Widely known as the generic form of the pharmaceutical drug Xanax, alprazolam belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. Largely used to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks, alprazolam has become one of the most widely abused drugs in circulation today.
In fact, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), alprazolam was the most frequently abused benzodiazepine in 2002 alone. Intended for short-term use, alprazolam often quickly leads to physical and psychological drug addiction in those who prolong use, exceed recommended dosages or use alprazolam for unintended purposes.
Alprazolam Effects and Addiction
As with most benzodiazepines in its class, alprazolam can lead to drug tolerance when used over time, leading addicted individuals to decrease the time between doses or increase the doses themselves. Additionally, alprazolam’s sedating effects can produce a euphoric high for users, leading to psychological addiction as brain chemistry becomes altered and behavioral associations are made between pleasure and drug use.
Over time, alprazolam usage — even when legitimately prescribed by a mental health professional or physician — can lead to addiction if these factors remain unchecked.
Signs of alprazolam addiction can be both psychological and physical in nature. For many individuals, alprazolam addiction is marked by increased appetite and salivation, cognitive difficulties, memory issues (particularly surrounding verbal recall), slurred speech and compromised balance or coordination.
Alprazolam withdrawal can cause even further symptoms in addicted individuals, including an ironic increase in anxiety symptoms, mood swings, shaking, digestive problems and vomiting when the drug is suddenly removed from the body. In fact, attempts at withdrawing from alprazolam should never be made without proper medical care and supervision, as seizures and other serious physical health issues can occur.
Finding Effective Alprazolam Addiction Help
Recovering from alprazolam addiction is a dual process, involving medically supervised detoxification and psychological counseling to address underlying issues of drug addiction. If you or someone you love exhibits the signs of alprazolam addiction, treatment at a professional drug recovery center may be necessary.