Most people who find themselves with a prescription from their doctor rarely think twice about the medication they’re ingesting. They don’t pause to think if the drug is highly addictive or dangerous to their health. After all, it came from a physician, so how could it pose a risk?
Take Xanax, for example. This is one of the most commonly prescribed psychotropic medications in the United States, but there’s such a high risk for Xanax dependency and addiction.
- Xanax, or alprazolam, is a highly addictive and commonly prescribed drug, belonging to a class of narcotics called benzodiazepines. It’s a central nervous system depressant that’s typically prescribed to treat all forms of anxiety, including generalized social anxiety and panic disorder.
However, using the drug long-term and taking high doses can hasten the onset of psychological and physical Xanax dependency, increasing the risk of experiencing serious and sometimes life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
Xanax: Drug Abuse Facts and Stats
Some of the more concerning facts surrounding the use of Xanax include:
- 125,000 people typically visit emergency rooms every year because of complications related to their Xanax dependency and addiction.
- 55% of nonmedical users acquired prescription painkillers (including Xanax) for free from a friend or relative.
- Xanax saw the second largest pharmaceutical increase in production in the US from 2004-2009, increasing 148%. Only oxycodone saw higher levels of production.
- 49% of teens will take Xanax with at least one other drug, such as alcohol.
- The number of Xanax prescriptions has risen from 29.9 million to 37.5 in the last five years alone.
- The average person with a Xanax addiction will take between 20-30 pills every day.1
What is a Xanax Dependency?
Xanax dependency refers to a state in which your body becomes physically dependent on the substance. When this occurs, you find yourself needing more and more Xanax to achieve the same high.
In addition, you’ll l experience mental and physical effects, known as withdrawal symptoms, if you stop taking Xanax.
Over time, this adjustment to how the brain manages neurotransmitters will become normal and the brain will need the drug to manage its chemistry and allow you to actually feel “normal” — although you’ll be far from a healthy state of being.
This physical dependence will keep you hooked on the drug, forcing you to use more until you get the help you need or experience a serious physical complication.2
When Can a Xanax Dependency Turn into a Xanax Addiction?
Addiction is defined as a behavioral condition involving compulsive consumption of drugs or compulsive behaviors that release dopamine, serotonin and other neurotransmitters.
- Continuing to abuse Xanax despite the physical risks
- Feeling intense cravings for the substance
- Having trouble finishing personal tasks
- Needing more of the drug to achieve the original intoxication3
Effects of Xanax from Long-Term Use
Long-term misuse of Xanax can lead to a number of serious health concerns, including seizures, tremors or heart issues. In addition, users regularly contend with:
- Mental Health Issues
Xanax releases higher levels of dopamine into the brain, making you feel pleasure. Over time, though, this excitement diminishes in the brain, causing you to experience hopelessness and even thoughts of suicide.
- Memory Problems
Ingesting Xanax over an extended time period can lead to memory problems. Some reports suggest it can even increase the chances of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The longer your brain is on Xanax, the more it will adapt and continue to slow functioning throughout the mind and body.
- Overdose and Death
Xanax overdose happens when the brain and body can’t handle the toxicity produced by the amount of Xanax ingested. Factors that can contribute to an overdose include age, weight, other medical conditions, and whether Xanax is mixed with other substances, such as alcohol. Unintentional overdose can even lead to death, with nearly 10,000 people dying from a Xanax overdose in 2019 alone.4
Some of the short-term concerns of Xanax use can include:
- Drowsiness and dizziness
- Slurred speech and poor coordination
- Nausea and vomiting
- Memory problems and confusion
- Loss of libido
- Heart palpitations and low blood pressure
- Slowed reaction time and fainting
How to Treat Anxiety and a Xanax Addiction
When you’re finally ready to get the help you need to address your Xanax addiction, we’ll be here to help.
At Ranch Creek Recovery, we understand that each individual is unique and requires individualized care to address their specific symptoms.
A program specializing in dual diagnoses is an excellent form of treatment for Xanax addiction, because many people are taking the drug as a way of coping with their anxiety.
This clinical approach can help you e address any co-occurring issues you’re experiencing, while developing lifelong techniques to improve your quality of living and avoiding unforeseen relapse incidents.
Holistic Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery
The self-perpetuating cycle you’re caught up in doesn’t have to rule your life forever.
You can face your co-occurring hurdles head-on with professional help and individualized support at Ranch Creek Recovery.
Learn more about our dual diagnosis treatment program, or contact us today to get your questions answered and learn more about our all-encompassing approach to co-occurring disorder treatment.
CALL NOW: (877) 997-8931
1WebMD. Evidence Shows Abuse of Xanax, Valium on the Rise. Accessed July 9, 2021. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/news/20181227/evidence-shows-abuse-of-xanax-valium-on-the-rise.
2Medical News Today. Alprazolam side effects. Accessed July 9, 2021. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/alprazolam-oral-tablet#side-effects.
3American Psychiatric Association. What Is a Substance Use Disorder? Accessed July 9, 2021. https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/addiction/what-is-addiction.
4National Center for Biotechnology Information. Risk of Dementia in Long-Term Benzodiazepine Users: Evidence from a Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies. Accessed July 9, 2021. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6325366/.