Xanax is one of the most commonly used drugs in America. Prescriptions and illicit use have been on the rise for over a decade. No matter how the use of the drug started, this medication is highly addictive and habit-forming. If you believe that you or a loved one is forming a Xanax addiction, here is everything you need to know.
What Is Xanax?
Xanax, or alprazolam, is a prescription sedative drug used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. As a member of the benzodiazepines class of drugs, Xanax interacts with the brain and central nervous system to create a calming effect on the body. When used properly, the pill helps to mitigate panic episodes in anxiety patients. When abused, or taken by those without a prescription, it creates an unnatural level of lethargy and stillness.
As a sedative drug, when taken in high doses or combined with other sedative medications (like alcohol), Xanax can lead to a dangerously low level of bodily function. Other sleep medications, opioids, marijuana, antihistamines, and anti-seizure medications can all also lead to serious complications when used with Xanax.
Unfortunately, Xanax is a highly addictive drug. When taken without a prescription, or at a different dose than prescribed, addictions form rapidly. If you, a family member, or friend have been abusing Xanax, help with recovery is available.
Signs of a Xanax Addiction
There are warning signs to look out for if you believe you or a loved one is struggling with a Xanax addiction. The following are the most common symptoms of Xanax abuse:
- Slurred speech
- Dry mouth
- Blurred vision
- Decreasing motor functions or limb weakness
- Drowsiness or excessive sleeping
- Nausea or vomiting
- Delirium or hallucination
- Manic type moods
- Frequent headaches
- Cognitive impairment
- Engaging in risky behaviors, such as driving after drug use
- Increased intake of Xanax pills
- Finding different ways to get or purchase Xanax, such as doctor hopping, street purchases, or asking friends, family, and coworkers
- Financial difficulties due to drug spending
As with all drug addictions, users will begin to build a tolerance and require higher and higher doses of Xanax to achieve a high.
What Withdrawal Looks Like
Once a person develops a drug dependence, going without the drug can lead to withdrawal. This is an unavoidable step in recovery — but when it is experienced without medical supervision, Xanax withdrawal can be dangerous, and has a number of telltale side effects. Further, the intensity of withdrawal depends on how long the drug has been used, how high of a tolerance the user has, any other medical conditions the user has, and any other drugs the user may be taking. There are three stages of withdrawal after stopping a Xanax addiction. If you suspect you or a loved one are experiencing withdrawal, seek medical care immediately.
Early and immediate withdrawal symptoms include the following:
- Intense feelings of anxiety or panic
Acute withdrawal occurs a few days after the last use of Xanax and can last for five days up to a month. The signs include, but are not limited to:
- Physical aches
- Muscle spasms
- Weight loss or anorexia
- Intense sweating
- Anxiety attacks
- Trouble concentrating
- Depression or disassociation
- Lastly, hallucinations or delusions/paranoia
Finally, protracted withdrawal occurs after the acute stage, and includes any lingering side effects. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms, also called PAWS, is a second set of unique side effects that occur in this stage, and is compromised of:
- Poor concentration
- Loss of sex drive
- Mood swings
Withdrawal, especially acute withdrawal, can be risky to go through without medical assistance. If you notice yourself or a loved one at any stage, contact a professional for help.
Getting Treatment for a Xanax Addiction
At Fairwinds Treatment Center, we specialize in helping those who are suffering from drug addiction. We utilize multiple forms of rehabilitation and will match your personal needs to the program that works best for you. Indeed, these programs include outpatient care, intensive outpatient (IOP) treatment, partial hospitalization, residential treatment, and fully inpatient treatment. Our team of professionals works to ensure you receive the best possible care and recovery at every step of the process. During early treatment, they will help you work through detox treatment and manage withdrawal symptoms in a safe environment. Finally, we use therapy to treat the root cause of your addiction and work toward a healthier future. Please contact us today to learn more about our services.