Dangers of Xanax Abuse
While Xanax is commonly prescribed to treat disorders such as anxiety, depression and panic, many people find themselves in danger of developing a dependency on Xanax, and often an addiction. This can result in a developed tolerance to the drug, rendering the medication ineffective for its prescribed use.
Xanax is also used broadly as a recreational drug and is easily found on the street. As with other prescription drugs, many people use it under the false pretense that it is safer than common illicit drugs because it is a pharmaceutical. The truth is that Xanax abuse can be incredibly dangerous, often life-threatening and should not be taken lightly.
The physical dangers of Xanax abuse include brain cell damage and balance or coordination problems, as well as difficulty breathing and speaking. Depression, erratic mood swings and difficulty concentrating are just some of the mental health dangers of Xanax abuse. A few of the more dangerous effects of Xanax abuse include thoughts of suicide or self-harming, aggressive behavior, hallucinations, seizures and chest pain.
Street Names for Xanax
The generic name for the prescription drug, Xanax, is Alprazolam. This drug is classified as a Benzodiazepine, often referred to as Benzos. Other nicknames for Xanax include: X’s, Zannies, Bars, Handlebars, Blue Footballs, Footballs, Peanuts, Ladders.
Xanax generally has effects of sedation, relieving anxiety and is sometimes used as an anti-convulsant. After taking it, the user may feel very relaxed and calm or a sense of well-being. The physical consequences of Xanax abuse can be highly damaging, leading people who develop Xanax addiction to require care from loved ones to function daily. Some common consequences include loss of control of muscle movement, digestive issues and difficulty with speech articulation. Although the physical side effects are undoubtedly an issue, the cognitive alterations and psychological effects are liable to severely affect the day-to-day life of the individual. Xanax, along with other Benzodiazepines, cause memory problems, cognitive impairment, changes in mood, as well as dizziness and fatigue.
Warning Signs of Xanax Abuse in a Loved One
It can be initially difficult to identify when a loved one has a Xanax addiction. Unlike other substances, such as those typically taken for recreational purposes like illicit drugs or alcohol, Xanax is a prescription medicine manufactured to help those with mental health disorders manage daily life without bouts of nervousness, panic, or anxiety. This means that it could be harder to spot a descent into Xanax abuse. So, what are the signs? The person may be constantly fatigued and have trouble engaging with everyday life, struggling to keep up with responsibilities like school or work. He or she may withdraw from socializing and usual interests or seem unmotivated to be productive or exhausted.Someone suffering from addiction may become ill frequently. This includes the effects listed above, as well as vomiting, nausea and suffering from headaches. Abusing substances weakens the immune system so that the individual is more susceptible to sickness.Your loved one’s state of mind may be compromised, displayed in uncharacteristic depression or mood swings and confusion or memory loss. Someone who is addicted to Xanax will have powerful cravings and become obsessed with the drug, obtaining it and taking it.
The person may be constantly fatigued and have trouble engaging with everyday life, struggling to keep up with responsibilities like school or work.
He or she may withdraw from socializing and usual interests or seem unmotivated to be productive or exhausted.
Someone suffering from addiction may become ill frequently. This includes the effects listed above, as well as vomiting, nausea and suffering from headaches.
Factual Dangers: Xanax
Xanax use and abuse can result in many dangers, including death in severe cases. Xanax inhibits your decision-making abilities and increases your chances of making poor decisions that you normally wouldn’t. This can lead to dangerous, sometimes life-threatening, situations. Because it impairs your coordination and motor skills, it is dangerous to operate any kind of heavy or powerful machinery while on the drug. It can also cause severe memory problems.
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True Stories of Addiction: Justin Overcomes AddictionJustin’s life took a turn for the worst when he tried Xanax. Listen to his story to figure out how he recovered. – View all episodes now
Xanax Rehab Treatment
While often a daunting decision, seeking rehabilitation for Xanax abuse and addiction is an essential step to recovery. Seeking professional help is the first step towards finally ridding yourself or a loved one of a Xanax dependency. Someone suffering from a Xanax addiction may focus entirely on obtaining more Xanax, emotionally and financially. This person’s mental state may have adapted to the point that consuming Xanax may be the only way forward, unable to proceed in day-to-day life without it. At least, this is what this his or her brain has come to believe.
In Rehab, professionals help people shift this mental state through multiple kinds of therapy as well as addiction education. If you’re the person suffering from Xanax dependency, it may feel impossible to find the motivation to change, but millions of people who have been in your position have gone to treatment. They are living happily in sobriety and you can join them.
