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Xanax Addiction and Rehab: Withdrawal, Symptoms, Tips

A Xanax addiction is a very serious problem for those who suffer from it. However, few people realize that they are at risk of becoming addicted to this powerful drug when they start taking it. In fact, there are a lot of people who become addicted to Xanax completely by accident. They started taking the drug because they needed it to cope with anxiety or with symptoms of depression. As time went on, they started to notice slight changes within themselves if they did not have their medication, and at that point, that is when they discovered they were addicted.

This prescription drug is powerful, and it's important for you to understand how to know whether or not you are addicted to Xanax.

If you have been taking Xanax for a period of time, whether you have been taking it recreationally, or because it was prescribed to you by a doctor for a legitimate reason, you may wonder if you have formed an addiction to it. This prescription drug is powerful, and it's important for you to understand how to know whether or not you are addicted to Xanax, what you need to know about the effects of this drug on your body, and the best ways for you to recover.

It can be scary to discover that you have an addiction to a drug that you've been taking for quite some time; especially when you never intended for it to become an addiction for you. It's very common for people to assume that prescription drugs are safe because they're given prescriptions for them by their doctors. However, this can also make prescription drugs some of the most dangerous ones in the world. Getting as much information as you can about Xanax will assist you in educating yourself about what – if anything – you need to do next.

What is Xanax?

The generic name for Xanax is Alprazolam, and it is one of the most popular prescription drugs in the United States. In fact, according to Medical Daily, the number of prescriptions for Xanax has increased by more than 10% every year since the year 2002. Today, there are more than 50 million prescriptions written for this drug every year.

Xanax was originally developed in the 1950s, and it was used as a muscle relaxer. By the 1970s doctors started to notice that the drug had a relaxing, hypnotic effect, and as a result, Xanax was prescribed for mental health issues as well as physical issues. It was approved as a way to treat panic disorder in 1969, and since then, doctors have been prescribing it to help with a host of conditions related to anxiety. It is often offered to patients who are:

  • Nervous about having a medical procedure
  • Experiencing chemotherapy-related nausea
  • Withdrawing from alcohol
  • Having trouble sleeping at night
  • Suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder

The reason why Xanax is often preferred over antidepressants is because of how quickly it starts to work in the body.

Antidepressants help with depression and anxiety, but their effects take a long time to build up in the body. Many people who take these medications don't start to see any results for several weeks. By contrast, Xanax starts to work immediately, which allows people to know right away whether or not it is the right drug for them.

Xanax is classified as a Schedule IV drug with a low potential for abuse, and even though this is the case, there are many people who have found the drug to be very addictive. It belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines, and this classification of prescription medications is the second-leading cause of drug addiction in the United States. Xanax is frequently prescribed for those who are struggling with anxiety disorders, panic disorders and depression. However, there are other reasons a doctor may choose to use Xanax for a patient as well.

Xanax works by producing a calming effect in the brain. It enhances the effects of GABA, which is a natural chemical that is found in the body. GABA's primary role is as an inhibitory neurotransmitter that counterbalances the action of glutamate in the body. When this chemical is off, symptoms of anxiety tend to be much worse in those who suffer from any type of anxiety disorder.

Xanax works very well for those who need it, but it is best utilized as a drug that should be taken on an as needed basis, or for a short period of time. There are some people who have extreme anxiety disorders, panic disorders or depression, and for these individuals, doctors may prescribe Xanax for a longer period. This is problematic because it can easily lead to an addiction, even when the medication is being taken exactly as prescribed. Of course, there are also those who obtain Xanax illegally on the street, or they steal it or purchase it from friends or loved ones. These are individuals who do need it to help with anxiety, but rather, they take it because of the sensations of euphoria that the drug can induce.

Percocet Addiction

Xanax Abuse: How Xanax Addiction Occurs

Most of the time, Xanax addiction takes place when the individual taking it does not expect it. Even though most drugs do cause addiction when someone abuses them first, it is possible to become addicted to Xanax without having abused it at all. Even people who take Xanax exactly as it was prescribed for them can end up becoming addicted to it, which makes it one of the more dangerous medications on the market.

Keeping this in mind, it is possible to abuse Xanax and have that abuse lead to an addiction to this drug. Those who abuse it might take it for longer than they should. They also may notice after some time has passed that they take more than their recommended dose, or they may take doses too close together in order to get some relief from their symptoms, or to experience some of the addictive effects of the drug.

For those who are using Xanax recreationally, it is common to simply swallow the pills, but it's also possible to chew the pills to get the drug into the blood stream faster. They can also be crushed and snorted as well.

