Causes & Symptoms of Xanax Addiction

Since 1957, Azure Acres Treatment Center has given hope to individuals struggling with Xanax addiction and its lasting effects. Azure Acres provides residents high-quality alcohol and drug abuse treatment near Santa Rosa, California.

Understanding Xanax

Learn about Xanax and substance abuse

Xanax, which is the brand name for alprazolam, is an antianxiety medication that is found in the category of benzodiazepines. Xanax works as a central nervous system depressant, which helps calm down individuals who have anxiety. While Xanax is highly beneficial for those who are struggling with one or more anxiety disorders, similar to other benzos, it holds potential to be highly abused. When recreationally abused, Xanax brings about feelings of relaxation and pleasure. In many cases, Xanax is also abused with other substances like stimulants, which can even out its effects. When this medication is chronically abused, an individual can become addicted to it, and an addiction to Xanax can create extreme chaos and upset within an individual’s life. Fortunately, there are options for treatment that are available for those who are struggling with a Xanax addiction.


Xanax addiction statistics

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) states that 0.5% of those between the ages of 18 and 29 are likely to have abused a prescription antianxiety medication within a year, with men being more likely to do so than women. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that in 2010, 2.2 million people abused medications like Xanax. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) highlighted that emergency room visits because of Xanax more than doubled over recent years, with 57,000 in 2005 and nearly 124,000 in 2011.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for Xanax addiction

Researchers have recognized a handful of genetic and environmental factors as being linked to Xanax abuse, including:

Genetic: An individual’s genes can impact his or her chances of developing a Xanax use disorder. Genes can play a big role in determining an individual’s vulnerability to abusing Xanax during adolescence and adulthood. Specific personality traits, such as novelty-seeking and impulsivity, can also impact an individual’s likelihood of abusing Xanax.

Environmental: The most pressing environmental risk factor for the development of Xanax abuse is how accessible it is. Those who have prescriptions for Xanax are more likely to abuse it. Those who hang out with others who abuse substances are also at an increased risk of abusing substances, too.

Risk Factors:

  • Women are at a higher risk than men for abusing Xanax
  • Family history of substance abuse or mental illness
  • Personal history of substance abuse or mental illness
  • Personality traits such as impulsivity or possessing strong desire for new experiences
  • Easy access to Xanax

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Xanax addiction

An individual’s battle with Xanax can appear differently than someone else’s, however, the most common symptoms of this type of substance abuse can include:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Giving up social, work, or recreational activities in favor of using Xanax
  • Continuing to abuse Xanax even when doing so can place a person at risk of physical harm
  • Continuing to use Xanax even if one is experiencing significant psychological or physical problems as a result of that use
  • Not keeping up with work, home, or social obligations
  • Visiting multiple different physicians in an attempt to obtain multiple prescriptions
  • Spending a great deal of time using Xanax or recovering from Xanax use
  • Taking more Xanax, or taking it over a longer period of time, than intended
  • Being unsuccessful in attempts to reduce one’s use of Xanax
  • Investing a lot of time and energy in obtaining Xanax

Physical symptoms:

  • Needing a higher dose of Xanax in order to experience desired effects, known as tolerance
  • Experiencing withdrawal, which is a collection of unpleasant symptoms that emerge when one attempts to stop taking Xanax
  • Difficulty walking
  • Poor coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of consciousness

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Poor memory
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Having cravings or intense desires for Xanax
  • Poor judgment

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Aggression
  • Fluctuations in mood
  • Experiencing significant social problems due to Xanax use


Effects of Xanax addiction

The abuse of a substance like Xanax can cause extreme destruction to an individual’s life. Some of these effects can include:

  • Organ damage
  • Polysubstance use or addiction
  • Legal problems
  • Loss of child custody
  • Onset, or worsening of current, mental health symptoms
  • Vehicle accidents due to driving while high
  • Decline in work performance
  • Relationship tension
  • Divorce
  • Demotion or job loss
  • Financial difficulties

Co-Occurring Disorders

Xanax addiction and co-occurring disorders

Those who are diagnosed with Xanax use disorder might also battle other mental health conditions, including:

  • Other substance use disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Depressive disorders

Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of Xanax withdrawal and overdose

Effects of Xanax withdrawal: When an individual has been consuming Xanax recreationally for a long period of time and then tries to stop using, he or she can go through withdrawal. Some symptoms of this period of time can include:

  • Sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Twitching or jitteriness
  • Grand mal seizures
  • Temporary hallucinations
  • Anxiety
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Nausea

Effects of Xanax overdose: An individual might consume more Xanax than his or her body can metabolize. When this occurs, it is referred to as an overdose, and it can be fatal. An individual who has been abusing Xanax on its own or with other substances can develop the following symptoms, which require immediate medical attention:

  • Dizziness
  • Delirium
  • Slowed breathing
  • Unconsciousness
  • Weakness
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of motor control
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Changes in vision

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My addiction to prescription drugs was very out of hand before going to Azure Acres. I am so grateful to all of the staff that has helped me through my recovery.

– Former Patient