Xanax Addiction: Signs, Symptoms & Treatment

What is Xanax Addiction? Xanax is associated with the American pop culture. Rappers regularly rap about it, and in sitcoms, there is always the offbeat stressed father or mother saying they need one to chill. However, Xanax is basically a brand name. The real drug name is alprazolam. In 2010, alprazolam was the 12th most prescribed drug in the US and it is among the most popular category of benzodiazepine.

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What is Xanax?

Xanax is a short- to moderate-acting benzodiazepine. It is an anti-anxiety drug in the benzos family, the same class that includes Dalmane (flurazepam), Ativan (lorazepam), Valium (diazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam), and other drugs. The Center for Substance Abuse Research (CSAR) reports that there are at least 15 kinds of benzodiazepines in the US today. These drugs are used to assist patients to deal with anxiety problems and have been listed as Schedule IV drugs since they are less likely to be abused.

xanax addiction pills

(Example Of Xanax)

Xanax works by decreasing anomalous excitement in the brain and is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat panic disorders.  It comes in various colors and shapes and is mainly used to deal with moderate to severe panic attacks and anxiety. The drug is also used to treat anxiety that originates from moderate depression. The drug can also help in easing sleeping disorders.

Alprazolam comes in extended-release and immediate-release formats. These tablets come in 0.5 to 3 milligrams strengths. The drug is also known by a number of other street names including Z-Bars, Bars, Handlebars, Zanbars, Xannies, Blue footballs, Bricks, Benzos, School Bus, Upjohn, White girls, White boys, Yellow boys, and Bicycle parts.

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Is Xanax Addictive?

Patients can become addicted to Xanax even when they get prescription from the doctors. This drug addiction risk increases when it is abused, taken without prescriptions, or taken for recreational purposes. A person is highly likely to become addicted to this drug (and do so quickly) if they take it more regularly or in larger dosage than prescribed. Additionally, the risk of addiction increases if an individual self-medicate the drug for mental health problem treatments.

Xanax addiction is not just about how often or how much a person takes. There are other risk factors which are involved such as biological and genetic underpinnings. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that a person’s gene accounts for about ½ of the individual’s risk for Xanax addiction. Therefore, a person will become addicted to this drug more quickly than any other individual if they have a family member who abuses the drug. Biology also plays a critical role in Xanax addiction development. Physical and mental health are the other factors which are believed to lead to its addiction.

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Why is Xanax Addictive?

Alprazolam receives and releases a heightened amount of dopamine – a neurotransmitter chemical that controls the pleasure and reward center in the brain – while reducing the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a class of receptors that receives dopamine, in the brain. Consuming the drug, therefore, means that there is excess dopamine in the brain due to the increased production. The brain receives the excess dopamine, decreasing the feeling of anxiety, panic, and other negative states while increasing the reward and pleasure feelings.

The increase in dopamine might lead to a euphoric experience for some users, and that feeling is what users seek out when they abuse the prescription pill. Alprazolam is regularly prescribed for generalized panic disorder and anxiety, a theory that can help to explain the high rate of Xanax addiction. Patients with anxiety are at a higher risk of getting addicted to Xanax than the general public because it is convenience for them to depend on a prescription medicine to ease their problems.

symptoms of xanax addiction

(Xanax Effect On The Brain)

How Addictive is Xanax?

Xanax owes its highly addictive nature to its qualities as a high-potency benzodiazepine with a short half-life. This is why it is regularly preferred for its intermittent use. And it is also what makes the substance attractive to drug users. When abused, it forms dependence fast, resulting in a severe addiction.

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Xanax Abuse Statistics

Xanax abuse statistics can only be understood by looking at previous addiction treatment. Admissions to rehab centers have increased by 79% since 2002 because of benzodiazepines abuse. Xanax, the number one abused benzo, contributes the highest percentage of this number. Different doctors administered about 30 million alprazolam prescriptions in 2002. By 2007, this figure had increased by 7.5 million. That means that its prescription increased by about 1.25 million every year.

Sadly, as these prescriptions increased, so did Xanax overdoses. Between 2004-2008, alprazolam addiction contributed to an 89% increase in emergency room (ER) visits. There were about 65,000 ER visits for this drug in 2006. In 2010, this number stood at 125,000. These statistics show how prescriptions lead to addiction when abused, misused or combined with other drugs or alcohol.

xanax addiction combined with alcohol abuse

(Xanax Addiction & Alcohol Abuse)

What are the Side Effects of Xanax Addiction?

The most experienced side effects of Xanax are: Dizziness, Drowsiness, Tiredness, Memory problem, Sleep problems or insomnia, Diarrhea, Irritability, Poor coordination and balance, Trouble concentrating, Slurred speech, Vomiting, Headache, Constipation, Nausea, Increased sweating, Blurred vision, Stomach upset, Muscle weakness, Stuffy nose, Dry mouth, Loss of interest in sex, Weight loss, and Swollen feet and hands.

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What are Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms?

Alprazolam withdrawal symptoms can manifest within 2-4 hours after the last use and peak in relentlessness within 2-4 days. The addicted person can experience blurred vision, headaches, muscle pain, diarrhea, tremors, numb fingers, sweating, insomnia, loss of appetite, anxiety, sensitivity to sound and light, panic, seizures, and paranoia.

Xanax Addiction Treatment Options

There are a few options that a person can try to prevent the dangers of Xanax withdrawals. They include:

  • Primary Care Doctor
  • Detox clinic
  • Hospital Treatment
  • Medically assisted detox

It is important to go for an accredited rehabilitation center that provides a medical detox program in order to detox from Xanax effectively and safely and avoid facing withdrawal symptoms alone. At a recognized center, patients can enjoy 24/7 care from qualified doctors to make sure that every patient is safe as they detox their bodies of this drug. A tapering dosage in a medically assisted detox is safer than a cold-turkey withdrawal.

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Conclusion – How To Start?

Do not put your loved one’s happiness and health at risk by making them suffer alone or trying to detox them from Xanax addiction at home. There are affordable and effective treatment alternatives you can turn to, no matter your situation. To get more information and assistance, kindly give us a call using our hotline numbers or fill in the form provided online and we will contact you immediately.