Addiction can happen to any individual, in any family. It isn’t only those who use drugs illegally or illicitly who become addicted and need treatment to stop using the substances. Even people who take medication that is prescribed by doctors can become addicted to certain medications. Xanax, prescription anti-anxiety medication is one of them.
What is Xanax?
Xanax, the brand name for a prescription medication called alprazolam, belongs to the class of drugs called benzodiazepines. This type of medication is most frequently prescribed for patients who suffer from generalized anxiety or panic disorders.
Xanax affects specific receptors in the brain. It increases inhibitory brain activity, which works to calm the agitation of anxiety. It’s a quick-acting medication, usually fully effective within an hour of taking a dose. The effects of Xanax usually last about six hours. The medication is most frequently abused by individuals who are seeking the sedative effects it provides.
Symptoms of Xanax Addiction
Xanax addiction may cause both physical and mental (psychological) symptoms in users. The severity of the symptoms depends on the amount of Xanax used, the frequency of use, the length of time it’s been used, and the overall health of the user.
The physical symptoms may include:
- Sense of elation or euphoria
- Lethargy or drowsiness
- Problems concentrating
- Memory loss
- Increased sleeping
The mental or psychological symptoms may include:
- Problems with relationships, at school, and at work – It’s common for people who are addicted to Xanax to miss work or school due to not feeling well or not being able to use the medication while they are there. Relationship issues with friends and family are also common because individuals who suffer from addiction typically place their drug of choice ahead of anything, or anyone, else.
- Financial problems – Issues with financial situations often happen because the individual may be spending more money to obtain Xanax or because he or she no longer pays attention to managing their bills and expenses.
- Memory problems – Xanax, and other benzodiazepines can cause an amnestic effect, making it common to not fully the details of situations and conversations.
- Motivational problems – Xanax addicts are frequently tired and lethargic, lacking the motivation to do things they did before their addiction. Additionally, they commonly show even less motivation for tasks that require focus, time, or sustained attention.
People who become addicted to Xanax also experience cravings, increased tolerance to the drug, and withdrawal symptoms. Cravings are typically strong and all-consuming. The addict may not be able to think about anything except using, obtaining the medication, and obtaining money to pay for the drug.
Increased tolerance happens over time and it means that users have to take more of the drug in order to achieve the same effect. When individuals who are addicted to Xanax stop using the drug abruptly or decrease the doses they are taking, they will begin to have withdrawal symptoms.
Effects of Xanax Addiction
Using Xanax for extended periods of time can cause negative effects, physically and mentally. Because it’s a central nervous system depressant, Xanax causes many different body systems to slow down. Some of the most common negative effects of Xanax are:
- Difficulty speaking or slurred speech
- Confusion and disorientation
- Loss of motor skills and coordination
- Slow heart rate
- Decreased respiratory rate
- Memory loss
The effects of Xanax addiction are more severe and develop faster when the medication is combined with alcohol or other depressant drugs. These effects can be very serious, even up to death.
Xanax Addiction Treatment
It’s important to have medical help to stop using Xanax safely. The withdrawal symptoms of stopping using the medication abruptly can be dangerous and painful, even causing seizures and death. That’s why it’s often recommended that people suffering from benzodiazepine addiction attend a medically supervised detoxification facility. It’s also often recommended that after detox, individuals continue on to inpatient addiction treatment. The best chances of having a long-lasting recovery from Xanax are associated with getting the right type of addiction treatment – and it’s typically detox, inpatient treatment, and aftercare.
Addiction is a challenging and often heartbreaking disease that affects the addicted individual and his or her family and friends. If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction to Xanax or another substance, My Time Recovery can help you begin a journey to recovery. Please contact us for more information or any questions you have. Don’t put off seeking help and healing – the first step is asking for help.