Xanax, also known as Alprazolam, is a depressant used to treat panic attacks and anxiety disorders. This medication works by lowering the activity in the brain and working together with different neurotransmitters. While Xanax is legal and can be obtained with a doctor’s prescription, this medication can be abused and can lead to addiction. Individuals who abuse Xanax or those who have formed a dependency often hide their drug abuse from family members and loved ones. However, there are some signs and symptoms loved ones can watch for.
Signs of Xanax Abuse
Xanax is classified as a Benzodiazepine, and is similar to a sedative. Many individuals use this medication to help calm anxiety and gain a euphoric effect. Those who have developed an addiction to Xanax, typically started using them by prescription to treat a psychological condition such as anxiety disorders or a panic disorder. Abusing Xanax can cause the following common side effects.
Physical Side Effects:
- Change in weight or appetite
- Change in sex drive
- Dry mouth or excessive saliva
- Joint stiffness or pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Respiratory depression
- Skin Rashes
- Trouble breathing
- Trouble urinating
- Yellow skin or eyes
Psychological Side Effects:
- Coordination or balance troubles
- Delusions or hallucination
- Increase in social activity
- Mood changes
- Short and long-term memory issues
- Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
- Trouble focusing
- Trouble talking (slurred speech)
The most common side effect of benzodiazepines or depressants which affect the central nervous system is drowsiness accompanied by lethargy and fatigue. If someone is continuously drowsy, this could be from a standard prescribed dose of Xanax. However, if it is accompanied by trouble concentrating or unusual tiredness, this could be a sign that they have upped their dose.
More severe side effects including loss of coordination or balance, Seizures and hallucinations are rare but can occur. In the case these side effects do occur, it is important to get the individual to seek medical attention. This is often a sign of severe drug abuse and addiction which is extremely dangerous, and if a medical professional does not treat them, severe injury or even death could occur.
Abuse and Physical Dependence
Some individuals may take Xanax to help self-medicate health conditions the medication was not prescribed for. Physical dependence occurs when a person’s body refuses to function without the drug it has become accustomed to. When drug abuse has reached this point, the individual has formed a physical dependence on Xanax. This physical dependence leads to addiction to prevent the side effects of Xanax withdrawal.
Withdrawal Effects of Xanax
How severe your Xanax withdrawal symptoms are may be dependent on the dosage your body is used to taking, as well as how long you have been on this medication. Typical physical and psychological side effects include:
- Increased anxiety
- Muscle pain
- Not satisfied with life
- Panic attacks
- Sensitive to light, sound, taste, and touch
- Stomach pain
Withdrawal symptoms can be more severe or even cause death when Xanax is combined with other drugs or alcohol.
Treating Xanax Addiction
It is highly recommended to consult with your doctor before quitting any drug or alcohol you are addicted to. When someone rapidly stops taking medications the detox process and withdrawal symptoms can be severe and even dangerous to their body. Xanax addiction treatment varies depending on the individual’s usage and length of abusing the drug. Detoxing from Xanax typically involves a medical professional tapering the dosage down over a few days or weeks to help reduce withdrawal symptoms and the risk of causing seizures. Also, a medical professional may prescribe a less toxic, long-lasting benzodiazepine for a short time to help ease withdrawal symptoms during treatment.
Successful addiction treatment is much more than just detoxing. During the recovery process, patients will need to identify the underlying reason for the drug abuse. Treatment centers such as Serenity Acres offer group and individual therapy sessions, support groups, and relapse prevention training to recovering addicts. These programs teach recovering addicts how to cope with any underlying mental health disorder as well as how to heal from any emotional or physical trauma that could have caused substance abuse.
Are you or a loved one struggling with Xanax abuse or addiction? If so, you do not have to fight addiction or go through the detox process alone. Contact Serenity Acres to talk with one of our admission coordinators regarding your next step to addiction treatment and sobriety.