Xanax is a powerful prescription drug that is most commonly used to treat anxiety, panic disorder, and insomnia. As the number one prescribed psychiatric medication in the U.S., Xanax has gained popularity with its users because of its calming effects and general ability to alleviate severe anxiety and sleep disturbances. To do this, Xanax works on the brain and central nervous system by boosting a brain chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). When GABA is elevated, the level of activity in the brain is decreased and, in turn, the user feels more relaxed and calm. As such, the user may gravitate toward taking more Xanax to reach this desired state of relaxation more intensely and more frequently. The need to take more Xanax to achieve these effects can, unfortunately, throw even innocent users straight into the devastating grips of addiction.
Tolerance to Xanax can happen quickly, meaning the user has to use more of the drug to feel the original effects. Furthermore and dangerously enough, this benzodiazepine is also extremely addictive, making it one of the most abused drugs on the market today. As such, if a user decides to suddenly stop taking the prescription without being tapered off with the help of a medical professional, extreme withdrawal symptoms may arise, causing the user to hopelessly cling to the drug in order to avoid feeling these uncomfortable symptoms. This further perpetuates the cycle of addiction.
Signs of Xanax Abuse and Overdose
Addiction to Xanax can happen quickly and, as such, the user needs to be on the lookout for the behavioral signs of Xanax abuse before an addiction becomes all-consuming. Some signs that an addiction to Xanax has started to set in include:
- Inability to stop taking Xanax despite wanting to
- Obsessing over taking and obtaining more Xanax
- Keeping one’s dosage of Xanax secret from friends, family, or doctors
- Losing interest in things that one used to enjoy
- Becoming more of a risk taker, such as driving under the influence of Xanax or other drugs
- Denying or even becoming defensive when asked about a possible addiction at hand
- Isolating from friends and family
- Taking less care of oneself, including one’s hygiene
- Having legal problems as a result of taking Xanax
As this is not an all-inclusive list, it is imperative that if one feels they are either headed towards a Xanax addiction or already on the path of addiction that they seek help from either a medical professional or an intensive outpatient/inpatient drug rehab facility that can help guide the individual towards recovery. Furthermore, it is highly advised that one does not try to stop taking Xanax “cold turkey” or without being under the aid of medical supervision. Xanax withdrawal symptoms can be severe, if not deadly.
Overdose on Xanax can also be fatal and needs to be monitored closely. If the user is experiencing any of these overdose symptoms or any other alarming side-effects it is imperative that one reach out to their doctor immediately:
- Difficulty breathing
- Slowed heart rate
- Loss of balance
- Muscle weakness
- Extreme drowsiness
It is essential that if any of these symptoms occur that the individual suffering from the overdose be extremely honest with emergency medical personnel about the substances taken and the dosage of each substance. This is imperative to getting the help one needs without risking the health and safety of the individual.
Xanax Withdrawal From Overdose
Xanax is meant to be a temporary fix for acute distress, not as a long-term treatment plan. Taking Xanax long-term can create problems with dependence on the drug and intense, even severe, withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the level of abuse, withdrawal from Xanax can range anywhere from being uncomfortable to being really unpleasant. Typically speaking, most people that start detoxing off Xanax experience an increase in anxiety, causing them to feel more nervous, jumpy, on-edge, irritable or agitated. Insomnia is also another common withdrawal symptom experienced, which can cause further increase feelings of anxiety and agitation. Some other physical signs of withdrawal include:
- Muscle spasms
- Racing pulse
Some psychological withdrawal side-effects may include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Panic attacks
Withdrawal symptoms generally occur within 8 to 12 hours of an individual’s last dose, with symptoms typically being most intense on the second day and improving by the fourth or fifth day. However, depending on the individual, acute symptoms of detox can last significantly longer. Furthermore, if the individual improperly tapers their dosage of Xanax, withdrawal symptoms can be much more intense. Therefore, it is imperative that one seek proper, medical guidance on how to most safely and effectively detox off Xanax.
How to Get Help Before a Xanax Overdose Happens
Treatment for a Xanax overdose or addiction depends on a variety of factors that can be unique to the user such as, how much of the drug was taken, if other drugs were used with Xanax, the individuals chemical and genetic makeup, and if the user has any co-occurring disorders (having both a mental health disorder and a substance abuse disorder). Because withdrawal from Xanax can be intense, even fatal, to the user, it is essential that one seek the help of a trained medical professional or go to an intensive outpatient/inpatient drug rehab. Drug rehab facilities are particularly beneficial for someone seeking help with addiction because they help the individual get to the root of the addiction and why one was seeking Xanax to begin with. If an individual is suffering from a co-occuring disorder that causes them to seek Xanax then both disorders will be addressed so that they individual can seek a healthier alternative in the future. Furthermore, through the help of trained clinical therapists and counselors, an individual can find other methods of coping that benefit their well-being instead of causing harm.
The time to get help from an addiction to Xanax is now. Even if you are unsure if an addiction is at hand it is better to seek help now before addiction becomes all consuming. Reach out today and get on the path of a better, more fulfilling life free from drugs immediately.