Addiction is a condition that affects your brain and behavior. When you’re addicted to drugs, you can’t resist the urge to use them, no matter how much harm the drugs may cause. At first, you may choose to take a drug because you like the way it makes you feel. You may think you can control how much and how often you use it. But over time, drugs change how your brain works. These physical changes can last a long time. They make you lose control and can lead to damaging behaviors.
Xanax is a powerful benzodiazepine that is often prescribed to treat generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorders and insomnia. It is extremely addictive when used long-term. Xanax is the number one prescribed psychiatric medication in the United States. Seventy percent of teens with a Xanax addiction get the drug from their family’s medicine cabinet.
Tolerance to Xanax develops quickly, requiring the user to take more of the drug to achieve the desired effects. Someone with a Xanax addiction may take up to 20 to 30 pills per day. If the user decides to stop taking Xanax, they may experience withdrawal effects, such as anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and tremors. The onset of withdrawal symptoms is a sign that a physical dependence has developed. The development of tolerance and withdrawal are indications of addiction. SEE: What Does Xanax Really Do To Your Body?
Once a Xanax addiction has taken hold, daily responsibilities, such as school, work or family, are ignored as energy is redirected towards drug seeking behavior.
Other behavioral signs of Xanax addiction include:
- Continued use of Xanax even though it is contributing to personal difficulties
- Inability to stop using Xanax despite the desire to
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Obsessing about obtaining and using Xanax
- Loss of control over the amount of Xanax being consumed
- Legal problems that are the result of using Xanax
- Risk-taking behaviors, such as driving while under the influence of Xanax
Understanding this signs of Xanax abuse and addiction is very important because every day, more than 136 Americans die after overdosing on opioids. However, between 1996 and 2013, the number of adults who filled a benzodiazepine prescription increased by 67%, from 8.1 million to 13.5 million. The quantity obtained also increased from 1.1 kg to 3.6 kg lorazepam-equivalents per 100,000 adults.
Combining opioids and benzodiazepines can be unsafe because both types of drug sedate users and suppress breathing—the cause of overdose fatality—in addition to impairing cognitive functions. Unfortunately, many people are prescribed both drugs simultaneously.
In a study of over 300,000 continuously insured patients receiving opioid prescriptions between 2001 and 2013, the percentage of persons also prescribed benzodiazepines rose to 17 percent in 2013 from nine percent in 2001. The study showed that people concurrently using both drugs are at higher risk of visiting the emergency department or being admitted to a hospital for a drug-related emergency.
People being prescribed any medications should inform their doctors about all of the other drugs and medications they use, and patients should consult with their doctors about the potential dangers of using various medications and substances together, including the use of alcohol.
If a user wishes to stop taking Xanax after dependence on the drug has formed, it is not recommended to quit “cold turkey” or without medical supervision. The symptoms of Xanax withdrawal are similar to those of alcohol or barbiturate withdrawal, and the severity of the symptoms can vary. If convulsions occur, withdrawal from Xanax can be deadly. ALSO READ: Does Xanax Make You Horny?