Symptoms of Xanax Addiction

Xanax is a prescription medication that is commonly used in the treatment of anxiety disorders. This drug belongs to a class of medication known as benzodiazepines, which help alleviate the symptoms of apprehension, fear, and worry that can otherwise cause an individual great distress. While Xanax is an extremely beneficial medication, the sad truth is that it is widely abused for its mind- and mood-altering effects. When an individual uses Xanax in a way that was not intended by the prescribing physician, it can result in addiction or an overdose. Developing an addiction to Xanax can lead to a vast number of negative consequences that can affect an individual’s ability to function properly on a daily basis. Should an individual be struggling with Xanax abuse or addiction it is important that treatment be sought immediately.

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Statistics

Research shows that approximately 5% of all Americans have used Xanax for non-medical purposes in the past year. Causes and Risk Factors for Xanax Abuse

Extensive research has determined that there are multiple causes that may explain why an individual would begin to abuse Xanax. Experts in the field believe that genetics and environmental factors are some of strongest predictors for the onset of a substance abuse problem. Consider the following:

Genetic: Most mental health professional believe that an individual’s genetic makeup can place an him or her at an increased risk for the development of an addiction. If a person has a family history of substance abuse there is an increased likelihood that that individual will also begin to abuse substances.

Environmental: When people are exposed to certain environmental influences or stressors, they may be at increased risk of developing a Xanax abuse problem. This is especially true of people who have easy access to this drug. Risk Factors:

  • Family history of substance abuse or addiction
  • Personal history of mental illness
  • Lack of support system
  • Easy access to Xanax

Signs and Symptoms of Xanax Abuse

The signs and symptoms of Xanax abuse will vary depending on the length of time a person has been abusing this medication as well as the amount that is being abused. While initially it may be hard to tell if someone is abusing Xanax, as the abuse continues the signs and symptoms get harder to hide. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of Xanax abuse include:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Stealing or borrowing Xanax
  • Forging prescriptions
  • Engagement in risky behaviors
  • Hostile or violent behavior
  • Declined occupational performance
  • Visiting a number of doctors to obtain more prescriptions for Xanax
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Social withdrawal

Physical symptoms:

  • Swelling in hands and feet
  • Coordination difficulties
  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Jaundice
  • Tachycardia
  • Tremors
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Diarrhea
  • Fluctuations in weight
  • Changes in appetite
  • Seizures
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Stuffy nose
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Disorientation
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Poor concentration
  • Disorganized thoughts
  • Impaired memory

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Drastic mood swings
  • Depressed mood
  • Increased agitation
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
If you feel that you are in crisis, or are having thoughts about hurting yourself or others, please call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately.

Effects of Xanax Abuse

The long-term consequences of Xanax abuse and addiction can be extremely destructive. The longer a Xanax addiction goes untreated, the greater the chance for the development of serious and life-threatening consequences. Some of these long-term effects may include:

  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Respiratory issues
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Ringing in the ears or hearing difficulties
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Onset of learning problems
  • Memory problems
  • The onset of mental health problems like anxiety
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Hospitalization
  • Social isolation
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Legal problems
  • Inability to function at work
  • Financial problems

Co-Occurring Disorders

Those who abuse Xanax often struggle with the presence of an additional mental health condition. In some instances, the abuse of Xanax is an attempt to self-medicate symptoms of a mental health disorder that has not been properly treated. The following are some of the most common mental health disorders that have been known to occur alongside a Xanax addiction:

  • Additional substance use disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Depressive disorders

Effects of Withdrawal and Overdose

Effects of Xanax withdrawal: Long-term Xanax abuse can lead to the onset of withdrawal symptoms should the abuser stop his or her use. Symptoms associated with Xanax withdrawal can set in quickly and can be extremely uncomfortable. Some of the possible symptoms of Xanax withdrawal may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Insomnia
  • Moodiness
  • Nightmares
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Convulsions
  • Hallucinations

Effects of Xanax overdose: Consuming more Xanax than an individual’s body can metabolize can result in an overdose. Should an overdose occur it is imperative that medical attention be sought immediately in order to avoid a grave outcome. The following signs may be an indication that someone has overdosed on Xanax:

  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Slowed reflexes
  • Confusion
  • Problems with coordination
  • Coma
  • Death
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