How Many People Use And Abuse Xanax
Upjohn Laboratories introduced Xanax in the United States in 1981. Unlike Valium, the most popular anti-anxiety drug during the 1970s, Xanax was marketed as the first drug to reduce panic attacks.
Today, Xanax is one of the most popular psychiatric drugs and one of the most prescribed medications in the United States. As prescriptions increased, so did adverse events and overdose deaths associated with the drug.
Less than one out of every 200,000 adults died from a benzodiazepine overdose in 1996. More than six out of every 200,000 adults died from a benzo overdose in 2013, according to a 2016 study.
Xanax is misused because of its potency and price, Wilkinson said. There are reports of people purchasing a 30-day supply of Xanax from the pharmacy for less than $3. You cannot buy a six-pack of beer for that price.
In 2015, more than 17 million people used Xanax and generic alprazolam products. More than 4 million of those people misused the products, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Thats more than the combined number of people who misused lorazepam , clonazepam and diazepam products.
The majority of people who misuse Xanax are between the ages of 18 and 25. A small percent of those young adults are introduced to the drug in high school. Xanax is more than twice as popular among high school seniors as the next most popular benzo.
Physical Signs Of Xanax Abuse
One of the most obvious indications of Xanax abuse is when one consumes more than the prescribed dosage amount.
Physical Signs of Xanax Abuse Include:
- Lack of coordination
Xanax addiction starts with physical dependence and then develops into a compulsive and uncontrolled need, and might even engage in potential self-harm. There are just a few numbers of refills for the prescription, due to its habit-forming effects. This is where obsession can lead to addiction.
Diagnostic Criteria For Xanax Addiction
Specific diagnostic criteria designating an addiction or use disorder to a sedative such as Xanax includes clinically significant impairment or distress in at least two of the following areas over a 12-month period:
- Taking the tranquilizer in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than intended.
- Unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control Xanax use.
- Spending a great deal of time obtaining, using or recovering from using Xanax.
- Recurring use of the drug that causes problems at work, school or home .
- Continued use of Xanax despite the presence of recurrent or persistent social or relationship problems cause by the drug use .
- Giving up or drastically cutting back on important social, recreational or work activities in order to continue drug use.
- Continuing to use Xanax and then driving or operating machinery or doing other physically hazardous activities.
- Continuing Xanax use despite having a physical or psychological problem that is caused by or made worse by the drug.
- Tolerance a need for increased amounts of the drug to achieve the level of intoxication or desired effect, or a markedly diminished effect after continued use of the same amount of Xanax.
- Withdrawal experiencing withdrawal syndrome, taking Xanax or other substances to avoid or relieve withdrawal symptoms.
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How Long Does It Take To Quit An Addiction To Meth
Meth, or methamphetamine, is an incredibly addictive stimulant drug that can result in incredibly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Many of these have to do with intense depression, as methamphetamine depletes and damages your brains dopamine functioning in ways that take a long time to repair, much like heroin.
When detoxing from meth, withdrawal symptoms usually begin after 24 hours and remain intense for seven to ten days, although some symptoms can continue for much longer. Initial symptoms will include fatigue and an unusual amount of sleep. Your body and brain need this time rest to repair. Depression usually sets in during the first few days as well.
Strong cravings start between day four and ten, along with mood swings, brain fog, and a lack of motivation. In more serious cases of withdrawal, people may experience:
- Severe depression
- Suicidal thoughts and intention
Cravings, depression and other symptoms may continue after day ten, and insomnia will often appear. After a month, most symptoms, besides depression and occasional cravings, will subside. Recovering meth addicts who experience hallucinations and psychotic symptoms usually find relief after a week or two.
Benzodiazepine Dependence: Reduce The Risk
Benzodiazepine dependence is of increasing concern. Health professionals play a key role in reducing drug misuse and dependence. Read more.
Benzodiazepines are widely used and one of the most commonly misused classes of prescription drugs in Australia. Dependence on benzodiazepines is more likely to occur with prolonged use and is becoming of increasing concern.
Long-term prescribing and its effects on the CNS are contributing factors to benzodiazepine misuse and dependence. GPs and pharmacists play a key role in educating patients and carers about the safe and appropriate use of benzodiazepines.
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How Long Does It Take To Quit An Addiction To Alcohol
Breaking an addiction to alcohol requires enduring detoxification and the accompanying withdrawal symptoms that usually begin 8 hours after your last drink, although they may start later.
