Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam, a schedule IV controlled prescription medication used to treat anxiety, panic disorders, and certain types of seizures. Xanax belongs to the benzodiazepine family of drugs, it works by increasing the effects of a natural chemical in the brain called GABA. This reduces stress and anxiety while slowing down rapid thoughts and breathing.
Xanax is prescribed to offer immediate relief from short-term symptoms associated with conditions like Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and panic disorders. There are risks involved with using Xanax even when using it for the recommended time period at the recommended dosage. Due to its low threshold for tolerance, a dependence can form within a couple of days for some individuals.
The recommended dosage for Xanax varies by patient and what it is prescribed for. Common reasons for prescribing Xanax include:
For anxiety<: The recommended starting dosage of Xanax for Generalized Anxiety Disorder is 0.25mg to 0.5mg three times per day. The maximum recommended daily dosage should not exceed 4mg in divided doses.
For panic disorders: The recommended starting dosage of Xanax for panic disorders is 0.5mg three times per day. Patients receiving more than 4mg per day require periodic reassessment and monitoring by their doctor.
If patients start taking it more often or in higher doses than prescribed, it can eventually lead to dependence which could result in a Xanax addiction.
Addiction occurs because of the effects of the drug on the central nervous system (cns). It acts as a cns depressant and slows down important functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature regulation. Xanax also releases dopamine, acts as a sedative and impacts the pleasure centers of the brain, which is where the addiction center is housed. It also slows down activity in the brain’s limbic system, which controls moods, emotions, and memories. A Xanax addiction can have serious consequences on health, relationships, and work performance. When someone becomes addicted, they may also experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking Xanax.
The long-term effects of Xanax abuse are not fully understood, but dependence can occur after just 2 weeks of daily use. Extended use of benzodiazepines may also be linked to the decline in cognition and memory. A study on benzodiazepine use and risk of Alzheimer’s disease done in 2014 using the Quebec Health insurance program database (RAMQ) found that taking benzodiazepines increased the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by between 43-51%.
Some more common effects that can affect one’s well-being include:
- Memory issues
- Difficulty concentrating on tasks
- Erratic behavior
- Lack of energy
- Alienating people because of erratic mood swings
It’s usually at this point that people struggling with the effects of long-term Xanax use seek help.
Unmanaged, withdrawal from Xanax can be agonizing and potentially life threatening. People who use Xanax regularly may believe their withdrawal symptoms are part of their illness or normal behavior. In addition, the longer people have had Xanax in their system, the more difficult it will be to overcome withdrawal symptoms— especially when combined with lack of treatment. Common signs of Xanax withdrawal include:
- Tremors – shaking
- Nausea or vomiting
More serious Xanax withdrawal symptoms include:
- Hallucinations – feeling, hearing, and seeing things that are not there
- Seizures – convulsions
- Psychosis – a mental disorder characterized by loss of contact with reality.<
Misidentifying signs of Xanax withdrawals can lead to delayed or inappropriate treatment. Those considering withdrawing from Xanax should seek medical attention.
At Lakeview Health, our mission is to give you access to the most advanced treatment programs available. Our highly trained medical staff and on-site facilities are all geared towards ensuring that you have the best chance at lifelong recovery from your Xanax addiction. Treatments include, but are not limited to:
- Dual diagnosis treatment
- Detox, inpatient, outpatient, and partial hospitalization programs
- Evidence-based treatment
- Holistic therapies
- Individual, family, and group therapy
- Aftercare programs
Our addiction treatment plans are created with the whole person in mind to provide you with holistic treatment. We guide you through every stage of your recovery from detox and rehab through aftercare.
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