An addiction to Xanax doesn't necessarily take place right away. Usually, addictions to this type of drug happen over time. Either the drug has to be introduced to the system for a period of time (although it doesn't have to be a long period of time), or the abuser will recreationally use the drug frequently. As the use of the drug continues, the user starts to feel odd without it. This is because the body has gotten used to the Xanax, and it doesn't function they way it normally does without it. At this point, an addiction has formed.

Xanax and the Short-Term Effects Explained

Xanax is a central nervous system depressant, and as it works, it leads to slower reactivity times and changes in cognitive functioning. Even so, for those who use Xanax sporadically, or only for a short period of time, there really aren't many side effects to be concerned about. The ones that do occur are minimal, and because they tend to be more pleasurable in nature, recreational users often find them to be very enjoyable.

However, it is important to note that as time goes by, the pleasurable effects of the drug tend to fade away. This is because the body is developing a tolerance to the drug, which means that a larger amount of the medication is needed in order to achieve the desired effects. Higher dosages are much more likely to lead to addictions.

The short-term effects of Xanax will vary from person to person because everyone is different. Many factors play a role in determining what the short-term effects will be for you; and some of these include your body chemistry, age and general health. Most people can expect to experience some of the following effects within 30 minutes to an hour after taking Xanax:

  • Increased feelings of sleepiness and relaxation
  • Problems with driving or operating heavy machinery
  • Sensations of euphoria
  • Slower cognitive processing
  • Inability to concentrate or focus
  • Problems with remembering information
  • Slurring your words
  • Slower than normal reaction times
  • Depression
  • Decreased inhibitions
  • Dry mouth
  • Appetite fluctuations
  • Sleeping pattern changes
  • Disturbing dreams
  • Rashes on the skin
  • Constipation or other digestive issues
  • Dilated pupils
  • Mood or personality changes

Some users will also experience hallucinations, although this is quite rare. Others will have a reverse effect, which means they will experience anger, extreme anxiety, paranoia and aggression.

Xanax Addiction: The Long-Term Effects

The longer you use Xanax, the greater your odds of becoming addicted to it will be. This is especially true if you are a recreational user, or if you are using Xanax in dosages that are not recommended by your doctor. There are certain factors that may make you much more susceptible to becoming addicted to Xanax, and these might include:

  • If you have a personal history of addiction
  • If you have a family history of addiction
  • If you suffer from a mental health condition
  • If you are under a great deal of stress
  • If you are suffering from physical pain

Once you become addicted to Xanax, you've likely been using the drug long-term, and this can lead to a lot of different long-term effects. These might include:

  • Significant changes in your personality or mood
  • Heart problems, such as changes in your pulse or blood pressure
  • Weight gain
  • Sleepiness and lethargy during the day
  • Changes in sexual function and infertility
  • Disturbing dreams
  • The onset of seizures
  • Appetite changes leading to malnutrition
  • Problems with your breathing
  • Decreased intelligence and cognitive processing problems
  • An increase in your anxiety and depression
  • A risk of heart attack
  • A risk of stroke
  • Negative interactions with other substances, such as alcohol

These long-term effects should not be ignored, and they indicate that something needs to be done in order to get you the professional help you need to stop using Xanax safely.

Are You Addicted to Xanax? Learn the Signs of Addiction

It may be very difficult for you to believe that you have become addicted to Xanax, regardless of how long you have been taking this medication. Many people live in denial for a very long time, and they just don't understand how it could be possible for them to have an addiction to a medication that a doctor prescribed for them. This may be what you're facing right now.

Even though Xanax doesn't seem as though it could ever be as dangerous as drugs you might find on the street, it is a very powerful medication. Some advocates have even argued that a lot of doctors over-prescribe it. The fact is that if you use Xanax on a regular basis, and if you have been using it for quite some time, you are at risk for addiction. If you do have an addiction, your condition is just as serious as if you had any other type of addiction – including an addiction to street drugs.

It might help you to take a quiz that will assist you with understanding whether or not you have formed an addiction to Xanax. You could also take a look at some of the various signs of Xanax addiction to determine whether or not any of these fit you.

People who are addicted to Xanax share some of the following qualities:

  • Breaking the law to get drugs by doctor shopping, stealing prescriptions, lying about symptoms to get medications, or forging prescriptions.
  • Taking multiple Xanax pills at one time.
  • Having unexplained medical problems or health symptoms that could be contributed to Xanax abuse.
  • Lying to their doctors about their Xanax use
  • Driving, working or operating heavy machinery while under the influence of Xanax.
  • Taking Xanax along with alcohol or other drugs in order to enhance its effects
  • Having a prior history of addiction.
  • Having a family history of addiction.
  • Spending a great deal of time with others who use drugs.
  • Using Xanax as a way to cope with depression or anxiety.
  • Lying to the people they love about their Xanax use.
  • Having friends and family tell them they need to get help for an addiction.
  • Worrying about whether or not they will be able to feel like themselves without Xanax.
  • Experiencing psychological or physical withdrawal symptoms when not taking Xanax.
  • Experienced more severe mental health problems since starting the use of Xanax.

