How Xanax Affects The Brain
Xanax is in the benzodiazepine class of controlled substances. It affects the central nervous system and forces a response. The response is sedation, relaxation, or feelings of calm, despite stressful scenarios. This occurs in response to the enhancement of a neurotransmitter called GABA, which is naturally found in the brain.
GABA is specifically responsible for inhibiting messages that could overwhelm the brain thereby inducing calm. When augmented, sedation and relaxation are increased, resulting in the reduction of anxiety or disruptive thoughts. Additionally, by interpreting the lack of anxiety as a good thing, Xanax may inspire the pleasure centers of the brain.
Once the brain perceives using Xanax as a means of reward or feels good, dependency and addiction are soon to follow. However, more and more will be needed over time due to the compensation of brain chemicals to maintain balance. The alteration of brain chemicals sets the long-term effects of Xanax in motion, and some are irreversible.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help to break these associations over time, but only after drug use has stopped and detox completed. Replacing addictive behaviors with sober actions and beneficial thoughts helps to mentally cope and set recovery goals. This type of treatment can begin within the early stages of treatment, as to implement the lessons throughout rehab.
Addiction Is About Relationship
Addiction is also related to your relationship with the drug. Do you rely on the drug to get through the day? How does thinking about quitting make you feel? How has your attitude toward Xanax changed over the course of using it? Addiction develops faster when Xanax feels like an important or necessary part of your life.
If you rely on it to feel good or simply not feel bad, you are dependent on the drug.
Dependence is an early sign of addiction. It is a chemical response to the drug and isnt an indicator of personal failure or weakness. In fact, recognizing that you are losing control to Xanax displays awareness and concern. It indicates that you are ready to make a positive change in your life. With the right tools and resources, you can turn addiction into an opportunity for healing, growth, and forward movement.
The Risk Of Xanax Overdose
Those addicted to Xanax may take up to 20 or 30 pills, per day. However, with high use comes high risk. Benzodiazepines depress the central nervous system, causing physical symptoms like slurred speech, loss of coordination or disorientation.
Worse, they can cause respiratory failure. It takes a significant dose to overdose on Xanax alone. Most Xanax overdoses, however, occur when the drug is taken in conjunction with another substance such as alcohol, other depressants, or opiates. If you are experiencing symptoms of overdose or suspect you may have overdosed, please get help immediately by calling the National Poison Control Center at 1 222-1222, or by dialing 911. If Xanax overdose has caused someone to stop breathing, administer CPR right away.
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Can You Get Addicted To Xanax
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- By Nicole
Although this drug has somewhat of a socially acceptable reputation for helping with anxiety, panic and insomnia, it is a powerful drug that can easily become addicting. Xanax, the household name of a drug called alprazolam, is a drug that many are prescribed legally in small doses at their doctors discretion for conditions that include stress, anxiety and/or panic disorders. Although Xanax is prescribed legally in many cases, it can become an extremely addictive drug when used long-term.
Rehab For Xanax Addiction
Once someone has a Xanax addiction, they shouldnt stop taking the drug cold turkey. Licensed treatment professionals recommend the user be placed on a medically supervised tapering program to slowly wean them off the drug. Quitting the drug abruptly can lead to serious health effects, including seizures. As such, it is always recommended for those overcoming a Xanax addiction to start with a medical detox.
Those with a moderate to severe Xanax addiction will benefit from the high level of care provided in inpatient treatment centers. An outpatient program may be a suitable option for those with mild Xanax addictions.
Jeffrey Juergens earned his Bachelors and Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. Jeffreys desire to help others led him to focus on economic and social development and policy making. After graduation, he decided to pursue his passion of writing and editing. Jeffreys mission is to educate and inform the public on addiction issues and help those in need of treatment find the best option for them.
- Pdr.net. Alprazolam-Drug Summary. Retrieved on September 28, 2015 from
- CardioSmart.org. Alprazolam. Retrieved on September 28, 2015 from
- HealthLine.com. Diazepam, Oral Tablet. Retrieved on September 28, 2015 from
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What Can I Expect From Treatment At Harris House
As a dual diagnosis treatment facility, well take care of you as soon as you walk through our doors. Our staff will do everything they can to keep you as comfortable and safe as possible.
Harris Houses approach to treatment is based on assessing the client as a whole person in a non-judgmental way. Our treatment combines medication management, mental health therapy to stabilize depression and anxiety, along with 12 step support groups consists of the medical detox, a 12-step approach, and as a holistic approach to treatment. Its designed to work together to provide a stable foundation for the patient.
Admitting and being involved in substance abuse therapy is an already difficult process. We want to ensure all our clients are seen as holistic individuals worthy of time and care and help them receive the best treatment possible so they can enter recovery and leave their Xanax addiction behind them.
Indications For Use And Efficacy
Alprazolam is a high-potency triazolobenzodiazepine that is US Food and Drug Administration -approved for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders. Alprazolam is biotransformed by hepatic microsomal oxidation, yielding 4 and -hydroxyalprazolam as its principal metabolites, and is metabolized by cytochrome P450 3A4 .
