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xanax addiction

What Is Xanax, and What Causes Addiction?

Medical professionals frequently prescribe Xanax to help their patients manage anxiety symptoms and enjoy a better quality of life. However, even when people are diligent about taking their prescription according to the precise instructions on the label, this drug carries a high risk of addiction and related health consequences. What is Xanax, and what might make it dangerous for you to use?

What Is Xanax?

Xanax belongs to a category of drugs called benzodiazepines, or benzos. Your doctor may prescribe you Xanax or its generic version, alprazolam, if you struggle with anxiety symptoms such as nervousness, panic attacks or insomnia. It provides fast-acting relaxation that can last up to six hours.

When you take Xanax, it floods your brain with dopamine, easing your body’s natural fight-or-flight response and creating pleasurable feelings of well-being. Many people become hooked on this euphoria and start taking increasingly higher doses of benzodiazepines to prolong the sensation. 

What Causes Benzodiazepine Addiction?

While people who carefully take Xanax according to the dosage and directions on their prescription can develop a dependency, those who deliberately misuse it are at particularly high risk of becoming addicted. That’s why most health professionals will only prescribe Xanax for short-term use. The longer you use Xanax or other benzodiazepines, the more danger you are in of developing a tolerance that becomes a dependency.

Trace amounts of Xanax can stay in your body for up to 24 hours, which allows your tolerance to build rapidly. Once you have developed a physical dependence on a benzodiazepine like Xanax, it can be extremely challenging to quit, and can lead to uncomfortable and dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

Risks of Xanax Addiction

Though you might obtain and take Xanax under a doctor’s orders, don’t mistakenly assume this drug is harmless. Benzodiazepines such as Xanax carry just as much of a risk of addiction as other mind-altering prescription medications, including opioids. 

Benzodiazepine abuse can result in severe, long-lasting mental and physical health concerns, such as withdrawal, anxiety, insomnia and interactions with other drugs. Unintended drug synergy is a particular concern, since a Xanax overdose becomes even more likely when you take it with other drugs like alcohol or opioids. 

Professional Treatment for Xanax Addiction

If you developed an addiction to Xanax while using it to manage your anxiety, you will be relieved to learn that qualified treatment programs exist to help you safely quit using benzodiazepines and learn to manage your anxiety without relying on potentially dangerous drugs. 

At Vista Taos Renewal Center, our continuum of care begins with medically supervised detoxification to safely rid your body and mind of addictive substances. Detox sets the stage for a successful recovery by ensuring you are medically stable before you move on to the work you will do in your primary treatment program. If you are ready to break the chains of a benzodiazepine addiction, our family-owned treatment center is here to help you anytime. To learn more about our holistic approach to addiction treatment, please reach out to our team today.  

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