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Xanax Addiction: A Growing Epidemic

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Xanax, a benzodiazepine, is being abused more and more frequently in today’s society. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the estimated number of emergency room visits involving nonmedical use of benzodiazepines increased 89 percent nationwide between 2004 and 2008 and continues to rise. The effects of Xanax abuse can cause severe physical and psychological distress and must be treated in drug rehab in order for Xanax addicts to regain control of their lives.

What is Xanax?

Xanax is a prescription drug used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Its effects are felt almost immediately and last only a few hours. Since its effects are short-lived, individuals increase their Xanax dosage over time to achieve a desired sense of euphoria. According to the FDA, Xanax is only approved for up to 8 weeks of use; however, addicts continue abusing Xanax after this period and go to great lengths to obtain the drug. Many addicts “doctor shop,” seeking prescriptions from several doctors in order to prevent running out of the drug. If they are denied a prescription or refill from one doctor, they simply move on to another to receive a new prescription. If an addict cannot obtain a legitimate prescription for Xanax, it can be obtained illegally from street dealers. In fact, some dealers have legitimate prescriptions for Xanax and take advantage of addicts’ needs in order to profit. Xanax addicts may also engage in risky activities to get their next fix. For example, many steal money or prostitute themselves in order to fund their habit. These behaviors are common once the addict becomes dependent on Xanax.

Dangerous Effects of Xanax Abuse

A sense of euphoria as well as fear of experiencing an anxiety or panic attack keep the Xanax addict abusing the drug. Xanax only alleviates symptoms for a short amount of time, so the thought of running out of the drug is enough to send an addict into crisis. Like all drugs, Xanax has several adverse physical effects that accompany chronic use such as:

  • Vision problems
  • Lack of muscle control
  • Joint pain
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Problems swallowing
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia

Although Xanax is meant to treat psychological disorders, anxiety, and panic, it can ironically create more psychological problems and even exacerbate existing ones such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Mood swings
  • Obsessive negative thoughts
  • Suicidal ideations

Since the euphoric effects of Xanax only last for a short amount of time, individuals may feel withdrawal symptoms between doses.  These adverse effects impact normal functions in an individual’s life such as employment, educational goals, and relationships with friends and family. The discomfort and pain can be distressing and cause continual abuse of the drug to keep the negative effects away. Addiction treatment in a drug rehab that offers inpatient medical drug detox should be sought to help Xanax dependent individuals break free of their addiction.

Treatment for Xanax Addiction

Once Xanax dependence is present, an addict’s ability to quit or detox alone becomes extremely difficult and can be fatal. The addict should first undergo medical inpatient detox in order for Xanax dosage to be gradually tapered. This allows doctors and nurses to monitor the patient’s physical and psychological symptoms around the clock and minimize any withdrawal symptoms or discomfort. After detox, it is suggested that an addict continues with inpatient prescription drug rehab. In this setting, he or she will attend individual, group and/or family therapy. Identifying triggers, working on underlying issues and planning relapse prevention is essential to a successful recovery. Drug addiction treatment is a way out of the dark tunnel of Xanax addiction.

Call Now and Make the Best Choice of Your Life

If you or a loved one has suffered a loss of self-esteem because of addiction, please contact one of our Stepping Stone Center coordinators at 866-957-4960. Start rebuilding your self-esteem by entering treatment today.

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