What is Xanax?
Xanax, also known as alprazolam generically, is well-known in American households. It is a benzodiazepine, meaning it has sedative effects and is used medically for the treatment of panic disorders, anxiety disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, and anxiety caused by depression. However, Xanax is also highly addictive and commonly abused. Xanax addiction and abuse can lead to physical and psychological addiction. The brain and body get used to the presence of the drug over time causing physical and psychological dependence and when the person attempts to stop using, the person experiences withdrawal symptoms making it very difficult to stop using on their own.
How Xanax Affects The Brain
Like other benzodiazepines, Xanax works by enhancing the effects of the brain chemical GABA, which is described as a natural tranquilizer. GABA stops the brain signals that would excite it and lead to anxiety, which is why they are used for issues like generalized anxiety disorder and panic attacks. Unlike other benzodiazepines, Xanax is fast-acting and is more powerful. It may also trigger the brain’s reward system, which puts a person at higher risk for developing substance use disorders.
Long Term Mental Effects of Xanax Abuse
Studies on the long-term effects of Xanax addiction and abuse have shown more memory problems compared to people who do not use the drug. The study found that after people stopped using Xanax, they had memory impairment that lasted about four months, and sometimes these memory problems were permanent. Some other long-term Xanax side effects include:
- Problems processing information quickly
- Lowered IQ
- Problems concentrating
- Visual-spatial problems
- Delay in response time
- Trouble learning new verbal skills
It is important to note that most of the studies on the long-term effects of Xanax are on people who were taking the drug at the time. It is still unclear if these effects are due to changes in the brain itself or the side effects of the drugs.
Long-term Xanax abuse can also lead to the brain making less GABA on its own and depending on Xanax for it. Over time, the brain expects higher levels of GABA and the person needs stronger doses of the drug in order to get the same effect. This can lead to tolerance, dependence, addiction, and withdrawal from Xanax.
Signs of Xanax Abuse and Addiction
Some of the common symptoms and signs of Xanax abuse and addiction include:
- Blurred vision
- Slurred speech
- Doctor shopping to get extra Xanax pills
- Inability to reduce intake
- Impaired coordination
- Buying Xanax or other sedatives on the street
- Asking friends, family, classmates, and/or other colleagues for their Xanax pills
- Engaging in risky behavior after Xanax abuse, such as driving (drugged driving)
- Spending a lot of time using, getting, or recovering from Xanax
Withdrawal symptoms are also a big indicator of addiction. After long use, Xanax withdrawal can be particularly dangerous. It is strongly recommended that a person seek help from a treatment facility, such as a drug rehab center with a medical detox program.
Xanax Addiction Treatment at TruPath Recovery
TruPath Recovery is an addiction center that offers a wide range of treatment options for Xanax addiction, including a medical detox program to help with withdrawal from Xanax safely and comfortably. The detox timeline looks different for every person, but you can expect this portion of the recovery to last between 10 to 14 days. Depending on the severity of your addiction and if there is a co-occurring disorder present, our specialist will work with you to determine the next best steps in your addiction treatment.
Our center offers multi-level options for addiction treatment including inpatient drug rehab, outpatient drug rehab, intensive outpatient programs, and an aftercare program. You can expect a tailor-made treatment program with therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, 12-step programs, dual diagnosis treatment, and holistic therapy such as yoga and massage.
Addiction treatment is a difficult journey, but with adequate, professional help, your chances of success are much higher. If you or someone you love is struggling with Xanax addiction, we encourage you to reach out to us to learn more about our treatment facility or to get started today.