What is Xanax?

Xanax, the brand name for the commonly prescribed drug alprazolam, is most frequently used for the treatment of severe anxiety disorders. This medication acts quickly and has a short half-life, meaning that is eliminated from the system more quickly than some other benzodiazepines – including Librium and Valium. Because Xanax has such a high potential for abuse, it is typically only prescribed to be taken at the onset of a severe, anxiety-related “episode.” For example, an individual might be prescribed Xanax that is to be taken at the beginning of a panic attack. Alprazolam works similarly to other prescription sedatives in the sense that it works by binding to GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) neurotransmitters, which essentially slows down all activity within the brain resulting in increased relaxation and reduced stress levels. According to an article published in the Journal of Addictive Medicine titled, “A Review of Alprazolam Use, Misuse, and Withdrawal,” Xanax is not only the most frequently prescribed benzodiazepine throughout the United States, but it is one of the most frequently prescribed psychotropic medications in general. During the year 2013 there were 48 million Xanax prescriptions dispensed throughout the country. Prescribing physicians understand that this medication is extremely habit-forming and that associated withdrawal symptoms are extremely severe – and often life-threatening – still, this specific prescription tranquilizer continues to be prescribed at alarming rates.

Xanax Abuse and Addiction

There are many behavioral, emotional, physical and psychological symptoms that go hand-in-hand with Xanax abuse and addiction. According to an article titled, “How to Recognize and Treat Xanax Addiction,” many of the symptoms associated with Xanax addiction will look the same regardless of the individual.

Common symptoms of Xanax Addiction include:

  • Persistent and intense Xanax cravings
  • Using the medication for longer than intended or in higher doses than intended
  • Being sure to always keep a supply of Xanax on hand – feeling anxious when there is no Xanax readily available
  • Continuing to use Xanax despite an accumulation of personal consequences
  • Spending a significant amount of money in order to obtain the drug, even when experiencing financial insecurity
  • Attempting to cut back or quit but being unable to do so
  • Attempting to get more than one Xanax prescription written at a time (doctor shopping)
  • Raiding the medicine cabinets of family members and friends in hopes of finding an unused Xanax prescription
  • Developing a physical tolerance, meaning more Xanax is required over time in order for the desired effects to be produced
  • Experiencing severe physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms when use is ceased abruptly

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The Risks of Xanax Abuse

It is important that individuals who are prescribed this medication (or who have been obtaining this medication through other means and abusing it for any period of time) fully understand the risks involved.

Serious risks of Xanax Abuse include:

  • Developing an addictive disorder – When it comes to taking Xanax – even when it is being taken as prescribed by a medical professional – the risk of developing a physical and psychological dependence is very real.
  • Lasting brain damage – The longer that a drug like Xanax is abused the more the brain comes to rely on it in order to function. Alprazolam controls many basic functions like memory, consciousness, the way the brain processes information, emotional responses and coordination. Over time, the brain becomes unable to complete these basic functions unless Xanax is present in the system; and even then, a higher dose is required in order for any effects to be produced.
  • Severe and lasting mood swings – Individuals who use Xanax consistently often find that they are unable to regulate their own emotions. They experience angry (sometimes violent) outbursts or break down into tears for no apparent reason.
  • Decreased sex drive – Benzodiazepine medications tend to have an effect on sex drive while they are being taken, but long-term abuse can easily lead to permanently damaged sexual functioning.
  • Lethargy and weight gain – Because Xanax is a prescription sedative it leads to feelings of lethargy and fatigue. However, it can also result in intense surges of hunger which can prompt binge eating episodes. Combine binge eating with a lack of physicality and you have a recipe for significant weight gain over time.
  • Permanent issues with coordination – Because Xanax affects the area of the brain that controls coordination, individuals who have been abusing this drug for any length of time might find that they have trouble standing up straight or keeping their balance.

Xanax Withdrawal

Benzodiazepines like Xanax result in severe and sometimes life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. For this reason, it is absolutely essential that anyone who has been abusing Xanax for any length of time admit him or herself into a medically monitored detox facility for the duration of the withdrawal process. When it comes to Xanax, undergoing withdrawal is one of the biggest risk factors that coincides with continued abuse.

Symptoms associated with Xanax withdrawal include:

  • Severe and persistent headaches
  • Insomnia and other sleep-related issues
  • Profuse sweating
  • Body tremors
  • Severe anxiety and panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Delirium
  • Seizures
xanax detox recovery

Because Xanax withdrawal can lead to serious psychological symptoms like panic attacks and suicidal ideation and serious physical symptoms like seizures, medical detox is always a necessary first step on the road to recovery.

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A Simple and Stress-Free Admissions Process

Pine Tree Recovery Center offers our future clients and their loved ones a stress-free and uncomplicated admissions process – one that was carefully designed to help get individuals into treatment as quickly as possible. We understand that when it comes to Xanax addiction, there is typically a small window of willingness during which clients seriously consider reaching out for the professional help they both need and deserve. As soon as you give us a call, our Treatment Advisors begin by conducting a brief, non-invasive evaluation over the phone. This simply helps us determine which treatment program is best-suited to meet all of your individual needs. We ask a series of simple questions like, “How long have you been abusing Xanax?” “Were you prescribed this medication initially, or did you receive the drug from a friend or family member?” “Were you abusing any chemical substances in addition to Xanax?” Once the evaluation is complete we set to work determining how our treatment services are going to be covered. Because we believe that professional and high-quality clinical care should be readily available to all those who are suffering from substance abuse and dependency, we work closely with most major national and regional insurance providers. If you are currently insured there is a very good chance that the services we provide are covered in full. Next, we develop viable travel plans and set up a date and a time for intake. There is no reason why finding the best treatment center for you should be an intimidating or stressful situation. Simply give us a call now, 24/7 and we will take care of everything for you.

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    If you have been suffering at the hands of a Xanax use disorder of any severity, there is truly no time to wait. Xanax addiction is a rapidly progressive disease, meaning that associated symptoms only continue to get worse the longer they are left untreated. Pine Tree Recovery Center offers men and women of all ages the opportunity to undergo Xanax detox in a safe, supportive and medically monitored environment. Our recovery program serves individuals in Portland, Maine and all surrounding areas. For more information on our comprehensive, integrated and highly individualized program of Xanax addiction recovery, simply reach out to us today at (888) 693-1751, we are available 24/7. We look forward to helping you get started on your own personal journey of healing.