Xanax can be a saving grace for people suffering from intense anxiety and panic disorders. However, it’s an addictive substance that can lead to a full-blown addiction if not taken with caution.
If you know someone who takes Xanax and fear they may be addicted, there are a few ways to tell. If you can recognize and acknowledge their Xanax addiction, you can help them get better.
This article will explain the signs and symptoms of a Xanax addiction to look out for in your loved one and the steps you can take if you believe they are addicted.
Is Taking Xanax Addictive?
Yes, Xanax is a highly addictive substance. As a fast-acting benzodiazepine medication, it’s easy for people to build up a tolerance and become reliant on it. Addiction to Xanax can be mild to severe.
People prescribed Xanax may be reliant on it to manage things like anxiety. Xanax for prescription use blurs the line between healthy use and addiction, making it hard for people to recognize when they’ve become addicted.
So, it’s easy to slowly fall into an addiction to the point that you can’t function, eventually requiring rehab to get over the dependence on the drug.
What Symptoms Does Taking Xanax Cause?
Abusing Xanax can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms in the user. Xanax can cause people to feel tired, thirsty, confused, dizzy, or nauseous.
If you think someone you know might be suffering from a Xanax addiction, consider looking out for the following symptoms.
1. Drowsiness and Fatigue
One of the most common symptoms of Xanax abuse is drowsiness, sluggishness, fatigue, and excessive sleeping. If someone you know has suddenly started sleeping 12+ hours a day, they may be addicted to Xanax.
They may take more frequent naps throughout the day and have no energy for things like going out, conversing, or exercising. These symptoms are the number one side effects of a Xanax addiction to look out for.
2. Cognitive Impairment and Delirium
Cognitive impairment and delirium are both conditions where one’s mental facilities decline. People may experience loss of memory, slurred speech, confusion, and a lack of awareness.
They’ll have trouble concentrating, making decisions, learning new things, and holding conversations. These symptoms are often some of the first to appear and easiest to notice.
3. Headaches and Lightheadedness
Headaches and lightheadedness are not the most common symptom, but still prevalent.
People addicted to Xanax will likely become light-headed or feel weak after walking for a short time or climbing a flight of stairs.
These symptoms can be hard to identify unless the person in question mentions the headaches and lightheadedness to you.
4. Clumsiness and Vertigo
When people abuse Xanax, it often leads to a lack of stability, so they may fall over more, trip, and generally display a lack of steadiness.
Xanax abuse can also cause vertigo, which is when people have trouble balancing because their vision is warped, so they may stand in odd ways or lie down at random times.
5. Dry Mouth and Excessive Thirst
If you notice someone chugging water constantly and still complaining about dry mouth and thirst, this could be a sign of Xanax addiction.
Another way this symptom may be noticeable is if they seem to have bad breath and didn’t have that problem before.
6. Nausea or Vomiting
People suffering from a Xanax addiction may feel nauseous more often and vomit frequently. Nausea and vomiting are more common in people with a Xanax addiction when other drugs and alcohol are involved.
Many Xanax addictions go hand in hand with excessive drinking, and this combination almost always leads to vomiting or at least nausea.
3 Signs a Person Might Have a Xanax Problem: Things to Watch For
As mentioned, not all of the symptoms of a Xanax addiction are easy to recognize, and addicts may try to hide many of them.
Below are some behavioral and physical signs of a Xanax addiction that are harder to hide and you can look for if you’re concerned about someone.
1. Depression and Aggression
One of the most common signs of addiction is depression and aggression. People suffering from a pill addiction can be aggressive and irritable when they haven’t taken a pill in a few hours or if they’ve taken too many and feel confused and weak.
The symptoms like delirium and headaches can make them angry and frustrated. On the other hand, the Xanax addiction can make people sink into depression.
The imbalance of chemicals in their brain and the hold Xanax has on them can lead to feelings of despair, which often only pushes them further into the addiction.
2. Isolation and Irresponsible Behavior
If you suspect someone you know is addicted to Xanax and they’ve been withdrawing from their friends, family, job, and activities, you may be right.
Because Xanax addictions often cause sluggishness and fatigue, they also cause people to isolate themselves and stop living their life.
They may lose their job, quit activities they once enjoyed, and cease speaking to those closest to them. Their behavior may become more impulsive and erratic.
People addicted to Xanax may isolate themselves because they want to conceal their addiction from the people in their lives, but also because they’re too detached to communicate and engage.
3. Withdrawal Seizures
People suffering from severe Xanax addictions may experience seizures when they can’t take Xanax for a prolonged period.
If someone experiences seizures because they haven’t had Xanax in the last 12 to 24 hours, this is a sign of a severe addiction that needs treatment as soon as possible.
At What Point Is Taking Xanax a Problem?
Because Xanax is a prescription medicine, it can be hard to know when taking it turns into an addiction.
If you’ve been prescribed Xanax and adhere to the prescribed dosage and usage, you are likely not addicted, even if you’re dependent on the medication to manage anxiety.
The basics of addiction state that it likely becomes an addiction when you start to take higher doses without consulting a medical professional and the medication begins to interfere with your life.
If you cease going to work, seeing friends and family, and engaging in activities that bring you joy, this could signal an addition. Your Xanax use may also be a problem if you start to experience withdrawal symptoms in between doses, in which case, you should talk to your doctor.
If you are not prescribed Xanax, your use can qualify as an addiction if you develop a tolerance (stage 3) or if you become dependent (stage 4).
How Do You Deal With Someone Who Has a Xanax Problem?
Offering help to someone with a Xanax addiction can be difficult, especially when they’ve become so detached from their life.
The best way to start the conversation get them help to approach them about the addiction when they are sober. Approach them with compassion, understanding, and patience.
For people suffering from a Xanax addiction, support groups are encouraged, as well as one-on-one counseling and rehab programs.
The best course of treatment will depend on the severity of the addiction and how receptive they are to help, but the only way to help them fight the addiction is to broach the subject and show that you support them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are a few commonly asked questions about Xanax.
How long does Xanax last in your brain?
Xanax lasts in your brain for between one and four days, but many factors determine how long it will impact you, such as usage, age, and other conditions.
Who should avoid Xanax?
People with a history of allergic reactions to any benzodiazepine and those who take antifungal medicines should not take Xanax. Also, anyone with a history of addiction to downers should avoid Xanax, even if prescribed.
Additional Addictions to Watch For
Below are a few other common types of addiction to look out for in the people you love.
- Signs of Opioid Addiction: Opioid addictions can manifest in many different ways, making them hard to identify and treat. Learning about opioid addictions is the key to recognizing them in the people around you.
- Signs of Marijuana Addiction: While marijuana has no naturally addictive properties, it can be habitually addictive and make it difficult for people to live life to the fullest and care for themselves properly.
- Signs of Hydrocodone Addiction: The signs of a Hydrocodone addiction are often similar to the signs of a Xanax addiction, so understanding the overlap can help you recognize prescription addiction signs.
If you’ve noticed a loved one is substantially more tired, sluggish, and confused lately, they may suffer from a Xanax addiction.
Xanax addictions can be hard to identify because Xanax can be a helpful prescription, so the line between proper use and addiction is blurry.
Hopefully, the signs and symptoms discussed in this article will help you monitor your loved one and get them the care they need if necessary.