Xanax Abuse: Symptoms and Treatment
Xanax is a prescription drug often given to help people with anxiety and panic disorder. It can help them function normally during the day rather than be subjected to anxiety and about 50 million prescriptions are written each year. Extremely addictive, it also goes by the name Alprazolam and Niravam and street names include Xannies, Xanbars, planks, Z-bars, handlebars, blue footballs, and benzos.
While you may think you need Xanax to function, you’re quickly getting to the point where you’re abusing the drug.
Often, abuse starts with a prescription to help you through a stressful time in your life, helping you function normally to get through school or work. Abuse starts when, during a difficult week, you take an extra one, and then the next week the stress continues, and then the week after that, you need the extra one to function normally instead of just your original dose.
Addiction is common as the drug is highly habit-forming and it’s easy to build a tolerance to the drug. Abuse is when your addiction starts to cause destructive behaviors including obsessing about Xanax, visiting several doctors in order to get your prescription, stealing, and lying. While you may think you need Xanax to function, you’re quickly getting to the point where you’re abusing the drug and need to start looking for help and treatment.
Dealing With a Xanax Addiction
Realizing you’ve become addicted to Xanax can be frightening, especially when you have to admit that you’ve caused problems as a result of being controlled by a drug. However, if your goal is to admit that you’re addicted to Xanax and seek treatment, you’ll have to learn that addiction can happen to anyone and its best just to move forward and learn to live the best life possible without the drug. Start by finding a rehab center that will help you treat and learn about addiction while providing medical supervision, education, and support. Going to rehab can put you back on the right track in your life.
Signs and Symptoms of Xanax Abuse
Xanax belongs to a category of drugs called benzodiazepines and comes with clear signs and symptoms of addiction and abuse. If any of these symptoms sounds familiar, seek medical help to start weaning you off the drug quickly.
- Common Side Effects: When you’re using Xanax, you may experience side effects including decreased sexual interest, confusion, slurred speech, lack of coordination, dizziness, sedation, insomnia, nausea, and upset stomach. If you start to experience these symptoms, let your doctor know.
- Short-Term Symptoms: Use of Xanax often comes with side effects that include drowsiness, headaches, mood change, memory issues, shortness of breath, depression, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, decreased sex drive, weight gain or loss, difficulty urinating, constipation, and depression.
- Long-Term Symptoms: Continued use of Xanax leads to even more severe versions of the short-term side effects and symptoms. You may also experience memory impairment, cognitive deficits, aggressive behavior and hostility, uncontrollable impulses, depression, delirium, euphoria, mania, and psychotic experiences. You may start to miss work or school, experience memory problems, and feel restless, tired, or depressed.
- Overdose Symptoms: If you start to abuse Xanax on a daily basis, then the odds of an overdose quickly increase. An overdose is when you take an excessive amount of Xanax in your body and is a medical emergency that requires an immediate 911 call. Symptoms include blurred vision and speech, weakness, self-harm, difficulty breathing, and finally falling into a coma. Overdose is even more common when combined with alcohol and other depressants.
These symptoms can quickly infiltrate your life unexpectedly. They can lead to performance issues at work or school, strained personal relationships, and marital problems. People addicted to Xanax can be irritable and uninterested in the work and people they previously loved, especially if they’re dealing with withdrawal from Xanax. These symptoms, plus the addiction to getting the drug, can lead to financial stress. The cost of the drug or the time spent going to doctor’s appointments to get the drug can be a drain on time, energy, and other resources.
Lack of motivation to interact and engage in normal activities, lethargy about taking care of anything, and an inability to focus are all traditional signs of a Xanax addiction. In some cases, people even get amnesia and forget important information, conversations, and details they need to remember. Instead, they’re focusing on getting more Xanax, obsessing over their prescription to the detriment of all else.
Withdrawal and Rehabilitation
If you’ve made the decision to beat your Xanax addiction, you’ll probably start by weaning off the drug at a treatment center that’s specially equipped to deal with Xanax addiction. Benzodiazepines tend to be particularly hard to quit, so having medical assistance and supervision is key to success. Withdrawal symptoms include:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Blurred vision
- Weight loss
While these sound scary, you’ll only experience them for a short period of time and, with medical assistance, the worst of the symptoms of withdrawal can be avoided. Treatment centers with the right expertise have the experience to adjust your treatment as your withdrawal progresses to help you have the best experience possible, manage your pain, and mitigate any side effects you may experience.
If you want to find the right the right treatment center for you, reach out to Rehab-Finder.Org. We can help you find the treatment center that can handle your specific issues, is in the best location, meets your financial requirements, and has the extra therapies and amenities you need. With the hundreds of options available, it’s helpful to have someone cut through the decisions and show you only the ones that would work for you.
Once you enter rehab, you’ll start treatment and withdrawal. Withdrawal from Xanax can be more intense than other benzodiazepines, but doesn’t tend to last as long because Xanax is a shorter-acting drug. Effects are felt sooner, but they’re also over sooner. Withdrawal from Xanax generally starts within a few hours of quitting and will rarely last much longer than a week. In some cases, symptoms may continue to appear for up to two years. This is called post-acute withdrawal syndrome or PAWS.
- First 6 to 12 hours: Within six hours of giving up Xanax, the effects of the drug start to wear off and withdrawal starts. Anxiety and irritability begin to appear and continue to get worse.
- Day 1 – 4: The symptoms of withdrawal are worst in these first few days. Often anxiety is at its peak along with insomnia, shaking, muscle cramps, and sweating. After the fourth day, the symptoms start to fade.
