How to treat Xanax addiction

You treat Xanax addiction by first addressing chemical dependence on alprazolam and then by looking into the psychological reasons which compel use. More on how to treat Xanax addiction here.

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Think you may be addicted to Xanax?

You’re not alone. Xanax, or alprazolam, is a benzodiazepine drug that is reasonably addictive. While Xanax is prescribed to treat anxiety, panic disorders, and in rare occasions, depression, it is also a Schedule II narcotic with a high potential for dependency and addiction.  How long to be dependent on Xanax? 1-2 weeks after consecutive use. Plus, as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, Xanax can alter the normal chemistry of your brain. So how can you stop taking Xanax and live a Xanax-free life?

Here, we review what you can do if you’re addicted to Xanax and what kinds of help are available for you.  What does withdrawal from Xanax feel like?  Read on for more.  And if you still have questions about treating Xanax addiction at the end, we invite you to ask them in the comments section.

Am I addicted to Xanax?

Not only does Xanax (alprazolam) help treat anxiety, it can also induces state of ecstasy and bliss. Xanax addiction is usually accompanied by characteristic psychological symptoms. Below are a list of a few:

  • compulsive use of Xanax
  • drug seeking behavior
  • missing work or appointment due to Xanax use
  • obsessive thinking about Xanax
  • strained relationships
  • using other drugs when Xanax isn’t available
  • using Xanax to cope with reality
  • using Xanax in spite of negative life consequences

Treating Xanax addiction

Sometimes it can be hard to figure out how to treat a Xanax addiction. People are so different and interact with Xanax differently. For example, it is important to treat adults and teenagers for Xanax addiction differently. There is also a lot of argument that goes into treating prescription drug abuse. However, in general, most experts can agree that combining behavioral treatments and medications to treat Xanax addiction increase the probability of sobriety.

1. Medications for Xanax addiction treatment

Medications for Xanax addiction treatment can be used during acute Xanax detox or as a longer term tool to help manage anxiety. Firstly, a supervising doctor may prescribe an alternative with lower dependency rates during the process of detox. It may be important to find an alternative SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) medication, for example, during Xanax withdrawal. Additionally, over-the-counter medication can help support acute and protracted withdrawal symptoms.

Keep in mind that benzodiazepines can be tricky. Many people who withdraw from Xanax may experience protracted withdrawal symptoms. That is, several weeks after initial Xanax withdrawal, symptoms of withdrawal may resurface. Also, anxiety may show up in an exacerbated way. During Xanax addiction recovery, it is also important to stay away from benzodiazepines, in general. Some bodies are more susceptible to different kinds of substance addiction. It is therefore important to be careful with the medication prescribed to treat withdrawal from Xanax.

2. Behavioral treatments for Xanax addiction

Behavioral therapies treat the emotional and psychological sources of addiction. Therapy can help you understand the nature of your addition and how to manage triggers which provoke use. Psychotherapy also helps you uncover and deal with the initial trauma which caused you to use Xanax in the first place. The use of clinical psychology for addiction includes cognitive behavioral therapy, contingency management, motivational enhancement therapy, and 12 step facilitation therapy.

Help for Xanax addiction

There are many ways to treat Xanax addiction. And there are many people who can help. Below is a general list of resources you can use to address Xanax addiction treatment. If you have experience with these or other types of Xanax addiction treatment modalities, we would love it is you would share your experiences at the bottom, in the comment section.

Xanax addiction treatment centers

There are generally two different types of treatment centers that treat Xanax addiction.

1. Inpatient Xanax addiction treatment centers – Inpatient treatment centers are your typical rehab facilities with overnight accommodation. They offer around-the-clock care and a space away from your normal environment so that you can focus on recovery. Inpatient Xanax treatment centers will both the physical and psychological aspects of Xanax addiction. Plus, you might have group and personal therapy sessions.

2. Outpatient Xanax addiction treatment centers – Outpatient treatment centers offer typical rehab services without overnight stay. Instead, you check in with an outpatient addiction treatment office daily or weekly. You can also request group therapy sessions and may have options to seek one-on-one counseling. In an outpatient setting, you can acquire the tools and skills necessary to maintain recovery.

Xanax detox clinic

Detox clinics treat the physical dependence on Xanax, or alprazolam. When you stop taking Xanax your body goes through withdrawal. This can be painful and umcomfortable, though it is rarely life-threatening. Detox clinics are a way for people suffering addiction to get the drug out of the system while being monitored at the same time. That way, you have less of a chance relapsing within the first 24 some hours. Plus, detox clinics can refer you to follow up services after withdrawal is completed.

Clinical psychologist and Psychiatrist specializing in Xanax addiction treatment

Psychiatrists and psychologists work with people to diagnose and treat prescription drug addiction to drugs like Xanax. These medical health professionals have a vast knowledge of how addiction works and what behavioral treatment can work best for you. Psychiatrists can also prescribe alternative medications to help address anxiety that are less dangerous on the body. Both mental health professionals can also work with underlying issues that may be affecting Xanax addiction, or with co-occuring disorders which may also be present.

Xanax addiction support groups

The most common support groups for Xanax addiction are the 12 step groups AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous). These groups are helpful for people diagnosed with prescription drug abuse by providing emotional and social support for addict.In addition, several other types of support groups exist that offer different philosophies to address Xanax addiction. SMART Recovery, Rational Recovery, and Women for Sobriety are just a few support groups you can join and related with other people who understand what you’re going through.

Licensed clinical social workers

There are times in which addictions get people into trouble with the legal system. Licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) are trained to work in the domain of mental health and substance abuse, but within the local legal system. They can be liaisons between treatment, relationships, and the community around you and provide any legal help you may need while you focus on treating addiction to Xanax.

Your physician

Even people taking Xanax properly can develop addiction. Talking to the physician that first prescribed you Xanax can help you track your Xanax recovery. In addition to offering medical referrals, your doctor can also help you titrate your doses of Xanax so that your body can slowly re-adjust and taper from alprazolam. This process helps ease the severity and intensity of withdrawal symptoms. Doctors might also help recommend other medications or pharmaceutical interventions. Since they have worked with you they know your family history and the history of their health, a general physician or your family doctor may be the best first point of contact and can advise you on which Xanax addiction treatment path would be best for you.

A trusted religious or spiritual leader

Religious and spiritual organizers offer encouragement and support to people in recovery. With a sense of community comes increased likelihood of maintaining a life without abusing of Xanax. If you already have or know someone trust, seek them out. They can help be a crucial help apart from your familiar relationships and give you a strong sense that you can make it through recovery.

How to treat Xanax addiction questions

Do you still have questions about treating Xanax addiction? Please share your questions and experiences with treating Xanax addiction. We’ll try to respond to your questions personally.

References Sources: NIDA: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment
DSAMH: Perscription Drug Abuse
DSAMH: Treatment
National Institute of Drug Abuse: Community Drug Alert
SAMHSA: Need Treatment
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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