In rehab, your one-on-one therapy sessions will likely utilize Cognitive Behavioral Therapy modes to help you identify negative thought patterns and beliefs, replacing them with positive ones. You may work with life coaches who can help you to see the possibilities of a healthy and productive life. More than anything, you will gain a support system of people who all are also struggling with substance abuse and want to grow. – Learn More
Xanax Detox Treatment
The first step that must be taken in recovery from Xanax addiction is detox. You need to safely get the drug completely out of your system and allow the body to readjust so that it can operate properly without Xanax again. Trying to rid someone of a severe addiction can feel impossible without professional medical help. The withdrawal side effects for any drug will be uncomfortable, but detoxing from Xanax can be legitimately life-threatening and requires medical supervision. You must be slowly weaned off the drug because abrupt discontinuation of Xanax use, as with other Benzos, can cause fatal seizures.
The psychological consequences of detoxing from Xanax can also be detrimental. If you were prescribed Xanax for a pre-existing psychological condition, you may experience intensified symptoms of that condition in withdrawal from Xanax. Other symptoms of withdrawal from Xanax are headache, sweating, vomiting, blurry vision, shaking, muscle cramps and aches, aggression and insomnia. Luckily, symptoms of Xanax withdrawal do not linger for as long as with other Benzodiazepines.
Regardless, comfort and safety are paramount in the detoxification process, so be sure to do the research and find a quality facility with around the clock care. A good facility will have medications and procedures in place to help ease your discomfort and assure your safety. – Learn More
Addiction to Xanax
Addiction is a complicated condition that is related to physical dependence and psychological dependence. Addiction to Xanax is when someone uses Xanax compulsively, even when this use causes many negative consequences. Someone addicted to Xanax usually will obsess about the drug, obtaining it and using it.
With repeated use of a mood or mind-altering substance, a reward cycle associated with using the substance is established in the individual’s brain. This reward cycle can become so reinforced that the person’s ability to prioritize the people and things he or she cares about is, in a sense, hijacked. When the addiction is very severe, the drug use will supersede other needs and interests every time.
It is important to remember that this is not the individual’s fault. No one is in full control of his or her own thoughts and feelings, as many functions in the brain are involuntary. The psychological aspect of addiction is often more complicated than physical dependence alone. There are usually deeper reasons in a person’s history, psyche or environment that drive the addiction, especially with Xanax and other medications that are prescribed for psychological disorders. When someone was prescribed Xanax for a genuine disorder, like anxiety, it may be more difficult for him or her to separate the need for anxiety treatment from the perceived need for Xanax. – Learn More
It can be difficult to tell that you have developed a dependence on Xanax. Many people do not frame their drug use in terms of addiction and do not realize what is happening to them until it is too late. This is commonly the case with people who are prescribed a medication like Xanax and become addicted. Dependence on Xanax, physical or psychological, is when you have a perceived need for the drug. When it is physical, you might become ill and experience withdrawal symptoms if you don’t use. This is because the body has adjusted to having Xanax present and now becomes out of balance when it is not present. When the dependence is psychological, you may feel like you need Xanax to get through the day or to feel okay. If you are concerned that you have become dependent on Xanax, there are some signs you can look for.
Do you look forward to taking a pill or two when you’ve had a hard day or difficult experience? Do you ever run out of your prescription earlier than it is supposed to last or take larger doses than instructed? Do you ever become nervous when you are down to just a few pills? Have you withdrawn from loved ones or activities you used to enjoy? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be dependent. – Learn More
Seeking help for a loved one.
- Who Do I Include in a Xanax Intervention?
It is best to include an intervention specialist and those closest the Xanax addicted individual. It is best to leave out anyone who may not be able to control their anger.
- What Do I Say in A Xanax Intervention?
You will speak directly to your loved one, only speaking in love and concern while leaving out judgment or anger. Let him or her know the negative impact their Xanax addiction causes you.
Intervention for Xanax Abuse
If you believe your loved one is addicted to Xanax, an intervention may be the best way for you to help. Intervention can be tricky, often because the person suffering from addiction has little say. This person may not recognize how seriously his or her life has spiraled out of control, or may be unwilling to attempt to change due to decreased decision-making capacity. Many people who have substance abuse problems feel utterly alone, especially when they have a co-occurring disorder like anxiety. An intervention is a great way to demonstrate to them that there are people who still care and want to help.
