For over four decades, doctors have prescribed Xanax for a range of conditions, including insomnia and anxiety. Unfortunately, this medication is highly addictive, especially as the patient uses it for an extended period of time. Xanax can also be dangerous to quit, which is why it’s necessary to attend a Xanax addiction treatment program.
At Bayview Recovery, we’re proud to offer a range of helpful treatments to address the underlying issues surrounding Xanax addiction. Our treatment options include a variety of therapy types and holistic modalities to help heal the whole person. Xanax addiction can be a very serious substance use disorder. People struggle with the withdrawal process and often relapse. If you or a loved one is engaging in Xanax use beyond following prescription directions, you should consider seeking treatment through our substance abuse treatment programs.
What is Xanax?
Xanax, also known by its generic name Alprazolam, is a prescription medication belonging to the benzodiazepine family of drugs. It is most commonly used to treat disorders related to anxiety and panic disorder (attacks).
Xanax works by enhancing the effects of a certain natural chemical in the body (GABA) which results in a calming effect. It helps to reduce the nervous tension and agitation caused by these conditions.
However, Xanax can be habit-forming, leading to addiction. Its use should be closely monitored by a healthcare professional and should only be used as a short-term solution. Misuse can lead to Xanax addiction, overdose, or even death, especially if it’s used along with other substances such as alcohol or opioids.
How Does Xanax Addiction Occur?
Doctors prescribe Xanax for anxiety, which can be a debilitating condition for many sufferers, as well as for insomnia. Xanax and drugs like Xanax are often prescribed to help individuals relax and give them relief from the challenging symptoms that come with anxiety and insomnia. Other familiar brands of benzodiazepines, the class of drugs to which Xanax belongs, include Versed, Valium, and Ativan. Xanax usually comes in three strengths to treat the severity of the symptoms patients have.
Xanax abuse and dependency often develop due to its potential to create feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and tranquility. This can lead individuals to misuse the drug, prioritizing its consumption over work or family responsibilities, and even resorting to poly-substance abuse to intensify the effects of Xanax. This means they are engaging in using more than one substance at a time.
Is Xanax Addictive?
Xanax is highly addictive. Xanax addiction can form very quickly, especially when engaging in Xanax misuse. It’s not just those with a prior history of substance abuse who are at risk, even individuals using Xanax as a result of a legitimate prescription can develop a physical dependence on the drug’s effects.
Moreover, psychological dependence can also occur as Xanax provides relief from anxiety disorders and panic attacks, making it easy for individuals to rely heavily on the medication.
It’s important to note that physical dependence doesn’t necessarily require the presence of clinical tolerance. Even in the absence of increased dosage or frequency, withdrawal symptoms including seizures can occur, indicating physical dependence.
Xanax addiction is a serious issue. Attempting to quit Xanax without professional treatment can lead to life threatening withdrawal. Xanax rehab centers should start with medical detox and other treatment options that focus on healing physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting the drug. Drug use often stems from underlying and untreated issues such as past trauma, unresolved personal problems, or mental health problems. Addiction is almost never solely a medical problem.
Symptoms of Xanax Abuse
As a tranquilizer, Xanax can help people manage their anxiety and relieve both physical and psychological symptoms. However, abuse of Xanax can introduce and pronounce the symptoms which users want to eliminate.
Xanax abuse symptoms include:
- Blurred vision
- Inability to focus
- Slurred speech
- Coordination problems
- Breathing difficulties
- Coma or death
Xanax’s Long-Term Health Implications
Long-term use of Xanax can lead to a number of health implications, including:
- Cognitive impairment: Frequent use of Xanax can result in issues with cognition and memory. This includes difficulty focusing, trouble forming new memories, and problems with verbal recall.
- Depression: Although Xanax is often used to treat anxiety, long-term use can actually lead to depression. This can be due to the drug’s sedating effects and its impact on brain chemistry.
- Physical dependence and withdrawal: Prolonged use of Xanax can lead to physical dependence, even when used as prescribed. Abrupt discontinuation or reduction in dosage can result in withdrawal symptoms such as seizures, tremors, and even psychosis.
- Increased risk of dementia: Some research suggests that long-term use of benzodiazepines like Xanax may increase the risk of developing dementia, although further studies are needed to confirm this link.
