The Symptoms and Treatment of Xanax Addiction

The Symptoms and Treatment of Xanax Addiction

Xanax is a prescription drug that has the generic name of benzodiazepine because it belongs to that family of drugs. In turn, the drug works by boosting the benefits and effects of the GABA neurotransmitter in your brain. GABA is quite crucial when it comes to the nervous system and its electrical excitation. According to Everyday Health, if your levels of GABA are low, you’ll end up with feelings of anxiety and paranoia. At any rate, benzodiazepines like Xanax boost GABA release throughout your immune system in order to calm and sedate you, but withdrawal symptoms from not using Xanax usually involves lower GABA levels and increase anxiousness.

There were 47 million prescriptions of Xanax written by doctors in 2011, making it the most popular psychiatric drug in the U.S.A. Furthermore, 40 percent of people who’ve been prescribed benzodiazepines like Xanax and take them every day will develop addiction to those drugs. In order to recovery from Xanax dependence, recovery must be achieved in two ways: Deal with the physical addiction then undo the psychological dependence in order to give the patient a chance at a sober life. Medical detoxification enables the body to become accustomed to not taking Xanax anymore. The rest of the rehab involves building skills that help prevent relapse after therapy.

What Is Xanax Exactly?

Xanax, like all benzodiazepine drugs, is a GABA booster. It’s a relaxant and sedative that affects the brain’s GABA levels so much that when you abuse it to the point of addiction, quitting it cold turkey can result in lower GABA levels and an increase in anxiety. It’s primarily prescribed for its sedating and calming effects. People who suffer numerous anxiety-related conditions will definitely benefit from taking this downer and its sedation capabilities. With that said, it’s not limited to treatment of anxiety or panic attacks.

According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, there are a number of other conditions that benefit from a Xanax prescription, and they include the following:

  • Mania
  • Seizures
  • Agitation
  • Muscle spasms
  • Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
  • Alcohol withdrawal symptom treatment

That’s right. It’s even used for treating alcohol withdrawal. The drug that’s partly used in rehab centers to deal with the potentially fatal withdrawal symptoms of alcoholism is itself addictive. Then again, that’s the deal with addiction; it’s a testament to the fact that yes, you can have too much of a good thing, bad thing, or anything. Benzodiazepines such as Xanax, The Royal College warns, are all addictive. 40 percent of those who take Xanax every day for 6 weeks and such will end up with becoming addicted.

As for other benzodiazepines and drugs related to the benzodiazepine family, they include the following:

  • Ativan
  • Valium
  • Halcion
  • Ambien
  • Lunesta
  • Klonopin
  • Phenibut

What Are The Side Effects of Using Xanax?

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Xanax’s intended effects involve easing restlessness and anxiety, producing a sedative effect that helps with your sleep or insomnia issues, and ensures muscle relaxation. These are also short-term effects. However, the longer you use Xanax to the point of you getting closer and closer to abuse and addiction, the likelier you’ll come across “rebound” symptoms.

These symptoms or side effects (that is, unintended effects) of Xanax tend to crop up whenever you stop taking the medication in the form of withdrawal symptoms. Your anxiety or insomnia might become worse as soon as you stop taking Xanax after abusing it for so long, for instance. As for the other common side effects, they include the following.

The mood-related and behavioral side effects of Xanax are:

  • Euphoria
  • Relaxation
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Mood swings or irritability

The psychological side effects of Xanax are:

  • Confusion
  • Lack of focus
  • Lack of inhibition
  • Memory problems

The physical side effects of Xanax are:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Mood swings
  • Blurred vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Poor coordination
  • Shortness of breath
  • Erectile dysfunction

As in the case of its benzodiazepine siblings or relatives, Xanax impairs your ability to drive due to it being a sedative as well. It’s even linked to increased risk of traffic accidents, broken bones, and falls all because you become clumsier and less in conscious control of your body when you’re under the influence of this drug.