The priority of an intervention is ensuring your love one’s well-being. You may be fearful of how he or she will react, but remember that you are trying to help them. An intervention can be a crucial step towards preventing an overdose. The higher a person’s tolerance to Xanax gets, the more likely he or she is to overdose attempting to achieve the same feelings the drug used to cause. Considering this, it is also important to execute the intervention responsibly.
There are a few things to bear in mind when considering an intervention. Try not to pass any judgment. Even though you may be personally struggling with your loved one’s addiction, it is important to keep the focus on helping that person get his or her life back. Don’t be afraid to source professional help with the process; an interventionist will be able to ensure that your intervention has the highest chances of success. – Learn More
Recovery from Xanax Abuse
Recovery can be a daunting feat, even though the process provides a positive outcome. While it begins with detox and rehab treatment, which for many may be the most difficult parts, recovery requires long-term effort. You are not simply getting off a substance; you are working to develop new coping skills, thought patterns, beliefs and habits so you can live a healthy life without substance abuse. Many people don’t think they can do this or that there is any point in even trying. The truth is, you can do it. People who have suffered through addiction are fighters; they have been through difficulties unimaginable to most people. Moreover, there are so many resources available to people overcoming addiction.
Detox will get the drug out of your system, safely and as comfortably as possible. In rehab, you will work will therapists to begin developing these new attributes. Treatment programs ensure that you aren’t alone in the process. Through workshops, discussion and therapy, not only do experts provide psychological and medical assistance, but morale may be improved by the knowledge that others are going through the same process.
Expressing individual challenges and feats builds a sense of accomplishment and teamwork and lessens feelings of isolation. Having a strong and reliable support system of people who will be there for you is key to recovery. It is important to reach out to those people beyond treatment and attend meetings or other events so that you can maintain that support system.
- How Do I Recover from Xanax Addiction?
The first step in recovery from your Xanax addiction is admitting you have a problem. Once you have done that, reach out for help and seek detoxification and treatment center.
- Will I Ever Relapse on Xanax?
Xanax relapse is always possible. As long as you learn from it and move on in a positive direction you should be fine and able to have a strong and lasting recovery in the future.
Dangers of Xanax Overdose
If you think that you or someone else has overdosed on Xanax, or any other substance, contact emergency medical services immediately. Overdose is an extremely serious matter, often resulting in life-long health complications and even death. An overdose is when someone takes a larger amount of a substance than the body can tolerate. This will cause the essential systems of the body to shut down and malfunction. Xanax, like other Benzodiazepines, is a Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressant, meaning that it slows down the function of the nerve network in the brain and spinal cord. When someone overdoses on Xanax, the major systems of the body that the CNS controls begin to slow, malfunction and cease.
Typically, Xanax Overdose causes the breathing to become shallow, slow or cease altogether. The heartbeat may weaken, become irregular or stop. When these things happen, the brain cannot receive enough oxygen or nutrients and so sections of it will begin to shut down, causing permanent brain damage, stroke, seizure, coma and death.
Symptoms of Xanax overdose are difficulty breathing, slurred speech and difficulty annunciating, memory problems, hallucinations, lack of coordination and balance, severe fatigue, unresponsiveness, yellowing of eyes or skin and unconsciousness. Chances of overdose increase when Xanax is taken with other CNS Depressants, such as Alcohol or Opiates. Overdose is common in people who relapse after getting clean, when their tolerance has gone down and they take the same amount they used to. – Learn More
Xanax Use, Abuse and Dependency
Xanax is a Benzodiazepine with the generic drug name Alprazolam. It is often prescribed as medication to treat anxiety, specifically Generalized Anxiety Disorder, panic disorders and insomnia. It is an effective drug, yet highly addictive particularly after long-term usage and is very commonly prescribed across the US to deal with psychiatric issues. Tolerance is easily built up, which can result in dependency, abuse and addiction, with some taking up to 30 Xanax pills a day as a result.
When people become dependent on Xanax, they may isolate themselves from typical everyday activity. This can include a loss of interest in hobbies, socializing, family, education and work. This has a detrimental effect on those who love and care about them, as well as themselves. A Xanax addiction replaces energy and motivation for life with the need to obtain and consume more Xanax to survive as the body adjusts to operating with the chemicals released by taking the drug.
