Xanax Addiction: Definition, Common Signs & Options For Help


Xanax is a benzodiazepine medication that is often prescribed for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders. However, unlike other similarly categorized drugs, Xanax has a high potential for abuse and addiction.

Are you or someone you love struggling with Xanax addiction? Xanax addiction can be very dangerous as patients can develop a high tolerance and dependency. As a result, people should consider seeking treatment for this type of drug addiction.

What Is Xanax Addiction?

Xanax addiction refers to the compulsive use of Xanax. This drug has been highly abused in patients that take it in higher doses and over long periods.

When someone becomes addicted to Xanax, they experience urges to use it. They lose control over their use and continue to use Xanax despite experiencing negative consequences like relationship problems, job loss, and health issues.

Xanax addiction can lead to several physical and psychological symptoms, including tolerance, dependence, withdrawal symptoms, increased anxiety, and memory impairment. As a result, it is crucial to keep an eye out for friends or family that have prescription Xanax.

If you notice any addiction signs, you should consider entering them into specialized treatment centers or finding medications for addiction.

Do Xanax Addiction Urges Go Away?

Xanax urges can go away with time and treatment. Patients can use addiction rehab to help jump-start their recovery.

Additionally, seeking a therapist can be helpful to addicts. Unfortunately, the length of time it takes for Xanax urges to subside can vary depending on a range of factors, including the severity of the addiction.

Treatment for Xanax addiction typically involves a combination of medication, therapy, and support groups. Medications can be used to help control withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Conversely, therapy and support groups help addicts cope with their addiction and understand the underlying issues that led to it.

With all that in mind, it is crucial to note that Xanax addiction recovery is a lifelong process. You will not wake up one day and not feel urges anymore.

Xanax cravings will pop up throughout your life, and it is the responsibility of the addict not to give in to them. Fortunately, the frequency and strength of cravings will lessen as time goes on.

Forms of Xanax Addiction

Xanax addiction does not appear in everyone in the same way. It can manifest itself in several ways in different people. Here we will look at the most common forms of Xanax addiction.

  • Xanax Misuse: Xanax misuse refers to when someone uses Xanax other than how it was prescribed. For example, taking Xanax more frequently and in higher doses than a doctor described would be categorized as Xanax misuse.
  • Xanax Dependence: Xanax dependence is when someone develops a compulsive need to use Xanax, even after it is no longer needed for treatment. Patients start to develop withdrawal symptoms with this type of Xanax addiction.
  • Traditional Addiction: Traditional addiction is when using Xanax becomes a compulsive pattern in someone’s life. The drug becomes the center of their life, and they are unable to stop despite the negative consequences.
  • Polydrug Use: This type of Xanax addiction occurs when someone uses Xanax in combination with other substances. For example, many people combine Xanax with alcohol or opioids. Doing so can increase the risk of overdose and other health problems.
  • Closeted Xanax User: A closeted user is someone who does not reveal their drug use to members of their family. These addicts are often highly functional, meaning they can publicly pass as upstanding members of society. However, they still experience physical and mental consequences.

Xanax Addiction Statistics

Xanax is a growing problem in the United States and the rest of the world. Here are some interesting stats related to Xanax addiction:

  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that Xanax was involved in over 10,000 overdoses in the United States in 2019.
  • A study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that the number of adults who filled a benzodiazepine prescription increased by 67% between 1996 and 2013. The number of prescriptions for long-term use increased by 50% over the same period.
  • The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that in 2019, an estimated 5.4 million people aged 12 or older misused benzodiazepines like Xanax that year.
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that in 2019 there were over 1.5 million admissions to substance abuse treatment programs in the United States. Nearly 115,000 of them were for benzodiazepines.
  • A 2011 study in the Drug and Alcohol Dependence Journal reported that men, women, and all racial groups were equally represented among young adults in misusing Xanax in nightclubs.

What Are the Signs of a Xanax Addiction?

If you know one of your friends or family members has been prescribed Xanax as an anxiety medication, you should know the signs of addiction.

Their doctor will prepare them on how to use the drug safely and avoid addiction, but addiction is still possible. Here are the most common signs of Xanax addiction.

Taking Xanax in Higher Doses and Frequencies

The most obvious and common sign of Xanax addiction is taking it in higher doses and frequencies than is prescribed by a doctor. Xanax is not a drug people usually get exposed to at clubs or by running with the wrong crowd.

There are exceptions, but most people develop their addiction after initially receiving a prescription to use Xanax. However, gradually they develop a dependency and start using it more often and in higher doses.

Continuing to Use Xanax Despite Negative Consequences

Taking Xanax in higher doses and frequencies can go undetected while it does not harm the user. It becomes a substantial problem when taking it leads to negative consequences.

Addiction becomes evident when someone continues to use Xanax after they experience negative consequences. Consequences can relate to physical health, relationships, work, school, or the law.

Engaging In Dangerous Behaviors

People with all types of addiction will often engage in dangerous behavior. For example, driving while under the influence of Xanax is a sign of addiction.

Additionally, addicts will often resort to dangerous and illegal activities to acquire Xanax. They will engage in doctor shopping or buying it on the black market. Both can be very expensive and dangerous.

Physical Ailments Related to Withdrawal

Physical ailments are a common issue with Xanax addiction, especially when patients begin to go through withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms can be very severe with Xanax use.

For example, patients can experience tremors, sweating, anxiety, and seizures. Additionally, Xanax users can experience memory loss, depression, and insomnia.

