With Xanax being the 5th most prescribed drug in America, it’s no wonder why a Xanax addiction has become so common in the U.S. This prescription medication treats anti-anxiety disorders. It can help those struggling to sleep at night. Although effective, long-term use can lead to dependence. Those who are dependent on Xanax may need addiction treatment from a drug rehab center. After all, the withdrawal symptoms can be quite brutal. Many people can’t overcome the Xanax withdrawal symptoms by themselves. They’ll need medical detox and behavioral therapy from an addiction treatment center.
Xanax is not as safe as most people would like to believe despite the fact that it is a prescription drug. Drug abuse can lead to many physical and mental health issues. This article will look at 5 shocking facts about Xanax addiction and abuse. You’d be surprised at just how dangerous and addictive this drug can be.
Fact #1: The Average Xanax Addict Will Take 20 to 30 Pills a Day.
A person who is addicted to Xanax will take an average of 20 to 30 pills a day. That’s a ridiculous amount considering the fact that the average Xanax tablet contains either 0.25, 0.5, 1, or 2mg of alprazolam. The tablets can be separated and broken down into smaller parts. A 2mg tablet can break down into four 0.5mg pieces. With that said, most addicts will usually take the largest dose possible to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
4 in 10 patients who take Xanax will develop a physical dependence after 6 weeks of using the prescription medication. Once they develop dependence, they will experience Xanax withdrawal symptoms as early as 48 hours after the last dose. On top of withdrawal symptoms, an addict will begin to crave the drug. They’ll feel bad if they don’t take them. Some people claim that they can’t sleep without them, and feel tense and agitated. The type of side effects experienced will differ from person to person. The withdrawal symptoms are usually more intense for long-term users. The neurochemical balance in their central nervous system (CNS) is off.
The only way to get over the withdrawal symptoms is through medical detox. This type of substance abuse treatment can go on for up to a week before a withdrawal from Xanax dies down. It’s possible to also ease Xanax withdrawal symptoms in other ways.
Fact #2: 125,000 People Wind Up in the Emergency Room Each Year Due to Xanax Abuse
Many people believe that taking Xanax is safe. After all, it’s prescribed by medical professionals to treat panic disorders, anxiety disorders and more. Some people even take Xanax as sleeping pills. Unfortunately, benzodiazepines, like Xanax should only be taken for up to 4 weeks and no longer. After that, patients will develop a physical dependence to the drug. They’ll also become more tolerant to the effects. This results in substance abuse, as patients need to take larger and larger doses to feel the same effects.
A large dose of Xanax can be quite dangerous. The effects of the prescription drug happen rather quickly. Xanax is fast-acting. Once it is ingested, the GI tract will absorb the active compounds and shuttle them into the bloodstream. By traveling in the bloodstream, the active compounds will find their way to the brain.
A massive dose can result in an overdose. An overdose is quite dangerous. Someone who has overdosed will need immediate medical attention. Common signs of Xanax overdose include:
- Difficulty breathing or labored breathing
- Loss of coordination or balance
- Symptoms of depression
- Memory problems
A person who has experienced a Xanax overdose should take the overdose as their wake up call. If they continue with this addiction, they may end up going into a coma or dying. It’s vital that they seek drug abuse treatment from a treatment facility. Those who notice these symptoms in loved ones should call for help immediately. They should also consider staging an intervention.
Fact #3: 33% of Long-Term Xanax Users Report an Increase in Mental Health Disorders, like Depression
Addiction and abuse of any drugs or alcohol can lead to a dual diagnosis. It’s no different with Xanax or illicit drugs. A dual diagnosis, also known as a co-occurring disorder, happens when an individual struggles with substance abuse and a mental health disorder at the same time.
One of the most common mental health disorders associated with Xanax use is depression. Surprisingly, many patients who take Xanax will develop a co-occurring disorder. Other common disorders include eating disorders and bipolar disorders. The mental health disorder may not be caused by Xanax abuse at all. It may just have happened at the same time.
Even though a mental health disorder may have nothing to do with Xanax abuse, it’s vital that the professional treatment treats for both. If not, the mental health disorder will only worsen. Patients who do not receive dual diagnosis treatment will also be much more likely to relapse.
Both a mental health disorder and substance abuse can cause neurochemical levels in the brain to go haywire. When the neurochemical levels do not reach a good balance, the affected individual will be prone to mood swings, impulsive behavior and more.
Fact #4: 49% of Teens Take Xanax with Other Substances
Polydrug abuse is also a big problem. This is something that many teen addiction programs need to consider. Many Xanax users will take the prescription drug with other substances. They may take it with other illicit drugs or with alcohol. Taking Xanax with other substances can be very dangerous. It can magnify and enhance the effects of Xanax as well as the other substances. The rehab centers must be able to account for other drug and alcohol abuse as well.
Xanax affects the central nervous system (CNS) by depressing it. If an addict takes another depressant, it could increase their risk for cardiac or respiratory depression and failure. They could go into a coma and die. This is the reason why Xanax and alcohol abuse is so dangerous.
Someone who takes a stimulant with Xanax may be able to take a larger dose. The effects of Xanax will counteract the effects of the other drug. This makes the Xanax users more prone to overdoses.
Many celebrities have died from polydrug abuse involving Xanax. Most recently, Lil Peep passed away from taking Xanax and fentanyl together. Whitney Houston also had Xanax in her system. Polydrug abuse should not be taken lightly. The addiction center should educate patients about the dangers of mixing substances.
Fact #5: Prescription Rates for Xanax Have Been Climbing 9% Each Year Since 2008
Although the Xanax drug comes with quite a lot of side effects, it’s still one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in America. Many doctors will prescribe Xanax for treating anxiety or sleep disorders. To combat the addiction epidemic sweeping the nation, it’s time for Americans to open their eyes. There are many other non-addictive alternatives available. To keep addiction numbers low, there should be more restrictions in place for prescribing Xanax. At this moment, prescription numbers are steadily climbing.
It’s also important for patients to become aware of the addictive nature of Xanax. They should learn about the other alternatives that are available and should also learn about the dangers of taking this prescription drug.