Xanax is a prescription medication that belongs to the Benzodiazepine family. It is often prescribed for those who suffer from anxiety, panic, insomnia, seizures, and other mental health related issues. The smallest dose available is .25 milligrams, and they gradually increase to 1-milligram tablets. Xanax is known for its high addiction problems, especially when taken for long periods of time and in strengths not prescribed by the doctor.
Though it is quite popular to buy and sell Xanax on the street, it has a minimal value. However, its inexpensive price makes it easy to purchase for those who need a quick "high." A Xanax addiction can occur in a short period of time. According to the Journal of Addictive Behaviors, 44 percent of chronic benzodiazepine users will become addicted to the medication. Addictions to these types of drugs are serious, and they require professional intervention.
Understanding How Benzodiazepines Work
To truly understand the addiction to Xanax, one must understand how Benzodiazepines work. According to Everyday Heath, around 20 percent of the population suffers from anxiety disorders.For most, Xanax is a life-changer. It allows them to return to life as usual. However, extended use of the drug leads to a far different place. When the body is in “fight or flight mode,” it is on high alert. It is hard to manage on an adrenaline rush continually. These problems cause the body to react by hyperventilating, having a rapid heart rate, sweating, and feeling dizzy. Xanax slows down the brain’s activity, which is why it is called a central nervous system depressant. It provides a calm to the body and mind.
Medically speaking, Xanax has helped many people. Though it is most commonly used for psychiatric conditions, it can also be used for things like seizures, muscle relaxing, anesthesia prior to a surgical procedure, nausea, and alcohol withdrawal. No wonder it is the most prescribed psychiatric medications in this country. Benzodiazepines are not the first course of treatment, they are often used until an antidepressant medication kick in or alongside for quick relief of symptoms. Unlike antidepressants, they do not require a period of time to build-up in one's system. They are fast-acting medications that are meant for short-term use.
Other drugs in this class include Ativan, Klonopin, Valium, and Halcion, to name a few. The most common prescribed are Xanax and Ativan.
Why It is Easy To Become Addicted To Xanax?
The first sign of an addiction problem is when the medication stops working as well as it once did. This is because changes are occurring within the brain. The brain relies on the drug to feel "normal." Those who take these drugs, on a regular basis, will find that they provide a rapid onset of action. However, their power is limited to a brief duration of action.
Xanax provides quick relief and a long lasting sensation. It is estimated to be 20 times stronger than Valium, which is why it is often the "drug" of choice. When taken during short periods, Xanax can be perfectly safe. However, Because this is one of the most highly addictive prescription drugs on the market, a person can become addicted in a matter of weeks.
After continued use of Xanax, or any other Benzodiazepine, it causes changes to the GABA receptors in the brain. These changes require the dose to be continually adjusted to bring the same relief. Tolerance builds very quickly. Once a person becomes physically dependent, a reduced consumption will lead to withdrawal. Withdrawal from a central nervous system depressant can be serious and even fatal in some cases.
Signs and Symptoms Of An Addiction Problem
There are a number of negative effects that can occur with continued Xanax use. The severity will be based on the length of time the drug is used, the amount consumed, and the characteristics of the person. Many experience muscle twitches and pain, nausea and vomiting, chest pain, seizures, suicidal ideation, flashbacks, headaches, incarceration, hospitalization, the inability to function, and social conflicts and isolation.
The constant need to increase the dosage causes doctor shopping, stealing, borrowing, forging prescriptions, hostility and violence, changes in appetite, taking more pills than what prescribed, chewing or snorting the pills for faster effects, and other risky behaviors.
When the body is no longer getting the required dose it needs, it can produce withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can include coordination problems, dizziness, blurred vision, slurred speech, sweating, swelling in the hands and feet, headaches, palpitations, tachycardia, and tremors. It is also common for those who are addicted to experience hallucinations, disorientation, confusion, non-cohesive thoughts and memory problems, especially when they don’t have enough medication in their system.
Because of the dangers that detoxing can bring, it is best to use a supportive setting. The physical part of the addiction will require a medical detoxification period. However, in the long term, many techniques have proven to be helpful. Music and art therapy are therapeutic techniques that help to refocus the brain on new and exciting things. A well-focused support group can also be beneficial for those dealing with the psychological impact of an addiction. Though it won’t happen overnight, users can take charge of their lives again and end their Xanax addiction.
Addictions don't begin overnight, neither will they end overnight. It takes time and patience to overcome such a powerful change in the brain. The good news is that it can be done. The road to overcoming Xanax addiction is long and hard, but it helps to have the proper support from a well-trained team.
Xanax rehab is the best way to combat addiction with help and support. A controlled setting provides help for overcoming the medical detox problems associated with withdrawal. Becoming free of the clutches of prescription drug abuse is not easy. As the famous adage says, "the journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step."