If you are worried about developing a Xanax addiction, you are not alone. Alprazolam, which is more commonly referred to as Xanax, is a medication that is part of a group of substances known as benzodiazepines. For certain individuals, taking Xanax can be a helpful way to handle anxiety and panic attacks. However, those who use Xanax are more prone to developing an addiction to the drug.
This article will discuss what Xanax is, its side effects, the signs of Xanax addiction, and how you can get help.
What is Xanax?
Alprazolam, which is sold under the trade name Xanax, is an anti-anxiety medication and a member of the benzodiazepine group of prescription drugs. Xanax is a controlled substance, meaning that it carries the risk of becoming habit-forming or being abused. As a result, it is illegal to take Xanax without a doctor’s prescription in accordance with the relevant laws.
Xanax is available in the form of an oral tablet with four different dosages: 0.25 mg, 0.5mg, 1mg, and 2mg. Taking the drug for purposes or in a way that has not been prescribed by a doctor is considered misuse and can lead to addiction, making it difficult to stop using the drug even if it is causing harm. Dependence occurs when the body becomes used to the drug and may experience withdrawal symptoms if the drug is stopped suddenly.
Side Effects of Xanax Use
People with generalized anxiety disorder are typically given a combination of Xanax and an antidepressant to lessen the anxiety that antidepressants can induce. Nevertheless, specialists do not advise taking Xanax for an extended period. If you are taking Xanax, be cognizant of the potential side effects which include:
- Slurred speech
- Memory loss
- Poor motor control
- Slowed reaction time
- Dry mouth
- Shortness of breath
Xanax Addiction Explained
The feeling of pleasure that is associated with the taking of various kinds of drugs is caused by a sudden increase of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine. Although this increase is only temporary, the long-term use of addictive substances may alter the reward center of the brain in a lasting way. Research suggests that as a person begins to become addicted to Xanax or other benzodiazepines, there may be changes to the types of receptors on the surface of the neuronal cells which could potentially lead to bigger surges of dopamine when the drug is taken more frequently. In this manner, the capacity to feel the gratifying sensation is boosted, further reinforcing the habit of taking drugs.
Xanax Dependence vs Xanax Addiction
Dependence and addiction are two distinct concepts. Dependence occurs when the body becomes accustomed to a certain drug and requires it to function normally. This can lead to tolerance, which is the need to take higher and higher doses of the substance to get the desired result. If a person abruptly stops taking the drug, they will experience physical and psychological effects, known as withdrawal. When a person is addicted to a drug, they will still keep taking it despite any unfavorable consequences. It is possible to be physically dependent on a drug without having an addiction, although it is usually a characteristic of addiction.
Signs of Xanax Addiction
It is impossible to be totally safe from becoming addicted to drugs, although certain individuals are more likely to develop an addiction than others. However, the warning signs of addiction do not differ; they include:
- Inability to quit using
- Increased tolerance
- Stealing other people’s prescriptions
- Poor work or school performance
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Withdrawal symptoms if use is ceased
- Continuing to use despite negative consequences
Mental Xanax Addiction
When individuals become mentally dependent on Xanax, they are unable to stop thinking about the substance. Moreover, quitting without any expert help is hard, since the mind of the user is constantly pushing them to take the drug again. The emotional side-effects of withdrawal from Xanax can be extreme. The mind becomes accustomed to the drug, and when trying to stop, a person may experience insomnia, depression, paranoia, and irritation. In the majority of cases, withdrawal symptoms can be managed during medical detoxification, making the process as comfortable as possible.
Physical Xanax Addiction
When it comes to Xanax, dependence is indicated by physical withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped. These symptoms can include headaches, nausea, vomiting, sweating, blurred vision, and convulsions. People may become reliant on the substance as their body adapts to it. If the drug is taken away, the individual may experience aches all over as their system processes the substance out. This discomfort can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers. These effects, as well as others, are common causes for people to end up in emergency rooms when trying to quit without professional assistance. In 2020, 44,796 individuals were treated in US emergency rooms because of difficulties related to the misuse and abuse of benzodiazepines such as Xanax.
Risk Factors of Xanax Addiction
Nobody is immune to drug addiction, although some demographics are more likely to become addicted. The following are risk factors:
There is a belief that more women suffer from benzo addiction than men, although it could be a result of females being more likely to obtain a prescription for these medications. Twice as many women as men have been observed taking these drugs.
The age of a person has a considerable influence on the pattern of prescribing drugs. According to a 2008 report published by the National Institutes of Health, only 2.6 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 35 had taken benzodiazepines, as opposed to 8.7 percent of those aged 65-80. It is not clear if these prescriptions are more often given to older people or if it is simply because older individuals have more access to healthcare and are more likely to ask for help.
