Xanax Addiction Symptoms
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Addiction of any kind can have adverse effects on a one’s professional, social and personal life. Substance abuse and addiction can cause deterioration of the mental and physical health of the user.
Families of suffering addicts experience loss in profound ways. One common form of addiction stems from the misuse of the drug Xanax. Xanax can be highly addictive if left unregulated amongst users.
In cases of severe Xanax addiction, you should always seek help from a professional drug rehab center such as Recovery Institute of Ohio. That said, let’s discuss Xanax addiction symptoms, how Xanax is misused, and how you can tell if someone is addicted to Xanax.
Why Do People Use Xanax?
Xanax is a common brand name of alprazolam categorized as benzodiazepines which are sedative medications. They are typically used to treat panic disorders, anxiety, and insomnia among suffering patients.
Benzodiazepines achieve this by boosting gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain to slow down nerve cell activity, which creates a calming effect in the central nervous system (CNS) of users. The calming effects of Xanax make it possible for patients to function normally without panicking or feeling anxious.
Your doctor may prescribe Xanax depending on your age and medical condition. Once prescribed, if you do not show any negative side effects, they may increase your dosage until the medication achieves the desired result.
This medication is not an everyday, over-the-counter medication and must only be used as prescribed by a doctor. This is because Xanax can become highly addictive, and the dosage must be controlled at all stages of treatment, from start to finish.
Xanax comes in different shapes, colors, and strengths of medication, including:
- 0.25mg – Oval shaped white colored pills
- 0.5mg – Oval shaped orange colored pills
- 1.0mg – Oval shaped blue colored pills
- 2.0mg – Rectangular shaped white, yellow, or green colored pills
Xanax addiction can be common in users, and because it is a schedule IV controlled substance, its usage and dosage are kept regulated. The effects of Xanax peak in an individual’s body within one or two hours of oral consumption and then start wearing off, but it can remain in the body between six to fifteen hours.
Additionally, Xanax presents withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop using the medication. Doctors will typically lower your dosage gradually and slowly take you off the medication for this reason.
Xanax abuse can lead to severe side effects, and only people who need the medication should use it exactly as prescribed by their doctors. Using Xanax without a doctor’s supervision or recommendation will most certainly lead to abuse, addiction, and subsequent consequences.
How Is Xanax Abused?
Xanax abuse has become common in the United States as it is the most prescribed psychiatric medication in the country. This means that it is in most homes, and people, especially young individuals, can usually find access to it if someone inside their home is a prescribed user.
Using Xanax without being prescribed the medication or using more than the prescribed dosage can be considered Xanax abuse.
There are many ways of taking and abusing Xanax, including:
- Orally consuming pills (multiple in case of addicts)
- Crushing and snorting the pills through the nasal cavity
- Injecting it directly in veins using a syringe
- Consuming Xanax with other drugs or alcohol
Since Xanax is a benzodiazepine, the calming effect and sense of relaxation that Xanax gives a person are reasons why it is so commonly abused. The sensation becomes addictive, and many Xanax addicts stop functioning normally if they do not feel that sensation regularly.
Over time, the body can build tolerance and get used to the dosage. Therefore, Xanax abuse requires a higher and higher dosage to reach similar levels of relaxation. Many Xanax addicts will start consuming higher doses and combine it with other drugs (typically opioids) and alcohol to feel more of the desired effect.
Abusers are not always addicts. Many abusers take Xanax for recreational purposes at clubs or parties and mix them with other drugs and alcohol to get ‘high’ for the night. These abusers typically manage their recreational drug abuse and may stay in control.
It is only when Xanax use turns into Xanax abuse that people face problems, and their use turns into an addiction. Over time, abuse builds up a tolerance, and abusers may not realize how much they are taking and how frequently until it is too late. Only when they stop functioning normally in their daily lives without Xanax, do they become addicts.
Xanax addiction can pose severe problems for abusers, but how can you tell if someone is addicted to Xanax?
How Can You Tell If Someone Is Addicted to Xanax?
The typical period a doctor may prescribe Xanax is between two to six weeks to avoid developing addiction in patients. Their bodies can also quickly build a tolerance to Xanax, which means patients may not realize that they are becoming addicted.
You can tell someone is addicted to Xanax if they simply form a habit of using it even after the prescribed period is over. Xanax addicts will typically become less energetic and show signs of tiredness in their daily lives due to the drug’s sedative nature.
They may be less interested in interacting with family or friends and lose motivation in their day-to-day activities. This is because Xanax addicts tend to feel lonely even when surrounded by their friends and family and exhibit no interest in taking part in conversations.
Many other symptoms can determine if a person is addicted to abusing Xanax regularly.
What Are the Symptoms of Xanax Addiction?
Xanax addicts may not know when they are addicted and may not try to hide their symptoms. On the other hand, they may know and try to hide Xanax addiction symptoms depending on your relationship with them and their own past experiences.
Most of the time, you can tell even if Xanax addicts try to hide their addiction.
Xanax Addiction Symptoms
Typical Xanax addiction symptoms include the following:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness: Addicts experience feeling dizzy or lightheaded after abuse.
- Weakness, sluggishness, and drowsiness: They may seem weaker or more sluggish than usual because of the sedative nature of Xanax.
