Facts About Xanax Addiction
Is it safe to use Xanax? How long does it take to get addicted to Xanax? Is Xanax withdrawal dangerous? Before taking Xanax or any other prescription medication, it is important to know the facts about Xanax addiction. Understanding the risks and benefits of taking Xanax can help you make the most informed decisions about your health.
Facts About Xanax and Xanax Addiction
Xanax is the brand name of a medication that contains alprazolam, which is a benzodiazepine. This medication is typically prescribed to treat people who have developed anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder.
According to a 2016 article in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, Xanax is one of the most commonly prescribed benzos in the United States. Experts estimate that U.S. doctors wrote more than 16 million prescriptions for Xanax in 2020. The annual number of Xanax prescriptions in the U.S. has been trending downward since 2014, when nearly 29 million were written.
When a person takes Xanax as directed by their prescribing physician, they can experience considerable benefits with minimal risk of addiction. However, this does not mean that Xanax use is a risk-free experience. It is possible to become addicted to Xanax without abusing the drug.
How Long Does it Take to Get Addicted to Xanax?
Determining how long does it take to get addicted to Xanax can depend on several factors. Two of the most important factors are the amount and frequency of a person’s Xanax use.
As we noted in the previous section, it is possible to develop an addiction to Xanax even if the person is following the guidance of the physician who prescribed this medication. In many cases, though, Xanax addiction results from abuse. Xanax abuse can include exceeding the recommended dosage in an attempt to self-medicate. It can also include using Xanax for recreational purposes.
There is no simple, universal answer to the question, “How long does it take to get addicted to Xanax?” If someone has been abusing Xanax, they may begin to develop an addiction in as little as a few weeks. In addition, if a person has been taking prescription Xanax as directed by their physician, it will likely take much longer for them to become addicted.
Dangers of Xanax Addiction
Addiction is characterized by a loss of control. When someone develops an addiction to Xanax, they may be unable to manage how much Xanax they use or how often they use this drug. This can expose them to many potential dangers of Xanax addiction, and put them in a situation where they need benzo addiction treatment. Common side effects from Xanax abuse includes the following:
- Confusion and disorientation
- Impaired balance and coordination
- Inability to concentrate, focus, or even follow simple conversations
- Vision problems
- Slurring of speech
- Memory deficiencies
- Sexual dysfunction
- Being arrested and jailed
- Onset of co-occurring mental health disorders
- Job loss and long-term unemployment
- Ruined relationships
- Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
Remember: A person doesn’t need to hit “rock bottom” before they can benefit from professional treatment for Xanax addiction. The sooner a person gets the help they need, the sooner they can end their Xanax abuse and begin to repair any damage they have already incurred as a result of this dangerous behavior.
Dangerous Withdrawal Symptoms of Xanax
Withdrawal is one of the classic symptoms of addiction. When a person becomes dependent on Xanax or another drug, their body adapts to the presence of the substance. When the person either cannot acquire more of the drug or attempts to end their use of it, their body may react with a variety of distressing physical and/or psychological symptoms. This is known as withdrawal.
The following are possible Xanax withdrawal symptoms:
- Panic attacks
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Muscle weakness
- Racing heart rate
- Suicidal ideation
When a person has been using prescription Xanax under a doctor’s supervision, the doctor can help them avoid withdrawal by gradually lowering their dosage (which is known as tapering off). This allows the body to slowly adjust to decreasing amounts of Xanax in the person’s system. This limits the severity of the distress that the person may experience.
When a person attempts to end their Xanax abuse on their own, they may be more likely to develop the withdrawal symptoms listed above. Depending on how long the person has been using Xanax, and how much they have been using, these symptoms can quickly become overwhelming and push the individual back into the downward spiral of Xanax abuse
How to Overcome Xanax Addiction
Given the potential severity of Xanax withdrawal, many people begin treatment for Xanax addiction by entering a detoxification, or detox, program.
At Sanctuary Treatment Center in Los Angeles, California, we provide medically supervised detox for adults who have become addicted to Xanax and other substances. Our detox professionals can provide medical, therapeutic, and nutritional support to minimize the distress of withdrawal and protect the health of each person as they rid their body of Xanax.
Following detox, treatment for Xanax addiction may include both inpatient and outpatient programming. At each level, people may participate in a variety of therapies to help them build a foundation for long-term recovery. During therapy, people can learn about the disease of addiction. In addition, they can develop strategies for responding to triggers without resorting to Xanax abuse.
Begin Treatment for Xanax Addiction in Los Angeles, CA
If you or someone that you care about has developed an addiction to Xanax, another benzodiazepine, or any other addictive substance, the Sanctuary Treatment Center team is here to help. At our Xanax addiction treatment center in Los Angeles, skilled professionals provide personalized care in a safe, supportive, and welcoming environment. Here, you or your loved one can take significant steps toward improved health and successful recovery. Contact us today to learn more about the facts surrounding Xanax addiction and about our treatment programs.