Overview, Signs, Symptoms & Treatment
Like many other types of prescription drugs, Xanax can be abused by individuals who take more than they were prescribed or take the drug for its effects (especially those in high doses which cause euphoria) when it was not prescribed to them. According to Stanford University, “Xanax is the brand name for the tranquilizer Alprazolam, an antianxiety (anxiolytic) and antipanic drug.” Xanax is also a benzodiazepine drug which are drugs that slow down the central nervous system.
Xanax addiction can occur from abusing Xanax regularly, and there are signs and symptoms that point to Xanax addiction, just like with other drugs of abuse. If someone become addicted to Xanax, they will probably need treatment in order to stop abusing the drug and will not often be able to quit on their own.
CESAR states that Leo Sternback first discovered benzodiazepines in the 1930s. “Abuse of benzodiazepines was not specifically addressed until the 1980s, when they became among the most prescribed medications in America.” While Xanax is extremely beneficial for treating issues like generalized anxiety disorder (or GAD), nervous tension, panic disorders and attacks, irritable bowel syndrome, and several other medical issues, it is also used completely without a prescription for the high it can cause in large doses.
According to Stanford University, “Xanax is very addictive. Patients can become dependent during the first few days of therapy,” and Xanax abusers can also become addicted to the drug very quickly. If you know someone who abuses Xanax, there is a good chance that they will become or may have already become addicted to the drug.
Xanax Addiction Signs
The signs of Xanax addiction can be easily noticed by friends and family members of Xanax addicts. When someone truly becomes addicted to Xanax, it will be all they want to do, and they will make excuses to keep taking the drug and to take it constantly.
People who are prescribed Xanax do not usually become addicted at the rate people who abuse it without a prescription do, but there is still a chance that someone being prescribed Xanax will begin to take more of the drug than prescribed by their doctor, leading to addiction.
The common signs of Xanax addiction are:
- Constant drowsiness
- Mood changes
- Depression and suicidal thoughts
- Problems with memory or communication
- Slurred speech
- Problems urinating
- Appetite changes
When someone displays these issues consistently and often, it is likely that they may be addicted to Xanax. When a person is taking Xanax as prescribed, some of these issues are common and can be controlled by talking to a doctor. However, if a person who is not being prescribed Xanax is exhibiting these signs consistently, there is a chance that they are constantly taking high doses of Xanax which, over time, would lead to addiction.
Xanax abuse can easily lead to addiction, and there will be a difference in a person’s behavior when they truly become addicted to the drug.
- Appetite changes can lead to “weight changes,” according to the NLM, especially if the person has been abusing Xanax over a long period of time.
- Xanax addiction may cause the individual abusing the drug to seek out more and more of it, to the detriment of themselves or others.
- They may get involved in dangerous activities such as doctor shopping (which, according to an NCBI study, “is defined as seeing multiple treatment providers… to procure prescription medications illicitly”), stealing or faking prescriptions, or buying Xanax illegally.
- People who become addicted to Xanax will experience issues with depression, apathy toward the other aspects of their lives, and an inability to care about anything as much as they care about their next fix.
- Xanax addicts will only want to spend time around other individuals who abuse Xanax and other drugs and will stop spending time with those who don’t.
Xanax addiction is dangerous, and for those who abuse it in large doses and especially along with alcohol, deadly respiratory depression can occur where a person breathes very little or stops breathing entirely. Even if someone experiences Xanax overdose or other problematic or dangerous consequences of their Xanax abuse, if they are truly addicted, they will still continue to the abuse the drug because they will be unable to stop.
Xanax Addiction Symptoms
If you are worried that you may be addicted to Xanax, remember that only people who abuse drugs become addicted to them. If you take Xanax the way you are prescribed to, you may become dependent on it but that can be treated with a slow tapering off of the drug. However, if you’re a Xanax abuser (whether you were prescribed the drug or not), you do have a high risk of becoming addicted.
Ask yourself about the symptoms of Xanax addiction and find out if you may be addicted to the drug already.
- Do I abuse Xanax every day?
- Do I feel strange or not like myself unless I am on Xanax?
- Do I feel like the other aspects of my life that do not involve taking Xanax are less important?
- Have I experienced many issues a result of my Xanax abuse including but not limited to:
- Getting reprimanded at work or fired from my job?
- Seeing my grades suffer?
- Experiencing financial problems because I am spending all of my money on Xanax?
- Being unfulfilled or unhappy in my life because of my constant use of Xanax?
- Overdosing on Xanax to the point where I required medical attention?
- Experiencing legal trouble because of my dangerous or illegal means of getting more Xanax?
- Even though I’ve experienced problems of this nature, do I still feel like I cannot or do not want to stop abusing Xanax?
- Have my friends and family members commented on my abuse of Xanax and how the drug seems to be more important to me than anything else?
- Do I have “a need for daily or regular drug use to function?” (NLM)
- Do I abuse Xanax even when I am alone in order to get my fix?
- Do I feel a lack of control over my Xanax abuse?
- Have I noticed that I am not affected by the same amount of Xanax that I used to be?
- Am I taking higher and higher doses of Xanax in order to feel those same effects or have I concerned abusing illicit drugs in order to feel stronger effects?
- Have I noticed that I experience withdrawal symptoms when I stop taking Xanax including the symptoms listed by a study from the NCBI:
- Aches and pains?
- Irritability or aggression?
Xanax addiction can lead to many problems for an individual as well as their loved ones. It can be extremely difficult to stop abusing Xanax once one is addicted, and treatment is often necessary for those individuals who are experiencing full-blown Xanax addiction.