The US FDAs approval for alprazolam came after 2 large, randomized, clinical trials that demonstrated short-term efficacy and clinically acceptable tolerability versus placebo . A plasma concentration range between 20 and 40 ng/mL has been suggested for targeting symptoms of panic disorder, with higher concentrations being associated with more significant central nervous system depressant effects. The side effects of alprazolam tablets are likely to be an extension of its pharmacological activity, and most commonly include drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue, dysarthria, headache, memory impairment, and depression.
Deadly Xanax Drug Interactions
Another danger when it comes to Xanax is combining it with another substance. These pairings can cause injury and even death. Xanax and alcohol are a very dangerous combination. When someone is drinking, they often dont realize how much Xanax is affecting their bodies. This can lead to overdosing.
Both substances are central nervous system depressants, slowing down the bodys processes like movement and breathing.
Xanax should never be combined with other benzodiazepines like Valium, Klonopin or Ativan. The effects of each drug can stack and increase the chance of overdose. Did you know that every year 115 Americans die of opioid overdose? Research has shown that from 20012013, about 17% of people who received an opioid prescription also received a benzodiazepine like Xanax.
This study did not include illicit opioids like heroin, which may increase the numbers. If you are taking Xanax as prescribed, check with your doctor before simultaneously drinking or taking another substance. Its crucial to take preventative measures when taking Xanax as it is a very dangerous drug when misused.
How Long Before You Become Addicted To Xanax
The United States has an anxiety problem and Xanax is often the medication to manage anxiety and panic attacks. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders characterizes panic attacks as abrupt feelings accompanied by at least four major symptoms. These include shortness of breath, increased heart rate, sweating, trembling, dizziness, and nausea. The less common symptoms are chest pain, choking, numbness or tingling sensations, and hot or cold flashes in parts of the body.
People who experience these episodes feel intense fear, often lose control of their body and/or mind, and may have thoughts of impending death. Also, the stress of one panic attack often leads to excessive worry and eventually causes further episodes. In other cases, certain stressors or triggers that are often unique to the individual cause anxiety and/or panic attacks.
About 3 in 100 Americans aged over 12 years struggle with some form of anxiety and tend to last a long time. Most patients still experience panic attacks and take medication to manage their symptoms even after six to seven years. The timeline of using anti-anxiety drugs such as Xanax is worrisome because of the risk of addiction.
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Xanax Is A Prescription Medication
Xanax is intended to be a prescription-only medication used in the treatment of anxiety disorders and other mental illnesses. Xanax is a designer name for alprazolam, designed to promote relief from the physical and emotional symptoms of certain conditions. In fact, because of its high-quality sedating properties, it continues to be recommended and refilled at significantly increased rates.
Recent studies suggest that more than 48 million scripts are written for the drug each year. The popularity alone keeps Xanax relevant and easily attainable. However, because of the intended short-term nature of the medicine, the long-term effects of Xanax are easily overlooked.
What makes the risk of Xanax brain damage ever more disturbing, is the difficulty faced when weaning off the drug. Any medication that can change the way the brain operates, in this case, inducing sedation establishes the potential for uncomfortable withdrawal. Any deviation, in dosage, duration, or frequency, otherwise recommended by a physician, isnt only harmful, but is considered drug abuse.
Can I Become Addicted To Xanax
In our increasingly fast-paced and ever-changing society, its no surprise that anxiety is the most common mental illness affecting adults and children today. In fact, an estimated 40 million American adults are suffering from some sort of anxiety disorder.
Thankfully, anxiety disorders are highly treatable. Although there are a number of medications on the market to treat this disease, Xanax is one of the most common drugs prescribed to help those suffering from an anxiety disorder. Each year, around 44 million prescriptions for Xanax are written.
Xanax is frequently prescribed because of its high-potency, which helps treat symptoms of anxiety quickly and effectively. Unfortunately, this is also what makes Xanax highly addictive.
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Psychological Signs Of Xanax Abuse
Someone with a Xanax addiction cannot control the desire to consume the drug to keep the high one keeps getting from it, which is when abuse can turn into an addiction.
Psychological Signs of Xanax Addiction:
- Forgetfulness and confusion completing certain tasks or remembering details about conversations
- Becoming suddenly annoyed and irritated by small things
- Engaging in talkative behaviors
- Extreme and erratic behavioral changes such as excessive tiredness or listlessness
- Extreme mood swings such as manic-type moods
- Delaying tasks that require work and effort
Because Xanax typically slows brain and spinal cord function in the central nervous system , an addiction will cause one to become more apathetic and inactive more than usual, which can be a sign that addiction to Xanax has developed.
What Is Xanax Addiction
Addiction, or substance use disorder, is when a person continues to use a pleasurable substance or perform a pleasurable action despite negative consequences the substance or action causes. Consequences can be financial, occupational or interpersonal.
