Treating Xanax Addiction
Xanax, which is a benzodiazepine, is the most prescribed psychiatric medication in the United States. It is used primarily for cases of generalized anxiety disorders, panic disorders and insomnia.
It is extremely addictive and many people who have the drug prescribed for them end up needing Xanax addiction treatment even when they take it exactly as it has been prescribed similar to what happens to be people who are prescribed opiate based medications. For those abusing it without a prescription it can be even more addictive.
Symptoms of Xanax abuse can be both physical and psychological, including drowsiness, sleeping for long periods, light headedness, difficulty concentrating, difficulty with memory, nausea, headache and sluggishness. Also, relationships with friends and family members can become strained, problems at work can develop along with a sudden increase in absences, especially as the addiction evolves and the addict shows less and less interest in anything that requires sustained interest. Someone abuses Xanax for a long period may also have slurred speech, appear confused and disoriented and lack coordination.
Xanax also slows respiration which can become very dangerous, especially for people who mix the drug with alcohol. The combination can lead to serious injury, or coma, even death. People who take large doses of the drug may experience severe sedation for three to four days.
Xanax Addiction Treatment
If you or a loved one require treatment for Xanax addiction you must seek professional help. People who have abused the drug on a sustained basis need to detox from the drug under supervision as a sudden cessation of use of Xanax can be dangerous. The effects of an unsupervised detox can be very unpleasant and could include seizures.
Depending on the length of time abusing the drug, the addict’s physical and mental health, a residential treatment center is recommended. A residential program, with around the clock care, will allow the addict to focus on recovery without distractions and outside of settings that could easily result in relapse. There is medical staff to cope with any issues stemming from detox or ongoing issues of anxiety, depression, lack of sleep or other symptoms. Plus, most residential treatment programs include nutritional and exercise programs that help restore total health.
The psychological aspects of your addiction will also be addressed, including any unaddressed trauma that has been contributing to the abuse of Xanax, through therapies such a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), along with one-on-one sessions and group therapy, among others. Sessions will also include education on addiction to help you understand the physiological impacts of drug addiction on the brain, as well as relapse prevention training and some life skills.
Continuing Treatment for Xanax Addiction
Once residential treatment has been completed it is recommended to continue care in a partial hospitalization program (PHP) or an intensive outpatient program (IOP).
This will include continued therapy and education sessions as well as a focus on establishing techniques and skills for dealing with the typical challenges of living a normal life with relapsing.
If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction to Xanax, please call Recovery Channel now for advice and to see if your insurance will cover treatment.
The Promise of Xanax
Xanax, also known as alprazolam, is an antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication developed in the 1960s by Upjohn Laboratories.
First developed as a superior sleep aid with muscle relaxant qualities, it was soon realized that Xanax was highly effective for anxiety, panic and mood disorders. It was later presented as an alternative antidepressant that was much less harsh than other drugs available for those disorders at that time.
By the early 1990s Xanax had become the hottest drug in psychiatry and was being prescribed on a large-scale basis by psychiatrists who held it in good faith that Xanax was scientifically sound and an effective medication for panic.
The Reality of Xanax Addiction
Anyone can develop a Xanax addiction who has been prescribed the medication or who uses it with prescription. Like other prescribed medications, such as Ambien, it has significant potential for abuse.
Xanax is the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepine and, therefore, the most widely abused, as well. As a benzodiazepine the drug works by suppressing the inhibitory receptor in the brain, thereby decreasing any abnormal or extreme excitement. Like most benzodiazepines it is highly addictive.
Anyone using large doses of the drug or using it for prolonged periods can experience an addiction to Xanax. That includes people who take the medication exactly as prescribed. In fact, many times those people don’t even realized they have become addicted to it.
There are, in fact, hundreds of thousands of people abusing Xanax and it is common to mix Xanax with other drugs or alcohol. In just six years, between 2004 and 2010, the number of people who ended up in an emergency room due to effects of Xanax abuse almost tripled, from 46,000 to 125,000.
Recovering from an Addiction to Xanax
Some of the side effects of an addiction to Xanax include cognitive trouble, memory loss or false memories, difficulty paying attention, nausea and vomiting, physical pain, muscle and stomach aches, headaches, migraines and loss of coordination, as well as a lack of interest in sex.
Some addicts also report flashbacks to stressful events and feeling suicidal as well as paranoia. Recovery from a Xanax addiction is difficult and lengthy, often starting with a detox in which the addict is slowly weaned off the drug. Once drug free, the recovering addict must still be treated for the affects the drug has had on the body and the brain, as well as the spirit.
Since many addicts were originally prescribed Xanax as a medication for an existing condition, such as anxiety, recovery must also include an answer to that preexisting condition, which may, or may not be, another pharmaceutical. Other therapies are primarily cognitive in nature.
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