Xanax addiction and abuse signs and symptoms

Xanax belongs to the benzodiazepine group of drugs and is most commonly prescribed to ease symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks. Xanax is not used to treat the underlying cause of anxiety or panic disorders. Instead, it manages symptoms, enabling people to live more freely due to its calming properties.

Although it is a widely prescribed substance, Xanax is one of the most commonly abused drugs across the United States. It is thought that the high tolerance levels and immediate calming effects of the drug have led to global rates of Xanax abuse increasing.

Given that it is possible to obtain the substance illicitly without a prescription, Xanax is often used as a quick fix for stress, anxiety, or worry. Available on the internet, many people are using the drug without the guidance or knowledge of a medical professional. Starting out with small doses or infrequently can still lead to a problem, especially when the substance of choice is so addictive. Additionally, if you are taking a Xanax prescription, it's in your best interest to understand the symptoms of addiction and abuse so that you can intercept a problem before it starts.

Perhaps you started using the substance to relieve anxiety levels but now you feel you need to drug to get through the day. If this is familiar, Xanax addiction treatment may be needed.

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What is Xanax?

Xanax belongs to the Benzodiazepine group of substances which are a form of sedative medication. This means they work by slowing down the body and brain’s functions. They can be used to help with anxiety and insomnia.

In the 1950s and 1960s, researchers began looking at the medical treatment of anxiety disorders. It was at this time that the first benzodiazepine - Librium - was produced. Valium followed in quick succession and following this, a substance called alprazolam sold under the brand name Xanax.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug in 1981 and it has since become the most commonly abused benzodiazepine substance around the world.

Each year, Xanax is prescribed by just under 50 million doctors to ease the symptoms of various mood disorders, including anxiety and panic disorders. Xanax comes as a pill and can cause sedating effects on the user.

This calming, tranquilizing effect is produced by binding (GABA) receptors together in the brain and central nervous system, resulting in slowed brain activity. As a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, Xanax reduces the activity of nerve cells in the brain - resulting in a sedating effect.

Over the past ten years, the illicit use of Xanax has grown. This is especially true for younger generations, with young adults (18 to 25) being the most likely to abuse Xanax.

Worryingly, there is also an increasing trend of individuals who misuse other drugs such as opioids, engaging in Xanax use.

It is thought that Xanax abuse is commonly related to the calming properties of the drug, and once physical dependence is developed it can be extremely difficult to stop using.

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What Does Xanax Do?

Like most other central nervous system depressants, Xanax works by increasing the quantity of the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain, leading to feelings of tranquility and calm. This can be a lifeline for people who live with anxiety or panic disorder, enabling them to remain calm in high-stress situations, by stopping panic attacks and calming their body’s reactions to stress. If used as prescribed, Xanax can be a safe method of medication. Unfortunately, dependency and misuse of this substance are on the rise.

When large quantities of the drug are used it can leave people feeling lightheaded, lower inhibitions, and impact a person's balance and coordination.

Benzodiazepines like Xanax are commonly abused and used with other substances, increasing the risks for the user considerably. Using opioids or alcohol with the drug can intensify the effects and lead to very dangerous outcomes.

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How Does a Xanax Addiction Develop?

Xanax, a Schedule IV controlled substance, is often used to reduce symptoms of anxiety and panic disorder. The feelings associated with this relief can become addictive, especially for those who have faced long periods of stress and anxiety due to their symptoms.

Unfortunately, dependence on the substance can develop over a few weeks or months, with users becoming addicted due to its effect on the central nervous system (CNS). However, the calming effect on the brain and body doesn’t last for long, and people may quickly find they have to increase their dosage.

By increasing your dose or taking Xanax more frequently than you initially did, you may begin to rely on it to function. Reducing your dose could result in an immediate onset of symptoms due to the withdrawal effect of the substance, this often results in users returning to the drug as they fear without it their symptoms will be unmanageable.

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Other people may develop a Xanax addiction through recreational or party use. This is where you use the drug for its effects without a prescription or diagnosed anxiety disorder. Some people will use Xanax in combination with other drugs in these settings which is particularly dangerous and can lead to deadly Xanax drug interactions.

