It was never your intention to abuse Xanax. What started as a medication to help you cope with anxiety evolved into a necessity to get through each day. Over time, it became harder to concentrate as the unique aspects of your personality began to fade. The usual hobbies you once found enjoyable have taken a back seat to the way the drug makes you feel. 

Xanax continues to be one of the most commonly prescribed anxiety medications in the country. With Xanax abuse climbing across multiple demographics, we’re going to take a detailed look at Xanax addiction. 

What Is Xanax?

Xanax is classified as a benzodiazepine that is used to treat people who are struggling with anxiety and panic disorders along with insomnia. Benzodiazepines like Xanax are used to treat anxiety because this class of drug acts as a central nervous system depressant to help calm you down from an elevated or stressed state. 

Part of what makes Xanax more prone to abuse is how quickly you’ll develop a tolerance to it. As you take more of the drug, your body starts to get used to its effect, requiring you to take more to reach the same feeling or “high” you’re after. This is a big reason why people who take higher doses of Xanax than they’re prescribed end up getting caught in a cycle of abuse. 

Once you’re dependent on Xanax and stop taking it, you’re likely to experience the effects of withdrawal. Some of the most common symptoms of Xanax withdrawal are anxiety, restlessness, insomnia and tremors. If you’re experiencing any of these withdrawal symptoms, it’s a strong indication you’re physically dependent on Xanax. 

Why Is Xanax So Addictive?

As mentioned earlier, Xanax is a central nervous system depressant that works by increasing the level of a naturally occurring chemical in your brain called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA dampens some of the communication between different neurons throughout your body, so you feel less stressed. 

Xanax also signals your brain to increase the release of dopamine, which is the naturally occurring chemical that causes feelings of joy and pleasure. When you take more than the prescribed amount of Xanax, the overflow of dopamine it causes in your brain reinforces the desire for you to use the drug again. 

A Look at Xanax Overdose

Given how addictive Xanax can be, it opens up the possibility of an overdose for anyone who is regularly abusing the drug. Unlike other types of drugs like opioids, Xanax takes an average of one to two hours before you start to feel its effects. 

Why does this matter? Unfortunately, people overdose on Xanax because they expected to feel the effects of the initial dose sooner and took too much as a result. Since the drug is designed to time release into your system, it can be hard to know when you’re approaching a dangerous amount of Xanax before it’s too late. Some of the most common signs of Xanax overdose include: 

  • Slowed heart rate 
  • Disorientation and confusion 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Fainting 
  • Loss of balance 
  • Coma 

The Dangers of Mixing Xanax with Alcohol

While it’s common for people who abuse Xanax to combine it with other substances, alcohol is one of the most dangerous options. In fact, a recent study reported that roughly 40% of people struggling with excessive drinking also abused Xanax in the past. What makes mixing these substances together so dangerous is that they’re both powerful central nervous system depressants. This means each substance enhances the effect of the other, which can lead to loss of consciousness and respiratory depression. 

If you’re struggling with Xanax dependence or addiction, there is hope for breaking free from the hold it has over your life. 

 Discover Expert Xanax Addiction Treatment in Arizona

At Fountain Hills Recovery, our priority is getting you the help you need. Our expert addiction treatment staff takes the time to get to know you on a personal level. That way, we can create a personalized treatment plan that targets your unique struggles. No matter where your relationship with Xanax abuse has taken you, there is hope for lasting recovery. Contact our admissions team today to get started on your journey toward sobriety.