Very few individuals start using Xanax without a legitimate medical reason.Xanax acts as a tranquilizer to calm feelings of anxiety, agitation or nervous depression. Your doctor may prescribe Xanax to stop panic attacks or to help you with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Because Xanax acts very quickly, the drug can help you cope with the overwhelming physical responses to fear or anxiety.

As time goes on, most users want to take Xanax more often. You may even believe that you don’t think or behave normally unless you are under the influence of Xanax. If you feel that you’ve lost control, detox and rehabilitation provide the support needed to restore your emotional and physical well-being.

How Does Xanax Addiction Begin?

Xanax tabletsXanax belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. Xanax is a short-acting drug that can quickly slow down the transmission of chemicals in your brain that cause agitation and anxiety. After Xanax use, you may begin to feel the effects of the drug within one to two hours.[1] The medication’s rapid action can make it an effective way to stop a panic attack or help you relax, but it also increases the drug’s abuse potential.

Xanax is usually safe when taken under a doctor’s supervision. However, when you take more than the prescribed dose or take it too frequently, the medication can be habit-forming.

People may take more Xanax than is recommended for the following reasons:

  • The prescribed dose does not provide adequate relief.
  • They don’t follow up with their doctor.
  • The medication is taken without a prescription.
  • Xanax is used in combination with alcohol or another drug that impairs judgment.

There’s a common misconception that because Xanax is a prescription drug, it must be safer and less addictive than street drugs like heroin, meth or cocaine. The truth is, physical dependence is one of the biggest risks of benzodiazepine abuse. A Xanax overdose can cause severe central nervous system depression, slow your breathing and your heart rate. A Xanax overdose can be fatal, especially if you take it with alcohol or other drugs.

How Can I Tell if Need Xanax Rehab?

Xanax addiction may not be easy to recognize. You may need to use a benzodiazepine to manage a serious emotional disorder, control your seizures or prevent muscle spasms. But these symptoms could be warning signs that your use of this drug has gotten out of control and is a threat to your health:

  • You consistently run out of your tablets before it’s time to renew your prescription.
  • You need higher doses of the drug to achieve the same level of anxiety relief.
  • You feel irritable, confused or agitated when you don’t get your usual dose.

The Mayo Clinic advises that symptoms like memory loss, drowsiness, speech impairment, confusion, depression and dizziness can be signs of dependence on benzodiazepines.[2] If you feel that you’ve come to rely on Xanax just to get through a normal day, you might need a rehabilitation program to help you regain control of your life.

What Happens in Xanax Rehab?

When you enter rehab, the first step is to clear the drug out of your body through detox. Once you’ve been through detoxification, you’ll need psychosocial support in the form of self-help groups and counseling.

In a rehab program, you’ll also learn how to:

  • Handle situations that trigger your substance abuse
  • Correct negative thought patterns
  • Identify activities that help you reduce stress
  • Find alternative strategies for reacting to panic, anxiety, depression and stress

What Do I Do About My Anxiety or Panic Disorder?

Man having anxiety attackThe fear of having a panic attack or a depressive episode can be a significant barrier to getting treatment. American Family Physician points out that the long-term use of benzodiazepines can lead to psychological dependence on these drugs and affect your self-confidence.[3] You may feel that you can’t handle the everyday stress of work, traffic or family unless you have Xanax.

Rehab alone will not help you unless the underlying conditions that drive you to abuse this medication are treated too. Your treatment plan should include therapy sessions that address your psychological symptoms as well as your substance abuse. A recent study found that a co-existing disorder increased the risk of benzodiazepine addiction.[4]

How Do I Recover From Xanax Dependence?

Admitting that you can’t stop drug use is the first step in your recovery. At Michael’s House, we understand that Xanax abuse is often connected with a mental health condition like PTSD, or depression. Our treatment plans are customized to meet your needs. Once you decide to seek treatment, please call us to learn more. We are here to serve you and help you live a life without drugs. Don’t delay. Take this important step that will change your life forever.


[1] “Xanax – FDA prescribing information, side effects and uses.” Drugs.com. Web. 5 June 2017. Accessed 9 June 2017.

[2] The Mayo Clinic Staff. “Drug Addiction Symptoms.” The Mayo Clinic. 5 December 2014. Web. Accessed 2 June 2017.

[3] Longo, Lance. “Addiction: Part I. Benzodiazepines—Side Effects, Abuse Risk and Alternatives.” 1 April 2000. Web. Accessed 1 June 2017.

[4] Brunette, MF, et.al. “Benzodiazepine use and abuse among patients with severe mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders.” October 2003. Web. Accessed 2 June 2017.

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