Xanax addiction is becoming more prevalent in today’s world with the increasing diagnoses of panic disorders. Xanax has a high potential for abuse and addiction. Xanax (generic name Alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine, also known as a central nervous system depressant (CNS). Xanax is prescribed to treat anxiety and panic disorders and sometimes used as a sleep aid. Even when Xanax is taken as prescribed, you or a loved one can become dependent on Xanax as dependence occurs quickly with benzos.
Since Xanax addiction can occur so quickly, it is crucial that you know the signs of Xanax abuse. Along with knowing these signs and symptoms of Xanax abuse, it’s important to know the difference between Xanax abuse and Xanax addiction.
Behavioral Signs of Xanax Abuse and Xanax Addiction
When Xanax is abused, it can cause strange behaviors in your loved one. Some of the most common behavioral signs of Xanax abuse are stealing, slurred speech, and disorientation, and memory problems.
Stealing – Many people impulsively steal when they are high on Xanax. If you notice your loved one going through random spurts of acquiring things they usually wouldn’t have, they may be abusing Xanax.
Slurred Speech– When someone is abusing Xanax, it has a strong effect on them. Since Xanax is a depressant, it can cause slurring of speech like alcohol. When someone is addicted to Xanax, the side effects won’t be as noticeable because that is how their body is now used to functioning.
Disorientation and Memory Problems – Disorientation and memory loss are common signs of Xanax abuse. Xanax is used to treat anxiety by acting in the brain and slowing down nerve cell activity in the brain; this can cause disorientation in the user. It can cause short-term amnesia in those who are abusing Xanax. If someone is addicted to Xanax, they can end up missing large chunks of time and have no memory of what they’ve done for up to weeks at a time.
If you think that your loved one is exhibiting any of these behavioral signs, they may be abusing Xanax or addicted to Xanax. If someone is abusing or addicted to Xanax, they cannot abruptly stop taking the medication. Xanax withdrawals are one of the only withdrawals that can be deadly.
How Xanax Abuse and Addiction Affects the Mood
As with any drug, the user’s mood is one of the most glaringly obvious signs that Xanax is being abused. Some of the most common mood symptoms of Xanax abuse and addiction are anxiety, anger, and mood swings.
Anxiety – Although Xanax is a medication that is prescribed to treat anxiety disorders, abusing Xanax can make someone more anxious. They become anxious when they cannot get more Xanax, or if they are running low. When someone is abusing or is addicted to Xanax, anxiety arises if they are questioned about their Xanax intake or the possibility of having to stop.
Anger– When abusing Xanax, some people tend to get angry. Extreme anger can also happen when someone is addicted to Xanax. The reaction to Xanax is different depending on the person and if they have any other drugs present in their system. As with anxiety related to Xanax abuse, if someone is being confronted about their Xanax addiction, they tend to get angry.
Mood swings – Mood swings in someone who is abusing Xanax is extremely common, whether their mood swings be positive or negative. When taking too much Xanax, it leaves you extremely inebriated. Xanax abuse and addiction can lead to unpredictable mood swings, and anger is often a part of the mood swings.
When someone has unpredictable moods and increased anxiety despite being prescribed Xanax by a doctor, they may be abusing their prescription. Your loved one may also be addicted to Xanax if they do not have a prescription and are getting Xanax illegally off the streets.
Physical Signs and Symptoms of Xanax Abuse
The physical symptoms of Xanax abuse mimic extreme drunkenness and can also mimic some of the physical signs of opiate abuse. Some of the most common physical signs of Xanax abuse are:
Lack of coordination
Swelling in hands and feet
Fluctuations in weight
While these are common physical signs of Xanax abuse, the symptoms may exhibit similar signs of alcohol abuse and opiate abuse. Although Xanax can be abused by itself, many people who are addicted to drugs will combine multiple drugs to create a more intense high. Benzos such as Xanax, have been a large factor in overdose deaths in the past few years. Mixing other drugs or alcohol with Xanax is extremely dangerous and potentially fatal.
Xanax Abuse and Xanax Addiction: What’s the Difference?
Although the signs and symptoms of Xanax abuse and Xanax addiction are the same, the distinct difference is in if your loved one is addicted to Xanax or just abusing Xanax. When someone is abusing Xanax, they are often taking it at certain times like during a stressful situation, or for a specific occasion. When someone is abusing Xanax, they can likely stop at any time. When someone is addicted to Xanax is unable to control their intake of Xanax, they have a strong compulsion to take it and will continue to take it no matter the consequences. They need Xanax to function “normally” and cannot manage daily life without it. Needing Xanax to function is when the line from abuse crosses into an addiction to Xanax.
When someone who is addicted to Xanax stops taking it without medical supervision, they can go into life-threatening withdrawals. If your loved one is exhibiting these signs, they are most likely addicted to or are abusing Xanax. There are treatment options available for Xanax addiction.