Xanax Addiction & Abuse: Causes, Symptoms & Detox in Wisconsin
Xanax hit the market in the early 1980s and has since become one of the most popular drugs for managing anxiety. But like any drug, Xanax can be abused. Over time, Xanax abuse can even lead to addiction and dependence. If you or a loved one is currently battling an addiction to Xanax, remember that you’re not alone and that there are legitimate ways to recover.
At Midwest Detox, we offer comprehensive Xanax detox in a safe, private setting. Not sure if detox is the right option for you or a loved one? Continue reading to learn more about Xanax abuse, addiction, and recovery:
What Is Xanax?
Xanax is a brand name for the medication alprazolam, which belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are central nervous system depressants that act on the brain and nerves to produce a calming effect. They do this by enhancing the effects of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is responsible for reducing neuronal excitability and promoting relaxation.
Xanax is commonly prescribed to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and sometimes for short-term management of insomnia or other sleep-related issues. It is known for its rapid onset of action and effectiveness in managing symptoms of anxiety and panic.
However, Xanax also has the potential for abuse and addiction, particularly when used inappropriately or for extended periods. Long-term use or misuse of Xanax can lead to physical dependence, tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation. Due to these risks, Xanax is generally prescribed for short-term use and only under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
It’s also important to note that there are different types of Xanax on the market. While there are various brands of the standard alprazolam formula, there are also international alternatives. For example, Farmapram (commonly known by the slang name “Mexican Xanax) is a popular Xanax alternative from Mexico that is frequently obtained through illicit channels.
Xanax Addiction: Causes & Risk Factors
There are plenty of legitimate reasons to use Xanax. As previously mentioned, it is most often prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders. Xanax can make it easier for people who struggle with anxiety to feel more relaxed. However, its calming effects and quick onset time also make it a catalyst for addiction. Here are some of the most common causes and risk factors for Xanax addiction:
- Self-Medication - Individuals experiencing anxiety, stress, or panic may misuse Xanax to self-medicate or manage their symptoms without appropriate medical supervision.
- Recreational Use - Some people abuse Xanax for its calming and relaxing effects, which can produce a sense of euphoria, especially when taken in larger doses or combined with other substances, such as alcohol or opioids.
- Insomnia - People who struggle with sleep issues may misuse Xanax to help them fall asleep or stay asleep. Prolonged misuse for this purpose can lead to dependence and actually exacerbate sleep issues over the long term.
- Tolerance - Prolonged use of Xanax, even when prescribed by a healthcare professional, can lead to tolerance and physical dependence. This can result in individuals increasing their dose without medical guidance or seeking multiple prescriptions to maintain the desired effects.
Signs & Symptoms of Xanax Abuse
Xanax abuse is not always easy to spot by friends or family, especially if the user is actively trying to keep their addiction a secret. That said, there are some signs and symptoms that can point to abusive behavior:
- Neglecting responsibilities at home or work
- Loss of interest in hobbies or activities once enjoyed
- Mood swings or emotional instability
- Slurred speech
- Lack of coordination
- Blurred or double vision
- Memory impairment or forgetfulness
- Shallow breathing
- Nausea or vomiting
- Increased anxiety (as the effects of the drug wear off)
- Impaired judgment or decision-making
- Taking higher doses or more frequent doses than prescribed
- Using multiple pharmacies to fill prescriptions
- Stealing or borrowing Xanax from others
Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms
Since Xanax is a common drug and is frequently prescribed for anxiety, many people assume that they can stop and start Xanax without any issues. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Not only can you become addicted to Xanax if you use it over a long period of time or in unsafe doses, but you can also develop a physical dependence. If you stop using Xanax cold turkey or you are suddenly cut off from the drug, you will likely experience some or all of the following withdrawal symptoms:
- Increased anxiety and panic attacks
- Sleep disturbances
- Hot and cold flashes
- Heart palpitations
- High blood pressure
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sensitivity to light, sound, or touch
- Difficulty concentrating
- Seizures (in severe cases)
The risk of severe withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures, makes it crucial to seek medical supervision when discontinuing Xanax use. Tapering off the drug under the guidance of a healthcare professional can help minimize withdrawal symptoms and ensure a safer process.
Treatment for Xanax withdrawal may involve a gradual reduction in dosage, the use of longer-acting benzodiazepines as a substitute, or medications to manage specific symptoms, such as anticonvulsants for seizures or beta-blockers for high blood pressure. Additionally, behavioral therapies and counseling can help address the psychological aspects of withdrawal and support the recovery process.
How Long Does Xanax Stay In Your System?
Xanax is classified as a short-acting benzodiazepine, meaning it is metabolized and eliminated from the body relatively quickly. The half-life of Xanax is estimated to be around 11 to 12 hours for most people. However, individual factors can cause the half-life to range anywhere from 6 to 27 hours. Xanax can generally be detected in various tests as follows:
- Blood Test - Xanax can be detected in blood tests for up to 24 hours after the last use.
- Urine Test - Xanax can be detected in urine for up to 4 to 5 days after the last use for occasional users and up to a week or more for chronic users.
- Saliva Test - Saliva tests can detect Xanax for up to 2.5 days after the last use.
- Hair Test - Hair tests, though less common, can detect Xanax for up to 90 days or longer after the last use.
Long-Term Effects of Xanax Abuse
Long-term abuse of Xanax can have a range of negative effects on your physical and mental health. Some of the most common effects include:
- Dependence and Addiction - Prolonged use of Xanax can lead to physical dependence and addiction, making it difficult to stop using the drug without experiencing withdrawal.
- Cognitive Impairments - Long-term Xanax use can result in memory problems and difficulty concentrating.
- Emotional and Mood Disturbances - Chronic Xanax abuse can contribute to the development or exacerbation of mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.
- Withdrawal Complications - Abrupt discontinuation of Xanax, particularly after long-term use, can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms, including seizures, which can be life-threatening.
- Increased Risk of Accidents and Injuries - Slowed coordination, drowsiness, and cognitive impairments associated with Xanax abuse can increase the risk of accidents, falls, and other injuries.
- Negative Effects on Sleep - While Xanax may initially help with sleep issues, long-term use can disrupt sleep patterns and exacerbate insomnia.
- Rebound Symptoms - Discontinuing Xanax after prolonged use can lead to rebound symptoms, where the original symptoms (like anxiety) may return and become more severe.
Xanax Detox In Brookfield, Wisconsin
Getting addicted to Xanax is a common problem that, with proper action, can be resolved. The biggest hurdle when overcoming Xanax addiction is safely getting the drug out of your system. This should always be done under close observation by trained professionals. Fortunately, you can access a safe, private, and high-quality Xanax detox program at Midwest Detox.
Do you live in Brookfield, Waukesha County, or the larger Milwaukee area? Are you in need of a private Xanax detox center to begin your recovery? If so, Midwest Detox can provide everything you need to detox from Xanax in a safe, comfortable environment. Visit our site or call us directly at 414-409-5200 to take the first step toward sobriety.