Dependence on Xanax
Are you worried you may be dependent on Xanax (alprazolam)? Thinking that you could develop Xanax addiction? In this article, we’ll explore how Xanax works in the brain. We also discuss the difference between dependence on Xanax and addiction, and we’ll also look at the strategies used to treat each problem. We invite your questions about Xanax at the end.
What is dependence on Xanax?
Simply put, dependence on Xanax is just what it sounds like. If you take Xanax for more than a week or two, your brain and body become dependent on Xanax in order to function normally. And if you stop taking Xanax or drastically reduce dosage, you will go through withdrawal symptoms. So, dependence is not a matter of how long Xanax lasts, but how it builds up in your system over time.
Dependence on Xanax symptoms
Xanax dependence has a few main symptoms:
1. continued use of a substance to avoid withdrawal
2. experiencing withdrawals when you haven’t taken Xanax
3. needing to take Xanax regularly
4. needing to take higher doses for the same relief of anxiety
These symptoms don’t necessarily indicate an addiction to Xanax – they’re just signs that your body is used to Xanax being in your system. Nonetheless, severe withdrawal reactions and adverse consequences come with long term use of Xanax and require medical supervision if and when you decide to get Xanax out of your system.
Xanax dependence time: How long to be dependent on Xanax?
The main ingredient in Xanax, alprazolam, is known to be habit forming. This is why Xanax is not usually prescribed for long periods of time unless there’s not a good alternative available. In fact, Xanax dependence can develop after only 1-2 weeks of taking the drug regularly. Plus, the longer you take Xanax and the higher the dose, the more likely you are to develop a dependence.
Xanax dependence withdrawal
Xanax withdrawal symptoms are unpleasant and can occasionally be dangerous, including:
- muscle cramps
The only way to treat Xanax withdrawal is to SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE. Your prescribing doctor will most likely gradually decrease the dose until you can safely go off the medication. Because of the risk of seizure, it’s not safe to simply “wait out” or go cold turkey through Xanax withdrawals.
Treating physical dependence on Xanax
Becoming physically dependent on Xanax can be troubling for someone who wants to go off the medication for whatever reason. When the decision is made to stop Xanax, expect to develop withdrawal symptoms unless care is taken to slowly taper the drug using a standard detoxification or withdrawal protocol. In fact, withdrawal symptoms can be severe and you MUST SEEK MEDICAL HELP when you want to stop taking Xanax.
Xanax dependence vs addiction
Dependence on Xanax happens when the drug is taken in high doses or for long periods of time. Xanax dependence mostly means you can’t stop taking the drug abruptly without withdrawals. However, during the detoxification or withdrawal period from Xanax, symptoms of abuse or psychological dependence may emerge. These symptoms of psychological dependence are characteristic of addiction.
Xanax addiction is basically characterized by psychological symptoms on top of physical need. Xanax addiction is more likely if you’re not taking Xanax as directed. Plus, snorting or smoking Xanax increases your addiction risk, as does taking large amounts of Xanax.
Treating psychological dependence on Xanax
Xanax dependence can become an addiction when you begin to feel psychologically dependent on the medication. If you’re psychologically dependent on Xanax, you will:
* feel the need to take Xanax to cope with everyday stress
* need to take Xanax “in case” of a panic attack
* worry about leaving the house without your Xanax
* feel a compulsive need to use Xanax
* experience strong Xanax cravings
* continue to use Xanax even if it has negative consequences
A psychological dependence on Xanax won’t respond to the same treatment as a physical dependence. Therapy and support groups may be recommended by your doctor to help you deal with the mental and emotional aspects of drug addiction. Only by dealing with the psychological dependence can you begin to slowly taper your dosage and quit Xanax entirely.
Xanax dependence questions
Do you still have questions about Xanax dependence and addiction? We welcome all questions in the comments below.
Reference Sources:DailyMed: Xanax XR
PubMed Health: Alprazolam
Photo credit: Dean812