- Sleep problems: Despite being used to treat insomnia in the short term, long-term use of Xanax can actually exacerbate sleep problems.
- Impaired motor function: Prolonged use of Xanax can lead to impaired coordination, slowed reaction times, and a general decrease in motor function.
- Risk of overdose: Long-term use can lead to tolerance, which may cause individuals to take higher doses of the drug. This increases the risk of overdose, which can be fatal.
Users experiencing Xanax withdrawal will often not know what to expect. Symptoms can vary widely from one day to the next, and individuals in recovery may feel better one day but much worse the next. Symptoms of withdrawal can also last for many weeks after a user has quit taking the drug.
- Sleep issues
- Panic attacks
- The shakes
- Dry retching
- Heart palpitations
- Muscle aches and pains
- Memory problems
- High tension
- Hand tremors
- Increased perspiration
- Weight loss
- Problems concentrating
- Cognitive difficulties
- Suicidal ideation
These symptoms can be severe and potentially dangerous, which is why it’s important to not stop taking Xanax abruptly or without medical supervision.
To help manage these symptoms, a process called medical detoxification or “detox” is often employed. This typically involves gradually reducing the dosage of Xanax under the supervision of a healthcare professional, which can help to lessen symptoms.
In some cases, a longer-acting benzodiazepine may be substituted for Xanax during detox to help manage withdrawals. Other medications may also be used to help manage specific symptoms like nausea or sleep issues.
It’s crucial to seek professional help when attempting to discontinue Xanax, due to the potential negative effects when going through the withdrawal process.
Bayview Recovery’s Individualized Approach to Xanax Treatment
If you do not treat the personal and psychological aspects of your Xanax addiction, you will likely quickly return to drug abuse. That’s why Bayview Recovery emphasizes a highly personalized and individualized approach that includes a deep understanding of your addiction pattern, your personality and, most importantly, your strengths.
While attending our Xanax rehab programs, we can begin to help you break down the habits and patterns of substance use disorder and replace them with a healthy new approach to living. This could include providing mental health services during the recovery process. In many cases, individuals are also suffering from mental illness as well as Xanax addiction.
Inpatient treatment centers require individuals to live at the facility. These programs provide a structured environment with 24/7 medical supervision, which can be especially important during the Xanax detox process when withdrawal symptoms can be severe. Inpatient treatment also removes the individual from their normal environment, which can help to reduce triggers and distractions.
An Outpatient Xanax Rehab Center, on the other hand, allows individuals to live at home while receiving treatment. This can be beneficial for those who have work or family obligations. The intensity of outpatient programs can vary, with some requiring daily visits to the treatment center, while others may only require weekly visits. Our outpatient rehab program in Tacoma, WA can be a good option for those with a strong support system at home and a relatively mild addiction.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is frequently used in Xanax addiction treatment. CBT helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns that lead to drug use. Other forms of therapy that may be included in a treatment plan include group therapy, family therapy, and motivational interviewing.
Medications may be used to manage withdrawal symptoms during the detoxification process. This can include longer-acting benzodiazepines, which are often used to gradually wean individuals off Xanax9. Other medications may be used to manage specific withdrawal symptoms such as sleep problems or nausea10.
The length of Xanax rehab can vary widely depending on the individual’s needs. Detox typically takes a few days to a week, but therapy and other forms of treatment may continue for several weeks or months. Some individuals may benefit from ongoing support for years after they stop using Xanax
Get Treatment at Bayview Recovery
Your story does not stop with addiction. Bayview Recovery has a comprehensive and therapeutic treatment program and high staff-to-patient ratio that has everything you need to leave addiction behind. Most importantly, you will experience our personal commitment to you that extends well beyond your stay.
Call us today and speak with a Bayview Recovery representative to learn more about your treatment options. We offer Xanax treatment options that are as unique as you are. Whatever your future holds, we know Bayview Recovery can help you meet it free of drug addiction and in health and wellness.
Dave Cundiff, MD, MPH is an experienced leader in the field of Substance Use Disorder treatment. He works with patients suffering from Substance Use Disorder to evaluate their medication needs and prescribe treatments accordingly. In addition, he regularly participates in all-staff debriefing sessions involving peers, nurses, and other prescribers. He also reviews and advises on policies, procedures, and techniques for treating substance use disorder.
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