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Addictive Drugs Overview – Is Xanax Addictive?

In this article, we will be reviewing the drug Xanax (alprazolam) which falls into the all too common category of effective treatment medications for serious conditions, but when used in excess, can contribute to the growing epidemic of addiction. We will explore Xanax as a medication, its effects, signs of addiction, and answer the question, is Xanax addictive?

What Is Xanax?

To begin, we must first identify what is Xanax? Xanax is part of a group of medications classified as benzodiazepines. Xanax is widely regarded as one of the most popular, and fast acting benzodiazepines on the market which can be used to treat conditions such as anxiety, depression, nausea caused by chemotherapy, and other health related issues.

Is Xanax Addictive?

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) Diversion Control Division1 lists Xanax as a Schedule IV substance, indicating that it is considered to have low potential for abuse. Despite this designation, Xanax is considered to be one of the most addictive benzodiazepines on the market. Xanax’s realm of addiction lies within its dependency.  Patients rely on this medication to treat very serious conditions such as anxiety and depression, but when the body/brain becomes more tolerant to the effects of Xanax, patients will seek the same gratification they received when first taking the medication. This increased dependency leads to patients upping their dosage and relying more heavily on the medication and its effects.

What Are The Signs Of  Xanax Addiction?

The first sign of an addiction towards Xanax (a precursor, if you will) would be a buildup of tolerance, and a returning of the patients symptoms (whether depression, anxiety, or other conditions currently being treated by Xanax). This is a warning sign that your body and brain are demanding more of this medication and are heading down the road to becoming addicted. From that point the following signs are a few that continually resonate with addicted patients who eventually seek treatment:

  • Increased tolerance causes the individual to increase their dosage without the approval of the prescribing physician or other medical professional
  • When the patient continually thinks about taking Xanax throughout the day
  • A loss of control over Xanax usage and how much of the medication is being used
  • When not taking Xanax, the patient begins to feel the onset of withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and/or body aches
  • Isolation from family and friends, and/or a lapse in life activities which, at one time seemed important, but have now taken a backseat to the use of Xanax

If any or all of these signs apply to you or a loved one, it is likely time to seek treatment from an addiction treatment facility such as Long Island Center for Recovery.

What Are The Effects Of Becoming Addicted To Xanax?

When Xanax is taken with other medications (such as opioids) or with alcohol in excess the effects can be lethal, with the potential of overdose and death. However, on its own, the risk of an overdose on Xanax is highly unlikely. It would take thousands of the prescribed dosage to overdose on Xanax, resulting in this drug being a lower risk than other addictive medications. Despite having a minimal risk of death, the effects of Xanax addiction can still be quite harmful.

The common effects can be divided into two groups, effecting patients mentally and physically.  Mental addiction to Xanax begins with the individual keeping their mind on taking Xanax over other aspects of their life. The increased usage can lead to withdrawal, causing symptoms of insomnia, depression, paranoia, and irritability when attempting to come off the drug. This will typically lead to medical detox as a required treatment. Beyond the mental aspect, the individual will also have physical effects when weaning off of Xanax which includes the onset of bodily aches and pains.

It’s important to notice and recognize these signs of addiction, and address them when they arise for either yourself or a loved one. We hope you found this information helpful, and if you need any additional assistance, or know someone in need, please reach out to Long Island Center for Recovery at 631-728-3100, and we’d be happy to assist you or your loved ones in any way possible.

References:
1 U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, Diversion Control Division https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/schedules/

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