- Extended sleeping periods: They tend to sleep longer than usual due to the same reason.
- Asking for Xanax: Addicts sternly believe they need the drug to manage the stress in their lives and may ask for higher doses more frequently as they become more tolerant.
- Manic moods: They may exhibit hyper or manic moods from time to time.
- Cravings: They may verbally describe experiencing cravings or hide their intense cravings if they fear losing access to the drug.
- Headaches, nausea, or vomiting: They complain about experiencing headaches, nausea, or vomiting
- Slurred speech, cognitive impairment, or delirium: An apparent sign of long-term Xanax abuse is when the user displays slurred speech and cognitive impairment.
- Physical impairment of coordination: Abusers become physically unable to coordinate hand-eye movements or other physical movements because they feel numb under the effects of Xanax.
- Memory loss and concentration problems: Addicts are often forgetful and have trouble concentrating on mildly demanding things or tasks.
- Lack of motivation and interest: They lose interest and motivation in their daily lives and even in activities that previously excited them.
- Missing work, school, and former activities: They tend to miss out on work, school, or other activities because of the loss of interest and motivation.
- Avoiding family and friends: Addicts lose interest and avoid conversations, interactions, or engagement with their friends and family and start to avoid them entirely over time.
- Isolation: They isolate themselves from everyone and spend more time alone.
- Financial problems: They may experience financial problems because of overspending on their Xanax addiction.
- Display Xanax withdrawal: Addicts typically feel fidgety, uncomfortable, anxious, or angry when experiencing withdrawal. Seizures may also occur in addicts as a sign of withdrawal from Xanax.
Xanax addicts are not in control of their drug abuse and need Xanax to function normally and avoid feeling bad or withdrawal of any kind. This makes it so that their Xanax addiction can be seen in almost all aspects of their lives if you only look closely and notice it.
Long Term Symptoms
Long-term addiction and drug abuse can lead to severe problems, side effects, and symptoms, some of which may remain permanently with the Xanax addict.
One of the most common side effects of Xanax that may remain permanently in addicts unless treated properly is depression. Long-term addiction and abuse leave many Xanax addicts feeling, thinking, and acting depressed all the time.
Cognitive impairment in Xanax addicts is common, and they may experience it during or after their addiction. Cognitive impairment refers to memory, learning, concentration, and decision-making problems that may stay permanently in long-term addicts of Xanax.
Over time, addicts may feel more and more aggressive. This anger or antipathy can, in turn, lead to them behaving violently in cases of confrontation or hostility. This can be a long-term problem, and they may even display aggression in situations without any logical reasoning.
Long-term addicts become impulsive as time passes, and they may display impulsivity in any aspect of life, including aggression and depression. This means that they may impulsively get angry and behave in an unplanned and reactive manner when angry, sad or depressed.
Long-term abuse and addiction may lead Xanax addicts to psychosis, a mental condition, and they may lose touch with reality over time. Psychosis is a symptom of excessive drug abuse and not an illness. It is challenging to reverse psychosis once it occupies the mental processes.
Risk of Dementia
Long-term Xanax addicts are at an increased risk of experiencing dementia at some point in their lifetimes. Dementia is not a disease itself but rather an umbrella term used to describe impairment in memory, communication, and thinking.
Overdose and Death
Long-term use makes the addicts tolerant, and Xanax stops acting as effectively as it used to, making long-term users abuse higher and in more frequent doses, possibly resulting in a fatal overdose. Additionally, addicts combine Xanax with other opioids and alcohol, which can also lead to death.
Xanax is a beneficial prescription drug when used carefully and under a doctor’s supervision or recommendation. It is not a drug to abuse for recreational or addiction purposes. Unfortunately, this is not the reality, and many people are dealing with Xanax addiction and suffering from Xanax addiction symptoms.
If you keep Xanax in your home because you are a prescribed user, please make sure not to abuse it and keep it safe and away from others, especially kids and young adults. If a loved one or someone you know shows symptoms of Xanax addiction, you should reach out to them in a manner that does not make them defensive.
Xanax addicts may not be aware of their addiction and dependency at times or may simply be in denial. You want them to respond to your concerns in a way that is not confrontational or aggressive. You will want to approach the subject calmly, professionally, and never alone.
An intervention with loved ones is one of the best approaches to calmly helping the addict become aware of their Xanax addiction and realize they need to get help. It is recommended to seek the help and support of a professional interventionist if you or someone you know requires it.
Xanax addicts should not quit cold turkey and should seek professional help, whether with an inpatient treatment program or within an intensive outpatient program.
To learn more about Xanax addiction symptoms, the best approach, and addiction treatment options for Xanax addiction, please contact one of our addiction treatment specialists at Recovery Institute of Ohio today.
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Reviewed by Jessica Kitchen
Jessica Kitchin is the Clinical Program Manager/Primary Therapist at Recovery Institute of Ohio. She received her Master’s Degree in Addiction Counseling from Grand Canyon University. Jessica believes that the best part of her job is knowing that she is apart of creating a safe, healthy, nonjudgmental environment where people can come and better their lives. "There is nothing more satisfying than helping others learn to live again and piece their lives back together as they become strong, productive members of society. Together, we can bring families back together and promote healing and wellbeing.