You know you’re addicted when…
You were given a prescription for Xanax to control your anxiety, but you’ve become even more anxious because you’re running out of refills. You’ve tried different doctors, but no one will let you have more of the drug. And the closer you get to running out the worse things get. You know the withdrawal symptoms are coming, because they’re there every time you try and stop. Headaches, weakness, no appetite, and you can’t get to sleep no matter how hard you try. If you could just get more medicine everything would be ok. But the medicine that was supposed to help you has turned your anxiety into addiction, and you don’t know what to do.
Xanax is a medication that is often prescribed to treat anxiety attacks or panic disorder. Xanax is also used in the following additional ways:
- To treat insomnia
- For alcohol withdrawal
- To treat seizures
- For muscle relaxation
- To induce amnesia for certain medical procedures
- Given prior to anesthesia before surgery
Xanax, like other benzodiazepines, works in the central nervous system producing sedation and muscle relaxation while decreasing anxiety1 Xanax is highly habit-forming, and using more of the drug than prescribed for long periods of time can lead to addiction. Xanax addictions manifest in a variety of ways depending on the individual. Understanding the warning signs of Xanax abuse and the symptoms of addiction can help you or your loved on get treatment in a timely way.
Signs of Addiction You Can See
While people who have Xanax addictions may suspect there is a problem, it is often the people who surround him or her that spot changes first. These changes can include:
- Periodic sedation
- Frequent requests for money
- Doctor shopping, or looking for medical professionals who will dispense more of the drug
- Increased need for privacy
- Claiming that prescriptions have been lost
- Stealing Xanax pills from others
Loved ones who spot these changes may need to hold a meeting in which all participants outline the changes they’ve seen. If the group agrees that an addiction has developed, an intervention might be in order.
Other Signs of Concern
People who are addicted to Xanax may take large numbers of pills each day. This means the need to purchase more and more of the drug takes precedence over paying rent, buying groceries, paying credit card bills or making utility payments. They may borrow money in order to make ends meet for a short period of time, but the addiction soon consumes every area of life. Buying Xanax on the street or online, sharing drugs with others or combining Xanax with other substances such as alcohol can quickly lead to accidental overdose.2
People who struggle with Xanax abuse don’t plan to become addicted. If you or someone you love uses Xanax under a doctor’s supervision, look for these signs of abuse:
- Taking larger amounts than prescribed by a physician
- Becoming preoccupied with getting and using the drug
- Taking too many pills at once
- Needing more of the drug before the next dose is due or the appearance of withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped3
None of these behaviors are sanctioned by medical professionals. If you notice any of these habits in a loved one, it’s time to get help.
Dependence and Drug Seeking Behaviors
Xanax addiction is medically identified by two main factors: physical dependence and psychological dependence. People who take Xanax and who experience symptoms of physical withdrawal are developing dependence on the drug. When a physical dependence on the drug is present, addiction isn’t far behind. When physical dependence is accompanied by a psychological need for the drug, addiction is the culprit.
While some people take Xanax exclusively, many others enhance their experience by adding in another drug of abuse. Combining Xanax with opioids, alcohol or stimulants can be disastrous for the body and greatly increase the likelihood of death from drug overdose. This kind of drug-seeking behavior is a clear warning sign that addiction has taken over a person’s life and treatment is needed immediately.
Finding Help for Xanax Addiction
If you or a loved one struggles with Xanax abuse, we are here for you. Our admission coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions about the detox and addiction treatment options available. You are not alone. Contact us at Michael’s House today.
1 “Benzodiazepine Abuse.” WebMD, WebMD. Accessed 28 Mar. 2018.
1 “Xanax Oral : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures, Warnings & Dosing.” WebMD, WebMD. Accessed 28 Mar. 2018.
1 “Drug Addiction (Substance Use Disorder).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. 26 Oct. 2017.