Xanax addiction can strike quickly and cause a long list of problems, the most notable of which are very uncomfortable withdrawals and a loss of the positive effects that they used to feel when on the drug.
In this guide to Xanax addiction we’ll explain the problem a little more and cover effects, side effects, overdose and other aspects of alprazolam addiction.
Risks of Xanax addiction increase considerably in those who use more than 4mg a day for more than 12 weeks. That’s why the drug is often prescribed in small doses to begin with and is typically only recommended for a few weeks at a time. It is very important to stave off Xanax addiction because not only can it lead to some very uncomfortable withdrawals, but once addiction sets in then the benefits that the drug used to bring may not be there anymore.
Xanax is the brand name of this drug and alprazolam is the drug itself. We will refer to them by both names in this alprazolam addiction article.
Alprazolam / Xanax Overdose
If you suspect a Xanax overdose then you should seek help immediately. Something may be done to help them if they get help soon enough. One of the good things about alprazolam is that it is not as easy to overdose on as other drugs are, but overdoses are still possible, so make sure you keep an eye out for the following symptoms:
- Loss of balance
- Difficulty breathing
Muscle weakness and drowsiness are also overdose symptoms, but these are often listed as alprazolam side effects as well. When it comes to a alprazolam overdose, the symptoms are often more pronounced, and the patient may completely loss balance, struggling to speak and stand up, and struggle to get their breath. Generally though, if they have taken a large dose or you spot symptoms like this, then you should seek professional help.
The positive effects of alprazolam include sedation and overall calmness. It has a way of curing anxiety and panic disorders that can only be matched by drugs in a similar class. However, these positive effects diminish over time. As soon as Xanax addiction develops and tolerance kicks in, then the anti-anxiety effects begin to diminish, the patient becomes to rely on it and they get anxious when they can’t get it or when they don’t feel like they have had enough of it.
Xanax Side Effects
Some of the most common Xanax side effects include memory loss, clumsiness and drowsiness. It may also cause nausea, a lack of coordination and a change of speech, which is down to alprazolam’s sedative effects.
Some of the rarer alprazolam side effects include:
- A feeling of being empty
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach pain
- Blurred vision
- Difficult concentrating
- Dry mix
- Irregular heartbeats
- Chest pain
- Ear pain
- Inability to care/numbness
- Ringing in ears
- Loss of bladder control
Xanax for Flying
Diazepam (see Valium Addiction) is more commonly prescribed to help people who have a fear of flying, but Xanax works in a similar way and can also help. It takes away the fear and anxiety that people feel in these situations. It helps them to relax and it also makes them sleepy. So, as well as taking away their anxiety about the flight it may help them to sleep right on through.
If you have a fear of flying then you will need to discuss it with your doctor who may choose to prescribe Xanax or a similar drug. It will depend on the severity of your fear and on how incapacitating it is. You may also want to think twice about using Xanax for flying if you are flying with children and you will be the only adult. In such cases there is no guarantee that you will remain awake and functioning throughout the flight and in the moments before and after, in which case you may not be in the best state of mind to assist your children with their needs and to keep them safe.
What is the Xanax High Like?
Describing a high from a drug like Xanax gets easier if you have experience with similar drugs. If you have used drugs like Diazepam, then you will know what to expect because it’s very similar. If you have used opiates like Tramadol and Codeine, then the feeling you get is like the euphoria felt when using these opiates, but fixed in with a sleepy, sedate feeling.
In other words, take the euphoria, amplify the sedation and take away the agitation, itching and flushing, and the Xanax high begins to feel like the opiate high. If you have not used opiates before then it can be compared to being drunk, but only to an extent. The difference is that unless you use large amounts of Xanax (which is never recommended) then you rarely lose the ability to speak and to function like you do with alcohol.
Xanax for Anxiety
Xanax addiction seems to be at its most common when the drug is prescribed for anxiety issues and indeed when it is taken recreationally by people who have issues with anxiety. If you live your life with anxiety, struggling to leave the house, to talk to people and to do the things that humans consider normal, then it can feel like you are crippled. In many ways, you are.
When you are given Xanax for anxiety then those issues lift and you begin to experience life anew. The same applies to other addictive anti-anxiety drugs like Valium and it’s a problem that we’re seeing more of. Once the veil of anxiety is lifted and you realize that it was all down to this one drug, then you want more of that drug and it starts getting hard to say no.
When prescribed for anxiety, Xanax is usually given as a short term remedy. But try giving someone who has had crippling anxiety all of their lives the answer to their problems, before taking it away two weeks later. It’s just not possible. They know that they will only go back to the way they were, so they stick at it.
Xanax addiction then develops and that’s when the medication has the last laugh, because once Xanax addiction sets in you no longer feel that anxiety relief. It doesn’t work as it once did and it actually starts making you more anxious than you were.
Xanax Addiction Stories
We spoke to someone who had severe issues with his day to day life and was prescribed Xanax for anxiety. This is what he had to say, giving you an idea of how cruel this cycle can be:
“I was prescribed Xanax for a short-term issue following a hospital visit. I had always wanted to try it because I had crippling anxiety, so when I was given it for an unrelated issue, I snapped at the chance. I only had a few pills at the time, but I instantly told my door that they were the answer to my problems and begged for a repeat prescription, which promptly came.
I had already taken it the previous day in hospital, but I slept soon after because I was also under the influence of painkillers. The next day I had been invited to a friend’s party and everyone expected me not to go. To call it off and chicken out. I did as well. But I decided to go and to take Xanax for my anxiety.
As soon as it hit, I felt like I was walking on air. I felt so light, so happy. When I went tot he party I was a different person. I wasn’t confident and outgoing, but I wasn’t a scared mouse hiding the corner. I spoke to new people, I shook hands, hugged—things I would have never done. It was one of my best ever days on this earth and I had similar days for two weeks.
I was a different person, but then the effects stop being so pronounced. I was taking more and feeling it less. Within 2 months, I couldn’t get the same feeling and was anxious most of the time again. After 6 months, I was more anxious than ever and I also had an Xanax addiction to deal with. It had pulled me in, sucked the life out of me and then left me as a hollow shell.
I was only 20 when I was first prescribed Xanax for anxiety. I was 30 when I finally summoned the courage to go through Xanax withdrawal and to taste sobriety but I’ve still never been the same and regret every minute of my Xanax addiction. Even those first weeks of bliss, because they gave me a false sense of security.”
Xanax for Sleep
Xanax addiction can also occur when users are prescribed this drug for sleep disorders. However, Xanax for sleep is not as common as Xanax for anxiety. When used for sleep, it is only taken once a night, so Xanax addiction would take longer to occur. Also, Xanax may not be the magical pill for insomnia that it is for anxiety, mainly because it can leave the user feeling very groggy the next morning.
It is an effective sleep aid, of course, but there are more effective ones out there. There are also sleep aids that are not addictive and won’t leave you as groggy the next morning. These include melatonin, which has been proven to work in most users, and valerian, which is not as effective but works very well for some.