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Signs and Symptoms of Xanax Abuse

Xanax Abuse

Xanax, scientifically known as alprazolam, is a benzodiazepine commonly prescribed to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Its calming effect can be highly beneficial for those with legitimate prescriptions and mental health issues. However, due to its potent sedative effects, Xanax carries a high potential for substance abuse and addiction.1

For loved ones and individuals who use Xanax, it’s important to distinguish between therapeutic use and misuse. While the medication can significantly improve quality of life when used correctly, its misuse can lead to severe physical and psychological dependence.

What Does Xanax Use Look Like?

Initially, Xanax acts as a powerful sedative on the central nervous system with muscle relaxant properties, effectively reducing restlessness and anxiety. However, its use can lead to “rebound” symptoms, where the very symptoms Xanax was prescribed to treat, such as anxiety and insomnia, return with greater intensity upon abrupt cessation of the drug. This rebound effect can often compel continued use to avoid discomfort, contributing to the cycle of addiction.

Common Side Effects

The use of Xanax can lead to short-term side effects:

  • Mood: While relaxation and feelings of euphoria can be appealing, Xanax can also cause mood shifts and increased irritability.
  • Physical: Side effects can include dizziness, dry mouth, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, poor coordination, seizures, shortness of breath, slurred speech, and tremors.
  • Psychological: Mental effects include lack of focus, confusion, memory problems, and decreased inhibitions.

These side effects can contribute to impaired driving ability and an increased risk of falls, broken bones, and traffic accidents, highlighting the dangers associated with Xanax use.2

What Does Xanax Addiction Look Like?

Xanax addiction symptoms often begin subtly, with the legitimate use of the medication for medical reasons. Over time, however, individuals may develop a tolerance to the drug, requiring larger doses to achieve the same effects.

This can lead to an increased dependency on Xanax, both physically and psychologically. As the addiction progresses, it becomes more pervasive, impacting various aspects of an individual’s life including their health, social interactions, and ability to function effectively in daily activities.

As with other substance use disorders, Xanax addiction includes several behavioral and physiological warning signs:2

  • Intense Cravings: A powerful urge to use Xanax that distracts from other thoughts and activities.
  • Tolerance: The need to consume increasingly larger doses to achieve the same calming effect or “high.”
  • Extended Use: Using Xanax in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than initially intended.
  • Consumption Cycle: Spending excessive time obtaining, using, or recovering from Xanax’s effects.
  • Neglect of Duties: Continued use despite its interference with responsibilities at work, school, or home.
  • Social Consequences: Persisting in using Xanax even when it causes or exacerbates social or interpersonal problems.
  • Loss of Interests: Abandoning hobbies and activities once enjoyed in favor of drug use.
  • Risky Use: Using Xanax in situations where it poses a hazard, such as before driving.
  • Health Issues: Continuing to use despite the knowledge that it is worsening physical or psychological
  • Dependency: Inability to cease use without professional help.
  • Withdrawal: Experiencing withdrawal symptoms after long-term Xanax abuse, which may include anxiety, insomnia, and physical discomfort, indicating physical dependence.

Xanax Addiction

Treatment Options for Xanax Addiction

Overcoming Xanax addiction requires a multifaceted approach that combines medical intervention, therapy, and support networks. Effective treatment is tailored to the individual’s specific needs, addressing both the physical dependence and the psychological aspects of addiction.

Medical Detox

The first step in treating Xanax addiction is often a medical detoxification process, which helps safely manage withdrawal symptoms under professional supervision. Detox is crucial because abrupt cessation of Xanax can lead to severe, sometimes life-threatening withdrawal symptoms such as seizures, tremors, and intense anxiety.

Medical professionals may use a tapering method, gradually reducing the dose of Xanax to minimize withdrawal symptoms, or they may prescribe other medications to assist in the detox process.

Rehabilitation Programs

Rehabilitation programs may be offered as inpatient or outpatient services, tailored to the severity of the addiction and the specific circumstances of the individual.

Inpatient rehab programs provide a structured environment where individuals live at the treatment facility and receive round-the-clock care. This setting is beneficial for those with severe addictions or those who need to be removed from an environment that perpetuates drug use.

Outpatient rehab programs allow individuals to live at home while attending therapy sessions several times a week. This option can be suitable for those with less severe addictions or extensive personal and professional responsibilities.

Therapy

Various therapeutic approaches are used to treat Xanax addiction, focusing on understanding the root causes of addiction and developing coping strategies. Common types of therapy include:

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps patients recognize and change maladaptive thoughts and behaviors related to their addiction.

Group therapy provides peer support and allows individuals to share experiences and solutions in a supervised setting.

Family therapy involves family members in the recovery process, helping to heal relationships and build a supportive home environment.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

While not always required, MAT can be beneficial for some individuals. Medications like antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications may be prescribed to manage the underlying issues that contributed to the addiction, under strict medical supervision.

Get Help for Xanax Addiction With Lumina Recovery

Recognizing the signs of Xanax addiction early can significantly enhance the chances of recovery. If you or someone you know exhibits these signs, it’s important to seek professional help. Recovery from Xanax addiction requires a comprehensive treatment approach, including medical supervision, counseling, and support from family and friends. Awareness and timely intervention are key components of a successful recovery journey.

Lumina Recovery’s Xanax addiction treatment program combines all the elements of holistic care through supervised detox, various therapy programs, and dual diagnosis support.

Don’t let addiction define your future. Reach out today to take the first step towards reclaiming your health and happiness.

Sources:

  1. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a684001.html
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/addiction/xanax-addiction

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