Xanax, the brand name for alprazolam, is a benzodiazepine (benzo) used to treat generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorders, and anxiety caused by depressive disorders. In the short term, it provides effective relief from distressing symptoms. There is an inherent risk in taking benzodiazepines, though, as these substances are highly addictive.
If you are struggling to control your Xanax consumption, you might question whether you have an addiction. This article will help you examine your actions.
The Likelihood of Xanax Addiction
Xanax is a highly addictive substance. It poses a higher risk for addiction than short-acting benzodiazepines. One milligram of Xanax is equivalent to ten milligrams of Valium. The half-life of Xanax is only 8-16 hours. It metabolizes quicker than other benzos with fewer oxidative metabolites. All of these things create a high potential for Xanax abuse.
According to multiple studies, including a 2014 study in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 15-44% of patients who take benzodiazepines consistently for three to six weeks will experience moderate to severe protracted benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, 40% of patients with long-term benzodiazepine usage (longer than six months) experience moderate to severe acute withdrawal symptoms when attempting to discontinue their prescription use. The other 60% of long-term users experience mild withdrawal symptoms.
Technically, this only points to physical dependence, but dependency symptoms are some of the criteria for substance use disorders (SUDs). Add in the inability to discontinue your Xanax intake despite negative impacts, and then you have an addiction. Even when Xanax is tapered off properly, it still poses a risk of strong withdrawal. For this reason, Xanax should be used sparingly and only after doctors exhaust all other options.
Signs of Xanax Addiction
If you are concerned about your Xanax use, you might want to do some self-evaluation. It might also benefit you to sit down with a trusted, loved one and ask them if they have noticed a problem, or other questions related to addiction. You can look through this list together. These are some of the many signs that could indicate a Xanax addiction:
- Neglecting responsibilities in favor of drug consumption
- Obsessive thoughts about obtaining and ingesting more Xanax
- Loss of interest and enjoyment in hobbies
- Taking higher quantities of Xanax than prescribed
- Taking Xanax more frequently than prescribed
- Purchasing Xanax through illegal means
- Continuing Xanax use despite a desire to stop
- Interpersonal problems related to Xanax abuse
- Needing more Xanax to receive the same therapeutic benefits
- Neglecting bills in favor of buying Xanax
- Unexplained and intense mood swings
- Driving under the influence of Xanax
- Asking other people for their prescribed pills
- Doctor shopping to obtain multiple Xanax prescriptions
- Constant slurred speech and drowsiness
- Physically and mentally craving Xanax
If you check off most of these boxes, Xanax is controlling your life. You are suffering because of your benzo use and seeking out help is vital. A qualified medical professional can diagnose you with a SUD. From there, you will need to receive treatment.
Factors That Influence Xanax Addiction Treatment
Treatment for any addiction can be difficult. A June 2011 “Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions for Abuse of Benzodiazepines” report outlines aggravating factors that make Xanax addiction treatment more complex.
Addiction relapse is a natural part of the addiction cycle, but it might be more common in benzodiazepine abuse than with other substances. Some 70.5% of people admitted for benzodiazepine treatment reported at least one prior treatment admission; 36.8% of these patients had three or more previous admissions. This shows that current treatment plans do not meet the needs of patients admitted for benzo addiction.
In addition to the frequency of relapse for benzodiazepines, comorbidity occurred more often with benzo admissions than any other substance. Some 43.4% of individuals admitted for benzo addiction experienced at least one psychiatric disorder on top of SUD. This is not surprising given the therapeutic purposes of benzodiazepines. Due to the high rates of comorbidity, dual diagnosis treatment centers might prove to be more effective options.
According to the report, polysubstance abuse makes treatment more difficult as 95% of people admitted to treatment for a benzo addiction also reported abuse of another substance. The most common substance was opioids, followed by alcohol. Both of these combinations can prove lethal as benzodiazepines, opioids, and alcohol all depress the central nervous system and slow breathing and heart rate.
The combination of multiple relapses, comorbid mental illnesses, and polysubstance abuse makes benzodiazepine treatment especially complicated. It should not be handled without medical guidance. At-home detox (or the “cold turkey” method) for Xanax and other benzos endangers patients.
Steps to Sobriety
If you have concluded that you are addicted to Xanax, you have already taken the first step. Now, it is time for you to pursue treatment. Detox facilities should administer treatment for anyone withdrawing from benzos. This is especially important for Xanax addiction, given the potency and half-life.
Patients with high-risk factors should immediately follow up with inpatient treatment for at least 30 days. Even if you do not fall into the high-risk category, you may still want to consider this option. Residential facilities provide 24-hour medical care and psychological support to patients. At the very least, you should attend an intensive outpatient program or partial hospitalization program.
Your path forward may feel challenging, but your substance-free life will be worth the effort.
Xanax’s potency and short half-life create a high potential for substance abuse. People develop a physical dependency quickly, creating withdrawal after only a few weeks’ time.
You can examine your patterns more thoroughly by looking through the addiction symptoms listed above. If you decide you need help with Xanax addiction, your first stop should be a detox center.
DetoxNearMe.com is the best place to find a reputable, effective detox center near you. We’ve compiled thousands of listings to make the hunt for a detox center as easy as possible. Start your journey towards recovery today with DetoxNearMe.com!