Xanax is often abused as a recreational drug and a Xanax user can develop a tolerance and become addicted to it, but as with many drugs that affect a user’s central nervous system, the full answer is much more complicated than simply stating that Xanax is addictive. Xanax is the commercial name for alprazolam, which is one of a class of benzodiazepines that are prescribed to treat anxiety, depression and other psychological disorders. Researchers believe that Xanax binds to receptor sites in your brain and central nervous system either to suppress or facilitate other chemical interactions that might affect your brain. Xanax will cause an almost-hypnotic calming effect that allows a user to deal with highly stressful situations.
Understanding Xanax Addiction
After an even short time of regular use, Xanax can be habit-forming and addictive. Your body will metabolize Xanax within six to twelve hours after you ingest it. If you use Xanax intermittently to deal with specific stressful events, your addiction risk is lower, but if you are using Xanax to deal with regular everyday stress, you will quickly develop a tolerance for the drug and start to look for greater or more frequent doses. The calming effect that your first felt with low doses of Xanax will no longer be as apparent. At this stage you are developing a psychological addiction to Xanax and you will experience physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms when you stop your regular use of the drug.
Xanax users report that regular or increasing ingestion of Xanax puts them into a fog. Xanax addiction will cause short-term memory problems that will persist for a time after you stop using Xanax. They will experience double vision and reduced cognitive abilities. Regular Xanax use will also cause nausea and other digestion problems, loss of muscle control or tremors, and a noted reduction in sexual activity and in any desire to interact with other people. Given the calming effects of Xanax, individuals who have ingested large amounts of Ecstasy have been know to counteract the effects of that drug with follow-up doses of Xanax. Using multiple substances in this manner further complicates substance abuse and addiction problems.
Avoiding Xanax Addiction
Avoiding Xanax abuse and addiction can be as simple as taking only the prescribed amount of the drug and only as the drug is needed over a limited period of time. If your physician or therapist recommends longer-term use of Xanax, you should ask for a regular monitoring program to confirm that you are not succumbing to addiction. If, after an extended period of Xanax use, you notice that you are drowsy or light-headed, that you are having difficulty focusing or concentrating, or that you are increasingly sluggish or suffering from headaches or other physical ailments, contact your physician and ask him or her to reassess your use of Xanax. You should not stop using Xanax altogether, but work on a program to wean yourself from the drug. Sudden withdrawal from regular Xanax use can cause dangerous physical side effects, including seizures, and your physician should monitor your reduced use of Xanax until it is safe for you to stop all use of the drug.
Like all pharmaceuticals in the benzodiazepine family, Xanax has many beneficial uses, but it also has a high potential for abuse.
If you or someone close to you is using Xanax in a manner other than as prescribed and you are concerned about Xanax abuse or addiction, please call the counselors and therapists at the Last Resort Recovery Center (near Austin, Texas) at 512-360-3600 to discuss your concerns. We will evaluate your use of Xanax and give you confidential recommendations on whether and how you can stop using Xanax.