How to Recognize Xanax Addiction in a Loved One
The Importance of Recognizing Xanax Addiction
Xanax has become one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs. Xanax addiction can lead to serious physical and psychiatric complications. It’s easy to believe your loved one uses Xanax properly when they have a doctor’s prescription and purchase it at the same drugstore where you buy aspirin and cold medicine, but they could very well have a problem. Learning to recognize the signs of Xanax addiction is the first step in helping someone overcome it.
What Is Xanax?
Xanax is the brand name of alprazolam, a drug in the benzodiazepine class which also includes diazepam (brand name Valium) and clonazepam (Klonopin). Also called “benzos,” benzodiazepines are sedatives prescribed to manage stress, insomnia, anxiety, and panic attacks.
Benzos are only supposed to be used on a short-term basis; for instance, your doctor may prescribe it if you have to take an airline flight but you panic whenever you even think of flying. Xanax relieves this anxiety by reducing impulses that excite the brain, creating a feeling of calm and well-being. Over-consumption can cause changes in the user’s brain chemistry, so they become dependent on the positive, almost blissful feelings that benzos create.
Xanax addiction can lead to severe depression and other disorders. Combining the drug with opioids can be fatal. In 2019, according to the National Institutes of Health, 16 percent of overdose deaths involving opioids also involved benzodiazepines.
Signs and Symptoms of Xanax Addiction
To determine if someone is addicted to Xanax, you can look for several physical and behavioral indicators.
- Unexplained weight changes – Xanax abuse can cause both weight gain and weight loss. Some users develop depression and find they have little energy, causing them to sleep more and eat high-fat “comfort foods,” leading to weight gain. Other users may lose their appetite entirely, so they lose weight drastically.
- Dizziness or confusion – If the user takes too large a dose, they can feel disoriented, dizzy, and confused and may experience memory loss.
- Neurological problems – Poor coordination, slurred speech, lack of coordination, and similar issues may result from the effect of Xanax on brain chemistry.
- Mood Swings – The user may be happy one minute and angry or sad the next because the mood-altering drug is causing uncontrollable fluctuations.
- Panic Disorders – Ironically, since Xanax is often prescribed to alleviate these, abuse of the drug can also cause them to get worse instead of better.
- “Doctor shopping” – Always a reliable sign of addiction to a prescribed drug; this is when the addict feels they need a higher dose than their doctor is willing to prescribe. If it seems your loved one is suddenly taking more Xanax than usually and without much effect – they may be getting several prescriptions from various doctors.
Detox and Rehab for Xanax Addiction
Detoxing from Xanax abuse should always be conducted under proper medical supervision. Simply quitting Xanax “cold turkey” can be such a jolt to the user’s nervous system, their body could go into a seizure. Other Xanax withdrawal symptoms include nausea, vomiting, heart palpitations, rapid heartbeat, memory loss, dizziness, and panic attacks.
Xanax rehab should be part of a comprehensive treatment program that a supervised Xanax detox plan with medications, counseling, and therapy at a certified Xanax rehab facility. SAS with other drug detox programs,
Xanax detox is the first step as it prepares the body and cleanses out chemical toxins. At Muse Treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy has become one of the essential elements of treatment. This therapy tries to influence the patient’s thinking, expectations and behavior while increasing their coping mechanism for various life situations.
Supervised treatment is essential for recovering Xanax abusers who want to enjoy long-term sobriety. For help for yourself or anyone you suspect is suffering from Xanax addiction, contact Muse at 800-426-1818.