7 Signs Your Loved One is Addicted to Xanax

Xanax is an anti-anxiety medication that carries a risk of addiction. People with a Xanax addiction may exhibit specific physical, mental, and behavioral Xanax addiction signs. Detox and other forms of treatment can help people recover.

Xanax, like other benzodiazepines, is prescribed for anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and insomnia.

This drug is a central nervous system depressant, which means that it slows certain signals in the brain to relieve anxiety.

Though Xanax is meant for short-term use, Xanax research shows that it is sometimes prescribed over long periods of time.

For some, this long-term use may result in an addiction to Xanax.

Knowing the signs of Xanax addiction can help friends and family members understand if a loved one may need a treatment program.

Xanax Addiction Signs Vs. Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

Many people who stop taking Xanax experience withdrawal symptoms.

While Xanax withdrawal can be a sign of a drug addiction, people who are not addicted to Xanax often also experience symptoms.

Physical dependence on a drug does not always coincide with a substance use disorder, but it does mean that the body has come to expect and rely on the drug.

Whether or not a person has an addiction, it is important to talk to a doctor about tapering off of Xanax rather than quitting cold turkey.

Quitting cold turkey may result in harmful symptoms of withdrawal, including Xanax withdrawal seizures.

Xanax Addiction Signs

Xanax addiction can impact a person’s behavior, physical health, and mental health.
Some symptoms of Xanax abuse may be subtle, while other warning signs may appear more obvious.

1. Experiencing Severe Side Effects Of Xanax

The side effects of Xanax range from mild to severe. Severe side effects are generally rarer than mild to moderate effects.

While experiencing severe side effects does not necessarily indicate an addiction, it may be a warning sign if the person displays additional signs of Xanax abuse.

Some side effects of Xanax include:

  • drowsiness
  • memory problems
  • dry mouth
  • Xanax-related weight changes
  • lightheadedness
  • mood swings
  • cognitive impairment
  • Xanax-induced behavioral changes

Additionally, Xanax addiction may lead to an overdose. Much like an opioid overdose, a Xanax overdose can cause respiratory depression (slowed breathing).

In some cases, breathing can slow to dangerous levels, causing a coma or death.

2. Using Xanax In Non-Prescribed Ways

One sign of drug abuse is taking a prescription drug in a way that is not prescribed by a medical provider.

Examples of this kind of drug use include taking a medication without a prescription and taking higher doses than prescribed.

Other signs of drug abuse include altering medications to achieve a specific kind of high.

For example, Xanax is generally prescribed in “bars,” which are segmented pills that can be broken into smaller doses.

Somebody with a Xanax addiction may crush Xanax bars and consume them in a way other than swallowing them with water.

Some examples of these Xanax addiction signs include:

  • shooting Xanax (injecting liquid Xanax with a syringe)
  • snorting Xanax
  • plugging Xanax (inserting Xanax rectally)
  • smoking Xanax

3. Mixing Xanax With Alcohol Or Other Drugs

Xanax use can be especially dangerous when mixing Xanax with alcohol or other drugs.

Combining drugs can heighten side effects, including some of the more dangerous side effects such as seizures. It can also increase the risk of overdose.

However, as the body develops a tolerance to Xanax, a person with an addiction may combine drugs to increase their desirable effects.

4. Doctor Shopping

Xanax and other benzodiazepines are controlled substances. Because they carry a risk of addiction, healthcare providers prescribe them in limited amounts.

Sometimes, people with addictions look for ways to increase their drug supply, which is why one common behavioral health sign of drug abuse is “doctor shopping.”

Doctor shopping is when a person sees multiple doctors to obtain multiple prescriptions for the same drug.

If a loved one has been seeing multiple doctors within a short time frame, they may be living with an addiction.

5. Work, School, And Social Interference

Drug abuse often interferes with a person’s day-to-day life, especially if that person has any co-occurring mental disorders.

For example, a person with a lot of friends may suddenly become isolated, or a person’s performance at work or school may begin to degrade.

If Xanax use prevents a loved one from meeting responsibilities or doing activities that they used to enjoy, they may have an addiction.

6. Inability To Taper Off Xanax

Again, a person should never quit taking Xanax abruptly, especially if they have been taking the medication for a long time.

Gradually reducing the dosage is the safest way to stop taking the medication.

Parts of the tapering process may be uncomfortable, but a person should still be able to complete the taper over time.

However, a person with an addiction may experience cravings that make tapering especially difficult.

If a person finds themself unable to reduce their dosage, even in small amounts, they may need substance abuse treatment options to stop taking the medication.

7. Behavioral Changes

All forms of drug addiction, including Xanax addiction, can include behavioral changes.

These changes are sometimes the clearest physical signs that a person needs substance abuse treatment.

Some behavioral Xanax addiction signs include:

  • lying or keeping secrets
  • spending large amounts of money
  • neglecting hygiene
  • abandoning one friend group for another
  • taking unnecessary risks
  • excessive sleeping or avoiding sleep

Xanax Addiction Treatment At Spring Hill Recovery Center

Xanax addiction is a difficult disorder, especially because it often begins with chronic anxiety or a similar condition.

Knowing the signs of Xanax addiction can help you identify the disorder in yourself or a loved one and find the right treatment options.

If you or a loved one needs help to overcome substance abuse, contact Spring Hill today.

  1. National Alliance on Mental Illness — Alprazolam (Xanax) https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Treatments/Mental-Health-Medications/Types-of-Medication/Alprazolam-(Xanax)
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse — Benzodiazepines And Opioids https://nida.nih.gov/research-topics/opioids/benzodiazepines-opioids
  3. National Library of Medicine — Alprazolam https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a684001.html
  4. National Library of Medicine — A Review of Alprazolam Use, Misuse, and Withdrawal https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5846112/

Written by Spring Hill Recovery Editorial Team

© 2024 Spring Hill Recovery | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

Prefer Texting?
We've got you covered.

Receive 24/7 text support right away.
There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.

Sign up for text support

Receive 24/7 text support right away.
There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.
Let us walk you through the treatment process. We're here to help.
For 24/7 Treatment Help:
100% Free & Confidential. Call (978) 321-2696
(978) 321-2696