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Xanax Addiction Treatment Options: Everything You Need to Know

Addiction is a physically and mentally impairing ailment. There are several addictions in the world. While many prescription drugs are formulated with the intent of helping individuals, some of their properties can make a person become addicted to them; Xanax is one of them. When our brain becomes accustomed to the presence of a particular substance, be it prescription drugs or illicit drugs, a person is bound to feel withdrawal symptoms. This is because our brain is susceptible to changes, and the presence of a drug becomes the new normal for it. Likewise, Xanax can also potentially be addictive. If it becomes an issue to function without Xanax, you may potentially have a dependence on Xanax. But worry not, there are Xanax addiction treatments that you can undergo. In this post, we review Xanax addiction treatment options.

What is Xanax?

The drug Alprazolam is marketed as Xanax. Alprazolam is classified in the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. Xanax is responsible for triggering the central nervous system (CNS) to produce the feeling of tranquility. This is done when the neurotransmitter GABA’s functioning is boosted. When taken in high doses, Xanax can cause memory loss, depression, and even coma.

Why is Xanax used?

By producing euphoric sensations and calmness, Xanax can potentially help those who struggle with depression. Those who suffer from anxiety disorders want to seek comfort due to lower levels of GABA. Xanax works to ease this issue and help patients feel better. While this drug may help, it can be addictive. In fact, people are using it for recreational purposes in order to feel temporarily high. Xanax is used to treat the following conditions:

  • Panic attacks
  • Anxiety. It may also be prescribed to individuals with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Stress
  • Withdrawal due to AUD treatment
  • Cramps
  • Seizures

It is important to know that it should only be taken according to the prescription of your doctor. 

Abusing Xanax

Though it is a prescription drug, people abuse it for reasons other than just experiencing the feeling of calm. While some people abuse Xanax (Alprazolam) because of the sense of calm and relaxation it causes, others abuse it by taking it in higher doses or combining it with other drugs or alcohol to achieve the desired high. However, it is very dangerous to mix the two. While it may put you at risk of depression and anxiety, it can also render you unconscious and affect your cognitive abilities in the long run. 

Xanax Addiction Symptoms

Xanax is not the only sedative that is addictive. In fact, there is a term that encompasses this type of addiction known as “sedative use disorder.” The following are the signs and symptoms of Xanax addiction:

  • Sleepiness
  • Not being able to get off of Xanax
  • Constantly purchasing Xanax
  • Changes in speech
  • Poor attention span and memory
  • Issues with vision
  • Despite knowing that Xanax is doing more harm than good, you take it anyway.
  • wanting to increase the dose due to increased tolerance
  • inability to fulfill work and family-related commitments
  • Asking for Xanax pills from people around you or buying them on the street
  • You will experience withdrawal symptoms if you do not take Xanax.

While xanax may appear to be a harmless drug, it has been discovered that approximately 40% of people who use it are at risk of becoming addicted to it.Knowing the signs will help you know if you have also developed an addiction. The sooner addiction is addressed, the better. 

Xanax Addiction Treatment Options

Like other addiction treatments, there you will come across a wide range of options to address the addiction to Xanax. Some work on physical levels, meaning that physical symptoms are eradicated, while others address the psychological effect of the drug. Both are equally essential. 

Physical Treatment

The two most famously known physical treatments are:

Medical Detox

Once you decide to stop taking Xanax, you will feel extreme withdrawal symptoms that can be a nuisance. Withdrawal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and cramps can be felt severely. This is where medical detox comes to the rescue. Detox is a process in which a medical practitioner will cleanse your body from all the toxins that remain inside the body as a result of abuse while also aiding in addressing withdrawal symptoms. This is done to adapt your brain to life without the drug in question. The goal of your medical expert will be to ensure that withdrawal symptoms are minimized in the best way possible. 