Substance use disorder develops over months and years, and may not be easy to identify at first.
Xanax dependence can be a trigger that encourages addiction. When a person is dependent, they cannot stop using a drug without experiencing withdrawal. They also cannot function normally without the substance. Therefore, the urge to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay reinforces substance use.
Addiction does not discriminate, especially when it comes to prescription drugs like Xanax. People from all walks of life can become addicted to Xanax. While addiction is different for everyone, the progression from the first use to a substance use disorder may look something like this:
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Find Help For Xanax Abuse
We understand that anxiety interferes with social relationships, personal happiness, and employment, and thus the need to use Xanax as a coping means. However, the hard truth is that pills alone will not fix your anxiety as up to 6 in 10 people diagnosed with panic disorder also develop depression later.
Getting treatment for Xanax addiction is possible. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your addiction, NJ Addiction Resources can get you the best help you deserve. Call our addiction helpline to get started on your journey to freedom from Xanax addiction.
Consider The Risk Factors Of Xanax
The amount of time it takes to become addicted to Xanax is also affected by the relationship with the drug. Consider if the drug is needed to help get through the day. Also, consider if taking Xanax feels like an integral part of life that cannot be lived without. These factors help determine the rate of addiction to Xanax.
A prescription for Xanax is not needed to become addicted to it. Misusing the drug, taking it without a prescription or for recreational purposes can lead to Xanax addiction. Self-medicating mental health symptoms increase the risk. Using it to relax, party, or in combination with other drugs also increases the risk. Considering the factors of how and why one would resort to using Xanax is the first step to understanding how Xanax works and its length of impact time.
If a family member has addiction problems, it may predict if someone could be more [rone to addiction than other people. Biology also plays a role as well as mental and physical health.
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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 isnt 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 persons life and treatment is needed immediately.
Can You Become Addicted To Grief
An addiction as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary is the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity. The precise reason behind why an individual develops an addiction remains unknown. There are, however, several risk factors that have been reported to increase ones propensity for developing an addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse these include a combination of psychological, biological, and environmental factors. Every individual is different and will have or lack various predispositions that can contribute to developing an addiction. Nevertheless, it is important to note that anyone can develop an addiction, regardless of social status, beliefs, or background.
When one refers to complicated grief, it implies that an individual is essentially stuck in a perpetual state of heightened and ongoing mourning that prohibits his or her from healing. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , mentions a specific disorder, known as persistent complex bereavement disorder, which is described as an individual who experiences intense symptoms of debilitating grief that does not dissipate in the months following the loss, and lasts beyond twelve months. Unlike with complicated grief, and persistent complex bereavement disorder, when an individual is addicted to grief, enduring the ongoing symptoms is how he or she satisfies his or her addictive cravings.
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How To Recognize Addiction In A Loved One
Recognizing symptoms of Xanax addiction in a loved one is the first step in understanding how to help them. Everyones unique situation means that they will experience symptoms on their terms. However, symptoms between Xanax users are quite similar.
The following are common signs of addiction:
- Mood changes. Your loved one may seem more irritable and experience feelings of depression or anxiety.
- Behavioral changes. Your loved one may be acting secretive or even show signs of aggressive behavior.
- Changes in appearance. Your loved one may have recently lost or gained a significant amount of weight.
- Health issues. Is your loved one sleeping a lot, appearing sluggish, or experiencing nausea, vomiting, or headaches? They may be struggling with a Xanax addiction.
- Social changes. They may withdraw themselves from their usual social activities and problems maintaining healthy relationships. Also, the friends they have may change. They may be developing strange relationships with people or having suspicious phone calls.
How Xanax Causes Dependency And Addiction
Doctors usually start patients who have never taken benzodiazepines on low doses of Xanax, such as 0.25 milligrams or 0.5 milligrams. Everyone who takes the drug regularly will develop tolerance, meaning theyll require higher doses to feel the same therapeutic effect. Patients with a high tolerance to Xanax may require doses greater than 4 milligrams per day, increasing their risk for dependence.
Dependence occurs when a person experiences physical or mental withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking a substance.
Xanax withdrawal symptoms include:
- Uncontrollable shaking
- High blood pressure
Being dependent on Xanax is not necessarily a bad thing. People who need anti-anxiety medication to control anxiety or panic disorders may be dependent on Xanax and never experience negative consequences. As long as they communicate with their doctor about their treatment, they can develop a plan to discontinue Xanax when necessary.
In many cases, people addicted to Xanax believe they need it to relieve anxiety. But the anxiety that they experience when they stop taking the drug is actually a symptom of Xanax withdrawal. Many Xanax users refer to this phenomenon as rebound anxiety.
Large doses or misuse of Xanax can lead to dangerous side effects, including:
- Blurred vision
But people with a valid prescription may develop an addiction to Xanax because they dont know how to stop taking the drug on their own. They continue taking it to avoid withdrawal.
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