Xanax Abuse, Addiction, And Treatment Options
- What Is Xanax Abuse?
- Dependence And Addiction
- Dangers Of Xanax Abuse
- Signs Of Xanax Addiction
- Massachusetts Addiction Treatment
Xanax is a powerful sedative that can become addictive when misused. Overcoming an addiction to Xanax may require treatment at multiple levels of care, beginning with Xanax detox and inpatient treatment.
Xanax is the brand name for a powerful sedative (alprazolam) that belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, or “benzos”. Xanax is commonly prescribed for the treatment of anxiety disorders, panic attacks, other mental health disorders, and insomnia.
Unfortunately, not everyone who takes Xanax takes it as prescribed. Xanax is also taken recreationally by people without prescriptions in order to quell panic, anxiety, and achieve a sense of calmness.
Taking Xanax in any way other than prescribed by a doctor—including recreational use—is a form of drug abuse. Among all benzodiazepines, Xanax is the most widely misused for its effects and can be addictive—even among people who take the drug as prescribed.
Overcoming an addiction to benzodiazepines is not always an easy or comfortable process. Addiction can cause the body to become accustomed to the presence of Xanax in your system, triggering withdrawal with reduced or stopped use.
Types of treatment programs for Xanax abuse and addiction include:
- Drug Detox
- Residential/Inpatient Rehab
- Day Treatment
- Intensive Outpatient Program
- Outpatient Counseling and Support Groups
- Other Behavioral Health Programs
If you or a loved one is struggling with Xanax use, don’t wait to seek help. At Spring Hill Recovery Center, we know that recovery from Xanax addiction is possible.
Here you’ll find:
- information about Xanax addiction
- treatment options for Xanax addiction
- signs and symptoms
- an overview of our Massachusetts addiction rehab center
What Is Xanax Abuse And Addiction?
Xanax abuse is defined as taking Xanax in any way other than prescribed by a medical doctor or psychiatrist.
This can include:
- taking higher or more frequent doses than prescribed
- taking someone else’s prescription drug
- taking Xanax for longer than prescribed
- crushing and snorting Xanax tablets
- mixing Xanax with other drugs to achieve a “high”
- taking Xanax for reasons other than prescribed
Xanax typically comes in the form of a pill or tablet. Some people who misuse Xanax may take the drug by mouth or crush and snort it in an attempt to feel the effects more quickly.
After taking Xanax, people may experience effects such as a sense of relaxation, pleasure, and calmness within an hour or two. Xanax causes its effects by enhancing the brain chemical, GABA, which can slow brain activity and relax muscles in the central nervous system.
In addition, Xanax may also cause a range of other side effects, including headache, dizziness, changes in appetite and weight, and nausea among others. The types of effects you experience, and their severity, may depend on your dosage, how you take the drug, and other personal factors related to health.
Xanax Dependence And Addiction
Abusing Xanax can cause increased tolerance and drug dependence quicker than when taken as prescribed. This can make it difficult to stop taking Xanax. It can also worsen conditions Xanax is prescribed to treat, such as anxiety, panic disorders, and sleeplessness.
Drug dependence refers to a physical dependence on a drug, which can lead to withdrawal symptoms if abruptly stopped. Addiction is a physical and psychological disease, whereby someone may compulsively use drugs despite negative effects on health and well-being.
Some people may be at greater risk of becoming addicted to Xanax than others.
Risk factors for developing an addiction to Xanax include:
- taking Xanax long-term for a health condition
- mixing Xanax with other drugs (e.g. alcohol, opioids)
- taking higher or more frequent doses than prescribed
- recreational use of Xanax
- having a co-occurring mental health condition
Treatment For Xanax Abuse And Addiction
Addiction is a struggle that can affect people from all walks of life, regardless of gender, age, income, race, or ethnicity. Deciding to get help for addiction can simultaneously be one of the most challenging and rewarding decisions you ever make.
Millions of people across the United States seek treatment for drug addiction each year, including treatment for Xanax addiction. Conquering an addiction to Xanax may require treatment at multiple levels of care, beginning with a medical detox program.
Xanax Withdrawal And Detox
Entering a detox program is strongly encouraged for people who have become addicted to benzodiazepines like Xanax. Without medical and behavioral support, trying to stop taking Xanax may lead to dangerous and potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, including psychosis and seizures.
If you’ve become addicted to Xanax, your detox process may involve gradually tapering your dosage under the supervision of medical professionals. Detoxification is the process of removing substances like Xanax from the body.
In the absence of life-threatening symptoms, Xanax withdrawal can still be highly uncomfortable. It can cause severe agitation, insomnia, hallucinations, and thoughts of suicide, among other symptoms.
Xanax withdrawal symptoms may require treatment within an acute detox program of three to 14 days. This will likely be followed by a structured medication management plan, depending on the severity of your drug dependence and other personal factors.
