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Xanax Abuse

Does experimentation = Xanax abuse?


Xanax – alprazolam – is a benzodiazepine medication that affects the central nervous system (CNS). Even though it is classified as a Schedule IV drug, Xanax has a high potential for abuse since it has the ability to trigger calming and relaxing feelings. In fact, it is considered to be the 2nd most popular drug of abuse in United States.

So, if you’re reading this and feel that Xanax use has become a problem…you’re in the right place. We can help!

First, we suggest that you inform yourself about effective ways you can recognize when Xanax use has become an issue for yourself or a loved one. Then, if you are ready to stop taking Xanax, we suggest that you seek help instead of trying to do it on your own. You are not alone!


In this article we review the signs of Xanax abuse, as well as the risks and consequences of such use. Then, we invite you to send us your questions and comments via the section at the end of the page. We value your feedback and try to respond personally and promptly to all legitimate inquiries.

Medical use vs. Xanax abuse: What’s the difference?

Xanax is a medication with depressant effects that decreases abnormal excitement in the brain. Due to this effect, Xanax has a wide use in medicine, especially in the treatment anxiety and panic disorders.

Q: When does therapeutic use become Xanax abuse?
A: When you are not using it EXACTLY as recommended by a doctor.

Although people often believe that someone with a medical prescription cannot abuse Xanax, this is not true. In fact, any use in ways other than as prescribed is considered to be illegal and is punishable by law. Here are some actions that enter the scope of drug abuse even for Xanax patients:

  1. Use of bigger amounts of Xanax than recommended.
  2. More frequent dosing than recommended.
  3. Alteration of the suggested mode of administration by chewing, crushing and snorting Xanax.
  4. Using Xanax to get “high”.
  5. Mixing Xanax with other medications, illicit drugs, or alcohol to enhance its effects.

So, if someone is using Xanax in ways, doses, and frequency other than prescribed than they are abusing the drug. Such continued use of Xanax may lead to more serious problems, one of which is the development of an addictive dissorder.

Why is Xanax Abused?

This is a question without an easy, straightforward answer. In fact, there is an array of factors that make all the difference between why some people can remain on therapeutic doses of Xanax without abusing the medication, while others are more prone to misuse. The following delicate interplay of individual factors can include:

#1 Your genetic makeup – Scientists have concluded that individuals who have a family history of substance abuse disorders (SUD) are at a 50% higher risk of abusing drugs such as Xanax, as well as other illicit and prescription drugs or alcohol.

#2 A traumatic life event – Those who experience a traumatic event, especially during early childhood, have a higher risk of abusing psychoactive substances later in their adulthood. Trauma can be caused by many types of life experiences, including psychological trauma, any form of abuse, the loss of a loved one, and so on.

#3 Mental health disorders – Suffering from psychological diseases, especially mood disorders such as chronic anxiety and depression can be a contributing factor in developing a substance abuse problem. Many times, people with mental health disorders try to self-medicate their condition if it’s not diagnosed or addressed appropriately.

#4 Your individual biological makeup – Some individuals have brains that are super sensitive to the effects if drugs and experience stronger reward sensations from Xanax. If you are one of those people, you have a higher likelihood to continue taking the drug in an abusive manner.

#5 Your social environment – Living in a stressful home environment, and/or growing up in a dysfunctional family surrounding, especially if alcohol and drug abuse are present, can normalize a person’s view on drug abuse and increase the likeliness of them following in the same footsteps.

In addition, many of those who abuse Xanax also abuse other drugs (mainly opiates and alcohol). This is a practice known as poly-drug abuse. Xanax can calm down the severity of the withdrawal symptoms of these other substances, but also intensify their potency…which is why users tend to mix these substances together.

What are the signs of Xanax abuse?

