Addiction can affect anyone, from all walks of life; it does not discriminate. There are no races, genders, ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, or levels of education that are exempt. While the reasons that individuals become addicted may vary, once they begin using drugs or alcohol tolerance and dependence can occur quickly, without the person even realizing what is happening – especially when the drug is prescribed by a doctor. One such drug is Xanax, an anti-anxiety medication that is frequently prescribed for people suffering from generalized anxiety and panic disorders.
Most people who are addicted to Xanax require outside help to break free from the addiction. It is a chronic and advancing disease that affects both the individual and their loved ones. It is essential that you seek help if you believe you or a loved one is addicted to Xanax or another substance, and the sooner the better.
If you suspect that someone you love is abusing or addicted to the benzodiazepine Xanax, but you are not certain, there are some signs and symptoms that you can look for. These are external signs that may be obvious or well-hidden by your loved one. But there are also internal symptoms that others may never see, but the active addict feels intensely.
External Signs and Symptoms of Xanax Addiction
There are some common symptoms of Xanax addiction that will give you an idea of what type of things to look for. The signs and symptoms of Xanax addiction may be physical, behavioral, and emotional.
Physical Signs and Symptoms
- Lightheadedness or confusion
- Slurred speech or difficulty speaking
- Excessive sleeping or sluggishness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Dry mouth
- Disheveled or unhygienic appearance (that is uncharacteristic of the person)
- Seeming lethargic without reason
Behavioral Signs and Symptoms
- Attendance issues at work or school
- Problems/conflicts at work or school
- Change in sleep patterns
- Becoming isolated or secretive
- Missing important events
- Legal issues
- Car accidents
- Relationship issues
- Financial problems
- Conversations that center around Xanax use or related topics
Emotional Signs and Symptoms
- Irritable or argumentative
- Unprovoked anger
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Inability to cope with stress or conflict
- Denial of Xanax use or of the amount used
- Rationalization – offers alibis, excuses, justifications for their behaviors
- Minimization – admits to using Xanax casually, but not the true extent or severity of the problem
- Diversion – changes the subject or distracts from discussions about Xanax use
Internal Signs and Symptoms of Addiction
While there are a lot of outward signs that a person is abusing Xanax, there is even more that they are feeling internally. Addiction is defined as obsessive thinking and a compulsive need for drugs, alcohol, sex, food, or anything, even when it results in negative consequences. A person in the midst of active addiction feels an intense craving for their drug of choice. They often feel anxiety, depression, guilt, and shame over their use.
The cycle of addiction becomes increasingly predictable as it progresses, and it attempts to explain what the addicted person goes through internally as it does. The cycle is characterized by the following:
- Frustration and internal pain that causes anxiety and leads to a demand for relief from the symptoms
- Fantasizing about using drugs or behaviors to relieve those symptoms
- Obsessing about using drugs and how life will improve after using
- Acting on the addictive activity – actually using drugs
- Experiencing a loss of control over the addictive activity
- Feeling remorseful, guilty, and ashamed for using drugs
- Resolving to oneself to stop the substance use
After a time, the unresolved pain or frustration return, and the person begins the cycle again. The period of time typically becomes shorter and shorter as the addiction progresses, but the cycle can vary depending on the individual. For instance, a binge user may go through the cycle more slowly than a daily user. Once in the cycle of addiction, it is very difficult to break it, but it can be done due to circumstances that may arise (legal, financial, or medical) that force the addicted person to stop using. But without outside help including detox followed by treatment, the addictive behavior is likely to return.
Breaking the Cycle of Addiction
Just as there is a cycle of addiction, there is a cycle that an addict typically goes through as they enter recovery. This cycle is represented by the following stages:
- Precontemplation – The person is still using and not considering stopping.
- Contemplation – The person knows at this point that there is a problem and is starting to consider that a change in behavior is necessary.
- Preparation – The person begins to prepare mentally to make a change.
- Action – The person takes action, seeking treatment, support groups, or counseling. Treatment is provided and the addict stops using.
- Maintenance – The person maintains a clean and sober lifestyle and follows a program of recovery.
Unfortunately, there are many people who relapse during the maintenance stage, and the cycle must start over. But, recovery is possible. With the right addiction treatment, like that at My Time Recovery, your loved one can begin a new, clean and sober life.
If your loved one is struggling with addiction to Xanax, let My Time Recovery in Fresno help you help them. Contact us today for help with how to proceed with your loved one.