Once a dependency has developed, stopping Xanax can be very difficult. Withdrawal effects can be intense and distressing, leading people to use it again to relieve the discomfort.

This combination of physical and psychological dependence makes addiction extremely difficult to break the cycle. But the good news is, treatment is available. By entering the treatment process and focusing on your health, you can find a better future.

If you recognize yourself in these descriptions, seek help right away.

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Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal from Xanax varies from person to person depending on a number of factors. The physical and mental health of the individual; the length of time they have been using; the quantity of the drug they use and how many withdrawals they have experienced can all impact the process.

If somebody has been living with a Xanax addiction for a prolonged period of time and they stop suddenly, they are likely to experience withdrawal. This is a result of the brain and body altering to rely on the presence of the drug, making readjustment uncomfortable.

Withdrawal symptoms from Xanax could include:

  • Anxiety

  • Paranoia

  • Tremors and shakes

  • Headaches

  • Gastrointestinal issues

  • Vision problems

  • Muscle pain

  • Sleep problems

  • Seizures

  • Heart palpitations

  • Increased perspiration

  • Increased senses

  • Lack of appetite

If you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, seek medical supervision right away.

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Am I Addicted to Xanax?

If substance use has been part of your life for some time, it can be hard to determine what impact it is having. Many people live in denial that they have a problem at all, or they may believe that compared to other people they don't need professional help.

We understand how scary it can be to admit that you have a problem, but we can assure you that a better future is possible without substance abuse.

It can be helpful to ask yourself the following questions to determine if you are experiencing a problem:

  • Is it difficult to function without Xanax?

  • Do you spend considerable amounts of money on Xanax?

  • Have your relationships suffered due to Xanax use?

  • Do you spend a lot of your time with people who use Xanax?

  • Do you prioritize using Xanax over things you once considered important?

  • Do you take Xanax daily?

  • Do you experience withdrawal if you stop using Xanax?

  • Do you take Xanax differently from how the doctor prescribed it?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may be living with a Xanax addiction. Reach out for help today.

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Xanax and Co-Occurring Disorders

Xanax is commonly prescribed to treat anxiety disorders, however there is an increasing trend of individuals obtaining the substance illegally to manage symptoms of other disorders.

The difficult aspect of this is that when you stop using Xanax, the symptoms often come back even more intensely during the withdrawal period. Additionally, the underlying cause of your mental health disorder is likely to still be there.

Underlying mental health issues can lead to a Xanax addiction. These include:

  • Depression

  • Panic Disorder

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Bipolar disorder

  • Schizophrenia

  • Eating disorders

If you attempt to stop using Xanax without supervision it can lead to decreased mental wellbeing. Choosing a holistic addiction treatment method can provide you with the care and therapy you need to manage underlying issues.

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What to Expect from Xanax Treatment

If you are considering addiction treatment it's likely you have some questions and concerns about what it might involve. Although every recovery is different, there are some fundamental elements that remain the same.

  • Detoxification - Regardless of what led to your addiction, you must go through a detox process at the beginning of your recovery journey. This is where your body has the chance to rid itself of all traces of the drug and toxins before you embark on treating the psychological aspects of addiction. It is strongly advised that you choose a medical detox, this is where you are under the supervision of medical staff at all times. This will help manage withdrawal symptoms safely.

  • Rehabilitation - Following detox you will start the process of rehabilitation, for both mind and body. You will be offered a range of therapeutic techniques to work through your substance abuse and related issues. You may also be able to access educational sessions to focus on prevention techniques, trigger identification, and self-empowerment. These workshops can help to prepare you for life outside of rehab and on how to prevent relapse. You may take part in individual, group, or family therapy. Understanding the root cause of your addiction is key to beating it.

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Treatment Options

If you are ready to choose a treatment provider you may be considering different options, including inpatient or outpatient programs. We look at some of the differences here to help you identify the best choice for you.

  • Inpatient treatment programs - Inpatient treatment is the most comprehensive form of care for those going through substance use disorder recovery. This is where you stay in a facility for the entirety of your treatment, attending therapy sessions, eating, and sleeping in the center. If you are living with a severe Xanax addiction, or you have underlying mental health conditions it's strongly advised that you recover using an inpatient method. Residential care means that you remove triggering scenarios and people and severe withdrawal symptoms can be managed.

