Xanax Addiction Symptoms, Causes, Signs & Withdrawal Side Effects

Yet Xanax also has a “half-life,” meaning that its effects are short-lived, and only last about six hours. Xanax users, as a result, often experience lows in between doses. When these lows become severe, it is likely a result of Xanax withdrawal symptoms. If you or someone you know is addicted to Xanax, treatment options are available. Treatment typically involves a combination of medication and therapy.

  • By Heidi Moawad, MD

    Heidi Moawad is a neurologist and expert in the field of brain health and neurological disorders.

  • Although the signs and symptoms of Xanax abuse and Xanax addiction are the same, there is a difference between being addicted to Xanax and abusing Xanax.
  • Our recovery programs are based on decades of research to deliver treatment that really works.
  • The United States government classifies benzodiazepines — including alprazolam — as Schedule IV controlled substances in the Controlled Substances Act due to their potential for misuse.
  • As a central nervous system depressant, Xanax slows down major processes in the body.

When you take a drug, certain genetic factors can increase your risk of developing an addiction. Regular drug use changes your brain chemistry, affecting how you experience pleasure. This can make it difficult to simply stop using the drug once you’ve started.

A Living Nightmare: 5 Things Doctors Don’t Tell You About Benzos

As someone continues to use Xanax, they may build a tolerance to the drug, requiring them to take higher doses to get the desired effect. They will start to concentrate a lot of their energy on Xanax and its role in their life. Xanax overdose is also possible when someone takes too much or takes it too frequently in a short time. Physical signs that someone is on Xanax and experiencing an overdose can include blurred vision, extreme slurring, weakness, slowed breathing and possibly, in severe cases, coma. A tendency has grown in some social circles to view benzos, like Xanax, as a type of “alcohol” in pill form. It’s become socially acceptable among these groups of friends to get together and share Xanax with one another.

Xanax very quickly produces a feeling of calm and wellbeing, like everything is right with the world. It can also make you drowsy, leading many people to start depending upon it for sleep. Xanax itself is dangerous, but taking drugs from illicit dealers presents additional dangers, such as the possibility of ingesting a counterfeit drug. Treatment may also address other underlying conditions, such as anxiety or depression. You might wonder if it’s drugs or something different, such as a demanding job or a stressful life change.

So What Does Xanax Feel Like?

In another study of patients with panic disorder, neither anxiolytic tolerance nor daily dose increase was observed after 8 weeks of alprazolam treatment, with continued efficacy at 6 months (Schweizer et al., 1993). There is a subpopulation of patients exposed to benzodiazepines that is more likely to escalate their dose, mainly those with coexisting drug or alcohol use problem (Griffiths and Wolf, 1990; NICE, 2014). Most would agree that tolerance is a multifactorial process that occurs at different rates for different patients, and also depends on the profile of the benzodiazepine used. If you take this medication as intended by your doctor, which is commonly prescribed to treat anxiety or panic disorders, you may feel “normal” after your first dose. The sedating effect can help alleviate anxiety symptoms and calm your body’s response to anxiety or stress.

  • The way a person behaves while living with an addiction can vary widely.
  • Research shows that young adults who use Xanax tend to use it along with illegal drugs and are also more likely to have psychiatric conditions, which might be undiagnosed or untreated.
  • Upon leaving the treatment center, many people will pursue a 12-step recovery program to maintain abstinence or stabilization and maintenance.
  • Your doctor can assess your overall health by performing a physical exam.
  • When taken in large doses or in combination with alcohol and/or other drugs, Xanax can be dangerous.

Additionally, some people are predisposed to substance addiction, possibly due to genetic factors and altered activity of neurotransmitters in the brain. There are several proposed explanations for why these groups may be at risk. Research shows that young adults who use https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/essential-tremor-alcohol/ Xanax tend to use it along with illegal drugs and are also more likely to have psychiatric conditions, which might be undiagnosed or untreated. The potential for addiction is higher with Xanax than with lower-potency benzodiazepines like Librium (chlordiazepoxide).

How Can I Tell if Someone Is High on Xanax?

Without Xanax,  an individual that suffers from Xanax dependency might experience an achiness all over his or her body as that person’s body begins processing the substance out. Such pain and discomfort can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers. This means that it’s considered to have a low potential xanax addiction for abuse. However, the evidence speaks for itself, as there are thousands of individuals who seek treatment every year for drug dependency on Xanax. There are several reasons why Xanax may be more addictive than other benzodiazepines. First, it has a high affinity for the GABA receptors in the brain.

Benzodiazepines (also known as “benzos”) are commonly referred to as sedatives, hypnotics, or minor tranquilizers. They work by increasing the effect of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. This reduces the excitability of neurons (nerve cells), resulting in decreased feelings of anxiety. Sufferers may experience a return of symptoms and feel inclined to up their dose to keep them at bay. In this way, the brain becomes increasingly reliant on the drug to feel normal.

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