Residential Rehab For Xanax Addiction
Seeking treatment within an inpatient or residential treatment center is the most common recommendation for people overcoming drug addiction. This involves residing within a treatment center temporarily for access to 24-hour care, supervision, and support.
Residential treatment programs for Xanax addiction last 30 to 90 days on average and may incorporate a variety of treatments within a structured treatment schedule.
Residents may attend individual therapy sessions, group therapy, family therapy, and participate in other treatment activities throughout the day—all under the supervision of supportive staff.
Behavioral therapies—such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)—are the primary treatments in Xanax rehab, in addition to medication management and mental health treatment. These treatments can help shift attitudes about drug use, provide supportive coping tools for managing stress, and help with relapse prevention in early recovery.
Recovering from an addiction to Xanax can often be a long-term process. Many people overcoming addiction may continue their treatment in rehab programs with a counselor, medical doctor, and psychiatrist for months or even years after beginning the road to recovery.
Aftercare outpatient treatment programs can be flexible and customizable to meet your needs, depending on where you are in your recovery process and the support system you need. If you’re seeking more intensive substance abuse treatment on an outpatient basis, you might consider searching for a day treatment program or intensive outpatient treatment.
Dangers Of Xanax Abuse
For some, Xanax can be used as a way to fill a void or to cope with internal or external stress. Yet abusing Xanax can be dangerous. This can lead to addiction, greater risk for polysubstance abuse (abusing multiple drugs), higher anxiety, depression, and severe disruption to your normal way of life.
Benzodiazepines like Xanax are also involved in an estimated one-third of total opioid overdose deaths in the United States. In 2018, benzos were involved in an estimated 10,754 fatal drug overdoses nationwide.
Overdose can occur as a result of taking excessive doses of Xanax, or mixing Xanax with other drugs, including alcohol.
Signs of Xanax overdose may include:
- severe drowsiness
- poor coordination
- slowed heart rate
- difficulty breathing
- muscle weakness
- loss of consciousness
Taking Xanax with others drugs may result in additional overdose symptoms, depending on the drug taken. Severe cases of overdose can be deadly. If someone you know has overdosed on Xanax, contact 911 for emergency medical assistance right away.
Signs Of Xanax Addiction
Drug addiction doesn’t look the same for everyone. Identifying an addiction in yourself or a loved one may be tricky.
Through research and learning from the experiences of former addicts, we now know there are several signs of addiction often shared by people who struggle with Xanax addiction.
The following is a list of common signs of Xanax addiction:
- being unable to stop taking Xanax
- increased tolerance
- constantly thinking about Xanax
- having difficulty completing normal tasks due to a preoccupation with Xanax or Xanax effects
- feeling increasingly anxious, moody, or depressed
- continuing to take Xanax despite negative effects on physical and mental health
- experiencing withdrawal symptoms within hours after your last dose
Drug addiction can make people feel depressed, ashamed, and hopeless about a way out. If you’re struggling with a pattern of compulsive drug use, you’re not alone. A future without Xanax is possible.
Find Treatment For Xanax Addiction In Massachusetts
Thousands of Massachusetts residents seek help for substance abuse and addiction through treatment facilities each year. If you’re seeking help for yourself or a loved one with Xanax addiction in or near Massachusetts, look no further than Spring Hill Recovery Center.
Spring Hill is an accredited drug rehab center in Ashby, Massachusetts that offers residential and intensive outpatient treatment programs for substance use disorders. Within our rehabilitation programs, we also offer dual diagnosis care for people who have co-occurring mental health conditions, such as an anxiety disorder or depression.
At Spring Hill, you’ll find a peaceful and comfortable treatment environment with staff that takes into account each person’s needs for a personalized treatment experience.
Our treatment programs offer a wide array of evidence-based and holistic therapies to promote wellness and teach supportive coping tools for lifelong recovery. We are open and operating under high standards of care to ensure your safety while in Xanax rehab during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Don’t wait to learn how Spring Hill can help you or a loved one conquer addiction and rebuild a happier and more fulfilling life in recovery. Contact our treatment helpline today for more information about our addiction recovery programs and the types of treatment services we offer.
Written by Spring Hill Editorial Team
©2021 Spring Hill Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved
This page does not provide medical advice.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse—Benzodiazepines and Opioids https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/opioids/benzodiazepines-opioids
- National Institute on Drug Abuse—Overdose Death Rates https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates
- UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior—Benzodiazepine Addiction https://www.semel.ucla.edu/dual-diagnosis-program/Conditions_Treated/Benzodiazepine_Addictions
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus—Alprazolam https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a684001.html
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: PubMedCentral—Management of benzodiazepine misuse and dependence https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4657308/