What Is Xanax?
Xanax is an oral prescription drug that belongs to the benzodiazepine class of drugs. They work on the central nervous system to produce a calming effect. Xanax is prescribed by medical professionals for anxiety, insomnia, seizures, and panic disorders. The drug slows brain activity, causing sedation or calming effects. Each tablet contains 0.25, 0.5, 1 or 2mg. Their onset of action is less than an hour, while the duration of action is six hours.
Xanax abuse is taking more than its prescribed dosage or without a prescription. However, those prescribed may still find themselves abusing the drug. What makes it addictive is that effects are felt almost immediately upon consumption. One reason Xanax may be abused is due to the high sense of calm and relaxation it brings to the user. The fact that you can use it for situational anxiety rather than committing to therapy to work through the underlying reasons for anxiety is another contributing factor for abuse. Furthermore, tolerance develops very rapidly, requiring users to take more to achieve the desired effects. Over time, the user may even have increased symptoms of anxiety while not under the influence of Xanax, leading to taking more of the drug just to feel “normal.”
Up to 40% of the people who take Xanax will develop an addiction to it. Older adults get prescribed Xanax more than middle aged men and younger patients. The New York Times reports that between 2004 and 2008, emergency rooms saw increased visits of 89% due to Xanax use. In 2013, 50 million prescriptions were administered, up from 38 million issued in 2006.
Xanax Overdose Treatment
In the event of Xanax overdose, emergency paramedics will track your heart rate and provide supplemental oxygen and airway support. Intravenous dextrose will be administered if your glucose levels drop too low. If Xanax was taken within one to two hours, your stomach may be pumped in order to rid your body of the drug. A dose of activated charcoal can be used if there is no case of respiratory depression as it could lead to obstruction of airways. If you experience respiratory depression, assisted ventilation can be considered.
Rehab Program for Xanax Abuse
If you are struggling with Xanax or another substance use disorder, then it might be time to consider going to a rehab center. There is no clear recommendation on the length of rehabilitation due to the individuals’ heterogeneity requiring treatment. Generally, long-term rehab programs, such as 90 days, have more successful outcomes.
Inpatient rehab is the highest level of care, which involves medical detox services, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), 12 Step meetings, and other types of treatment in a medically supervised environment.
Alpha 180 offers aftercare treatment like Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs) and sober living, which are a lower level of care for those balancing school with recovery or who have just left an inpatient facility (more on that later).
Symptoms of Xanax Abuse
Xanax is one of the most highly abused prescription drugs due to its addictive potential. The most common signs and symptoms of Xanax abuse include:
- Slurred speech
- Blurred vision
- Poor motor coordination
- Increased pulse
- Increased blood pressure
- Muscles tension and tremors
- Long-term users will experience Xanax withdrawal symptoms if intake is suddenly stopped, occurring within just a few hours of the last dose and
- peaking between 1 and 4 days out. Withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Muscle aches/pains
- Numbness in extremities
- Panic attack
- Light and sound sensitivity
- Excessive sweating
- Changes in appetite
This drug works on the reward, mood regulation, and motivation regions of the brain. When a dependency is formed, they get affected. The moment an individual decides to quit, the brain needs some time to return to normal functioning. Depression and signs of suicide should be watched during the withdrawal process. Individuals are left unable to control their emotions. Support from mental health professionals is beneficial.
Alpha 180 Xanax Addiction Treatment
Alpha 180 offers different treatment options for Xanax addiction, including our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), experiential therapy, group sessions, individual therapy, Transitional Living, 12-Step meetings, and sober living. Each individual has a different treatment plan for their specific needs, and you will be matched with a therapist who specializes in your addiction as well as other co-occurring disorders.
Xanax Relapse Prevention & Aftercare
Internal factors include mood states and thoughts related to drug use, while external conditions include interpersonal reasons or environmental stressors.
Aftercare programs like counseling and support networks are ways to prevent relapse. Some prevention techniques include grounding techniques, joining a support group, mindfulness meditation, and self-care.
Aftercare is crucial, especially with the first year of recovery. This is a long-lasting process facilitated by a specialized counselor for each individual. This process consists of weekly check-ins with the rehab facility to keep in touch and monitor progress to reduce the risk of Xanax abuse.
Living in sober housing allows college-aged men in recovery to facilitate a foundation for recovery by surrounding themselves with like-minded individuals, licensed clinicians, live-in Residential Advisors, and a safe, drug-free environment.
Our family therapists focus on validating the experience of each family member and facilitating understanding among them. The aim of this therapy is to improve the quality of the relationship between the addicted family member and the rest of the family unit. The clinician explores the cycle of interaction within the family system and how it influences substance abuse. This therapy aims to stop the common dysfunctional behaviors affecting other family members, including codependency and enablement.