11 Minutes

Edited & medically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
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Is Xanax addictive? If I tell you the statistics of Xanax prescription that is about 21 million in the United States only, are you able to figure out the Xanax abuse rate? On a lighter note, Xanax (Alprazolam) addiction is the one that we commonly notice among people in our society. So, Xanax is a benzodiazepine that is mainly used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Furthermore, it is also used in the short-term treatment of insomnia and seizure.

In medical ethics, when taking consideration of Xanax, a question arises: Does Alprazolam have more benefits than harms? The answer would be crystal clear i.e. excess of anything can be harmful and may lead to bad consequences so does Xanax addiction! The use of Alprazolam is beneficial in many medical situations. However, is this always the case?

Sadly the answer is NO. So, the next in the queue is “Is alprazolam addictive or harmful?” Well Yes, Alprazolam (Xanax) is observed as the most addictive drug, and Xanax misuse was recorded high in today’s market. Xanax abuse leads to life-threatening situations and causes Xanax drug addiction. Interested to know how? Read on to learn more!

A bunch of colorful pills in the palms of a person's hands, next to some lemons.

Xanax is related to the fast-acting class of benzodiazepine that means it causes a tremendous change in the brain in a very short period of time. 

Well, Xanax developed after the successful discovery and wide usage of tranquilizers; it was made to develop a safer and less addictive drug that can be used in replacement of tranquilizers to treat anxiety and insomnia such as barbiturates (a sedative-hypnotics drugs class).

It works by binding amino-butyric acid A (GABA-A) receptors in the brain, and by activating the receptors, it decreases the alertness of the brain, thus, providing relief in anxiety and panic attacks.

It is widely used to treat psychiatric illness and even to date it is the most prescribing drug in psychotic disorders.

Thus, this mechanism of action of Xanax shows how does Xanax affect you at the cellular or molecular level.

However, if you take Xanax in a larger amount and for a longer period of time, it makes you extremely addictive, and also exaggerated response makes you euphoric and gets you high too.

So, the Xanax addicts become dependent physically and psychologically when addicted and may also develop Xanax dependence.

Do you think anyone wants to become addicted intentionally? No, it might not be the case.

Fact: Xanax is mostly prescribed by physicians to treat anxiety, panic attacks, and prolonged seizures.

Well, Later on, users develop tolerance and dependence that in turn require taking more pills in order to achieve their desired effect which ultimately leads to Xanax Addiction.

But, the question arrives in mind “if it is medically prescribed by the doctor’s then How Is Xanax Abused”?

Related: Codeine Addiction and Abuse Symptoms

Of course, not all the addicts having a prescription in hand by the doctor, their friends, and family circle involve taking them high on addiction to Xanax.

Teenagers, college, and professional colleagues are among the ones who drive this addiction race very fast. Believe it or not, a person cannot even imagine what is going to be happening with him?

Besides, he just assumes that he is going to take medicine in order to relieve his anxiety, maintain calm, and make peace with the emotions.

Have you ever wondered why is Xanax abused?

There may be multiple reasons, however, its easy accessibility to individuals is the strongest rationale. It is widely used in the medical field and mostly prescribes by doctors that makes this reason stand high among others.

Also, Cost-effectiveness, as it doesn’t require an arm and leg to buy contributes towards their abusiveness.

Abusing Xanax is also subjected to individual choice. Those who abuse alprazolam may like the way it makes them feel. They feel their halcyon by using alprazolam high.

Moreover, if we broadly classified some of the people who are at greater risk of Xanax addiction, we can conclude that people who have any psychotic disorder, people aged ranges 18years to 35years, and anyone having a previous family history of Xanax abusing is the target.

Stats show certain facts about alprazolam abuse and it shows that almost all of the alprazolam addicts obtained their addictive drug prescription from their medical-related friends and family by using their relationship with them.

Around 20% of the prescription comes directly from the doctor as a treatment of the medical condition and this fact of Xanax abuse makes the physician involvement directly though unintentionally to rising in Xanax (alprazolam) addiction.

Around 5% of Xanax abusers misuse Xanax by buying from drug dealers.

Also, around 11.5% purchased Xanax from medically-related friends or relatives in return of money.

The alarming fact of Alprazolam abuse is that around 75% of the total people hatched the Xanax from their family medicine cabinets and stores.

Related: How to treat Substance Abuse?

If I say Statistical report says 1 in every 5 people who are taking Xanax for any of their conditions are actually misusing it, then it means it would not be wrong to mention this drug is highly noxious in terms of their harmful usability compared with their therapeutic side.

A large number of people use Xanax for recreational purposes rather than therapeutical purposes. These facts and stats defined the high rise in the Xanax addiction rate and also linked to certain morbidity and mortality as well.

Despite the controversial addictive nature of the drug it is still labeled as the most-prescribed medicine in drug history. Addiction to Xanax is not only limited to oral consumption in the form of pills. It also includes the following:

  • Taking a high dose of pills either prescribed by the doctor or introduced by their friends and family
  • Injecting Xanax directly into veins
  • Snorting it
  • Taking it via blotter paper
  • Taking it with other drugs or alcohol for pleasure, calm, and peace

Note: Xanax is also called Alprazolam medically and scientifically, and its variation is called Niravam that utilize through a sub-lingual route.

Also, there are some of the common street terms used for Xanax and these include:

  • Nannies or zanies
  • Handlebars
  • Xanax Bars
  • Blue footballs
  • Benzos
  • French fries
  • Ladders
  • Sticks

These are mainly used by the ones who abuse Xanax habitually and no longer care about their well-being. Perhaps, most of them might be homeless or depressive and want to make harmony with their mind.

