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What’s it Like to be Addicted to Xanax?

Xanax, or alprazolam, is the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepine in the US. It’s typically prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders and sometimes for insomnia. It’s also very addictive. You can become physically dependent in less than two weeks of daily use.

Xanax works really well for anxiety. It starts working in about an hour and lasts about 12 to 15 hours. So if you are afraid of flying, for example, you can take a Xanax an hour before your flight and enjoy your peanuts rather than clutch the arms of your seat for two hours.

Ironically, Xanax addiction makes you more anxious in the long run. It works by increasing the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, making you feel calmer. It doesn’t take much regular use before your brain starts producing less GABA and your regular dose of Xanax doesn’t work like it used to. Then you need more to get the same anxiety relief.

Xanax is hard to quit because the withdrawal is dangerous. In addition to anxiety and agitation, suddenly quitting Xanax after a period of regular use can cause seizures or death. That’s why it’s best to detox from Xanax and other benzodiazepines in a clinic. The fear of withdrawal actually compounds anxiety as you may fear losing your supply or not being able to get more when you run out.

Long-term Xanax use has many negative effects including muscle cramps, compulsive behavior, insomnia, obsessiveness, slurred speech, impaired coordination and balance, and lack of concentration. All of these can have negative effects on your life and work.

An overdose of Xanax can cause confusion, extreme drowsiness, slowed heart rate, loss of balance, and coma. An overdose of Xanax by itself is not typically fatal and is treated with supportive care at the hospital. A bigger concern is mixing Xanax with alcohol or other drugs. Benzodiazepines suppress the central nervous system and combining them with other drugs that do the same thing greatly increases the chance of a fatal overdose. It might seem obvious not to mix Xanax with other drugs, but if you are feeling extremely anxious and the Xanax isn’t doing the job, throwing another downer into the mix might seem pretty tempting.

Detoxing from Xanax must be done gradually to avoid dangerous side effects. During this time, you have to find other ways to manage anxiety. Ideally, this involves the help of a therapist and possibly making significant lifestyle changes to better manage stress.

If you or someone you love is struggling with benzodiazepine addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox safely and decide on a treatment strategy. Call us today at 844-828-1050 or email us at to learn more.