Neglecting Other Aspects of Life

Addiction is a dangerous disease that consumes the lives of those affected. So, a common sign of Xanax addiction is someone neglecting other aspects of their lives. People will often spend so much time focused on getting more Xanax, they will neglect important activities, hobbies, and relationships.

Types of Unhealthy Xanax Behavior

People with Xanax addiction do not all exhibit the same behaviors. However, many of them display similar behaviors that are common in addicts.

Notably, most Xanax addicts will be closed off to their friends and family. Many addicts are insecure about their condition and do not want to be perceived as weak by their loved ones.

As a result, they will act withdrawn and close themselves off from friends and family members.

Furthermore, addicts will engage in risky and illegal behavior to get their fix. Doctors will only prescribe a certain amount of Xanax, and addicts blow through it quickly.

As a result, they need to engage in illegal activities to obtain more. Often, they will write fake prescriptions to take to the pharmacy.

What Is the Main Cause of Xanax Addiction?

It is not possible to narrow down Xanax addiction to a single root cause. Xanax addiction can be caused by several factors.

Notably, genetics can play a role in all types of addiction, which is why it is common to see addiction run in the family. Research suggests genetic factors are involved in the development of all addictions.

However, other factors can cause Xanax addiction, including mental health conditions. Xanax is often prescribed to help treat anxiety and other similar mental health conditions. So, people with these conditions are more likely to develop a Xanax addiction.

Furthermore, social and environmental factors can be significant. People that grow up in an environment where drug and alcohol use is prevalent are more likely to develop an addiction when they get older. The same is true for people that experience high levels of stress and trauma as a child.

How Xanax Addiction Affects the Brain

Xanax can affect the brain in several ways. It is a potent central nervous system depressant that affects the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain.

Long-term use can lead to changes in the brain’s gamma-aminobutyric acid, which slows brain activity and leads to a calming effect. This effect can lead to dependence and withdrawal symptoms.

Furthermore, increased use of Xanax can cause structural and functional changes in the brain, including decreased activity in areas of the brain that control cognitive and emotional processes.

It can also cause cognitive impairments, including memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and confusion.

What Is the Personality of a Xanax Addict?

Like any other group, all Xanax addicts do not act the same. Some Xanax addicts are highly dependent and non-functional. These types of addicts withdraw from their relationships and become very solitary. They are unable to maintain any aspects of their life and often turn to crime to get their fix.

Conversely, high-functioning addicts can exist. These addicts still experience negative side effects, but they can hide them when around friends and family members. It is crucial to note that regardless of the addict’s personality, it is dangerous for the addict to continue using as they are.

Is Xanax Addiction a Mental Health Issue?

Yes, like all types of addiction, Xanax addiction is a mental health issue. Addiction is a disorder in the brain that causes people to become compulsive about substance use. While some addictions are more dangerous than others, they are all derived from the same disease.

Addiction is a disease that can be treated and should be considered with the same gravity as diseases like cancer and diabetes.

What Mental Illnesses Go Hand in Hand With Xanax Addiction?

Several mental illnesses are common in people with Xanax addiction. Notably, it is common for people with a Xanax addiction to experience anxiety and depression. Additionally, bipolar disorder is a common condition affecting addicts.

How Do I Stop Xanax Addiction?

Recovering from addiction is challenging, regardless of the source. All addicts can go through recovery and come out the other side. The key is using all the resources available to you.

Medications can be useful in alleviating symptoms. However, it is also crucial to use resources like support groups and therapy to help with the mental aspects of addiction.

Can Xanax Addiction Ever Be Cured?

Addiction is not something that ever fully goes away. You can eliminate withdrawal symptoms and reduce the urges. However, it is common for people to experience urges even after they have been clean for decades.

That being said, urges are far less strong and frequent the more time has passed from the last relapse.

What Is the Most Common Treatment for Xanax Addiction?

The most common way to treat Xanax addiction is for addicts to visit treatment centers. These centers have addicts of all types coming to recover from their illnesses.

They foster a healthy and non-judgemental environment to help people recover from addiction. Medications can be used to deal with withdrawal symptoms, but they can sometimes lead to other addictions.

What Can I Replace Xanax With?

You should not try to replace the feeling of using Xanax with another drug or alcohol. Instead, you should fill your time with healthy activities like exercise and meditation.

Spend your extra time with friends and family members. Do the things that you enjoyed before your addiction and you will have an easier time in recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Before we wrap up, we want to cover some frequently asked questions.

Is Xanax a high-risk drug?

Yes, Xanax is classified as a high-risk drug. The way Xanax affects the brain can be beneficial, but the feeling it gives can be very addictive. As a result, it is common for people to become addicted after they were prescribed Xanax as a medication.

What mental illness is Xanax used for?

Xanax is commonly used to help people with anxiety and panic disorders. It calms the brain and makes it easier for people with anxiety to function in stressful situations. Additionally, it can be used to treat people with post traumatic stress disorder.

Additional Addictions to Be Aware Of

Here are a few other addictions to be aware of.

  • Adderall Addiction: Adderall addiction is common in students and can be dangerous.
  • Fentanyl Addiction: Fentanyl is addictive in a similar way to Xanax. It is used to treat post-surgical pain and conditions but is highly addictive.
  • Hydrocodone Addiction: Hydrocodone is another highly addictive substance. Addicts can experience many negative side effects from this common painkiller.

Wrapping Up

Xanax addiction is not something to be taken lightly. It is highly dangerous and can have many negative physical and psychological symptoms.

Fortunately, it is possible to recover from Xanax addiction with the right help. You must use the resources available to you like support groups, therapy, and medications.

If used correctly, you can recover from Xanax addiction.


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