Xanax is a hypnotic sedative that is usually prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders. It is also prescribed for seizures, as it has anticonvulsant properties as well. Xanax has a high risk for addiction, so it is prescribed in low dose and for as short of a period of time as possible.
Xanax decreases central nervous system (CNS) function, and this can sometimes reduce brain function. By suppressing the CNS, Xanax reduces anxiety and decreases seizures. However, when taken in high doses it can cause significant impairment in other areas of functioning as well.
Xanax is not intended to ease the stress of everyday life. Xanax is a potent benzodiazepine that carries a significant risk for addiction, especially if Xanax is being misused. People who abuse their prescription or take Xanax that is not prescribed for them, are at risk for addiction.
Potential Indicators Of Xanax Addiction
There are many indications that a person is struggling with addiction, but unless a person knows what they are looking for, it can be easy to overlook.
A good rule of thumb is that if a person starts behaving in a way that does not match how they acted before, they might be struggling with a significant problem, and possibly a substance abuse issue.
This article contained five signs that your loved one might be addicted to Xanax, including:
- personal loss
- obsessed with Xanax
- poly-substance abuse
- psychological/behavioral symptoms
- physical symptoms
Personal Loss And Xanax Abuse
Over twelve percent of adults in the U.S. reported using Xanax in the last twelve months. Significant amounts of people who attended substance abuse treatment reported abusing benzodiazepines.
Addiction to benzodiazepines isn’t always noticeable, even though becoming addicted to benzodiazepines can happen in a short amount of time.
The personal losses to benzodiazepines can be small or large, and usually get progressively worse over time. Addiction essentially takes over areas of the brain responsible for reward and euphoria. The brain then begins to compulsively seek out and abuse the substances.
This repeated substance abuse can result in dependence, where the brain and body cannot function normally without the substance.
People addicted to Xanax can sometimes have trouble maintaining relationships, both professionally and in their private life. Constantly seeking Xanax or hiding Xanax abuse, can disrupt personal relationships, especially coupled with the other symptoms of Xanax addiction.
Xanax addiction can make it difficult for a person to keep their work, social, and personal commitments. In addition, they may find themselves with legal and financial issues.
When a person is abusing Xanax, their mind becomes preoccupied with getting and taking more Xanax. This obsession with Xanax usually is a warning sign of an impending Xanax addiction.
Benzodiazepines, like Xanax, are one of the most commonly prescribed central nervous system (CNS) depressants in the country. Doctors usually follow a protocol that includes tapering down the doses, and limiting the number of refills a patient can get.
A person addicted to Xanax who can no longer get Xanax through their doctor may try to find the drug illegally. This could include doctor shopping, buying it from a drug dealer, or taking it from a family member.
Seeking Xanax off the street is dangerous. The Xanax could be fake, or made in clandestine labs, and contain other drugs, fentanyl or other opioids. Taking Xanax that has been tainted or contains other illegal substances can be fatal.
Addiction To Xanax And Other Drugs
When a person is abusing more than one drug at a time, it is referred to as poly-substance abuse. Although incredibly dangerous, this is not uncommon among those who struggle with substance abuse or addiction issues.
For example, if a person abuses Xanax and drinks alcohol in order to feel “more relaxed”, it can then depress the CNS so much that breathing, heartbeat and other autonomic functions slow completely. This can quickly lead to a fatal overdose.
Combining Xanax with other drugs, or taking excessive amounts of Xanax can result in higher probability of sedation across multiple days, physical harm, car accidents, and any number of problems as a result of delayed response.
There are long term side effects of Xanax abuse, such as high risk for memory impairment. Some studies have found a correlation between long-term Xanax use and dementia. Other long term effects may include depression, delirium, aggression, psychosis, and impulsivity issues.
Psychological/Behavioral Issues And Xanax Misuse
Abusing Xanax use can quickly lead to an addiction to Xanax. When a person needs Xanax to function, obsesses over Xanax, or their Xanax use affects their ability to maintain their previous lifestyle, it is likely that the Xanax abuse has transitioned to Xanax addiction.
The psychological and behavioral effects of Xanax addiction are:
- mood swings
- memory impairment
- inability to focus
- extreme sleepiness
- becoming secretive about Xanax use
- taking Xanax for longer than recommended
- decrease in social activities
- spending more time isolated
- decrease in self-hygiene
- unable to stop or lower dose
Physical Signs Of Xanax Addiction
Sometimes the physical signs of Xanax abuse or addiction can be observed by others. A key factor in these side effects is that they typically only occur if someone is abusing Xanax or taking in a way other than prescribed.
The following are common physical symptoms of Xanax misuse or addiction:
- extreme sleepiness
- decreased sex drive
- slurred speech
- dry mouth
Treating Xanax Addiction
It is important to seek professional help when attempting to stop abusing Xanax. Benzodiazepines have a potential to cause significant harm during withdrawal.
For this reason, seeking a medically supervised detoxification program to help a person stop misusing Xanax is very important.
An inpatient treatment facility can offer the type of help a person who is struggling with Xanax addiction needs.
Our addiction specialists are available to help you or your loved one continue towards a sober future, reach out to us today.
American Family Physician - Addiction: Part I. Benzodiazepines-side effects, Abuse Risk and Alternatives
American Psychological Association - Study Finds Increasing Use, and Misuse of Benzodiazepines
European Journal of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences - Review on drug interactions of alprazolam on pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic actions
Journal of Psychiatric Nursing - The Prevalence of Substance Use among Adolescents Participating in Apprenticeship Training, Relationship between Anger Level, Anger Expression and Addiction Severity
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