Common alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:
- Mood swings
- Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite
- Rapid heart rate
These symptoms tend to peak at 24 to 72 hours after your last drink, and although they typically last between five days to two weeks, they continue for weeks in some individuals.
After acute withdrawal passes, many people suffer from protracted/post-acute withdrawal symptoms, otherwise known as PAWS. These emotionally and physically exhausting symptoms usually peak four to eight weeks after your last drink. Symptoms include continued mood swings, anxiety, depression and insomnia. PAWS can also cause a lack of emotion, problems with dizziness, balance and reflexes increased accidents, sexual dysfunction, difficulty coping with stress, memory problems, low energy and slowed metabolism.
My Addiction To Benzos Was Harder To Overcome Than Heroin
Benzodiazepines like Xanax are contributing to opioid overdoses. It happened to me.
How we see the world shapes who we choose to be and sharing compelling experiences can frame the way we treat each other, for the better. This is a powerful perspective.
When I woke up from my first heroin overdose, I was submerged in an ice-cold bath. I heard my boyfriend Marks pleas, his voice screaming at me to wake up.
As soon my eyes peeled open, he lifted me out of the tub and held me close. I couldnt move, so he carried me to our futon, dried me off, dressed me in pajamas, and swaddled me in my favorite blanket.
We were shocked, silent. Even though Id been using hard drugs, I didnt want to die at only 28 years old.
When I looked around, I was stunned at how our cozy Portland apartment felt more like a crime scene than a home. Rather than the usual comforting aroma of lavender and incense, the air smelled like vomit and vinegar from cooking heroin.
Why did I overdose? We had used the same batch of heroin earlier that day and carefully weighed our doses. Baffled, he scanned the table and asked me, Did you take Klonopin earlier today?
I didnt remember, but I must have even though I knew that combining Klonopin with heroin could be a deadly combination.
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Showing Signs Of Benzodiazepine Addiction
Abusing benzodiazepines can rapidly lead to addiction and/or dependence due to the highly abusive potential of the drugs. In fact, it is common for those who abuse benzos to become addicted in as little as two or three weeks.
Addiction occurs when someone becomes dependent on a substance. When someone abuses benzodiazepines to the extent that a loved one takes notice, it is likely they have already become addicted.
Signs of a benzodiazepine addiction may include:
- continued use of benzodiazepines, despite risks to self or others
- complete loss of control over benzodiazepine abuse
- denial of addiction
How Long Does It Take To Break An Addiction To Benzodiazepines
Withdrawal symptoms during a detox from benzodiazepines such as Klonopin, Halcyon and Ativan start between 12 hours and a few days after quitting the drug, depending on your body chemistry and whether your drug of choice is a short or long-acting formulation. For example, Valium withdrawal usually appears after a few days, while Xanax withdrawal can begin as few as 10 hours after your last dose.
These symptoms can be severe and unpredictable, varying greatly in intensity and duration from person to person. They may last just a few days, or for several months, and about 10% of benzodiazepine addicts experience anxiety, depression and insomnia for years afterward. Benzodiazepines are notorious for being unpredictable in their physical effects, both during use and during withdrawal.
Common benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms:
- Sensory distortions such as hypersensitivity, crawling skin, tingling sensations, and feeling like you are moving when you are still
- Depression, irritability and anxiety
- Muscle pain
The most common benzo withdrawal symptoms are primarily anxiety symptoms, including increased blood pressure and heart rate, although some people may develop a protracted withdrawal syndrome that can include long-term insomnia, anxiety and depression as well as musculoskeletal, neurologic and gastrointestinal symptoms.
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Combining Benzodiazepines With Other Substances
Benzodiazepines are commonly combined with other substances, which is thought to extend the desired effects. While this may be the case in the short-term, combining benzos with other substances, particularly other depressants, is very dangerous.
Over 30 percent of individuals who overdosed on opioids were found to have taken benzodiazepines as well. Combining benzodiazepines with opioids or alcohol can be lethal, even in moderation. If a loved one is mixing benzodiazepines with other depressants, they may appear acutely intoxicated and dizzy, and it is best to seek medical attention immediately.
With Or Without A Prescription
You can become addicted to Xanax even if you have a prescription. This means your addiction risk only increases if you misuse the drug, take it without a prescription, or take it for recreational purposes. If you take the drug in larger quantities or more often than prescribed, you are more likely to become addicted and to do so faster.