People who suffer from mental health issues may be taking Xanax with a prescription to ease their symptoms or may be misusing it in a bid to self-medicate. Unfortunately, this kind of abuse can make mental illness worse. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, roughly half of those who have a severe mental illness also have an addiction issue, making this a widespread issue.
Large Amounts or Polysubstance Use
A person’s risk of becoming dependent on Xanax is higher if they are taking large doses of it or taking it too often. Even those who are following a prescribed dosing plan can still become dependent on it. People who are taking multiple drugs at the same time are even more likely to be dependent since the other drugs can increase the effects of Xanax.
For example, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence states that alcohol, which is frequently taken along with Xanax, can dramatically raise the risk of injury or death. Research shows that anywhere between 3 and 41 percent of people who have an alcohol dependence are also misusing benzodiazepines, according to the American Family Physician.
Xanax Addiction in Massachusetts
It has been reported by the city of Boston that almost 11.3% of individuals residing in the area are struggling with addiction. Additionally, back in 2012, almost 10% of all trips to Boston-based hospitals were due to substance abuse.
The northeastern US is classified as an area where drug trafficking is occurring at a high rate. Illicit substances are often shipped from the south to the north, and criminal organizations have created paths for this purpose between these two locations. Massachusetts is part of these routes, and this has given the people of Massachusetts easy access to drugs.
Currently, Massachusetts has rigorous rules and regulations concerning the use of medications prescribed by doctors. Physicians must adhere to explicit limitations when prescribing drugs. Nevertheless, this state did not always have such ordinances. In the past, private pharmaceutical corporations exploited Massachusetts and other states in the northeast. For example, one pharmaceutical corporation provided discount cards for opioid medication. Data from that organization revealed that the discount cards caused more than 50% of the cardholders to remain on prescription pain medication for more than three months.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Massachusetts ranks 17th place for the most fatal drug overdoses per capita in the United States with approximately 40 out of 100,000 deaths being caused by overdose.
When you decrease your intake of Xanax, the severity of your withdrawal symptoms may lessen, but you can still expect to experience some common signs. People who had anxiety before taking Xanax may be more anxious after they stop the drug. This is commonly referred to as “rebound anxiety.”
- Sleep disturbances
If an individual takes Xanax over a long period of time, the withdrawal symptoms they experience can become more severe, with one of the most critical being seizures. Other serious side effects include:
- Auditory hallucinations
- Visual hallucinations
- Suicidal ideation
- Muscle aches
Can You Overdose on Xanax?
An overdose can occur if someone ingests a quantity of Xanax greater than the prescribed dose, takes it more often than advised, injects it, or combines it with other central nervous system depressants. Symptoms of an overdose depend on the individual, but some of the usual indications include:
- Shallow breathing
- Blurred vision
- Tremors Unconsciousness
When someone has taken too much Xanax, the possible consequences are serious and can include pneumonia, muscle harm, brain injury, and in the worst case, death. If you or someone you know is struggling with an overdose, it is critical to dial 911 right away. Anyone in this situation must receive medical attention immediately. At the hospital or with emergency services, they may be given intravenous fluids, breathing aid, and/or drugs to counteract the impacts.
How to Get Help for a Xanax Addiction in Boston
Studies have revealed that the most successful way to stop taking Xanax is through a combination of medication and therapy. For some individuals, extended or multiple treatments are necessary to sustain their recovery. People who are addicted to Xanax can seek help in numerous settings including:
These residential programs are run by healthcare employees who can provide medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. It is highly recommended that those going through detox for Xanax use a detox center due to the potential for serious side effects.
People who opt for inpatient treatment can take a break from their everyday lives and stay at a treatment facility. These centers are monitored 24/7 and provide a safe, drug-free atmosphere where patients can receive individual, family, or group therapy.
Individuals enrolled in outpatient treatment have access to both individual and group therapies for a pre-set amount of hours in a week. People who participate in this kind of treatment may live in their own homes or in substance-free living spaces.
Xanax Addiction Treatment in Boston, Massachusetts
East Coast Recovery is aware of how essential it is to pick the right recovery program if need help overcoming a Xanax addiction. If you or a person close to you needs assistance with addiction, please contact East Coast Recovery. Our therapy facility in Cohasset offers personalized treatment plans that meet the needs of all individuals in need of quality care.
East Coast Recovery provides a variety of therapeutic services, such as intensive outpatient treatment, partial hospitalization, and follow-up assistance. We also use a combination of therapeutic and natural healing techniques to help individuals overcome any physical, mental, and emotional issues associated with Xanax addiction.
Contact the experts at East Coast Recovery for more information about the varied services we offer. You no longer need to endure the struggle with addiction on your own. We wil be there to help you throughout the entire process.