The Signs of Addiction

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When you’re addicted to Xanax, you might feel compelled to go beyond prescription limits and take more medication in order to “chase the high” or try to replicate the soothing sedative effects of the drug when you first started taking it even though you should know better. Desensitization is another common condition that addicts go through. The sheer amount of Xanax they abuse will naturally lead to the body becoming desensitized by normal doses, such that they’ll need higher doses in order to get the feeling they used to get.

This thusly increases their chances of overdose and strong withdrawal symptoms every time they make attempts to quit. The unpleasantness of Xanax withdrawal symptoms ranges from annoying but manageable to so severe you seemingly have no choice but to keep on taking Xanax, like in the case of those who use it to treat pain or anxiety. You might even resort to getting more Xanax without a valid prescription or through an old prescription you keep using over and over. You’ll specifically undergo side effects like those covered above.

Why Is Xanax Abused?

For a lot of people, the temptation for Xanax abuse is too great to resist even when they become aware of its multitude of side effects, withdrawal symptoms, and associated risks and health complications. It’s a sedative in the same family as Valium but not as infamous as Valium even though people really should treat it to be as dangerous as Valium. According to the American Family Physician, Xanax, Valium, and other drugs in the benzodiazepine family have considerable abuse and addiction potential, particularly when it comes to populations that are most at risk or are genetically inclined towards becoming addicts.

  • Almost Immediate Effects: Xanax is able to make one psychologically addicted before they become full-blown physically addicted because of its immediate effects. It’s as convenient to use as instant noodles or a microwave as well as a smartphone when it comes to calls and photographs. Who doesn’t want instant satisfaction? The fact that it instantly works for as fast as 24 minutes after ingestion (according to The Fix) will make users use it more and more. Also, easy come and easy go. Its effects are temporary and can dissipate within mere hours.
  • Violating the Boundaries of Prescription: Xanax is an addiction risk exactly because it works fast and it just as quickly stops working. These factors are why people are taking more Xanax than prescribed, in order to get that fleeting feeling of sedation and relaxation for a longer period of time without realizing that this is as foolish as overdosing on Valium before sleeping. You should also watch out for your tolerance of Xanax. The more you use it the more your body gets used to it, making the same dose ineffective over time.
  • Larger and Larger Doses: Xanax users will take larger and larger doses the more their tolerance builds up due to the desensitization effect wherein the more you have of something the more you’ll get tired of it unless you start abusing it in order to get the same feelings of satisfaction you used to get from it. It’s through this phenomenon that people get hooked on Xanax, which is the same case of any other drug or substance out there. It’s even the case with psychological addictions like sex, gambling, and video games. You can have too much of a good thing, bad thing, or pretty much anything.
  • The Nature of Xanax Prescriptions: Most doctors prescribe Xanax with moderation and short-term use in mind. Just like in the case of short-term debt, it’s best that your Xanax usage is settled ASAP before it grows into something bigger and harder to handle. Ideally, it’s prescribed for use in a short period of time, such as four weeks at the most. It’s all for the sake of minimizing risk and maximizing its intended benefits of anxiety relief, insomnia treatment, and painkilling action. It also keeps your body from getting used to or acclimatizing to the drug, which happens when you use it longer than four weeks or at doses higher than recommended.
  • How a Long-Term Xanax Treatment Plan Is Tackled: When it comes to patients who are supposed to undergo a long-term Xanax treatment plan that goes beyond four weeks or roughly less than a month, doctors tread lightly and make the patient practically walk on eggshells in terms of their recommended doses. For example, the treatment usually isn’t continuous and has intermittent stages of consumption. You’ll also be tapering off your doses for the sake of weaning your body from getting acclimatized with Xanax. This is to prevent continuous usage and increased addiction risk. The doses are also made low in light of the length of treatment.
  • Dependence Is In Place, So Now What? Once you’ve become addicted to Xanax or suffer from Xanax dependence disorder, what should you do? Well, you need to first know what to expect. When being Xanax dependent, you’ll ironically feel more anxious or have a fear of Xanax withdrawal. Without Xanax sedation, your original issues of anxiety seemingly become worse as a Xanax addict. Even though you genuinely wish to stop using the drug and recognize how unhealthy it is to keep using it, you’ll undergo symptoms of opiate withdrawal so terrible that you’ll immediately go back to using Xanax just to keep from experience such effects.

