Xanax is a trademark name for Alprazolam, a benzodiazepine medication used to treat a variety of anxiety disorders, insomnia among other conditions. It has been used widely as a means of treating panic attacks and is one of the strongest benzodiazepines on the market. Unfortunately, it also carries a high risk for Xanax addiction.
How Does It Work in the Brain?
Xanax is central nervous system (CNS) depressant and has a similar effect on the brain as alcohol. It increases levels of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, which reduces activity in the spinal cord and brain and causes intense feelings of relaxation, and greatly reduces anxiety.
Like with other narcotics, Xanax’s immediate calming effects eventually wear off over time and patients prescribed it will begin to take more than they are prescribed to achieve the same feeling they did when they first starting taking the drug. In these cases, the patient will develop a much higher tolerance, which puts them at an increased risk of overdose and some other serious medical issues.
Due to the intense effects of Xanax, it is commonly prescribed for just short-term or as-needed for anxiety attacks. It is highly potent and extremely addictive. Many people who were once prescribed this drug will start to take more than prescribed and eventually develop a physical and psychological dependence on the drug.
Symptoms of Xanax Addiction
Xanax is a powerful drug and has an overpowering effect on one’s personality, behavior and physical appearance. Symptoms of abuse will depend on numerous factors such as genetic makeup, a person’s tolerance, how frequently they use the drug and the quantities they are using. If these symptoms are noticed consistently, then medical attention should be sought out immediately and a Xanax addiction treatment provider should be contacted. Some common signs of Xanax addiction and abuse include:
- Unusual sleeping habits
- Isolating from close family and friends
- Slurred speech
- Dramatic weight loss
- Lack of coordination
- Blurred vision
- Erratic behavior
- Severe memory loss or “black outs”
- Dramatic shift in personality
“I came out of my shell here. I went from a person who totally isolates and doesn’t socialize to a person that talked in the groups and made friends. It was very good and positive for me.” – Joni, Morningside Alumni
Some people mix benzodiazepines with other drugs, which increases the risks for many other health concerns. Mixing benzodiazepines with alcohol increases the likelihood of the symptoms above and can be especially dangerous.
Symptoms of Xanax Withdrawal
Addicts who heavily abuse Xanax daily will exhibit some painful psychological and physical side effects once they try to stop abruptly. Like with alcohol, Xanax withdrawal can be life-threatening if it goes untreated. If you or a loved one show signs of Xanax withdrawal, then you should seek medical attention immediately. Some common signs of Xanax withdrawal include:
- Severe anxiety
- Shakiness and tremors
- Severe depression
- Nausea and vomiting
Medical Effects of Long-Term Xanax Abuse
The long-term side effects of Xanax abuse can be devastating and if you know someone who is struggling with Xanax addiction, then addiction treatment should sought out immediately, before their condition worsens. Many people who become addicted to Xanax will experience rebound anxiety, where the drug starts producing the opposite intended effect and actually leads to increased levels of anxiety. Other possible side effect of prolonged Xanax abuse include:
- Permanent brain damage
- Severe memory problems
- Sexual dysfunctions
- Severe depression
- Cognitive dysfunction
Xanax Addiction Treatment at Morningside Recovery
At Morningside Recovery, our addiction treatment specialists understand the ways mental health and substance abuse feed into each other. We offer comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment along with a variety of addiction therapy services, including:
If you are ready to start living a life of health, happiness, and sobriety, then Morningside Recovery is here to help. Call us today at 855-416-8202 to start your journey today.