Sometimes the warning signs of Xanax abuse may not be obvious, especially if a person is taking the medication for medical reasons. So how can you know? If you suspect that someone close to you may be abusing Xanax, you can look for some changes in their behavior, as well as physical and mental health. Signs of Xanax abuse may include:




Altered moods and demeanour
Disengagement from reality
Difficulty concentrating
Problems with memory
Lethargic and apathetic behavior


Financial problems
Finding doctors that will prescribe more Xanax (doctor shopping)
Preoccupation with obtaining and using Xanax
Running through Xanax prescriptions too fast
Social withdrawal
Strained relationships with family and friends

Xanax Abuse Risks and Adverse Effects

Abusing Xanax may have many negative health consequences risks, and may even be life-threatening. Below is a list of the negative effects of Xanax abuse:

  • hallucinations
  • hyperactivity
  • memory impairment
  • uncontrolled movement and coordination
  • seizures
  • slurred speech
  • vision problems

When mixed with alcohol or other depressant drugs, Xanax abuse becomes far more risky. Such combinations could lead to:

  • coma
  • death
  • serious injury

Professionals that can help

Looking for help with Xanax abuse, but don’t know where to start? Check out the following list of professional help options to know who you can turn to.

1. Xanax Abuse Helpline – When you need FREE, Confidential and Anonymous help to assess and evaluate your or a loved one’s Xanax problem, CALL 1-877-471-1850. Hotline staffers are trained professionals who understand drug abuse as a medical condition, can answer questions, and offer strategies and information about treatment services that can best help you. You can expect a caring and non-judgemental approach.

2. A Pharmacist – Pharmacists can help you with withdrawal symptoms by recommending a tapering schedule when you want to quit Xanax. They can also suggest a number of over-the-counter medications and remedies to help alleviate some of the flu-like Xanax withdrawal symptoms.

3. Prescribing Physician – Your supervising doctor can determine if you need Xanax for medical purposes and also diagnose the severity of your abuse problem. Physicians can also help you in the case of adverse effects, and refer you to a reputable drug addiction treatment center.

4. Drug Treatment CentersXanax addiction treatment center are safe and secure facilities, equipped with professionals who know what works and how they can assist you best. In fact, rehabs readily accept patients who are addicted to prescription medicines, including Xanax.

5. Psychiatrists – These doctors specialize in mental health, and can determine the causes of your addictive behavior. Then, they work with you to administer the necessary therpies in order to resolve these issues.

6. Addiction Specialists – Doctors who are Certified Addiction Specialists (CAS) can help people with chronic or recurrent Xanax addiction.

7. Licensed Clinical Psychologists – Psychologists provide counseling and education to improve your sober life. They can also help you maintain sobriety in the long run.

8. Licensed Clinical Social Workers – These professionals are very efficient in helping people addicted to Xanax by providing assistance outside of a drug treatment facility, especially for the families of recovering addicts, and for the children who live in households where drug abuse is present.

Got More Questions?

We hope to answered your main questions regaring Xanax abuse, Xanax dependence, or Xanax detox. But, if you still have some concerns, questions and/or experiences that you’d like to share with other readers, please feel free to share them in the designated section below. We will respond to all legitimate inqueries promptly and personally.

Reference Sources: National Institute of Drug Abuse: Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs
NIH: DrugFacts: Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction
NIH: Benzodiazepines Risk, Abuse, and Dependence
NIH: Medicine Plus: Alprazolam
FDA: Xanax

Xanax Abuse

43 Snorting Xanax

Snorting Xanax

March 28th, 2012

Is snorting Xanax effective? Any differences between snorting vs taking Xanax orally? And can snorting Xanax get you high? More on snorting Xanax effects here.

19 Can you die from taking Xanax?

Can you die from taking Xanax?

February 7th, 2012

Yes, you can die from taking Xanax, especially if it’s taken with other drugs or alcohol. Read more about this commonly abused drug here.

27 Does Xanax get you high?

Does Xanax get you high?

December 9th, 2011

Yes, Xanax can get you high. But Xanax creates a high infrequently, in less than 1% of all cases. Learn more about the psychoactive properties of Xanax, how it works, and its addiction liability here.

254 Xanax half life: how long does Xanax stay in your system

Xanax half life: how long does Xanax stay in your system

November 1st, 2010

Xanax can stay in your system for months, depending on frequency of use. Xanax half life is defined by the amount of time it takes for 1/2 the drug to leave the body. But when is Xanax drug testing safe? And what are the signs of Xanax addiction? We explore here.

28 What is Xanax used for?

What is Xanax used for?

October 31st, 2010

Xanax is used and prescribed by increasing numbers of doctors. But what is Xanax and what does Xanax do? We review addictive-ness and medical reasons for taking Xanax here.

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