If any of the above apply to you, then it is very possible that you do have a serious Xanax addiction, and if so, getting professional treatment at a Xanax rehab is the best decision you could make for yourself.

Understanding Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

Because Xanax is an addictive drug, it stands to reason that taking it would lead to withdrawal symptoms once the drug is stopped. A lot of people will panic when they realize they have become addicted to Xanax, and because they never intended to become addicted to anything, they'll stop taking it right away. Unfortunately, the withdrawal symptoms are something they simply just do not count on. Quite often, these symptoms will hit them out of nowhere, and they'll even be confused about why they're struggling so badly.

If you have a Xanax addiction, there are ways that professionals can utilize to help you get off the drugs safely. It's so important for you to not attempt to stop taking it on your own. If you do, you're likely to experience many of the following Xanax withdrawal symptoms:

  • Insomnia and other sleep problems
  • Irritability and anger
  • An increase in your anxiety, and possible panic attacks
  • Depression that leads to suicidal thoughts
  • The onset of seizures
  • Profuse sweating
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Heart palpitations
  • Painful, chronic headaches
  • Problems with concentration
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Muscle pain and stiffness
  • Shaking uncontrollably

These symptoms can appear in someone who has only been taking Xanax regularly for a few weeks. People who have been addicted to the drug for a longer period of time should generally expect to have more of the symptoms on this list, and experience them much more dramatically than those who have been taking it for only a short time. In fact, larger doses are likely to experience even worse symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions.

Can You Overdose on Xanax?

One of the questions that many people ask when they're concerned about their Xanax use, or when they're worried about relapsing is, Can I overdose on Xanax? The answer to that question is that yes, you absolutely can. When you take toxic levels of this medication, and overdose of Xanax is entirely possible because it is a benzodiazepine medication. In fact, in 2011, the Drug Abuse Warning Network reported that benzodiazepine abuse was responsible for 228 emergency room visits on average every single day.

It is very possible to overdose on Xanax as you up your dosage because your current dosage just doesn't seem to be enough for you. For example, some people find that one pill is not enough to either produce the desired effect or relieve their symptoms, and so they increase the dosage to two without talking to a doctor about it first. However, probably the most common way that people overdose on Xanax is when they attempt to stop taking it on their own, and then fail.

People will often try to stop using Xanax on their own first, before they will even consider getting professional treatment. Their addiction may have surprised them, and so, because their medication is a prescription, they'll assume that it's safe enough for them to at least try to stop taking it without support from a Xanax detox center or a Xanax rehab. They will tell themselves that if they're not successful, they'll seek out professional help at that time. The problem is that when relapse does occur (as it usually does), when you go back to taking the same dosage that you were taking previously, your tolerance levels have changed in your body. That means you're no longer able to handle that amount of the medication, and that is when Xanax overdose takes place for most people.

Xanax Overdose Side Effects and Signs of a Xanax Overdose

It is important to know the Xanax overdose symptoms simply for your own information. Being educated on the topic of drug overdose is vital for everyone who is using any type of substance. If you were to overdose on Xanax, symptoms may include:

  • Weakness in the muscles
  • Feelings of confusion
  • Fainting spells
  • Feeling very drowsy
  • Slowed or shallow breathing
  • Problems with judgment
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Impaired coordination

It is important to note that an overdose is very serious, and death by Xanax overdose is a very real possibility for anyone who relapses back to using this prescription medication after a period of abstinence.

Can You Overdose on Alprazolam?

Alprazolam is the generic form of Xanax, and many patients are prescribed this form of the drug instead of the brand name. It is also a benzodiazepine that profoundly affects the chemicals in the brain. It is also extremely habit forming, and it is possible to form an alprazolam addiction. Misusing this drug is likely to lead to an eventual overdose and possibly even death.

If you do overdose on alprazolam, please know that it can be fatal. It's important to contact the Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222 right away, and you may experience many of the above overdose symptoms.

The Risk of Cross Addiction for Xanax Addicts

If you have an addiction to Xanax, please keep in mind that it is a disease that isn't necessarily related to any one drug in particular, but that can relate to all drugs and substances. For example, because you have the disease of addiction, you can very easily become addicted to another drug, such as cocaine, heroin or even alcohol. You are extremely vulnerable to subsequent addictions, and this is referred to as cross addictions.

