5 Warning Signs Of Xanax Addiction
Xanax, a brand name formulation of the generic benzodiazepine drug alprazolam, is a powerful anxiety-relieving medication commonly prescribed to treat generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and panic disorders.
Xanax is also a common drug of abuse, as many individuals choose to take it improperly, self-medicating for its anxiety, stress-relieving, or sedative effects. Others take it in even higher doses, as this can trigger a euphoric high and impairment similar to severe alcohol intoxication.
Here are five warning signs that Xanax use or abuse may be escalating to Xanax addiction.
When you take drugs over a long period of time the body naturally begins to rebalance your internal chemistry, reducing the overall effect of the drug.
This means that you’ll need increasingly large and frequent doses to feel the same effect, whether that effect is anxiety relief or a pleasurable high.
In the case of Xanax, tolerance can develop unusually quickly, forming and increasing over the course of just a few weeks with regular use.
While tolerance and physical dependence towards a drug are not the same as addiction, drugs that have a euphoric effect and are known to cause dependence (like opioids) generally have the highest levels of addiction risk.
2. Cravings & Dependence
Xanax is famous for being able to quickly relieve feelings of stress, fear, anxiety, and panic. But if not taking Xanax causes unease, or if you begin to feel physical symptoms like tremors or sweating, there is a good likelihood that psychological and/or physical dependence are forming.
Someone addicted to Xanax might think about using it often, craving the substance when they’re not on it or looking forward to the moment when they can be.
3. Risky Behavior
Cravings can quickly escalate into dangerous drug use and low or high-risk drug seeking behaviors, including doctor shopping and stealing.
And these behaviors may come much more naturally than you expect, as being high on Xanax may give you newfound feelings of confidence and control.
Things that you would never do while sober may feel natural while under the influence, despite the potential consequences.
Signs like driving under the influence, trying other illicit or prescription drugs, having risky sex, stealing from family members, attending class or work while under the influence, or neglecting important responsibilities indicate addiction and a loss of control.
4. Mental Health Effects
When used as prescribed, Xanax can correct unusual and harmful anxiety or panic episodes, helping you function during a difficult period.
But when Xanax is abused to the point of addiction, you may naturally begin trying to take advantage of its effects more often, with serious side effects that will become increasingly obvious to those around you.
These side effects can include:
- disorientation and confusion
- memory problems and amnesia/blackouts
- mood changes and irritability
- lethargy and low motivation
- reduced sex drive
5. Withdrawal Symptoms
One of the largest dangers of Xanax abuse is what happens after you stop taking the drug.
Xanax is a powerful tranquilizer and central nervous system depressant that works by slowing activity in the brain and body. Ater tolerance and dependence forms, going off Xanax can lead to a variety of side effects including both rebound and withdrawal symptoms.
Xanax withdrawal symptoms can be extremely severe or even (in rare cases) life-threatening, and may include:
- increased anxiety
- panic attacks
- suicidal thoughts
- weight loss
- heart palpitations
- tremors or shaking
- difficulty concentrating
- nausea and vomiting
- muscle pain and stiffness
Xanax Addiction Treatment
Unlike certain other drugs it is not safe or recommended that you discontinue Xanax or other benzos cold-turkey after dependence has formed.
Instead, your treatment program will likely begin with medical detox and tapering, slowly reducing your dosage until the drug can be fully discontinued without triggering severe or dangerous symptoms of withdrawal.
Following detoxification, the effects of Xanax addiction on your mind and behavior will still need to be addressed through proven substance use disorder treatment options like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and counseling.
If you or a loved one struggle with substance abuse or drug addiction, please contact Northeast Addiction Treatment Center to learn how we can help.
Northeast Addition Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.