Xanax abuse is centered initially on recreational activity, as Xanax is prescribed to induce feelings of relaxation and calm, alleviating a person of anxiousness or panic. Abuse of the drug is established when a person goes outside of the safe, prescribed amount or frequency. Some who is abusing Xanax may consume the medication in ways other than swallowing a pill like snorting, injection, multiple pill ingestion, via blotting paper and with alcohol or other drugs like Methadone and Heroin.
Xanax addiction moves beyond solely recreational abuse, where a person becomes fully reliant on the drug to get through daily life. It is no longer used purely to induce a state of calm. An addicted person may adapt so that it is a normalized part of the body and mind’s functionality. Rather than Xanax having a noticeable effect on his or her well-being, someone who is addicted may experience little change unless the dosage is increased, which in turn increases dependency and reliance on Xanax. This is how the vicious cycle of addiction often begins, as a person addicted to Xanax will need higher dosages to feel effects, making the drive to obtain more Xanax an increasingly essential focus of his or her life.
Both states of Xanax dependency require attention and possible intervention, whether through the user’s own recognition of an abuse problem or through the care and concern of friends and family. What may start off as a prescription may turn into recreational Xanax abuse before leading into a full-blown addiction to the medication. This is not to say that all those prescribed Xanax will experience dependency issues; taking it to the prescribed amount can be safe. However, many doctors will prescribe Xanax for a longer period than they should and this perpetuates the possibility of dependence in patients. If you are concerned that a loved one or yourself is noticeably going outside of a doctor’s prescription to consume Xanax, a serious issue may be developing.
The severity of side effects to Xanax cannot be taken lightly. Xanax is a highly potent drug, directly affecting the Central Nervous System, as well as a specific brain chemical known as gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). Taking Xanax stalls the activity of nerve cells, hence the calmness the drug induces. The manner in which Xanax targets the CNS is what leads to the loss of balance, ataxia and overall physical weakness.
The side effects can be particularly bad when the drug is ingested in alternative ways, as the pill form of Xanax works by being time-released into the body, the drug taking effect within two hours after consumption. Xanax stays in the system for up to 15 hours. When ingested alternatively, more of the chemical enters the body’s systems at once. The abuse of Xanax can lead, most severely, to overdose, which can be recognized through the symptoms of serious drowsiness, incoherence, slurred speech, fainting and even coma. As Xanax is often taken alongside other drugs and alcohol, there is no singular way to treat an overdose of Xanax, though a stomach pump may be required.
As it is an extremely addictive drug, the sooner an intervention occurs, the better. If a Xanax addiction continues unnoticed, then the individual’s tolerance of the drug will only increase, making the risk of overdose increase in turn. The severity of withdrawal symptoms will also escalate between doses. The deeper into addiction that a person becomes, the more his or her mental and physical health, interpersonal relations and societal functionality will deteriorate. He or she may become homeless or commit unthinkable acts. Even individuals who are addicted, but are high functioning, will eventually experience severe health decline as a result of their substance abuse. The consequences are inescapable.
Luckily, it is never too late to get help and start on the road to recovery. There are many resources for people who suffer from substance abuse, such as rehab treatment centers, various kinds of therapy, programs like the 12-step, meetings and more.
- What Will I Work on in Individual Xanax Therapy?
You will work on yourself. Individual Xanax therapy focuses on bettering your life in ways you never thought were affecting you.
- What is Individual Xanax Therapy?
Individual therapy is where you would meet one-on-one with a therapist in a confidential setting to talk about your Xanax addiction.
As with all CNS Depressants, Xanax is a downer and will cause someone to feel calm and relaxed when taken. Meant to treat anxiety and panic, this drug will facilitate someone’s systems, which may be overreactive, to slow down. Some also describe a sense of well-being or comfort and euphoria. Xanax is a mind and mood altering substance. It hinders your cognitive abilities, which consist of your abilities to think logically, process information and make well-informed decisions. This makes a user much more likely to take risks that put his or herself, and others, in danger. The drug can make it difficult for an individual to concentrate. It also causes amnesia, as it inhibits your ability to form memories and store them long-term.
It is common, when this drug is abused frequently, for people to have many blank or seemingly erased memories. In severe cases, a person could be missing large portions of memory from months or even years of his or her life. Someone may appear or feel a bit drunk while on Xanax, as it impairs motor skills so that a person may experience poor balance and coordination, as well as slurred speech or difficulty in articulating speech. It can cause vision problems as well, such as blurred or double vision. Other common effects are feeling fatigue or drowsiness, light-headedness, nausea and vomiting, as well as a loss of interest in sexual activity.