What is Xanax Addiction Treatment?

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You can undergo Xanax addiction treatment in facilities such as the Lanna Rehab Center. The main hurdle that Xanax addicts face with their situation is overcoming the fear of withdrawal symptoms and then overcoming the symptoms themselves. It’s these side effects that happen when you stop using Xanax because you’re normalized Xanax use in your life that keeps you to continuously use this benzodiazepine medication in the first place. You fear experiencing those symptoms again but you have to in order to kick the bad habit.

  • Comprehensive Treatment and Therapy Sessions: Your comprehensive Xanax addiction rehab and treatment requires medical detox first and foremost, followed by therapy to help undo your psychological addiction to the drug that keeps you from letting go of your physical addiction. It took time and loads of Xanax doses in order to change your drug-free normalcy to that of involving Xanax doses at every turn. Therefore, it will also take time and patience to undo what your body has learned and go back to your sober normalcy. You were able to function without Xanax before. You just need to relearn what that’s like.
  • Countering the Addiction in Two Fronts: The medical detoxification step is mostly for the sake of helping you overcome your physical compulsion to take Xanax. The trickier part of the rehab is to overcome your mental craving through therapy like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectal behavioral therapy (DBT), individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, the 12-step program found in organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and so forth. It’s like how exercise and diet deals with obesity in two fronts by melting fat and controlling the fat supply.
  • The Importance of Detoxification: An addict must undergo medically supervised detoxification first in order to address the physical addiction front of his Xanax dependence. The goal of detox is to wean you off of Xanax usage with as little distress and withdrawal issues as possible. It’s in turn medically supervised in order to have doctors on standby to help you deal with painful and traumatic withdrawal symptoms without you ending up in an emergency situation that could become fatal. Some side effects to drug withdrawal might involve the staff to prescribe other anticonvulsant and anti-anxiety medication.
  • The Irony of Xanax Detox Treatment: According to the American Family Physician, in order to treat the withdrawal symptoms of Xanax, a benzodiazepine, you might be dosed with other forms of benzodiazepine to treat your withdrawal. The difference between these withdrawal drugs and simply returning to your Xanax habit is doctor supervision and a controlled dosage. Sometimes, you might be given a little benzodiazepine in order to gradually wean you off of your Xanax addiction the same way a baby is weaned off the milk bottle by reducing its usage and introducing the use of cups for him to drink. It’s a more controlled environment involving administration by trained staff to boot.
  • The Importance of Therapy and Dual Diagnosis: Once detox is over, you’ll then undergo addiction psychotherapy. You’ll be introduced to various treatment models like holistic rehabilitation or individual modalities like CBT. Like in the case of detox, the therapists are also informed of the patient’s medical history, psychological profile, and co-occurring disorders that have been diagnosed through services like dual diagnosis (which assist addiction treatment by letting the staff know of your other mental issues like post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, anxiety disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or ADHD, and depression). Knowing underlying issues will assist in possibly getting to the root cause of addiction in the first place.
  • How Effective Is Psychotherapy Anyway? According to the Addictive Behaviors publication, there’s an addiction study wherein researchers examined CBT’s effectiveness when it comes to treatment of addicts who had substance abuse disorder coupled with PTSD. They concede that their study isn’t necessarily comprehensive. However, they were able to report findings supporting CBT’s effectiveness in dealing with dual diagnosis cases involving co-occurring disorders. After all, CBT, DBT, and other psychotherapy methods can address and alleviate mental conditions that might cause and/or exacerbate addiction. The addiction itself might be a symptom or complication of the disorder as well.

