Xanax is sought after for the sedative effects the drug evokes in a user’s body, making it a popular choice as an anti-anxiety drug prescribed by physicians and mental health professionals alike. As part of the benzodiazepine drug family, Xanax is largely prescribed for management of panic attacks in those with anxiety disorders.
However, in recent years, the drug has experienced popularity as a recreational substance, leading to prescription drug abuse in the forms of prescription pad theft, falsified prescriptions, medical theft and illegal distribution and sale.
Additionally, Xanax addiction often becomes facilitated by a practice known as “doctor shopping” — the obtaining of multiple prescriptions or the feigning of maladies in order to receive access to the drug. Due to Xanax’s addiction potential, controls have been created around the duration of Xanax use. However, any prolonged use of the drug — whether obtained legally or illegally — can quickly lead to addiction.
Risks and Effects of Xanax Addiction
Roughly 30 minutes after ingestion, Xanax users feel the effects of the drug. For some, a sense of calm overtakes them, while others experience higher levels of inebriation and euphoric emotional effects. Xanax’s relaxant effects can become intensified with higher dosages, particularly in cases of polydrug use involving alcohol, other benzodiazepines or opiates. As Xanax interferes with normal brain function to induce a user’s sense of relaxation, side effects can occur.
Evidence of Xanax addiction can include symptoms such as hyperactivity, depression, lowered attention span and cognitive delays. For many users, physical symptoms such as severe headaches, slowed reflexes, compromised motor skills and convulsions can even set in with high and long-lasting levels of use. Digestive problems such as diarrhea and constipation can occur with ongoing Xanax use, and blood clots, lowered libido or erectile difficulties can also signal Xanax dependency.
In cases of overdose, Xanax users may exhibit signs of hallucination, blackouts, comas and even death — though such effects are most common in users who combine the drug with alcohol or attempt to dilute and inject the drug intravenously.
Xanax Drug Addiction Treatment
When Xanax addiction has developed, patients face a set of unique needs in receiving drug addiction treatment. First, Xanax-addicted individuals need to physically detoxify from the drug in a managed, supervised setting to avoid complications that can arise during the withdrawal period.
Secondly, Xanax addicted patients require specialized drug addiction treatment, known within the addiction industry as “Dual Diagnosis capacity,” to address anxiety issues while they recover from drug addiction. This process of simultaneous treatment allows Xanax-addicted individuals to find ways to alleviate anxiety during sobriety, without the use of benzodiazepines or sedatives.
Through individualized counseling, group therapy, assessment and treatment by certified mental health professionals, nutritional guidance and coping skills development, patients can learn how to better manage panic attacks while remaining in recovery.