Xanax abuse and addiction are widespread in Washington State. It often comes as a surprise when people learn to consider detox and rehab to recover. This may be because people think this is a safe drug. After all, it is available by prescription. But what they often do not realize is that prescription medications like this one can be just as dangerous as street drugs.
Xanax is a benzodiazepine drug, and while it does have its therapeutic uses, this classification of medications is known to be addictive. Taking it produces a euphoric high, even in normal doses. That high can become magnified when this drug is being abused, as it so often is.
The perception of safety drives people to continue to abuse Xanax, and many will become addicted to it. More people need to be made aware of the dangers of this drug both in the short and long term. It is important to understand the consequences of Xanax abuse and addiction and what types of substance abuse treatment options are the best. Northpoint Seattle can help through our Xanax addiction treatment program.
What Is Xanax?
Xanax is a commonly prescribed benzodiazepine. Also called benzos, people take Xanax and other benzodiazepines every day for anxiety, insomnia, and other health problems like seizures. Xanax is fast-acting and long-lasting, giving people relief from anxiety for 12-15 hours. Benzos work by slowing down the nervous system. They flood the brain with dopamine and help slow down messages from the brain to the body. Along with dopamine, Xanax floods the brain with GABA, a naturally occurring chemical promoting sleep and calm. This can stop anxiety, help people sleep, and reduce seizures. Unfortunately, the more often someone takes Xanax, the more likely addiction will occur.
Sign of Xanax Addiction
Xanax can change how a person perceives the world by slowing down their nervous system. Long-term benzo use can cause people to struggle with language and speech. They may also have trouble understanding objects in space. Some signs of Xanax abuse and addiction include:
- Missing work or school
- Avoiding family and friend
- Increased drinking
- Difficulty talking
- Trouble understanding others
- Disinterested in favorite activities
- Changes in sleep habits
- Changes in eating habits
Unfortunately, because Xanax is powerful and effective, it’s highly addictive. Because many people take Xanax for anxiety and insomnia, those symptoms will worsen when they stop taking Xanax. This can make quitting Xanax and other benzos difficult without medical and psychiatric support.
Benzos are most frequently prescribed to ease co-occurring disorder symptoms like anxiety. A dual diagnosis treatment program can help people quit benzo use and treat general anxiety disorder and other anxiety disorders holistically. Dual diagnosis treatment can reduce addiction cravings and the risk of reuse.
Long-Term Effects of Xanax
Because Xanax is designed for short-term use, taking Xanax long-term can be detrimental to physical and mental health. Over time, the increased levels of dopamine and GABA can cause memory loss and language processing. Long-term use can cause brain damage, chronic fatigue, and other health problems.
Quitting Xanax cold turkey can worsen these effects. Because the brain no longer produces GABA on its own, without taking Xanax, a person may experience:
- Inability to concentrate
- Night terrors
- Memory loss
Because Xanax affects and damages the brain, it’s always safest to taper off Xanax and other benzos with medically supervised treatment to reduce side effects and relapse.
Start Outpatient Xanax Addiction Treatment in Seattle and Bellevue Now
If you or your loved ones struggle with Xanax or other benzos, know you’re not alone. Northpoint Seattle is here to help you recover with flexible, comprehensive outpatient programs in Bellevue and Seattle. Our staff provides holistic dual diagnosis treatment for addiction and co-occurring disorders with individual, group, and family therapy programs. We have a program that fits your budget and needs with our PHP, IOP, and general outpatient treatment options. We accept most insurance carriers, making addiction recovery accessible across Seattle and beyond.