometimes it follows an inpatient stay. All of these factors depend on their specific needs. At Manifest Recovery Centers, we find the program that’s right for you or your loved one.
In addition to the traditional inpatient and outpatient treatment programs, more addiction specialists are turning to telehealth to provide a more flexible level of care. After a client goes through the preliminary treatment program, they may be eligible for telehealth services, which include phone calls, video calls, and other therapies using technology.
Take advantage of our flexible Xanax addiction programs for busy professionals today.
Department of Health and Human Services. Treatment Episode Data Set 2011: Discharges from Substance Abuse Treatment Services. 2011.
American Addiction Centers. Xanax Withdrawals Duration, Dangers, and Treatment. Nov, 2018.
BMJ. Benzodiazepine use and risk of Alzheimer’s disease: case-control study. Sept, 2014.
Psychology Today. Co-Occurring Disorders. Jan, 2018.