- Day 15 and onward: Lingering symptoms may continue, but should be decreasing. Protracted withdrawal can last up to two years after quitting. Part of the therapy you’ll receive at the rehab center will help you identify and deal with these symptoms.
While detoxing from Xanax can seem long, it’s only a week or two of your life and then you’re ready to move on in a positive direction. However, quitting cold turkey and without assistance is not recommended. Generally, medical professionals will decrease your dose to help you wean off the drug. This is far safer and lowers withdrawal symptoms. In some situations, you may be given the chance to switch to a less potent drug and then taper off your use.
Medically assisted detox is the safest way to avoid major health complications and ensure compliance. Inpatient treatment centers have doctors close by to help you stay comfortable and quickly address any issues. Sometimes, the following drugs are used to help the detox process.
- Clonazepam: A longer-acting benzodiazepine which can help prevent withdrawal symptoms that come quickly after Xanax, letting you deal with them more gradually.
- Phenobarbital: Another longer-acting medication that can be used during detox if there is a high risk of seizure.
- Carbamazepine, Clonidine, Propranolol: Non-barbiturate, non-benzodiazepine medications are also an option to treat Xanax withdrawal symptoms which include anxiety, tremors, and seizures.
When you enter a rehab program, the goal is to move to complete sobriety and remove your dependence and use of the drug or drugs. Rehab will also give you the tools to address and repair any issues that have been caused by your use of the drug such as a loss of self-respect, issues at work, personal relationships, and more.
On average, Xanax rehab takes eight to ten weeks and includes medical treatment as well as a number of therapies and support groups. Different treatment centers use different methods and therapies to supplement medical intervention. From 12-step programs to equine therapy, nutrition and exercise to art therapy, there’s an option designed to help you.
Treatment begins with the intake process. This starts when you arrive at the facility and get an assessment by medical professional who will lay out the road map for your time at the facility. After intake, you’ll begin detox. You’ll be able to settle into your room and rest while monitoring occurs (if necessary) to make sure your withdrawal is safe and side effects are minimized.
After detox is finished, you’ll begin treatment for your addiction and any underlying mental health issues you may have. Treatment can be a pretty broad process that includes one-on-one counseling, group therapy, education, and more. You’ll learn the coping skills to manage in normal life without the medication.
Once rehabilitation and treatment is complete, you’ll be able to leave the facility and enter aftercare. You’ll work with your therapist at the rehab facility to design an aftercare program that will help you stay on track and keep up the healthy life changes you make while at the treatment facility. Keeping up with aftercare can be challenging for individuals as life often gets back in the way and the problems that caused people to reach for Xanax initially resurface. Keeping up with treatment can help you handle these problems in a healthy fashion and shorten relapses if they occur.
Paying for Treatment
Addiction can come with financial stress and paying for treatment is one of the key stressors. In many cases, you may discover that your insurance will cover a portion or all of your treatment expenses, making it a much more affordable option than you originally thought. Reach out to Rehab-Finder.Org to get help reviewing your insurance plan and discovering what treatment options are available to you, fit your needs, and offer the therapies you want. Having someone else gather the information and limit the options for you to only those that will work is a great first step in determining what to do and can save significant time.
There are several other factors you can consider when looking at treatment programs. There are inpatient treatment centers where you are in residence for the entire program and outpatient programs that let you keep up with work, school, and family responsibilities you just can’t leave behind. There are free or reduced-price government and church-sponsored facilities all the way up to five-star luxury treatment facilities. Some cater to businesspeople who still need to be able to work, even while undergoing treatment.
If your insurance doesn’t cover all of your treatment, many centers offer payment plans so that you can get the attention you need right away and pay for it once you’re back on your feet.
Helping a Loved One Deal With Xanax Addiction
If someone you love is suffering from a Xanax addiction, you may need to step in and help them get the treatment they need. Often, people battling an addiction aren’t thinking as clearly as they normally do and don’t realize what’s happening until the addiction and abuse have become severe.
It is possible to beat an addiction to Xanax. We can help you review insurance, your financial situation, treatment options, available therapies, and more to help you select the treatment facility that is right for you.
Taking the time to talk to the person is the first step. Educate yourself on addiction, the specific drug, and what treatment options are available. When you talk to them, make sure you start from a feeling of love and a desire to support them so that you don’t come across as accusing and judgmental. Instead, show them how their actions and addiction are affecting themselves and those they love. Help them see how rehab can help them live a healthier, more productive life. Always, focus on the positive.
Start by letting the person know you’re aware of their addiction, that you care about them, and that your goal is to help. Share treatment options you’ve researched and remind them again that you love them and will be available to support them the whole way through.
The initial conversation may not go as planned. Often, Xanax abusers are in denial of their problem and aren’t ready to hear what you have to say. Don’t push too hard and cause ill feelings. Just realize that you’ve planted the seed and bring it up again in the future. Try to bring the topic up when they aren’t under the influence of the drug and don’t make them feel like they’re a failure for getting addicted. Continue to focus on treatment and rehabilitation.
It is possible to beat an addiction to Xanax. If you’re ready to find the treatment option that is best for you, reach out to Rehab-Finder.Org to start the process. We can help you review insurance, your financial situation, treatment options, available therapies, and more to help you select the treatment facility that is right for you. Your future matters and control is yours for the taking. Don’t let an addiction to Xanax interfere with your potential.
Don’t continue to fight your addiction alone. Call us today at 877-251-4813 and get the information you need to find the treatment you deserve.