Almost everyone knows someone who takes or has taken Xanax. Have a fear of flying? Take a Xanax. Getting ready for surgery? Take a Xanax. Got an exam tomorrow? Feeling a little anxious in general? You get the idea.
Fact is, while opioid addiction gets all the headlines, Xanax is highly prescribed among all age groups. Xanax addiction can be dangerous and Xanax withdrawal can be devastating . Understanding why people get addicted to Xanax, how to identify Xanax withdrawal symptoms and getting people into a program of Xanax addiction recovery are issues that must be answered.
A Primer on Xanax
What: The tranquilizer Xanax is the trade name of the generic drug, alprazolam, and is in the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines or “benzos.” Other well-known drugs in this family include Klonopin (clonazepam), Valium (diazepam), Atavan (lorazepam) and other generics ending in “am.” Also, distantly related to this family of drugs are the common sleeping pills, Ambien and Zopiclone.
Why: Xanax is commonly prescribed for a range of anxiety and panic disorders. It is very fast acting, providing relief within one hour, but effects last for only about six hours. That’s one reason why Xanax addiction is so prevalent, even amongst patients who have valid prescriptions from their doctors.
How: Without getting overly technical, Xanax works by interacting with a receptor in the brain that in turn increases inhibitory brain activity. This tends to quell any problematic excitement related to anxiety and panic disorders.
— Cornerstone Client.
Why Xanax Addiction Is “Quietly” Dangerous and Addicting
As mentioned above, Xanax is quick into the bloodstream and quick out of it. For this reason alone, it’s relatively easy to become addicted. In many cases, physicians who prescribe Xanax simply hand over a prescription without educating and warning patients about the possibility of addiction. Many bewildered clients have come to Cornerstone Recovery Center claiming, “I had no idea these medicines could cause such problems.”
Identifying the Symptoms of Xanax Withdrawal
While Xanax and associated drugs are not considered as dangerous as their predecessors, barbiturates, and opioids, their associated withdrawal symptoms can be quite dramatic and dangerous in themselves.
Think about it…withdrawing from Xanax without a medically prescribed plan is like driving a car at 100mph, then deciding to bring it to a stop. If you ease off the gas and gently apply the brakes you can go from 100mph to 0mph in a comfortable manner. If, however, you slam on the brakes the jolt to the car and the driver can be damaging. That’s what stopping Xanax and other benzodiazepines is like. If done slowly and in a controlled manner, detox can be achieved without significant shock to the system.
If you know someone who uses – or abuses Xanax – it’s good to be aware of the long list of withdrawal symptoms, including the following:
- Increase anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Suicidal thoughts
- Profuse sweating
- Weight loss
- Heart palpitations
- Uncontrollable shaking
- Difficulty concentrating
- Muscle pain and stiffness
As you can see, many Xanax withdrawal symptoms can actually enhance the reasons the drug was originally prescribed or obtained. These “rebound symptoms” may fade after a week or two, but other interventions may be required. Ultimately, Xanax withdrawal can lead to death.
The Effects of Xanax Addiction on the Mind and Body
The danger associated with long term Xanax addiction should not be underestimated. In fact, the effects can be even more dramatic than the withdrawal symptoms, including loss of cognitive skills, impairment of the nervous system with related balance issues, which can be especially devastating to the elderly who are subject to falls and trauma. Memory loss and slow reaction time present their own challenges. And, heightened aggression can also put users in danger when interacting with others, and get them into legal or law enforcement-related trouble.
The Adderall Xanax (Mis)Connection
One of the most common abuses and dangers from illicit Xanax use is the Xanax Adderall connection. Adderall, prescribed for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy, is commonly used by students who “pull all-nighters” when studying for exams or even gamers that play through all hours of the night. While this “study drug” keeps them up, when it’s time to come down, they turn to Xanax. Being dependent on one drug is bad enough. Taking these two “soul mate” drugs together can be dangerous, as they may create a different kind of addictive high. On the other hand, studies have shown that the two may negate the desired effects, causing abusers to dangerously increase their dosage.
Cornerstone’s Approach to Detox, Treatment and Recovery
Cornerstone Recovery Center has cared for many substance dependent clients and those who have been treating their depression/anxiety/post traumatic stress with Xanax or other benzodiazepines. We begin with a complete psychiatric assessment. The goal is to diagnose their disorders and treat them with medications that will not contribute to their addiction, but will lead to recovery.
We guide our clients through detox, helping them rid their systems safely of Xanax, because this drug can highjack the brain, short circuit logical ways of thinking, and subvert coping skills. We counsel patients so they can deal with their anxiety and – and the myriad stresses of daily life – without the use of Xanax. Within a week of entering our program, our clients emerge more confident and more hopeful. As one client in recovery said, “I am thinking so much more clearly than before..I can’t believe how dull I was…my feelings are coming back and, while it is uncomfortable for awhile, it feels good to feel my feelings again.”
For more information about Cornerstone’s approach to Xanax addiction help, please contact our admissions counselor online or call 888-711-0354 today. All communications with our staff are confidential.