Xanax, also known as alprazolam, is prescribed to those suffering from such conditions as panic disorders and anxiety. This medication is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance, as it can be very addictive if taken at higher doses. The following takes a closer look at Xanax addiction, and details everything from the process of addiction to the physical and mental effects a person will experience once addicted.
The Process of Xanax Addiction
The process of Xanax addiction can begin in a number of different ways. A person can start abusing the drug simply as a means of using it for recreational purposes or to reduce anxiety, yet find that he keeps having the urge to take more of it. As with other forms of prescription drug addiction, many individuals who are taking the medication tend to not fully understand the dangers that can arise from taking too much of it. In their minds, Xanax and other prescription medications aren’t nearly as addictive as illegal drugs. While this line of thinking is understandable, Xanax can be highly addictive under the right circumstances and should only ever be taken as prescribed by a doctor.
Whether taking the drug for recreational purposes or doing so because it was prescribed, addiction begins the same way in everyone and primarily does so through the interactions the drug has with the brain. Xanax dampens the effects caused by the inhibitory receptor within the brain. In essence, it takes away a person’s inhibitions so his anxiety or panic disorder no longer affects him. As the person continues to take the drug, even as prescribed, dependence on it can continue to grow to the point where the standard dosage no longer has the effects it once did. This is usually where addiction will kick in and the person begins taking more than prescribed.
As with any addiction, arriving at the point where no longer addicted is something that requires treatment and cannot be done on one’s own. The worst thing about addiction is that its effects don’t stay the same over time. The addiction process will worsen until the affected individual seeks treatment and gets through the addiction once and for all.
The Physical and Mental Effects
It’s important to understand that addiction and dependence on Xanax can adversely affect a multitude of areas in life, including relationships with others as well as work and school responsibilities. However, these aren’t the only parts of life Xanax addiction can affect. Over time, the body and mind will begin to suffer through the many physical and mental effects brought about by continued dependence on Xanax. These effects range anywhere from mild to severe. The most important thing to understand is that there’s no way to tell whether someone will experience mild effects or those more severe. As such, seeking treatment for the addiction immediately is more than recommended.
Two of the more serious effects a person can undergo when addicted to Xanax include those of overdose and withdrawal. In fact, withdrawal symptoms will undoubtedly occur whenever one stops taking the drug for a certain period of time. Withdrawal of the drug will display itself through such symptoms as insomnia, nausea, vomiting, trembling, mood swings and depression, while an overdose is much more severe and will present itself through effects like severe dizziness, confusion and a slowed heartbeat along with difficulty breathing and talking. A coma is also possible for those suffering an overdose.
While Xanax addiction mostly causes mental effects, there are a number of physical symptoms of which any person taking the medication should be aware. Drowsiness and fatigue are two of the most common effects caused by this addiction, while impaired coordination, slurred speech and a general dizziness might also present over its course. Hyperactivity and tremors are likely from time-to-time as well.
The mental effects of addiction to this drug are much more numerous. For one, any person with this addiction will suffer from severe cravings for the drug to which the individual will undoubtedly have difficulty saying no. A person’s mood can change dramatically from one moment to the next, displaying such moods as euphoria, aggression, hostility and even rage. Depression and mania are two effects that could subsist over time, while memory problems like amnesia are the more severe mental effects of addiction to this drug.
Treatment Programs for Prescription Drug Addiction
When individuals find themselves addicted to Xanax, or suffering any other prescription drug addiction, the only way to break free from this addiction is by seeking treatment programs that allow users to begin the path to recovery. There are two basic types of treatment programs addicts can enter when looking to recover from this addiction, which are known as outpatient and inpatient programs. These involve many of the same aspects of treatment, including everything from detoxification to group and individual therapy sessions. However, there’s one key difference: Those who attend outpatient treatment programs will do so while still living in their own homes and going to work on their own time, whereas addicts who enter inpatient programs live at the facilities during the rehabilitation process.
Outpatient treatment simply requires patients to attend the program on a nightly basis until the recovery period has ended. However, those who enter an inpatient program will spend a period of at least 28 days to a few months within a rehabilitation facility on a 24/7 basis, which will keep these people far away from the drugs to which they were addicted, avoiding possible relapse.