Xanax is a medication that is prescribed by doctors for patients who suffer from various anxiety disorders and sometimes to individuals who have sleep disorders. It’s a medication that is designed to be taken for short periods of time as a patient goes through a hard time or upsetting experience, like the death of a loved one. Xanax is an addictive drug, with high potential for abuse and addiction. Even so, many people believe that it’s safe because it’s prescribed by a doctor. In reality, it’s easy to become dependent on Xanax even when you take it as prescribed.
Physical Dependence to Xanax Can Lead to Addiction
When you use Xanax for a period of time, your body becomes used to functioning with it in your system. The chemicals in Xanax act on your brain and central nervous system, and in turn, your brain and nervous system work to stabilize and function normally with the added drug. Over time, they adapt to functioning with the drug present; this is the new normal for your brain and nervous system – and it is physical dependence.
Once you are physically dependent on Xanax, you will experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop using it. That is your brain and the nervous system again trying to stabilize, this time without the drug. Physiological dependence on Xanax has two symptoms: tolerance and the presence of withdrawal symptoms when discontinued or doses are lowered.
Once you become physically dependent on Xanax, addiction may not be far behind. You may begin to take more of the drug to feel the effects that you used to with less. You may begin to take the medication more often than prescribed, or in higher doses. Once this behavior begins, your thoughts may become consumed with taking Xanax, how to get more, or where you can get it illegally. These thoughts may take over your life, becoming your only priority. This is what addiction is.
How Can Addiction to Xanax Be Prevented?
While there are legitimate medical needs for prescription anti-anxiety medications like Xanax, there is no way to guarantee that you will not become addicted if you take it. The only way to be certain is to never use it. However, if you find that Xanax is recommended to treat anxiety, and there are no other options, there are some steps that you can take to lower your risk of addiction.
- Follow the directions for taking the medication to the letter. Do not take more than what is prescribed without consulting your physician.
- Be aware of potential adverse interactions with other medications and alcohol.
- Don’t discontinue taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
- Don’t use someone else’s prescription medication, and don’t share yours with anyone else.
- Store your medications safely.
Be sure to talk with your doctor about alternatives to Xanax and other benzodiazepines to see if there is anything else that can be done to alleviate your anxiety. For some people, antihistamines or blood pressure medications are good non-addictive alternatives.
Getting Help for Xanax Addiction
The withdrawal symptoms of benzodiazepines, including Xanax, can be pretty unpleasant. That’s why it’s recommended that detox from the drug be done at an addiction treatment center under the care of medical professionals. Doing so will make the detox process much more comfortable and safer. Upon completing detox, it’s important to continue addiction treatment with outpatient or inpatient rehab. Detox alone often isn’t enough to prevent relapse from happening.
If you or a loved one is addicted to Xanax, My Time Recovery can help you safely detox and begin your journey towards recovery. Contact us today with your questions.