Alprazolam, commonly known as Xanax, is a prescribed medication for treating anxiety and panic disorders. While it can be effective when used as directed, Xanax carries the risk of addiction and abuse.
This page aims to shed light on Xanax addiction, including its symptoms, associated risks, and available treatment options provided by Oasis Bradford.
What is Xanax?
Xanax is a prescription drug medication that belongs to the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. Xanax is primarily prescribed for managing anxiety disorders, including generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder. By augmenting the impact of a neurotransmitter known as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, Xanax alleviates heightened activity and anxiety symptoms, which helps to calm down excessive activity and reduce anxiety symptoms.
Roughly six in one hundred people live with an anxiety disorder in the UK every week, and due to its fast-acting nature, Xanax can quickly relieve anxiety symptoms. However, it also risks dependence and addiction, especially when used for extended periods or in higher doses than prescribed. Xanax is categorised as a controlled substance in a number of countries due to its potential for abuse and not available through the NHS, making it only legal through private prescription.
What is Xanax addiction?
Xanax addiction occurs when someone misuses or abuses the drug by taking it in higher doses than prescribed, using it without a prescription, or using it for non-medical purposes, despite adverse consequences.
When Xanax is taken regularly over an extended period, the body can develop tolerance, which means that higher doses are needed to achieve the desired effects. This can lead to increased use and a higher risk of dependence and addiction. Dependence occurs when the body relies on Xanax to function normally, and stopping or reducing the drug intake results in withdrawal symptoms.
Signs and effects of Xanax addiction
If you are wondering if you or a loved one may have a Xanax addiction, there are behavioural signs that you can look out for:
- Withdrawing from loved ones: Secretiveness and isolation can become more evident over time.
- Cravings: Having increasingly strong urges to use Xanax
- Continued use despite harm: Using Xanax persistently despite the negative physical and psychological effects.
- Neglecting responsibilities: Ignoring responsibilities and finding it difficult to cut back on Xanax usage, even to the determinant of your school, work or home life.
- Doctor shopping: As your tolerance builds, the need for an increased dosage means trying to access more prescriptions from multiple doctors.
- Physical symptoms: Nosebleeds, sniffing, headache, slurred speech and seizures during withdrawal are just some of the existing physical signs.
While Xanax addiction has a lot of stigmas, it is not your fault or the fault of a loved one suffering from an addiction. Benzodiazepines like Xanax are one of the most dangerous substances to quit cold turkey due to the potential for life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. However, with our help, the process can be made a lot easier and safer.
Xanax addiction can significantly affect your health, well-being, and overall quality of life. Misuse of Xanax can lead to respiratory depression, memory problems, cognitive impairment, increased risk of accidents, and potential overdose, especially when combined with other substances such as alcohol.
Risk factors of Xanax addiction
Various risk factors contribute to the development of Xanax addiction, notably individuals experiencing mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Xanax’s capacity to temporarily relieve distressing emotions often leads individuals with these conditions to depend on it to regulate or numb their painful feelings. While this may offer immediate relief, it can result in addiction over time.
Studies show that genetics can play a significant role in developing an addiction, meaning that family background and being exposed to the misuse of Xanax at an early age can also heavily influence addiction to the drug.
You can overdose on Xanax regardless of the duration of use. Recognising the signs of an overdose is important to get someone the support they need promptly.
Important Xanax overdose signs to look out for:
- Blurred vision
- Slurred speech
- Irregular heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing/swallowing
- Memory loss
- Loss of consciousness
If you encounter someone showing these symptoms, call the emergency services at 999 immediately. While awaiting their arrival, carefully place the individuals in recovery positions to prevent choking in case of vomiting. Your swift actions can save a life.
Xanax addiction treatment
Acknowledging and accepting a Xanax addiction can be daunting, but it is a crucial first step towards recovery. Once you have passed denial, you begin to recognise the significance of this courageous step in reclaiming your life. If you are supporting a loved one through their rehab journey, it is essential to remind them of the importance of this decision. They must be genuinely ready and willing to seek treatment for their Xanax addiction.
Rehab is challenging, and recovery is often a lengthy process; without personal motivation, it becomes difficult to maintain sobriety.
The first step of the recovery process is detoxing. Detox is when you stop taking Xanax and allow the toxins to leave your system. Xanax withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous, and going through the detox process under medical supervision is recommended.
Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms…
- Hypersensitivity to light and sound
- Muscle pain
- Anxiety and depression
Withdrawal symptoms associated with Xanax can vary, as they are influenced by individual factors such as the duration and intensity of Xanax use, age, weight, metabolism, and overall physical and mental health. A typical timeline follows:
- Six to twelve hours: Within this timeframe, after your last dose of Xanax, you may start to experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can include anxiety, restlessness and an increased heart rate.
- Two to six days: The withdrawal symptoms typically peak during this period. You may experience more intense anxiety, panic attacks, mood swings, muscle aches and nausea. It’s important to note that some individuals may also experience seizures during this stage, especially if they have been taking high doses of Xanax or have a history of seizures.
- Six to fourteen days: As you progress through the withdrawal process, the symptoms will generally start to ease. However, you may still experience lingering effects, such as residual anxiety, insomnia, and mood fluctuations. It’s important to continue seeking support during this stage to manage any persistent symptoms.
Xanax withdrawal can be a challenging process, and for some individuals, it doesn’t end with the acute withdrawal phase. Some people experience post-acute withdrawal when psychological symptoms persist for weeks or even months after detoxing from Xanax.
Post-acute withdrawal syndrome following Xanax cessation can bring about psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression, irritability, mood swings and sleep disturbances. If you find yourself in this situation, it is crucial to seek ongoing support to navigate through this phase of recovery.
Xanax Rehab with Oasis Bradford
Due to the potential dangers of Xanax detox, it is recommended that you receive treatment in an inpatient treatment programme at a rehab facility. Here you will have 24-hour support from medical professionals to treat your xanax withdrawal symptoms as and when needed. Rehab also has the added benefit of taking you away from any temptations that exist in your daily life and distance you from the dependence you have for xanax.
Rehab at Oasis Bradford will allow you to explore the underlying factors contributing to your Xanax usage. Through therapy and counselling, you will gain insights into your personal rehabal triggers for relapse, identifying specific situations and individuals that may provoke your cravings. Equipped with this understanding, you will learn effective strategies to manage and cope with these triggers throughout your time at rehab.
At Oasis Recovery, we believe in healing your body and mind to ensure long-term sobriety. We understand the destructive impact of Xanax addiction and possess the expertise to treat it effectively.
Whether you are personally seeking support or are interested in learning more about our Xanax addiction treatment, please reach out to us today. Our dedicated team can address any inquiries and guide you towards recovery.