When you have a cross addiction, you're basically replacing one substance with another one. The substance you choose might be similar to the one you used prior to that one, but that's not always the case.

If you are concerned that you have a cross addiction, it's so important for you to get treatment for both of your addictions at the same time. This will maximize your chances of getting better because you'll be able to understand the root causes of your addictions. Also, keep in mind that you can also form cross addictions to behaviors, such as sex, gambling and spending money. These are additional types of addictions that should receive treatment at the same time.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Xanax Addiction

Most people who have an addiction to Xanax also suffer from some other type of condition. In fact, about 53% of the people who abuse Xanax also have a mental health condition, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or some other mental illness. It's possible that you've found that you are relying on Xanax as a way to help you cope with your mental health condition, and if that is the case, please know that you're not alone. This is extremely common, and this condition is known as having a dual diagnosis, or suffering from co-occurring disorders.

Mental illness and substance abuse are actually connected in two different ways. Abusing Xanax can trigger a mental illness because of the way that it changes your body's and brain's chemistry. It alters your life in such a way that you are more prone to becoming depressed or anxious. Secondly, if you have a mental illness, the chances of you being prescribed Xanax to help you go up. Taking that prescription for too long can easily lead to an addiction.

Researchers have known for years that substance abuse and mental illness were connected, and yet, for the longest time, patients who presented with co-occurring disorders were often treated the wrong way. Actually, there are some facilities that still believe that the conditions should be treated separately, and not together. When this occurs, the addiction is treated first and withdrawal symptoms are dealt with. Afterwards, the patient would be taken to a center for mental health treatment. Because of dual diagnosis treatment, both conditions can be treated at the same time, as they should be. Practitioners are able to talk with one another about the best ways to offer treatment, and treatment plans coincide with each other.

It is because of dual diagnosis treatment that patients are able to get to the sources of their addictions. Unless the root cause is discovered, it cannot be treated, and if it is not treated, the addiction is much more likely to recur as an active problem.

Xanax Rehab and How it Can Help with Your Addiction

Going to Xanax rehab can help you overcome your addiction in many different ways. You'll find that:

  • Xanax detox (or prescription drug detox) works to help remove toxins from your body, and you'll be able to take tapering dosages of your medication (if that is recommended for your particular situation) as a way to make withdrawal symptoms easier for you.
  • You'll get a tremendous amount of support that will assist you in overcoming your addiction.
  • You'll have the opportunity to meet and interact with others in a support group setting, and this will help you understand more about your addiction. You'll also learn that you're not alone, and that there are so many people who are struggling with the same situation as you are.
  • You'll be able to work closely with your family to repair some of the damage that has been done to those important relationships in your life.
  • You'll learn how to live your life without being dependent upon Xanax to get you through each day, and you'll discover that yes, it really is possible.
  • You'll have the opportunity to be away from the stress that you face in your everyday life (which may be contributing to your addiction), which will only help to facilitate your recovery even more.
  • You'll be able to work very closely with a counselor who specializes in addiction counseling so that any mental health condition you're struggling with can receive the proper form of treatment.

Most people find that going to drug treatment when they had a Xanax addiction was the best decision they ever made, and that it was incredibly rewarding for them in the long-term.

Xanax Addiction Treatment Offers You Hope at Northpoint Recovery

When you first started taking Xanax, you most likely were taking it because it was recommended and prescribed by a doctor whom you trust very much. This is the way that most people begin using this medication, although there are those who choose to use benzodiazepines without ever having a prescription for them as well. Most people inadvertently become addicted to Xanax, and once they're addicted, they feel shocked and unsure about what they should do next. They don't want to remain addicted to Xanax, but at the same time, they feel as though there's no way for them to escape it.

Regardless of what your current situation is, please know that a Xanax addiction is very dangerous. You could easily overdose on Xanax if you attempt to stop using it on your own, and then you go back to using it after a relapse. A Xanax drug overdose can be deadly, and it's important for you to get the right kind of professional help so that you can stop using Xanax safely. Here at Northpoint Recovery, we offer assistance to those who have Xanax addictions so that they can recovery properly. Our goal is to help you avoid relapsing back onto your medication, and we do that by offering the type of Xanax addiction treatment that will not only address your physical Xanax withdrawal symptoms, but that will also address the underlying reasons behind your addiction.

Would you like to get more information on how you can get started with Xanax rehab? Do you have additional questions about your Xanax addiction? If so, please contact us here at Northpoint Recovery today.