Xanax (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine drug, used to manage the symptoms of anxiety disorders. This medication is only designed for short-term use, and has a high addiction potential. As a short-acting substance, Xanax has rapid onset, so it can reduce anxiety quickly. The drug produces a calming effect after binding to GABA receptor sites located in the brain. Excessive use of this drug will lead to a tolerance, and the user will have to take more and more to achieve a desired effect.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 61,000 people sought treatment for benzodiazepine abuse in 2011 alone. Xanax abuse is a growing problem in the U.S., and rates are rising on use and abuse statistics. Due to the potentially life-threatening symptoms associated with withdrawal from benzodiazepines, rehabilitation (rehab) centers can safely withdraw a person from these drugs through detoxification (detox).

Xanax abuse is not just an issue for adults; teens have access to prescription medications and now suffer from addiction issues as well. In a 2011 survey, 7 percent of teenagers reported that they used drugs for nonmedical reasons in the last 12 months. Among the drugs listed, Xanax was one that was popular among teenagers.

Co-Occurring Disorders

There are numerous problems associated with addiction. Co-occurring mental conditions include:
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Conduct disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Additional substance addiction

Cause of Addiction

  • Genetic – There is research that supports addiction is genetically passed from parent to child. People who have close relatives with substance abuse problems are twice as likely to suffer from these issues.
  • Brain chemistry – The brain’s central nervous system is affected by Xanax, which creates a feeling of sedation and pleasure.
  • Environmental – Those who grow up in an unstable home environment where drugs are used as a way of coping tend to grow up with that mindset.
  • Psychological – People with undiagnosed and treated mental conditions are more likely to use drugs to cope with these issues.

There are many variables that contribute to substance abuse. These include:

Signs and Symptoms of Xanax Addiction
Those who abuse Xanax often experience several signs and symptoms of addiction. These include:
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Rage
  • Agitation
  • Hyperactivity
  • Restlessness
  • Doctor shopping
  • Forging prescriptions
  • Risky behaviors
  • Decreased inhibitions
  • Neglecting personal and family responsibilities
  • Crushing or snorting pills
  • Changes in appetite
  • Decreased urination
  • Slurred speech
  • Coordination difficulties
Withdrawal Effects

Those with a Xanax addiction experience dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Detox can be done under the supervision of a licensed medical professional in a controlled setting. This gradually reduces the amount of Xanax in the body to minimize withdrawal symptoms. These include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Nervousness
  • Aggressive behaviors
  • Weight loss
  • Sweating
  • Seizures
  • Suicidal thoughts
Xanax Abuse Treatment
Individuals suffering from benzodiazepine addiction have the option to use a rehab treatment program, either inpatient or outpatient. Inpatient programs give a person a temptation-free environment to safely recover from addiction. These facilities have around the clock care, and medications are used for the detox process. Also, therapy and counseling is offered during the recovery process. The center encourages after care with a support group, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA).