Can I Get Addicted to Xanax, Even if it Was Prescribed?

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Stress and anxiety are all too common for individuals today. In fact, an estimated 30 percent of U.S. adults experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. For those who struggle with anxiety, medications like Xanax (alprazolam) can offer much-needed relief.

Xanax is a prescription medication commonly prescribed to manage anxiety and panic disorders. While it can be effective in providing temporary relief, there’s a growing concern about the potential for addiction and dependence associated with its use.

Let’s look closer into the question: Can I get addicted to Xanax? We’ll explore the risks and considerations surrounding Xanax use so that you can determine if this is a safe medication for you.

Understanding Xanax

Xanax belongs to a class of medications known as benzodiazepines, which are central nervous system depressants. It works by enhancing the effects of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), leading to a calming and relaxing effect. Xanax is typically prescribed for short-term use due to its rapid onset of action, which can provide quick relief from symptoms of anxiety or panic.

Here are some of the signs and symptoms doctors look for when prescribing the medication:

  • Nervousness, restlessness or tension
  • Sweating, trembling or shaking
  • Feeling a sense of doom or danger
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Rapid breathing

The Risk of Dependence and Addiction

Xanax has many of the same side effects as alcohol, including slower reaction times, mental impairment and sleepiness. But perhaps the greatest concern is the significant risk of both physical dependence and addiction.

  • Physical dependence. With regular use of Xanax, the body can develop a tolerance to the drug, meaning that over time, higher doses are required to achieve the same effect. This can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, irritability and even seizures.
  • Addiction. Addiction involves psychological dependence on a substance. Individuals may compulsively seek out and use Xanax, even if it’s causing negative consequences in their lives. Addiction can impact relationships, work and overall well-being.

Factors Contributing to Xanax Addiction

Anyone can develop a dependence on Xanax, though misusing the drug is what sets most people up for problems. It’s incredibly important that anyone taking this medication follows their prescribed dosage.

Here are some of the factors that increase the risk of becoming addicted to Xanax:

  • Duration of use. Using Xanax for an extended period raises the likelihood of developing tolerance, dependence and addiction.
  • Dosage. Higher doses increase the risk of negative effects, including addiction.
  • Pre-existing conditions. Individuals with a history of substance abuse or addiction are at a higher risk of developing a Xanax addiction.
  • Co-occurring disorders. People with mental health disorders like depression or substance use disorders are more susceptible to addiction.

Recognizing the Signs of Xanax Addiction

It’s crucial to recognize the signs of Xanax addiction early to seek help. It’s always easier to treat a mild addiction as opposed to a severe one. Plus, continuing to abuse Xanax can start you on the path to other negative consequences, such as mixing the drug with other substances or engaging in illegal activities.

Below are some signs that an addiction to Xanax may be forming:

  • Taking larger doses to achieve the desired effects
  • Unsuccessful attempts to cut down or quit using Xanax
  • Prioritizing drug use over responsibilities at work, home or school
  • Experiencing physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms when not using Xanax
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Losing interest in previously enjoyed activities

Seeking Help and Treatment

Seeking professional help for a Xanax addiction is an important step in the recovery process. Treatment options may include therapy, counseling, and in some cases, a gradual tapering off of the medication under medical supervision. While Xanax can be an effective way to treat acute cases of anxiety, it is not a long-term treatment option. Furthermore, using Xanax regularly can prevent you from learning how to manage your anxiety.

When you work closely with an addiction treatment professional, you’ll receive an individualized treatment plan that addresses the physical and psychological aspects of addiction, along with strategies for managing anxiety. With the right support, it is possible to make a full recovery from a Xanax addiction.

Xanax Addiction Treatment in Santa Rosa CA

While Xanax can provide temporary relief for those grappling with anxiety or panic disorders, its potential for dependence and addiction should not be taken lightly. If you or someone you know is using Xanax, it’s important to be aware of the risks, signs of addiction and available resources for help.

Pura Vida Recovery is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center that treats benzodiazepine addictions. We use a combination of evidence-based and holistic therapies to provide our clients with robust treatment and support. We also have sober living options to further support our clients’ recoveries. Contact our team of professionals today to learn more.