Benzodiazepines are a class of anti-anxiety medications that include Klonopin, Valium and Xanax. These are some of the most widely prescribed drugs in the world. There are more than 50 million people worldwide who are currently prescribed a benzodiazepine medication. While most people think of them as a relatively low-level drug used to help people sleep and overcome anxiety, benzodiazepine abuse is a matter of life and death.
Even if Xanax and other medications of its type are taken in the doctor’s recommended dosage, their withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening. Xanax is highly addictive. Tolerance to benzodiazepines builds quickly, so people have to take increasingly higher dosages to acquire the desired effect. Because of this, Xanax addicts often take up to 30 pills a day. With such a high dosage, the risk of fatal drug interactions or seizures is high. Here are some warning signs that you or a loved one may be addicted to Xanax and how to get help.
Xanax is considered a Schedule IV Controlled Substance, meaning that it is considered to have a low-level risk for abuse by the United States Government, but the statistics tell a different story. In 2012 more than 17 thousand people were admitted to substance abuse treatment centers with benzodiazepines listed as their sole drug of choice. As prescriptions for these drugs increase, so does the amount of people who become addicted to them and end up abusing them. Xanax addiction works quickly, a study done on Xanax users showed that after six weeks of use, 4 out of 10 people who took Xanax daily became physically and psychologically dependent on the drug.
When a person’s mind becomes accustomed to the daily influx of a mood-altering substance like Xanax, it adapts to the drug learns to function under its influence. Because Xanax is so addictive, it often takes more and more of the medication to function effectively. When these needs are not met, the user’s psychological dependence becomes evident. For a person who was prescribed Xanax to deal with issues of anxiety or sleeplessness, this means that they will become more susceptible to the symptoms of these problems. This means that the user will experience increased feelings of irritability, agitation, depression, paranoia and insomnia. In order to restore balance to their brain chemistry, the user will then become fixated on the drug and they will be compulsively drawn to use more and more of it. This is incredibly common for people who use benzodiazepines, as 44% of users eventually become dependent on the drug and are motivated by that addiction to continue using it despite the negative repercussions.
Physical Addiction and Withdrawal from Xanax
When a person becomes physically dependent on Xanax, a reduction in dosage or complete abstinence from the drug will result in physical withdrawal symptoms. Some of the common symptoms of Benzodiazepine withdrawal are profuse sweating, blurred vision, convulsions, headaches, body aches, nausea and vomiting. A trained medical professional should always oversee a detox from Xanax. Ideally, the process would be supervised by a medical doctor in a formal chemical dependency detox setting.
When Xanax is used recreationally, it is often paired with alcohol and other pills. This combination can increase the symptoms of withdrawal and complicate the treatment of the addicted individual. Ativan, a benzodiazepine, is a common medication used in the treatment of alcohol withdrawal. However, it can be dangerous if used to treat a person suffering from co-occurring benzo addiction and alcoholism.
Because Xanax users typically have an underlying mental illness or suffer from a mental health disorder, care should also be taken to ensure that the symptoms of the original issue are addressed so that the psychological and emotional side effects of the withdrawal are treated alongside the physical manifestations of the detox.
Signs of Xanax Abuse and Addiction
It may be difficult to tell if someone is taking their doctor prescribed medication for the treatment of a mental health disorder or if they have become addicted to the drug and are abusing the substance. The difference is often subtle and colored by the emotional state of the user and their relationship to the substance. There are some common physical symptoms that can shed some light on whether a person is using their medication in the right dosage for the right reason. Some of these signs are:
- Slurred speech
- Blurred vision
- Poor motor coordination
- Heart Palpitations
There are also behavioral patterns that can help determine if you or a loved one have crossed the threshold into Xanax addiction. Some of these signs are:
- Repeated problems meeting family and work obligations due to Xanax use
- Spending a lot of time getting, using and recovering from Xanax
- Continued use after a person gets into dangerous situations
- A desire to stop using Xanax but not being able to do so
- Continuing use even though it causes interpersonal problems
- Building a tolerance quickly
- Using Xanax for longer than intended
- Continuing to use Xanax despite experiencing adverse personal outcomes
- Craving Xanax
- Reducing participation in work, social, and family affairs
If you or a loved one are experiencing some or all of these physical symptoms and behavioral patterns of Xanax addiction help is available. It is crucial to seek treatment before tragedy strikes.
Treatment for Xanax Addiction
When the decision has been made to seek treatment for Xanax addiction, it is important to choose a drug and alcohol treatment center that can guide the addicted individual from detox to rehab and on to aftercare and continued recovery. At our Dallas Texas Addiction Treatment Center, our expert staff is available to help people suffering from Xanax addiction to get sober and deal with the underlying issues that led to the development of their disorder. We provide professional care and expert therapeutic treatments to help you live a happy, healthy life free from addiction.