What is Xanax?

Xanax addiction can happen rapidly. Xanax is a form of benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs used to help people who suffer from anxiety and insomnia. This group of drugs is a central nervous system depressant. That means they slow down the nervous system. Additionally, benzodiazepines are used to treat seizures and ease alcohol withdrawal symptoms. This class of drugs is the most widely prescribed of all the psychoactive drugs. Xanax is fast acting in its ability to produce a calming effect but is also one of the most misused drugs. When taken with other central nervous system depressants, it can be deadly.

Medical uses of Xanax include treating Social Phobia, Anxiety, and nausea from chemotherapy. Appropriate Xanax use is short term. The drug comes in a tablet form, a tablet extended release form and a liquid form. Xanax has a high potency level making 1mg of Xanax equivalent to 10 mgs of Valium.

How does Xanax work?

The neurons in the brain known as the Gamma receptors are responsible for feelings of anxiety, concern, fear etc. When these Gamma receptors are over active they are said to be over firing. Xanax helps turn down the number of Gamma receptors firings. The slowing of the Gamma receptor firings helps induce the sense of calm over panic. The fact that the drug (and other benzodiazepines Ativan, Valium, Klonopin) work so quickly explains why these drugs are physically and psychologically addictive.

Without consistent levels withdrawal symptoms begin immediately. Even those people who take Xanax as prescribed can become addicted to the drug. Xanax’s short half-life means it quickly leaves the body(the tissues, the cells etc.) Because of the short half-life, people can experience withdrawal symptoms between doses—even when prescribed and taken properly. Misuse of the drug causes multiple side effects and leads to addiction.

Signs and Symptoms of Xanax Addiction

There are many side effects that induced by Xanax addiction.

  • Shaking
  • Tiredness
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Headache
  • Increased sensitivity to noise
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Emotional blunting (lack of emotional feelings)
  • Seizure
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Mood changes
  • Weight changes
  • Numbness
  • Vomiting

The drug is powerful; there should be no illusions about the impact of Xanax addiction on the body’s ability to function normally. Withdrawal symptoms that can happen between doses grow more extreme, unpleasant, and in some cases life threatening.

Signs and Symptoms of Withdrawal

Severity of Xanax addiction withdrawal symptoms depends upon many factors including the addict’s psychological state, the amount of drug consumed, the length of the drug addiction, and the speed at which the addict goes through withdrawal. Xanax withdrawal sets off a rebound effect causing an intense reappearance of an existing underlying mental health disorder. A sense of panic, extreme loss, and feelings of going crazy are common in the withdrawal phase. Symptoms may take months to stop and require monitoring. Other withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Problems with speech
  • Coordination or balance problems
  • Depression
  • Skin rash
  • Seizures
  • Shortness of breath
  • Extreme joint pain
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Burning sensation
  • Psychosis
  • Morbid thoughts
  • Rapid heart rate

Detox and Treatment of Xanax Addiction

Detoxing from Xanax, as with other drugs, is serious. The detox facility whether inpatient or outpatient should be licensed by the State. Quality detox facilities will follow the recommendations and protocols set by the government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, the Joint Commission and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

It is of the utmost importance that a person choosing to go through detox has access to a licensed, skilled addiction physician. Close monitoring is necessary to handle to physical, emotional, mental and psychological symptoms experienced during withdrawal. The detox protocol designed by the treating addiction physician must be able to address the multi-level phases of Xanax withdrawal. Appropriate diagnoses of drug induced mental health disorders and pre-existing mental health disorders are crucial. Once detox for Xanax addiction is completed the client must move into substance abuse treatment to break the pattern of addiction. Detox alone cannot provide the client with the education, counseling and support needed to stay clean.

Treatment Alternatives has designed a treatment program that can address all problems related to Xanax addiction including detox, treatment, fully developed aftercare plans and optional sober living houses. These programs allow the addict to examine negative behavioral patterns, learn new healthy coping skills, build strength to short circuit cravings and establish a solid foundation for long term recovery.

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