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How Addictive Is Xanax?

Man at medicine cabinet holding his head while reading a prescription pill bottle.
Although Xanax is a prescription medication that treats a variety of serious mental and physical disorders, it is among the most misused prescription drugs in the United States. Here’s what you need to know about Xanax addiction.

Tranquilizer addiction isn’t widely covered in the media, but it is nonetheless a worrying trend. When unaddressed, tranquilizer misuse can lead to severe consequences, including career loss, financial hardships, and deterioration of physical and mental health. One of the most commonly misused tranquilizers is Xanax.

Xanax is the brand name for a medication called alprazolam. Alprazolam is a psychoactive drug used to alleviate anxiety symptoms. It is a fast-acting stimulant and causes changes in brain function very quickly. The drug’s immediate effects carry a high risk of addiction; Xanax is considered among the most addictive benzodiazepine drugs available.

In the 1970s, Xanax was approved for treating panic disorders. Through the years, it has become widely accepted as a remedy for insomnia, nausea triggered by chemotherapy treatment, alcohol withdrawal, seizures, depression and other medical and psychiatric issues.

When Xanax is misused, the potential for addiction is high. Daily administration of benzodiazepine drugs has a high risk of dependency; approximately 16% of opioid overdose deaths also involved the ingestion of benzodiazepine drugs, including Xanax, Valium and Klonopin.

Both psychological and physical dependence are characteristics of addiction. People who have developed a Xanax addiction should seek medical treatment for their addiction rather than attempt to either taper off or stop cold turkey. The only safe way to withdraw from Xanax (or any benzodiazepine drug) is through medical detox.

The Effects of Xanax on the Mind

Xanax is a frequently prescribed medication for several mental health issues. It is common for people who misuse Xanax to have undergone treatment for anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders are quite common; it is estimated that approximately 40 million Americans have an anxiety disorder.

Dependency will generally still occur even when used therapeutically. One of the most common signs of dependence is drug tolerance. As tolerance develops, Xanax stops working as effectively, even as a prescribed treatment. People who suffer from anxiety will see symptoms return and may feel inclined to increase their dose. As this occurs, the brain becomes progressively more dependent upon the drug for optimal function.

A person addicted to Xanax will fixate upon the drug, making quitting difficult, and even dangerous, without medical assistance. Withdrawal from Xanax can have adverse mental effects.

Recognizing Xanax Addiction

There are certain behavioral and physical symptoms of addiction that transcend intoxicants. Whether it’s Xanax, opioids, alcohol or stimulants, the following signs are frequently present in someone with a substance use disorder:

  • Taking the drug just to avoid withdrawal symptoms
  • Developing a tolerance that leads the user to raise their dosage
  • Becoming withdrawn from loved ones
  • Having concerns about access to the drug even when no medical symptoms are present

Xanax addiction does have specific indicators, which include:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Depression
  • Intestinal distress
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Anxiety
  • Dry mouth
  • Uncontrolled trembling

Drug addiction affects everyone, but certain demographics are more susceptible to it than others. Research shows that women might be more at risk of becoming addicted to Xanax and benzodiazepine than men, but this may simply be a result of women being more likely to seek mental health treatment. Some research suggests that women are more likely to develop dependency than men.

People with Xanax dependency frequently experience co-occurring mental health disorders. This is because Xanax addiction will significantly worsen the anxiety disorders the drug is meant to treat.

Xanax Addiction Treatment at The Raleigh House

Recovery from a substance use disorder is one of the most challenging tasks you can undertake. However, the team at The Raleigh House offers decades of in-depth clinical experience helping diverse people overcome their addictions. If you are struggling to manage a Xanax addiction, we offer an intensive therapeutic intervention designed to detoxify your body and address the co-occurring psychological issues that contributed to your disorder.

The Raleigh House is one of the few recovery centers in Colorado that offers standalone psychiatric services. As a comprehensive recovery facility, we offer a holistic suite of treatments, including cognitive behavioral therapy and medication-assisted treatment. Moreover, we offer therapeutic intervention for anxiety disorderscomplex traumadepressionmood disorders and other issues that are exacerbated by chronic substance misuse.

If you have developed a dependency on Xanax, The Raleigh House team will help you navigate your addiction and your mental health challenges in a safe, nonjudgmental environment. You deserve to recover with dignity and compassion.

When you’re ready, we’re here.

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