  • Outpatient treatment programs - Outpatient treatment is where you attend therapy sessions at a facility, but you return home every night. There are varying intensities of this form of treatment, some outpatient programs see people attend facilities 2-3 times a week, while others are more of a commitment and see you attend sessions every day.

    An outpatient treatment program may suit you if you have a very stable home life, or if you have already begun a form of treatment and are further on in your recovery. Outpatient is generally more affordable than inpatient care, but it is only advised to choose this option if you have a trusting relationship with your doctor and they are in agreement.

    If you are ready to choose a treatment option but you are unsure what path to go down, you can get in touch with us for further information and advice. We have years of expertise and we are ready to listen to your questions and concerns.

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Join a Support Group

Rehabilitation is the first step of your recovery journey, but sobriety is for life and it's extremely beneficial to find sources of support outside of therapy. For many people, joining support groups can give them the safe community they need to maintain abstinence.

Through support groups, individuals in recovery can share their stories of hope and inspiration, and support others in times of need.

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Holistic Relaxation Techniques

As aforementioned, Xanax is often used in an attempt to calm symptoms of underlying mental or physical disorders. After going through the challenges of recovery and putting in so much effort, relapse can be a scary prospect. Finding alternative ways to calm your mind and body can keep you on the right track. Below are just some healthy relaxation techniques:

  • Music - Both listening and playing music have been proven to have positive effects on your mental well-being. Engaging in some kind of music practice every day is a great and simple way to improve your mood.

  • Meditation - Meditation is one of the oldest traditional methods practiced across the world and is proven to reduce anxiety in people if consistently practiced. There are a number of types of meditation and sometimes it takes trying a few before you find one which suits you.

  • Yoga - Yoga has the double benefit of being a sport and a mindfulness practice. Through movement, you can reduce stress and anxiety. Yoga stretches and relaxes the muscles in the body and can release built-up tension.

  • Spend time with others - We know that loneliness can lead to anxiety, depression, and a number of other mental illnesses. Connecting with others, be that friends and family, or joining a community of people, can help to maintain a good level of mental wellbeing.

Although these may not work for everybody, and professional help is often advised, these techniques can be used in combination with traditional therapies to care for your well-being in a holistic way.

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Xanax Addiction Treatment at Vida Recovery

At Vida Recovery, we know how difficult it can be to reach out. Addiction is an incredibly isolating existence and it can feel as though nobody understands. We want to assure you that with years of experience and knowledge, we truly do understand what you are going through. Our staff has your best interests at heart and we listen to your concerns, needs, and hopes for recovery.

We aim to make your journey as comfortable as possible and we take this into consideration in all that we do. We specialize in dual diagnosis and take an integrated approach to this method. Our medical team has a wide range of experiences and is trained in different areas of the process, ensuring you receive top-quality care at every stage.

We know that mental illness and substance use is different for everyone, and we reflect this in our tailored treatment packages. We offer our clients effective recovery techniques which are based on cutting-edge science and successful treatment experiences.

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Contact Us Today

Living with a Xanax addiction is an extremely isolating and difficult existence. If you or a loved one is addicted to Xanax or struggling with drug abuse, we can offer you the help you need. The first step is accepting you have a problem and opening yourself up to help. If you are in this position we are proud of your courage and we are confident a different future is possible.

Get in touch with Vida Recovery today to find out about our admissions process and to find out more about our facilities and therapy options.

Why Choose Vita Recovery?

125+ Years of Combined Medical & Clinical Experience
  • 360-Degrees of Services

    Each patient is assigned an individual treatment plan that addresses all the medical, psychological, emotional, and social needs of our patients.

  • Innovative and Modern Approach

    Based on empirically derived treatment interventions & science, we provide patients with effective strategies backed by evidence-based outcomes.

  • Personalized Service for Patients

    Treatment at Vita is customized for each patient. We understand that everyone is unique and so are their needs.

  • World Class Facility

    When you walk into Vita Recovery, you'll feel like you're at a 5-star, luxury facility. We mix modern with comfortability for our patients.