Xanax is one of the most common addictions in the US and that is because it doesn’t start illegally. The most common way for someone to start abusing Xanax is because they or someone close to them was prescribed the drug by a medical professional.
Xanax is most frequently used for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders and is very effective at treating these conditions. It is also considered a safe treatment. However, it does have the potential to spiral into an addiction.
How Does a Xanax Addiction Begin?
Most of the time, a Xanax addiction will start because the person is prescribed the medication to help with symptoms of anxiety.
Unfortunately, over time the body can begin to develop a tolerance to the drug meaning that the person taking the medication needs to take more and more to achieve the same effect.
If the person decides to up their dose of medication and the frequency with which they take it they may develop a Xanax addiction.
How To Avoid a Xanax Addiction
The single best way to avoid a Xanax addiction is to take your medication exactly as prescribed and to not take any medication that is not prescribed to you.
If you begin to take more than your prescribed dose or you take the medication too frequently your body may begin to become dependent on the drug to function. This is when you’ll start to experience cravings and withdrawal symptoms if you do not take the drug.
Talk to Your Doctor About Other Options
If you are going to have to be on anxiety medication for a long period, a medication like Xanax may not be the best option for you. Xanax is best known for treating short-term anxiety, which is why it can also be addictive.
There are other anxiety medications that are meant to be non-addictive and that you can use for many years at a time without issues. To learn more about the options available to you talk to your healthcare provider.
Do I Have A Xanax Addiction?
The best way to know if you have an addiction or dependence on Xanax is to think about your use of the drug and your feelings surrounding that use.
Do you use your medication exactly as prescribed?
Have you begun taking your medication more frequently?
Do you feel like you need to hide your Xanax usage from friends and family?
These are all great questions to ask yourself if you’re worried that you have a Xanax addiction. If you are taking your medication at higher dosages, are taking it more frequently, and feel shame about your usage of the drug, then you may be suffering from an addiction.
If you’re concerned about the possibility that you have a Xanax addiction you should speak with your doctor or whoever prescribed the drug. Tell them what is happening and how you’re feeling, they should be able to advise you on how to proceed.
Steps To Overcome Xanax Addiction
1. Reflect on Your Drug Use
The first thing you should do if you’re worried that you may have a Xanax addiction is to reflect on your use of the drug and your feelings surrounding it. Sometimes it can be really difficult to be honest with yourself, especially when you’re dealing with a topic as sensitive as addiction.
2. Talk to Your Doctor
After reflecting on your Xanax use if you’re still worried that you may have developed a Xanax addiction the next step you should take is to book an appointment with your doctor. Preferably the doctor that first prescribed you the medication.
Once there you should express your concerns and tell them exactly why you think you may have an addiction. Based on what you tell them they should be able to recommend the next steps.
Change of Medication
Depending on how long you’ve been on Xanax and the reason you were prescribed it the doctor may want to switch you to a different medication.
Unfortunately, since Xanax can cause addictions, it is not the best long-term solution to anxiety.
Fortunately, technology and science have advanced so much that nowadays we have long-term, non-addictive anxiety medications available that are a far better option than Xanax in many cases.
3. Start The Detox Process
The detox process is a little bit different with Xanax compared to other drugs because it is not illegal. Instead of switching you to substitute drug then weaning you off, the doctor should simply be able to taper your dose down.
This process of tapering your Xanax dose down can take several months. According to the American Addiction Centers, a minimum of eight weeks will be required to wean off Xanax.
Depending on how long you’ve been on the drug and how high your dosage is this could also take several weeks longer.
Throughout the entire detox process, it’s important to be patient. The effects of stopping Xanax too quickly can be severe and could cause major setbacks in your recovery process.
4. Learn Healthy Coping Mechanisms
During the initial detox period, you are likely to experience heightened symptoms of anxiety. Most of the time you are not able to start another medication until you are fully weaned off the other.
This is a good time to learn some healthy coping mechanisms that can help you deal with your anxiety without medication. Some great anxiety-reducing strategies include meditation, yoga, and exercise.
Exercise releases endorphins in the brain which can help combat feelings of anxiety. Also, when you’re tired you are able to sleep much better which is good if you’re someone who deals with anxiety at night.
Despite not being an illegal drug, Xanax addiction can have a devastating effect on someone’s life and it’s important to take [Xanax] addiction seriously.
If you feel that you may have developed an addiction to your medication don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about it and explore other options. The earlier in the addiction you catch the problem the easier the detox and withdrawal process will be.
To learn more about Xanax addiction and ways to overcome it visit Achieve Wellness Recovery.
American Addiction Centers: How to taper off Xanax
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