Xanax use is as widespread as the anxiety disorders doctors prescribe it to treat – but even for people who are careful to take it exactly as directed, it carries a high addiction risk and severe health consequences. Prescriptions for Xanax have risen steadily over the past several years, with a corresponding increase in accidental overdoses. Why do so many people develop a Xanax dependency, and what are the treatment options available for those living with an addiction to this medication?
What Is Xanax?
Xanax is in a category of drugs called benzodiazepines that have a relaxing effect. Your doctor may write you a prescription for Xanax – or its generic version, alprazolam – if you have anxiety, nervousness, panic attacks or insomnia. It causes fast-acting relaxation that can last up to six hours.
What Makes Xanax Addictive?
Xanax targets the dopamine receptors in your brain. Dopamine is your brain’s natural pleasure chemical, and when your brain gets flooded with dopamine, it eases the fight-or-flight effects of panic and creates a feeling of well-being that many users find enjoyable.
Many people become addicted to Xanax after misusing a prescription, beginning to experiment with larger-than-prescribed doses to prolong the high. Though even people who take Xanax according to the dosage and directions on their prescription can develop a dependency, those who misuse it are at a particularly greater risk of becoming addicted. Doctors typically prescribe Xanax for short-term use, but those who use it for longer periods are putting themselves at a higher risk for developing a tolerance that becomes an addiction.
Xanax stays in the body for up to 24 hours, which allows users’ tolerance to build rapidly. Once physical dependence to a benzodiazepine like Xanax occurs, it can be extremely challenging to quit, and can lead to dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
Risks of Xanax Addiction
Though Xanax is such a commonly prescribed drug, and you take it under a doctor’s orders, don’t make the mistake of assuming it is harmless. Benzodiazepines such as Xanax carry just as much of a risk of addiction as other powerful prescription medications, including opioids.
Benzodiazepine abuse can result in serious and long-lasting mental and physical health concerns, such as withdrawal, anxiety, insomnia and interactions with other drugs. The latter side effect is of paramount concern, since overdosing on Xanax is possible, especially when combined with other depressant drugs like opioids.
Professional Treatment for Xanax Addiction
While Xanax use comes with several health risks, the good news is that with medically supervised detox, effective addiction treatment and diligent follow-up care, it is entirely possible to safely quit using Xanax and learn to manage your anxiety without using harmful and addictive substances.
Inland Detox allows people who have developed a dependency on Xanax or other prescription benzodiazepines a safe and comfortable way to detoxify from these medications. Our highly qualified staff of medical professionals have years of experience treating benzodiazepine addiction, and have helped many people find their way to a successful recovery. If you’re ready to discover how liberating life can be without the burdens of a Xanax addiction, we are standing by waiting to hear from you anytime.