The Basics of Xanax AddictionJan 7th, 2012 | By Dr. Jeffrey Huttman Ph.D. | Category: Addiction Treatment, Prescription Drug Abuse rehab, Substance Abuse treatment
Xanax, the brand name for alprazolam, is one of a group of medications in the benzodiazepine (“benzo”) drug class. It is a habit-forming drug, and addiction is possible after 2 weeks and especially for those who take it for non-medical reasons.
As a short-acting benzodiazepine, Xanax is often taken at frequent intervals to compensate for this short half-life. Some common street names for Xanax include: Footballs, Bars, School, sticks, skateboards and Peaches.
Xanax is prescribed to those who need treatment for panic attacks and possibly agoraphobia, a fear of leaving home or being around other people in open places. It produces a calm and relaxed feeling, as if the brain has slowed down. Despite the ease of addiction, many who take Xanax do so for long periods of time, despite warnings and usually increasing the dosage over time.
Once the body adjusts to a certain dosage, the relaxation and other feelings are lessened, causing many abusers to take more and more over time in order to keep up with the effects. Put simpy, benzos such as Xanax are no longer effective after a few weeks or months of regular and increasing use.
Over time, the body builds a tolerance to a medication like Xanax and when taken beyond two weeks, Xanax withdrawal symptoms are usually reported when use is done. Eventually, in what can only be described as a vicious cycle, Xanax causes little or no effect as far as the “calm high” of early use, and continued abuse is carried out more to avoid withdrawal symptoms than anything else.
Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms
As mentioned above, Xanax is a powerful drug that, when abruptly quit, can cause serious and potentially life-threatening health issues, from risk of seizures to respiratory depression (especially when taken in combination with alcohol).
Long-term use of benzodiazepines such as Xanax can lead to a variety of physical and mental issues, from memory loss to depression to anxiety. Withdrawal is not something to be undertaken without proper medical supervision; withdrawal effects of Xanax can include: hallucinations, seizures and bizarre delusions and visions. Those who do manage to successfully withdraw from drugs such as Xanax report brighter colors, better mood and a clearer mind.