One day a few months ago, you were anxious about a difficult exam you were about to take, so a friend gave you a Xanax, telling you it would help ease your nerves. You took it and it really did help. Now, you and your friends pass the pills around like candy and you regularly buy them from a guy on campus. You take 20 to 30 pills a day just to get by. At first, you thought you could control it, but now you’re not so sure. You’re addicted to Xanax—something you never thought was even possible.
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What Is Xanax?
Xanax is a brand name of the drug alprazolam, a benzodiazepine that is frequently prescribed to treat patients suffering from anxiety and panic attacks. Although some people take it like candy, Xanax is a powerful prescription drug that has a strong potential for addiction. It’s not uncommon for individuals (young adults especially) to get Xanax from friends or family members and take several every few hours just to get through the day or to deal with stressful situations.
Xanax is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, which is a type of drug that slows the activity of the brain. It produces feelings of calmness and boosts the brain’s natural production of a chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA.1
CNS depressants like Xanax are generally safe when used as prescribed on a short-term basis, but long-term use carries a high risk of developing tolerance and addiction.
Xanax Addiction: The Truth About this Drug
Doctors write tens of millions of prescriptions for benzodiazepines every year and despite the fact that Xanax is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States, 125,000 people wind up in emergency rooms every year due to complications related to their Xanax use.2
Xanax has a particularly high potential for abuse and addiction because of its fast-acting effects. People also frequently combine Xanax with other drugs like alcohol or prescription opioid drugs to enhance or strengthen its effects.3 Although common, combining Xanax with other drugs is neither recommended nor safe.
Despite the fact that Xanax abuse is dangerous, 18.7 million people abused prescription drugs like Xanax during the last year, according to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.4 Additionally, 86 percent of people who seek treatment for Xanax addiction say that they took the Xanax as a secondary drug.5
In the last decade alone, recreational abuse of Xanax has increased drastically. The number of Emergency Department visits almost tripled among patients between 25 and 34 years of age from 2005 to 2011 and doubled for patients ages 45 years and older.6
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Xanax Addiction
A person may intentionally or unintentionally become addicted to Xanax, but either way, Xanax abuse does not come without physical and psychological consequences. A few warning signs of Xanax dependence and addiction include:
- Taking Xanax without a doctor’s prescription
- Continuing to use Xanax when it’s no longer prescribed
- Taking Xanax with other drugs such as alcohol or prescription painkillers (opioids)
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when the effects of Xanax fade
- Taking larger doses of Xanax than were prescribed by a doctor
- Developing a tolerance to Xanax
The symptoms of Xanax abuse will vary from person to person, depending on their level of dependence, how much Xanax they’ve taken, and the combination of drugs they have taken. Some common signs of Xanax abuse may include:
- Sleeping for long periods of time
- Slurred speech
- Impaired coordination
- Cognitive problems
- Lack of energy
- Nausea or vomiting
Abusing Xanax with alcohol or other drugs can also result in respiratory arrest, coma, overdose, or death.
Xanax addiction is more common than you may think, but many people do overcome it with long-term addiction treatment that begins with Xanax detox. If you or a loved one is addicted to Xanax and wants to get sober, it’s important that you realize the potential dangers of detoxing on your own at home. At-home Xanax detox may seem ideal, but it can lead to serious complications and may result in unnecessary suffering due to uncomfortable or painful withdrawal symptoms.
Medically assisted Xanax detox is the safest way to get sober, as benzodiazepine withdrawal can be very unpredictable. With a medically assisted detox program, you or your loved one will be monitored by an experienced medical and clinical staff 24/7 for the full extent of your detox program. Your treatment team will also reduce or eliminate any painful physical side effects of withdrawal with medication and gradually bring you down into a comfortable state of sobriety.
After Xanax detox, you may choose to enroll in an inpatient or outpatient rehab program to continue your addiction treatment. The National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends at least 90 days of addiction treatment for the most positive treatment results.
Enrolling in drug detox is the first step toward achieving a life that is free from Xanax addiction. If you’re interested in learning more about our detox center or Xanax detox program at Briarwood Detox Center, please call today.
Residential detox for alcohol, prescription opioids and illegal drugs.
Major insurance providers accepted.
Call us at (888) 857-0557 for a free, confidential assessment.