Mostly, in cases of detox, a handful of medical experts are present in the room so that a patient is taken care of properly. During this stage, a practitioner may also give you medication to ease the symptoms of withdrawal and the recurring urge to consume more and more Xanax. You cannot get off a drug instantly because the body reacts badly when it is cut. Therefore, mainly, detox is carried out to bring the body to a point where withdrawal symptoms have been somewhat reduced and a person becomes ready to get other treatments like medication and therapy, which is why it is the first step of the treatment. This is necessary since the medicine dose must be gradually decreased as time passes. Detox for Xanax might take longer than that of other drugs.

Employing Less Addictive Medication

Xanax is highly addictive, which is why the withdrawal symptoms can be harsh too. This is because of Xanax’s ability to produce tranquility as quickly as it wears off. In order to replace Xanax, other neuro-depressants like gabapentin can be prescribed to the patient. In addition, depending upon your assessment and need, your doctor may also implement long-acting benzodiazepines, whose absorption rate is slow, so they can stay longer in the body. Long-acting benzodiazepines like diazepam have a longer half-life than alprazolam (Xanax). These medications can offer effective treatment for Xanax withdrawal symptoms by inhibiting certain receptors from being triggered by the drug. 

One of the other ways to treat Xanax addiction through medication is by gradually decreasing the dose and enabling the body to become less and less dependent on Xanax. It is highly advised to use medical treatment when reducing Xanax dosages gradually over at least eight weeks. This is because the withdrawal symptoms of Xanax are quite intense, so having concurrent counseling services throughout this phase is also important to minimize the risk of relapse. 

Psychological Treatment

Let’s explore some psychological Xanax treatment options:

Counseling

Counseling and therapeutic services ensure that the other physical treatments that a Xanax addict receives are enhanced.  In order to provide a holistic treatment, therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), group therapy, etc., help a patient deal with addiction in a better way. Support from a therapist or counselor accentuates the effect of detox and medication and makes it relatively easy for the patient to cope with withdrawal symptoms. Just like every other addiction treatment, treatment for Xanax also requires a holistic approach. For that purpose, there are various behavioral interventions that can be opted for.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) addresses addiction by delving into the reasons why a person became addicted to Xanax in the first place. By reaching the root cause, a therapist will deal with addiction accordingly. Once a patient has been evaluated, a therapist will put forth certain strategies for them to help cope with the drug’s addiction,

Individual and Group Therapy

During individual therapy sessions, personal conversations with a psychotherapist take place. Xanax addiction can be difficult to manage, and there are many different ways to approach it. While a person gets treatment through medication and detox, one of the best ways to magnify the effect of their addiction is through therapy. Addicts often find themselves with a host of other problems—from anxiety to depression to social isolation—and dealing with all this alone can be very challenging. This is why, with the support of a therapist, this issue can be dealt with. But they also don’t want to be at the mercy of their addiction, which means they may hesitate to seek help.

For some people, group therapy may work well.  Some people are likely to require professional help from a group therapy or support group for Xanax addiction. This type of therapy works well because it provides an environment where everyone gets together to share their feelings and experiences with each other. This way, a patient who is struggling with Xanax addiction does not feel alienated. In fact, they may feel well understood. This can inspire the feeling of wanting to get better. 

Key Takeaway on Xanax Addiction Treatment

Xanax addiction is a serious issue, one that can easily spiral out of control if you don’t address it early. However, the symptoms of withdrawal can be eased with treatment methods. To best avoid the withdrawal process from Xanax, it is important to avoid abrupt discontinuation of the drug. To set yourself up for the best possible treatment, make sure you talk to your doctor about all of your options. This way, you’ll have all of the information you need to make an educated decision when choosing which Xanax addiction treatment plan is right for you.

Find mental health professionals who can help you overcome your Xanax addiction

Jordyn Mastrodomenico LPC, LCADC CTP
Author: Jordyn Mastrodomenico LPC, LCADC CTP

Jordyn is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC) and Certified Trauma Professional (CTP). She holds a Master's degree in Mental Health Counseling, from Caldwell University, Jordyn has extensive experience in Outpatient and Intensive Outpatient settings and is skilled at guiding clients through the recovery process in individual and group therapy sessions.

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