Xanax is a powerful medication that can be highly effective in treating anxiety and panic disorders. However, it is also extremely addictive and can lead to serious health consequences when abused. In the UK, Xanax addiction has become a growing concern, with many struggling to overcome this addiction on their own. In 2021 alone, there were 538 deaths in the UK related to drug poisoning from benzodiazepine addictions such as Xanax.
What is Xanax and how can it be abused?
Xanax is a brand name for the drug alprazolam, which belongs to a class of medications known as benzodiazepines. Xanax is commonly prescribed to treat anxiety and panic disorders as it helps to calm the nervous system and reduce feelings of anxiety and panic. However, Xanax can be abused by individuals who use it recreationally or take higher doses than prescribed, leading to physical and psychological dependence.
Xanax abuse involves taking the drug in a way that is not intended by a healthcare provider, such as crushing or snorting the pills or taking them more frequently than prescribed.
Some people may also abuse Xanax by taking it with other substances to enhance the drug’s effects. This can be extremely dangerous, as it can increase the risk of overdose and potentially fatal respiratory depression. If you or someone you know is struggling with Xanax abuse, it’s important to seek professional help as soon as possible to prevent further harm and begin the journey towards recovery.
What is Xanax addiction?
Xanax addiction, also known as Xanax use disorder, is a condition in which an individual becomes physically and psychologically dependent on the drug and continue to take it despite negative consequences. Xanax addiction can develop when the drug is taken for an extended period of time or in larger doses than prescribed.
Individuals with Xanax addiction may experience intense cravings for the drug and feel unable to control their use, even when it begins to cause problems in their personal and professional lives.
Signs of Xanax addiction may include:
- Taking larger doses of Xanax than prescribed
- Taking Xanax more frequently than prescribed
- Using Xanax recreationally or without a prescription
- Continuing to use Xanax despite negative consequences, such as relationship problems, financial difficulties, or legal issues
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when attempting to quit or cut back on Xanax use
- Spending a significant amount of time obtaining and using Xanax
- Neglecting responsibilities and hobbies due to Xanax use
The effects of Xanax abuse and addiction
There are a variety of serious short-term and long-term effects of abusing Xanax. It is imperative that you are aware of these symptoms and take action immediately should they arise.
While Xanax is effective in treating anxiety and panic disorders, it can also produce short-term side effects, including:
- Slurred speech: Xanax can cause slurred speech, which is a common side effect of central nervous system depressants.
- Incoherence: Incoherence refers to difficulty in expressing thoughts or ideas clearly and coherently. This can occur when an individual takes high doses of Xanax or when they combine Xanax with other substances that have sedative effects.
- Drowsiness: Drowsiness is a common side effect of Xanax use, as the drug slows down activity in the central nervous system.
- Disinhibited behaviour: Xanax can cause disinhibition, which means that an individual may behave impulsively or inappropriately. This can lead to risky behaviour or social awkwardness.
- Dry mouth: Xanax can cause dry mouth, which is a regular side effect of many medications that affect the central nervous system.
- Nausea and vomiting: Nausea and vomiting can occur when an individual takes high doses of Xanax or when they combine Xanax with other substances that have sedative effects.
- Impaired coordination: Xanax can impair coordination, making it difficult for individuals to perform tasks that require fine motor skills.
- Fatigue: Xanax can cause fatigue, which is a feeling of tiredness or lack of energy.
- Dizziness: Dizziness is a common side effect of Xanax use, as the drug can affect blood pressure and cause changes in balance.
- Fainting: Fainting is a rare but serious side effect of Xanax use, as the drug can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure.
- Twitches and tremors: Xanax can cause muscle twitches and tremors, which are involuntary movements of the body.
- Aggression: In some cases, Xanax can cause aggression or hostility, especially when an individual takes high doses or when they combine the drug with other substances that have stimulant effects.
Long term effects
Xanax addiction can have a range of negative effects on your physical and mental health, including:
- Impaired cognitive function: Xanax abuse can impair cognitive function, making it difficult for individuals to concentrate, remember things, and make decisions. This can affect an individual’s work performance, academic performance, and daily functioning.
- Changes to behaviour: Long-term Xanax use can lead to changes in an individual’s behaviour, including mood swings, aggression, and social withdrawal. Individuals may become less interested in activities they once enjoyed and may have difficulty maintaining personal relationships.
- Memory loss: Long-term Xanax addiction can cause memory loss, which may include difficulty recalling recent events or forgetting important information. This can lead to problems in daily life and affect an individual’s ability to learn new things.
- Hallucinations: In some cases, long-term Xanax use can lead to hallucinations, which are perceptions of things that are not actually there. This can be a frightening experience and may lead to further mental health issues.
- Mania: Xanax abuse can cause manic episodes, which are periods of intense excitement, energy, and activity. Mania can be accompanied by reckless behaviour and may lead to dangerous situations.
- Damage to internal organs: Long-term Xanax abuse can cause damage to internal organs, such as the liver and kidneys. This can lead to serious health problems and may require medical treatment.
- Damage to brain cells: Xanax abuse can cause damage to brain cells, which may lead to cognitive impairment and memory loss.
- Suicidal tendencies: In some cases, Xanax abuse can lead to suicidal thoughts or behaviours. It is important for individuals who are experiencing suicidal thoughts to seek professional help immediately.
- Seizures: Long-term Xanax abuse can increase the risk of seizures, which are sudden, uncontrolled movements or convulsions. Seizures can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention.
If you experience any of these short-term or long-term effects of Xanax use, it’s important to speak with a healthcare provider, as they can advise you on how to manage these symptoms and ensure that you are using the medication safely and effectively.
What are some common routes to Xanax addiction?
There are many ways in which individuals can develop a Xanax addiction such as:
- Prescription use: Many individuals become addicted to Xanax after being prescribed the medication for anxiety or other mental health conditions. Even when taken as prescribed, Xanax can be highly addictive.
- Recreational use: Some individuals begin using Xanax recreationally, often as a way to relax or “numb” their emotions. Over time, recreational use can lead to addiction.
- Self-medication: Some individuals may turn to Xanax as a way to cope with emotional or psychological distress. This can be especially common among individuals who have experienced trauma or are dealing with mental health issues.
- Peer pressure: Some individuals may be introduced to Xanax through friends or acquaintances who use the drug recreationally. Peer pressure can be a powerful force, especially among young people.
- Co-occurring disorders: Xanax addiction can be more common among individuals who also struggle with other mental health disorders, such as depression or PTSD.
How is Xanax addiction cured?
Xanax addiction is a chronic illness that can persist without proper treatment and ongoing management. At Banbury Lodge, we provide a comprehensive programme for Xanax detox and Xanax rehab that addresses the root causes of addiction and enables you to transform their mindset and behaviour. We empower people to overcome Xanax addiction and achieve lasting recovery from any cravings or unhealthy behaviours surrounding Xanax.
Frequently asked questions
It also has a higher affinity for the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptor, which plays a key role in regulating anxiety and other emotional states. This higher affinity can lead to a more rapid development of tolerance, meaning that individuals may need to take higher doses to achieve the same level of effect over time. This can increase the risk of physical dependence and addiction.