Up to 40 percent of people who take benzodiazepines like Xanax every day will develop an addiction to those pills. Recovery moves on two fronts: the physical and the psychological. Medical detox allows the body to become accustomed to the lack of Xanax, while rehab allows for skill-building and relapse-prevention planning.
In 2011, doctors wrote more than 47 million prescriptions for Xanax, making it the most popular psychiatric medication in the United States.
This is partly because Xanax (the brand name of the drug alprazolam) is used to treat a wide range of anxiety and panic disorders, and the effect of depressing the central nervous system has made Xanax the drug of choice for other ailments like sleep disorders and stress. This has also opened the door to Xanax being abused by patients who are desperate for relief from their conditions, as well as recreational users looking for an easy high.
What Is Xanax?
Xanax comes from the benzodiazepine family of drugs. Benzodiazepines work by enhancing the effect of the GABA neurotransmitter in the brain. The GABA neurotransmitter is very important for controlling the electrical excitation in the nervous system; lower GABA levels translate to more symptoms and feelings of anxiety, explainsEveryday Health. Benzodiazepines boost the release of GABA throughout the individual’s nervous system, producing calming and sedating effects.Learn About Xanax Withdrawal & Detox
The calming and sedating effects of benzodiazepines make them very useful for those suffering from a number of conditions, not just anxiety and panic attacks. The Royal College of Psychiatrists lists some of the other conditions that benzodiazepines like Xanax are used to treat:
- Muscle spasms
- Withdrawal from alcohol
- Difficulty sleeping
The Royal College cautions that benzodiazepines are addictive. Forty percent of people who take them every day, for six weeks
or more, will develop an addiction to the pills. Signs of such an addiction can include:
- Feeling compelled to take more medication, even beyond prescription limits
- Needing increasing amounts of Xanax to feel the same effect
- Experiencing unpleasant withdrawal effects if Xanax intake is discontinued, such as dizziness, insomnia, mood swings, and
- Trying to get more Xanax without a valid prescription