Xanax Addiction

Xanax is a sedative medication, commonly prescribed for anxiety and anxiety related disorders, such as panic attacks or agoraphobia. Xanax is classified as a benzodiazepine, and so is in the same family as other medications such as Valium, Klonopin, and Ativan. When used as prescribed, these medications can provide a great deal of relief to appropriate patients, but they do run the risk of both physical and psychological addiction, and these risks also extend to those who choose to use these drugs “recreationally”. With the use of any potentially physically addicting drug comes the risk of Xanax withdrawal symptoms, and in certain persons with underlying health conditions or who are addicted to a very high dose of the drug, these symptoms can be potentially life-threatening.

Common Signs of Xanax Addiction or Abuse:

  • Excessive sleep or drowsiness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Memory impairment
  • Slowed breathing
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Confusion
  • Depression

Xanax works by lowering, or inhibiting, the activity of the central nervous system, is a similar way to the functioning of alcohol. Xanax addiction symptoms can therefore be confused with alcohol addiction symptoms, especially in persons who use or abuse both. In combination, these two drugs can amplify each other’s effects, and overdose can potentially lead to coma or death due to depression of the centers controlling respiration.

A person who is addicted to Xanax will show tolerance to the sedative effect of the drug, but not necessarily to the anti-anxiety effects. The addicted person will usually show a high degree of agitation in between administrations of the drug, and may go to somewhat extreme lengths to obtain it if it is not available. Furthermore, persons used to a high, regular dose my show physical agitation in the absence of the drug, and those prone to seizure activity may in fact develop seizures.

Xanax is an amnestic, so regular users may show poor memory for recent events, especially if Xanax is taken with alcohol. The heavy user will often show lethargy and/or clumsiness when they are under the drug’s influence, not dissimilar in appearance to an intoxicated person. Because Xanax is a CNS inhibitor, the brain’s higher control centers may be affected in some users, and an addicted person may show a lack of control over their behavior, including poor decision making and impulsivity.

If a person with a Xanax addiction uses a high dose of Xanax on a regular basis and wishes to stop, the assistance of a medically drug detox is often required.

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