Alprazolam, the generic name for the brand-name drug Xanax, has the potential to lead to physical dependence and addiction. In the short term, Xanax relaxes muscles and alleviates anxiety and restlessness. If you abruptly stop using Xanax, you risk experiencing "rebound" symptoms when the symptoms you were taking for return are more robust than before.
There are 50 million prescriptions made each year for the class of drugs, including Xanax. With almost nine million prescriptions written yearly, it's little wonder Xanax is widely used. Xanax is the sixth most often prescribed medication in the United States, excluding over-the-counter products. Xanax-related emergency room visits in the United States total around 50,000 per year.
People who seek therapy for Xanax-related concerns (86%) report using the medicine as a secondary substance. Approximately 2.6 million people may abuse prescription medications for the first time in a year.
Symptoms of Xanax Misuse
Long-term Xanax users report an increase in depression-like symptoms in 33% of cases. According to one study, nearly all people who take less addictive alternatives to Xanax report an improvement in the severity and frequency of their symptoms.
In terms of benzodiazepines, Xanax is the most often given. Long-term use of Xanax might produce cognitive deficits that could be mistaken for dementia. Withdrawal symptoms are more likely if the drug is used for an extended period and then stopped. Xanax may be prescribed for longer than a few weeks in certain circumstances to alleviate anxiety.
Additionally, tolerance to Xanax may develop in specific individuals. Higher doses of Xanax may be necessary to maintain therapeutic effectiveness if tolerance develops. Overdosing, intoxication, and, in some instances, drug-seeking behavior may arise from this.
When used according to a doctor's instructions, Xanax is both practical and safe. The medication is available in dosages ranging from 0.25 mg to 2 mg, with a half-life of 12 to 15 hours. Many people abuse the substance and suffer from mild to severe health problems or even die. Those with a Xanax addiction may take up to 30 pills a day. More severe side effects may develop depending on the dose.
Long-term implications of Xanax use may produce the following withdrawal symptoms when a user stops:
- Agitation or nervousness
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Afraid to go to sleep
- Not being able to see or hear anything is referred to as astral perception
- Muscle twitches
- Attacks of anxiety
- Fast heartbeat
- Breathing to the point of exhaustion (rapid, shallow breathing)
- Feelings of separation from reality
- Seizures and convulsions
Anxieties may be exacerbated when Xanax is used with opioids like codeine, oxycodone, methadone, or fentanyl. Withdrawal from opioids and other central nervous system depressants (CNS) may occur when Xanax is used alongside these substances. Coma and death may be the unintended consequences if the sufferer becomes too exhausted.
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Diagnosis of Substance Use Disorder
A constellation of cognitive, behavioral, and physiological symptoms defines a substance use disorder (SUD). It leads to persistent substance use despite significant adverse health or emotional effects or difficulty in work, school, or family.
In the same way as other drugs, Xanax may be detected in a lab setting via testing. Detection in urine, saliva, and hair follicles is possible. However, these tests have varying levels of reproducibility in detecting this medicine.
Xanax dependency cannot be diagnosed using routine blood or laboratory testing, even though the medicine is in the body. DSM-5 diagnostic criteria determine whether a person has SUD because of their Xanax use.
During 12 months, a person must meet at least two of the following criteria to be diagnosed with a substance use disorder:
- Inappropriate use of the medicine
- Using the drug leads to social and interpersonal problems.
- A lack of responsibility because of drug abuse
- Tolerance to the drug (need higher doses to achieve the same effect)
- When reducing or stopping the medicine, you may experience withdrawal symptoms.
- Unnecessary overdoses and excessive use of medication
- Inability to reduce or stop using a medicine despite best attempts
- Recovering from the effects of the treatment over an extended time
- Adverse medication side effects, whether physical or psychological
- Reducing or eliminating one's routine in favor of drug use
- Drug cravings
When two to three criteria are fulfilled, the condition is considered "mild," four to five criteria are met, and six or more are present. The disorder is considered "severe." These classifications may help identify the best treatment plan.
Doctors cannot know the answers unless you participate in the diagnostic process; your healthcare professional can only learn the answers if you are interested in being diagnosed and treated. As a result, family and friends may encourage you to get therapy and raise these issues with you.
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Treatment for Xanax Addiction
Medical supervision is required if someone desires to stop taking Xanax after establishing a physical and emotional dependence. Xanax withdrawal symptoms are similar to alcohol withdrawal and may range from mild to severe, depending on the person.
A person should never try to stop an addiction independently or without professional help. Xanax withdrawal symptoms such as convulsions and seizures may be lethal.
A person's tolerance and dependence on Xanax increase significantly with time and continued use. Without the help of a specialist, it is difficult to discontinue the use of this medication.
Specialists recommend an entire course of treatment for Xanax dependence. Inpatient rehabilitation and medical detoxification are two common treatment modalities.
When a person stops using a harmful drug, the process is called detoxification. Detox medications assist patients in avoiding the unpleasant effects of withdrawal, while behavioral treatments aim to help people maintain their progress toward recovery. Receiving therapy from a top drug rehab like Wish Recovery can help you better understand and manage your substance abuse problem. Contact us today to learn more.