Xanax is the brand and more familiar name of a drug called alprazolam. Xanax is highly addictive and commonly prescribed by members of the medical community to treat stress, generalized anxiety disorder, and panic disorders. Belonging to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines, Xanax is obtained by prescription. However, as prescriptions become more common, purchasing Xanax illegally on the street is also possible. Today, Xanax is the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepine on the market, increasing the abuse potential. Understanding and recognizing the signs and symptoms of Xanax abuse is the first step in the treatment journey.
What Is Xanax?
Xanax is an anti-anxiety medication that falls into the same drug family that includes Valium, Klonopin, and Ativan, among others. Xanax received approval by the Federal Food and Drug Administration in 1981. It helps relieve anxiety symptoms by acting on the brain and central nervous system to reduce abnormal excitement and produce a calming effect. It does this by slowing down the movement of chemicals in the brain that, for various reasons, may have become unbalanced. It also boosts the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a naturally occurring chemical in the brain that blocks certain brain signals and decreases activity in the nervous system.
Xanax is often associated with anxiety relief. However, it is essential to note that it is only prescribed for clinically significant dysfunctional anxiety in individuals with psychiatric or anxiety disorders. It is not used for normal nervousness or anxiousness that people experience as a result of everyday life. Before using benzodiazepines, barbiturates were prescribed for many of the above purposes. However, the side effects and other issues related to barbiturates brought about the need for a new drug class. Benzodiazepines are typically shorter-acting in most cases and were believed to have less potential for abuse than barbiturates. Unfortunately, this was not the case, and benzodiazepine abuse has become a significant issue over the last decade.
Looking for Signs of Xanax Abuse
The signs and symptoms of Xanax abuse will vary among individuals. Much of this variation depends on genetic makeup, frequency of use, and length of abuse. The most common signs and symptoms of Xanax abuse are mood changes, changes in behavior, and physical symptoms. Someone abusing Xanax may exhibit drastic alterations in mood, including aggression, rage, hostility, and agitation. However, they may also exhibit the exact opposite and show abnormal states of euphoria inappropriate to the current situation. You may even notice their behavior changes. They may miss work, have difficulty remembering things, and choose to avoid social activities.
When it comes to the physical and psychological symptoms of Xanax abuse and addiction, it can be a little bit more challenging to determine if the symptoms are typical side effects of legal Xanax use or, indeed, something more concerning. Physical symptoms related to Xanax abuse include fatigue, drowsiness, lack of coordination, slurred speech, tremors, and restlessness. Again, it is essential to note that some of these symptoms are common side effects of Xanax
and do not necessarily point to abuse. Xanax abuse can also result in psychological symptoms, including mania and depressed mood.
Other difficulties that may occur due to Xanax addiction include hallucinations, weight changes, impaired reflexes, changes in cognition, loss of relationships, financial problems, and social challenges.
How to Get Help With a Xanax Addiction
As many as 40% of people who take benzodiazepines like Xanax every day will eventually develop an addiction. Recovery from this addiction requires dedication on both the physical and psychological fronts. Medical detox allows the body to become accustomed to life without Xanax, while rehab provides skill-building and relapse prevention planning.
The first step in getting clean from Xanax should be medically supervised detox. In some cases, the withdrawal symptoms and side effects associated with detoxing from Xanax can be dangerous in the process should not be undergone alone. While detox is the first step and an essential aspect of treatment, it is not enough to maintain a drug-free lifestyle as it does not address the behavioral and psychological elements of drug abuse. The next step is to work with the treatment professionals at an addiction treatment center like Rise in Malibu to address addiction’s root causes. Those who work with a professional addiction treatment center have a better chance of achieving long-term sobriety and recovery.
No matter who you are or what stage of addiction you are in, the help you need is available. Contact us at Rise in Malibu to speak to our team about our treatment options.