If you self-medicate mental health symptoms, your risk increases further. If you use the drug to relax, to party, or in combination with other drugs, your risk is greatest. Consider how and why you use Xanax. This will directly relate to if and how quickly addiction-related problems arise.
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Causes Of Benzo Addiction
Despite being a prescription drug with medical benefits, abusing benzodiazepines is increasingly common. Research shows that benzos are addictive in a similar way to opiates and marijuana. These drugs cause a change in the brain that increases levels of dopamine, a hormone that makes you feel happy. The repeated use of benzos is rewarding because when you receive a dopamine increase, it puts you in a happy mood.
Addiction experts indicate that a physical dependence to benzos develops more quickly among those taking high doses of the drug. Long-term use of more powerful benzos like Xanax can also increase your chance of benzo addiction. When you use benzos, you risk developing a psychological dependence on the drug and seek out higher doses to achieve the same effects.
According to research, 80 percent of people who abuse benzos also abuse other drugs, most often opiates like heroin. Alcohol abuse and benzo abuse also commonly occur together. Benzos are preferred among people who abuse other drugs because they help manage withdrawal symptoms and even enhance the high associated with other substances. Additionally, those who abuse benzos typically obtain the drugs via prescription, whether their own or someone elses.
How Can I Avoid Or Reduce Benzo Withdrawal
The first step is to be aware of your risk factors for tolerance and dependence. By being aware of the risks and benefits of taking any medication or supplement, you should be informed.
Do your research, talk with your doctor, and make sure you are comfortable and confident with the recommended treatment.
Here are some tips you might consider before taking benzos:
- Avoid short-acting benzos as they tend to be more addictive.
- Try to keep the dosage of the benzo as low as possible.
- Do not use benzos long-term, try to take them as infrequently as possible.
- Always work on the root cause of your symptoms while taking your medications.
- Ask your doctor if there are any interactions with your benzo and other medications you may be taking.
- Consider doing root-cause testing to rule out other causes of your symptoms.
- If you have a history of addiction, it is best to avoid using any benzo medications.
- Rally your supportive resources, friends, family, doctors, counselors and any other helpers that can help you.
Here are some tips you might consider if you are currently taking benzos:
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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.
Depression And Emotional Blunting
An association has been noted between benzodiazepine use and depressive symptoms and, in some cases, the emergence of suicidal ideation. Some evidence indicates that higher benzodiazepine dosages are associated with an increased risk of depression and that reducing the dosage or discontinuing therapy may resolve the depressive symptoms.15 Although the mechanism of this action is unclear, benzodiazepine-related depression might occur as a physiologic result of a reduction in central monoamine activity.
Emotional anesthesia may also be seen in clinical practice. This effect may be sought by drug addicts who become progressively more incapable of tolerating their emotions and life stressors.
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Xanax Dependency And Addiction
Unfortunately, a dependency on Xanax, or a substance like it, will often start as a means of self-medication.
While around 18 percent of the American adult population is suffering from an anxiety disorder, less than half of them will seek help for it. Those that do not seek professional help for anxiety will often turn to a substance, like Xanax, as a means to cope with the debilitating symptoms of an anxiety or panic disorder.
Even if you are prescribed Xanax by a doctor, you are at risk for a Xanax addiction. If you are using this drug regularly to cope with feelings of anxiety or panic, it doesnt matter whether the drug was prescribed by a doctor or not, you could unknowingly fall into addiction.
If one small pill can help ease the pain for those suffering with an anxiety disorder, it can seem like the most effective and simplistic form of treatment. However, this mindset is incredibly dangerous. If Xanax use is not thoroughly managed, this simple solution will slip into dependency. From there, the Xanax dependency can easily slip into addiction. Gradually and without even realizing it, you can become trapped in your own solution.
Xanax Withdrawal And Detox
Along with the relatively quick process of addiction that can develop, benzodiazepines are dangerous because of the withdrawal symptoms. Like alcohol, benzodiazepines like Xanax impact the GABA receptors. This means that the removal of alprazolam from the system causes a severe change in the central nervous system. The withdrawal symptoms can be incredibly painful, uncomfortable, and even fatal.
If you or somebody you know is struggling with a Xanax addiction, it is crucial that you reach out for help. Withdrawing on your own or trying to detox at home can be lethal, and should not even be an option. Without proper medical care, the withdrawal process from benzodiazepines can cause lasting damage, result in relapse, or kill the individual!
Help is only a phone call away.
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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.