Xanax, scientifically known as alprazolam, is used to rebalance various chemicals in the brain to treat different types of mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, panic disorder, and more. It is listed under the class of agents known as benzodiazepines. Users of this drug have experienced addiction. Xanax withdrawal symptoms have also been known to occur.
The Food and Drug Administration of the United States categorized Xanax as a Schedule IV controlled substance. Schedule IV drugs are considered to have minimal abuse potential. This places it under the regulation of the Drug Enforcement Agency. (1)
Alprazolam drugs, like Xanax, had existed way back in 1981 when it was introduced by Upjohn Company, a pharmaceutical company founded in Michigan. Xanax was then introduced by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to have a bite in the alprazolam market.
Is Xanax Addictive?
Addiction is defined as a physical dependence on a certain substance. A person with the addiction will continuously seek for a dose of said drug regardless of the harmful effects that it is causing him or her. Getting over an addiction is made harder by the withdrawal symptoms that come with the effort to do so.
Xanax was categorized as Schedule IV drug because it was shown to have a low abuse potential compared to other drugs. However, statistics have shown that it has been a subject of abuse by many users.
In 2012 alone, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that at least 17,000 individuals had asked rehabilitation centers for help to treat an addiction for benzodiazepines like Xanax. (2)
A study conducted by the Royal College of Psychiatrists from the United Kingdom found out that daily use of the drug Xanax for six weeks or more increase the possibility of dependence to up to 40 percent.
How Is Xanax Addiction Treated?
Various treatment centers now accept patients suffering from Xanax addiction. Most of them offer both inpatient and outpatient treatment. Inpatient treatment requires a patient to stay in a facility where he can be monitored continuously by trained professionals.
Outpatient, on the other hand, allows a patient to remain in the comfort of their home. This can save them a lot of money due to the elimination of board and lodging expenses.
Symptoms Of Xanax Addiction
Getting addicted to Xanax can sometimes be difficult to spot most importantly for the victim. Luckily, studies have figured out some of the red flags that could indicate an addiction to Xanax.
Here are some red flags to look out for:
- Tolerance to the Drug: long-term use of Xanax can result in a tolerance among patients. This can, in turn, cause them to take more of the drug to experience the same effects as it had before.
- Low Supply: Xanax addicts often drink more than what their doctors prescribe. This can result in both addiction and financial trouble if not addressed early.
- Changes in Personality: Xanax affects the emotion center of the brain, long term abuse of it can result in significant changes in a person’s personality.
These symptoms can be hard to detect for untrained eyes. However, if you spend enough time with the patient, you should be able to detect one or more of them. Immediately consult a doctor if any of these symptoms show.
Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms
Getting over an addiction is one of the best decisions a person can get. It liberates them from the harmful effects of abusing drugs. Sadly, along with this hurdle comes some Xanax withdrawal symptoms a patient may need to endure. (3)
Here are some common withdrawal symptoms that Xanax users might experience:
- Insomnia: it is the inability to sleep continuously or sleep at all for a few or several days. It can result in other health problems such as slowed cognitive process.
- Nausea: the uneasy feeling inside or around the stomach which urges someone to vomit.
- Headaches: caused by imbalances in the chemicals in the brain
- Seizures: rapid, uncontrollable movements throughout the body due to unsynchronized electrical impulses in the brain. Rarely occurs due to Xanax withdrawal but can be dangerous in some circumstances.
- Heart Palpitations: these are characterized by uneven, strong, missed or weak heart beats.
With the rise of depression and anxiety in the society, the use of benzodiazepines has increased. Awareness of the potential addiction to these drugs is a must know for every citizen.