Addiction to Xanax
Xanax is a type of benzodiazepine. This prescription medication is typically used to treat insomnia and anxiety disorders. Xanax is commonly abused because of its ability to create a euphoric feeling when consumed outside of recommended prescription doses. Xanax is also highly addictive.
The Drug’s Popularity
Over the years, pop culture has made the use of Xanax more common. Sought after as a way to calm the function of the central nervous system, this drug is often used as a way to chill out and to stop worrying. Over-prescription of the drug in the 1980s and 1990s has also led to ease in getting the drug. About 16 percent of all opioid overdose deaths also involve the use of benzos like Xanax, as noted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
How Does Addiction to Xanax Happen?
Prescription medication may seem harmless, but even drugs like Xanax carry a high risk for addiction if they are misused. This drug is still commonly prescribed by doctors for insomnia, anxiety, and some panic disorders. In those cases, it works well and should not be stopped without a doctor’s supervision.
However, when a person uses a prescription that is not written for them or purchases the drugs illicitly, there is a high risk of addiction occurring. Xanax, for example, can be taken from a parent’s medicine cabinet by teens. Some people may purchase pills on a college campus to help them to stop worrying about test scores. Other times, adults go from one doctor to another to find access to the drugs.
The Development of Dependence
Using Xanax too frequently or using large amounts of it increases the risk of developing dependence. This is a condition in which the brain and body adjust to the presence of the medication and cannot function normally without it. Xanax does this by triggering the pleasure center in the brain, creating a euphoric feeling that the brain seeks out on a continuous basis.
Dependence occurs when a person feels increasing cravings for the drug or when they have physical symptoms of withdrawal. These may include:
- Headaches and migraines
- Muscle and bone pain and weakness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Inability to concentrate
- Intense episodes of anxiety
- Irritability, sometimes significant
When this happens, dependence forms. Addiction often occurs with dependence. It happens when a person is compulsively seeking out the drug even though he or she recognizes that continued use of it is dangerous.
Signs Your Loved One Has a Xanax Addiction
Xanax abuse can be hard to hide, especially over time. Most people develop dependence and addiction, but also tolerance. As tolerance occurs, a person needs to seek out more of the drugs to get the same type of relief. Not doing so creates the onset of withdrawal symptoms.
There are other signs of Xanax addiction as well:
- Inability to maintain responsibilities at home or work
- Running out of a prescription too soon
- Doctor-shopping for multiple prescriptions
- Loss of control over how much is being consumed
- Loss of interest in people, experiences, and hobbies once loved
- Trying to stop using the drug and failing to do so
If you believe a loved one has an addiction to Xanax, it becomes essential to seek out drug and alcohol treatment programs. That’s because dependence is simply too hard to overcome on one’s own. A person cannot just stop taking this medication without psychological and physical risks. In a professional setting, medical care is provided to minimize the risk of complications.
The Risks of Continued Use of Xanax
Overdose is a big risk for those struggling with drug addiction. That’s because, as tolerance grows and the amount used increases, the impact on the body is more profound. Too much Xanax can significantly reduce a person’s heart rate and breathing rate to dangerous levels. Without immediate medical care, this can be fatal.
Over time, Xanax causes additional damage. It can impact the health of the respiratory system, cause damage to the kidneys and liver, and lead to cognitive failures including memory loss and limited cognitive function. It can also create hallucinations, paranoia, and seizures.
It’s also important to note that many people use Xanax along with other drugs. Mixing it with heroin is sometimes common. Others may also use it with other types of opiates to enhance the effects. This can also increase the risks of overdose substantially. Using Xanax with alcohol is also common and dangerous.
How Is Xanax Addiction Treated?
Because of the complexities of this addiction, a person should not just stop taking Xanax. They should work with a drug and alcohol detox program to safely remove the drugs from the system while also controlling withdrawal and cravings.
Our team is ready to help. To learn more about Xanax treatment options including residential treatment programs and prescription drug treatment, contact us. Work with us to ensure you’re getting the level of care needed.
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