It is largely used in concerts, parties, and clubs where Xanax addicts wield to develop an extreme sense of pleasure, light headiness, fantasy, and great sexual satisfaction.

Once a person gets addicted, it is difficult to divert his mind out of Xanax and focus on daily routine activities. 

Sadly, their dependency on Alprazolam (Xanax) even for the menial task will be getting higher day by day which not only affects their mental but physical health as well.

Long-term Xanax abuse or Xanax misuse side effects include:

  • Mood swings like you will experience aggressive and violent behavior
  • Loss of appetite which in turn loss of weight or increases hunger
  • Start forgetting daily routine stuff (dementia) which is noticeable by others
  • Impaired motor skills, cognitive issues, delirium, and psychosis
  • Irritability, hallucinations, and delusions are not uncommon

You see, long-term side effects of Xanax misuse are tough – and, at times, out of the question – to recover fully.

Misuse or overuse of Xanax and addictive sense towards Xanax can quote as Xanax use disorder.

An overdose on Xanax is related to so many life-threatening episodes and if you are taking it with alcohol it can be even fetal.

Its overdose also varies from person to person and depends on certain factors like age of the person, weight of the person, any pre-existing medical condition linked to a major organ such as kidney, liver, or heart.

How anyone’s body reacts to any specific medicine also contributes in this regard. User metabolism and their execratory system also come into account to consider.

Prescribes Dosage of Xanax

In general, the therapeutically safest prescribed dose of Xanax ranges 0.25 to 0.5 milligram (mg) per day. Furthermore, this dosage can also be split into multiple intervals to use in a day.

Obviously, some conditions may require a high dosage too, but, that surely be recommended and observed only by the qualified person.

Lethal Conjunctions of Xanax

Researches show around 40% of the alcoholics are Xanax abusers and their combination with the alcohol is extremely lethal as it causes respiratory failure and ultimately – death in most cases.

A study in the west linked almost 200 deaths with the overdose of Xanax and its poisonous effect when used in combination with alcohol and opioids.

So, if you are taking multiple pills at a time or snorting in high amount, it will be collected in your brain in huge amounts and as it is time-releasing medicine so causes Xanax drug abuse side effects that are also not limited to the following:

  • Confusion
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fainting
  • Loss of balance
  • Muscle weakness
  • Coma

Importantly, some of the drugs also cause a bad reaction when used in combination with Xanax. It either decreases their effect or overlying their effect or maybe causes drug reaction which ultimately leads to serious consequences.

Some of these drugs include: Tagamet (cimetidine), Luvox (fluvoxamine), Prozac (fluoxetine), Paxil(paroxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), Tegretol (carbamazepine), isoniazid (reniform), diltiazem (Cardizem), certain antibiotics, and birth controlling pills.

Note: Other than alcohol and certain drugs, Grapefruit juice should also be avoided to take along with Xanax or alprazolam – important to remember!

If you are habitual of taking large doses of Xanax for a long time period, it is proven that you will be highly vulnerable to develop a dependence on Xanax.

Your life matters, activities, tasks, even your thoughts will be grabbed in the tight hands of Xanax and this will categorize you under the label of Xanax addiction or alprazolam addiction

Whether, intentionally or unintentionally, if you are suffering from addiction to Xanax and trying to get out of it – there are certain measures to take care of. Xanax is highly addictive and its addictive nature requires slow withdrawal to avoid bad consequences on health.

Unfortunately, what most people do after long-term usage of Xanax, or if I say more specifically, after a long-term Xanax abuse they try to stop all at once without seeking medical help.

Lesser they know, they are hell dependent on Xanax, and regrettably, they suffer from Xanax withdrawal symptoms which are sometimes so much intense that makes their efforts useless; and, even some of the studies suggest to monitor the user thoughts for depression and even suicide.

Muscle twitching, insomnia, lack of consistency to achieve set goals, are some of the symptoms one should look into to monitor Xanax addiction.

Other than that it’s a CNS depressant so its activity in the brain causes headache, blurred vision, tremors, paranoia, sensitivity to light and sound, loss of appetite, numb fingers, and sweating with palpitation.

Xanax addiction symptoms generally are diagnosed by checking out the cravings for Xanax, misusing it without the need or just to take pleasure, and not willing to discontinue even getting negative effects physically and mentally.

If anyone is behind the drug by any means or at any cost without any legitimate medical condition, he must be thoroughly observed for their Xanax dependence.

As Xanax dependency is developed, Xanax becomes less effective and doesn’t give the same results as it used to give at the start. The user then ultimately starts his journey towords dependency.

Likewise, to know about the dependency on any drug you can always look into their withdrawal symptoms. Like, if any person becomes dependent on Xanax due to long-term Xanax abuse, their withdrawal symptoms are enough to tell you the story. 

Yet, the timeline of Xanax addiction Withdrawal symptoms varies a bit from person to person. However, as it is a fast-acting but slow-released drug, so, it usually takes 6-8 hours after the last dose of Xanax/Alprazolam to showcase their withdrawal effects.

Note: Not all dependent drugs cause addiction and withdrawal symptoms.

Xanax addiction is a serious frightening issue that is affecting every age group but young adults profoundly. Abusing Xanax causes multiple serious health problems. All their symptoms, withdrawal effects, dependency indicators, reflect Xanax’s highly addictive nature.

Also, whoever the medical person is prescribing the Xanax must weigh its pros and cons relative to the user’s condition.

When a person engages in addiction, their whole family suffers along with him – Must Think!



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