Abuse of Xanax strains interpersonal relationships and professional endeavors as the user becomes less healthy and less like themselves due to the drug’s effects.
With long-term abuse, the cognitive effects of Xanax such as the hindrance of concentration, critical thinking, decision-making and memory formation become much worse. Someone who has abused Xanax for years may have difficulty even forming full and concise sentences on a regular basis or focusing for long enough to accomplish even the most menial of tasks. Many people, even after getting clean from Xanax, continue to experience memory issues indefinitely. For some, this may go on for years.
Xanax abuse may cause people to have depression or other mood disorders that they previously did not suffer from, even after getting off the drug. Periods of sedation may begin to take place when a person has been abusing Xanax for a long period of time. He or she may remain sedated for as many as four days. This effect can be made worse when someone uses alcohol alongside the drug.
Abusing substances changes certain processes and communications in the brain so that even if an individual gets off the substances, there will often be permanent consequences. This is why so much of treatment for substance abuse disorder involves therapy. Long-term substance abuse results in the user developing unhealthy and negative thought patterns and beliefs. These may be about the perceived need for a substance, instant gratification, how problems and uncomfortable feelings should be dealt with, ideas of self-worth, concepts of personal capability and so on. These trends are not necessarily permanent, but take work and time to improve.
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Seeking help for a loved one
- Why Should I go to Inpatient Treatment for My Xanax Addiction?
You should go to inpatient treatment to save your life from Xanax addiction. You will learn a new, healthier way of life while in inpatient rehabilitation.
- Why Should I Attend Inpatient Rehab?
You should attend inpatient rehab for your Xanax addiction so you can learn how to live your life in a positive way without the use of drugs.
Inpatient Xanax Rehab
Inpatient rehab is likely the best treatment option for someone with a Xanax addiction. Medically supervised detox, which is required for Xanax, should always be followed with inpatient rehab. Xanax’s short-term effects can have traumatic consequences on a person. Feeling isolated, withdrawn, detached from daily life and suffering from a lack of enthusiasm or interest in hobbies and friends and family are all symptoms of Xanax abuse. This is in addition to the physical and neurological implications of Xanax, which include a loss of muscle functionality slurring speech, digestive tract issues, headaches and low blood pressure, amongst a wealth of other side-effects discussed previously. Inpatient Xanax rehab removes a person from regular life so he or she can live on-site at a rehabilitation facility. This environment is controlled and safe, involving workshops, discussion groups and therapy either within the facility or on another site, which patients are transported to. The reason inpatient rehab is so effective is that it separates a person from their triggers and temptations with the drug.
This space and security gives them a chance to gain an understanding of Xanax abuse with professional, therapeutic and medical help. Inpatient treatment lasts typically between 20 and 90 days, but can sometimes be longer or shorter. These rehabilitation centers are immersive, supportive environments that will help Xanax abusers in the long-term. Call us for help finding an inpatient rehab that is right for you. – Learn More
Outpatient Xanax Rehab
While inpatient programs are the option typically advised, outpatient rehabilitation treatment can also be helpful. As all addiction and abuse cases are unique, it depends on the severity of the case and the personality of the individual in need of treatment. Unlike an inpatient facility, clients can remain at home with an outpatient rehab center, allowing them to be in a familiar environment and ensuring a halt isn’t put on day-to-day life. Outpatient is often utilized by people who have recently finished a more intensive program to aid the transition into their new lives of sobriety. Outpatient treatment can help those experiencing the long-term effects of Xanax to regain control of their life. Outpatient rehabilitation may involve checking into a center daily and attending discussion groups, classes and counseling as would occur at an inpatient center. However, there is less support because the clients are not constantly surrounded by staff and other people in treatment. They go home at the end of the day instead.
This can be problematic as many people struggle to stay clean when they remain in an environment they once used in. In addition to this, the simple everyday stresses of life can trigger the urge to use in someone who is freshly clean. If you are just beginning the journey to recovery, it may not be wise to immediately enter an outpatient program. Consider first entering inpatient before, if only for a short time, or moving into a sober living house while you are in treatment. – Learn More
- Will Outpatient Help my Xanax Addiction?
Just like inpatient, if you are willing to do what it takes to recover, outpatient rehab will help you learn how to live your life without Xanax.
- When Should I go to Outpatient Rehab?
Following up your inpatient treatment with outpatient rehab can help provide you with a better chance at Xanax recovery.