Xanax is not a drug that you would expect someone to become addicted to. The drug is used to treat anxiety and panic disorders, but the fact that it can be addictive has been known for decades. Xanax addiction can happen even if you have been prescribed the drug by your doctor. If you have been taking Xanax for a long time and feel like you need more or less of it, then it’s time to talk to your doctor about what’s going on.
What is Xanax?
Xanax (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine medication that is prescribed to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks. It works by slowing down brain activity, helping to regulate emotions and reduce feelings of fear or worry. Xanax has been used for more than 30 years as an effective treatment for panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social phobia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It can also be used to manage insomnia when other treatments have failed or if you’re unable to sleep due to another condition such as depression or arthritis pain.
How Panic Attacks and Anxiety Drive Drug Abuse
The prevalence of anxiety disorders is directly linked to substance use disorders. In fact, about 30% of people with a substance use disorder also have an anxiety disorder. And about 50% of individuals who have an anxiety disorder will develop a substance use problem at some point in their lives.
When someone develops an addiction to Xanax or other benzodiazepines, it’s usually because they have untreated panic attacks or other symptoms of an anxiety disorder—which are often mistaken for depression or another mental health condition.
If you suspect that someone you know is struggling with substance abuse and an anxiety disorder, it’s important to understand how these two conditions interact so that you can help them get the treatment they need.
Panic attacks are one of the most debilitating conditions that people can experience. They’re terrifying, and they make you feel like there’s no way out of the situation that’s causing them. Many people who suffer from anxiety disorders also experience panic attacks, which can make their lives extremely difficult. The symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks include:
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heart rate
- Muscle tension or twitching
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
Xanax dependence is a serious problem. The drug is used to treat anxiety and panic attacks, but it’s also highly addictive. If you think you or a loved one might be suffering from Xanax addiction, here’s what you need to know.
How Does Xanax Work?
Xanax (also known as Alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine that targets GABA receptors in the brain. These receptors work by slowing down the activity of neurons, which can reduce anxiety and depression symptoms. Xanax works quickly: it takes effect within 30 to 60 minutes of ingestion and lasts for 6 hours on average. However, some people may experience withdrawal symptoms within 12 hours after taking their last dose of Xanax.
Why Do People Abuse Xanax?
People who abuse Xanax may be self-medicating or they may simply take the drug recreationally because they like its effects. Additionally, some people will use Xanax as part of an existing substance abuse problem because it produces feelings of euphoria similar to those produced by alcohol or other drugs such as cocaine and heroin.