Xanax Addiction Demographics

According to Health After 50, there are quite a lot of factors of risk that can cause someone to willfully and knowingly consume more prescription Xanax than prescribed by their doctor. Such factors include mental health conditions as well as debilitating, intrusive pain. The Lanna Rehabilitation Center’s dual diagnosis services should be able to weed out any co-occurring condition that the patient is suffering from that led him to abuse Xanax to the point of dependence or addiction, whether it’s PTSD, depression, or pain requiring sedation. This way, you’re rehabbed from your addiction with the underlying condition in mind. Patients can also engage in potentially dangerous, impulsive behavior that involves self-dosages of Xanax.

Furthermore, senior citizens and women in particular are at high risk of Xanax addiction due to their tendency of being prescribed more of the drug than younger patients and men. This is according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, particularly its co-chairman to the medical scientific subcommittee. These particular demographics of elders and young women are likelier to develop Xanax dependence. Women in today’s society have a heightened fear response according to the Journal of Psychiatric Research, which compels them to take Xanax for coping purposes. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, women’s heightened fear response is what makes them more susceptible to stress disorders and the development of anxiety when compared to men.

Thankfully, Lanna Rehab is available to offer people from around the globe rehab tourism packages for drug addiction and alcoholism that comes with huge savings on what would otherwise be an exorbitantly expensive inpatient treatment program. What’s more, the price for the entire treatment package in Lanna’s resort-like setting is likely to be astoundingly cheaper than local rehab centers in your own country, even if you factor in the round-trip travel cost.

Learn More about Xanax Addiction through Lanna Rehab

Xanax withdrawal is quite tough to deal with. This is because Xanax comes from the Benzodiazepine Family. This means that it works by boosting the effects of the brain’s GABA neurotransmitter, which in turn results in controlling your nervous system’s ability for electrical excitation. Once the GABA levels become lower as a result of their bigger impact, you’ll end up with symptoms of anxiety and paranoia. You’ll need detoxification and psychotherapy techniques like dialectal behavioral therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), individual therapy, group therapy, counseling, dual diagnosis, 12-step programs, and holistic healing in order to deal with this GABA imbalance.

Lanna Rehab in Chiang Mai, Thailand is a rehabilitation clinic that takes care of not only the addict himself but also his loved ones affected by his addiction such as Xanax abuse and dependence. Call Lanna at its 24/7 hotline today for more details on reservations and special tourism packages.

Martin Peters

Martin Peters has a BA (Hons) Dip HE Dip RN CSAT III and is the Group Program Director Lanna Healthcare. He is a Registered Nurse and Certified Substance Abuse Therapist working in the mental health field since 1994; Martin has had a wide range of experience in management and supervisory roles within established healthcare systems, and has provided consultancy services to a number of private and public sector organizations in the UK and Asia in terms of management, policy writing, accreditation and recruitment. Martin’s addictions experience has been in developing inpatient services in Thailand since 2009, both clinical and operational. He has been instrumental in expanding and developing a non 12 step inpatient treatment centre and opening a further inpatient centre with a 12 step approach, implementing KIPU Electronic Records, strengthening hospital partnerships, introducing a Scholarship for students under the Masters in Addiction Studies Program at The ASEAN Institute for Health Development and working with an international accreditation body. Martin has also been a speaker at several international conferences on addiction, including ASEAN conferences and has also guest lectured at Mahidol University (Thailand), University of Sarghoda (Pakistan) Institute of Medical Sciences (Pakistan) and has been a representative on the CARF Standards Advisory Committee for 2016.In 2015. Martin became a Co-Founder of Lanna Healthcare, launching Lanna Rehab in March 2016 and opening Jintra in January 2018. In June of 2018, Martin was involved in the merger of Lanna and DARA, becoming Thailand's biggest private licensed operator. Martin is currently a Joint and Asia Health Co Ltd Owner Operator of Lanna Healthcare Co Ltd, which under its umbrella manages Lanna Rehab in Chiang Mai, Jintra Rehab in Chiang Mai and DARA Rehab in Koh Chang - all Thailand MoPH Licensed Addiction Facilities providing world-class treatment in Thailand.



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