Are You Xanax Dependent?
Xanax can change the way that the brain works.
In fact, the physical need to use Xanax in order to feel and function normally is known as “physical dependence”. What are the signs of dependence on Xanax? How can you end Xanax dependence safely?
We answer these questions in the article below. Then, we invite you to reach out for help. In fact, you can send us your questions via the comments section at the end of the page. We value your feedback and do our best to provide personal and prompt answers to all legitimate inquiries.
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How to Identify Xanax Dependence
Dependence forms after a period of chronic, daily use. People who use Xanax (main ingredient alprazolam) daily can expect to develop physical dependence within 4-6 weeks of daily dosing. When you become drug-dependent, it can trigger a number of severe withdrawal symptoms when you cut down or quit use.
Dependence is further characterized by a build-up in your drug tolerance levels, which makes your current Xanax dosage less effective and may encourage you to increase the amount and frequency of use. To identify Xanax dependence, you can ask yourself the following four (4) simple questions. Try to answer them as honestly as possible:
- Is your current Xanax dose losing its effectiveness?
- Do you abuse Xanax by taking higher doses and/or taking it more often for effect?
- Do you find it hard to decrease or stop Xanax because it hurts to do so?
- Do you go back to Xanax just to end withdrawal symptoms discomfort?
If you answer YES to these Qs, then it might be time to talk to your doctor, go through an assessment of your dependence levels, and see whether you require Xanax withdrawal treatment to give an end to your physical dependency.
What Is Xanax Dependence…Really?
In short: Dependence is the condition wherein your body and brain have adapted to the chemical presence of Xanax. When you are Xanax-dependent, you need it to maintain chemical homeostasis.
To explain this in more detail…
Xanax dependence forms because of the way the drug alprazolam works in the brain. Alprazolam affects the central nervous system and acts on a group of GABA-A brain receptors. In fact, it enhances the response and production of the neurotransmitter GABA, which is the brain’s own natural relaxant. With continued use, you come to depend on an outside source (taking Xanax) to calm any abnormal excitability in the brain.
As these chemical changes take place, having Xanax in your system at all times become the new normal state of being. Any cessation or lowering of doses will then throw you off balance and this is when you experience withdrawal symptoms.
Symptoms of Dependence on Xanax
SYMPTOM 1: Tolerance. Users often develop tolerance to Xanax when they take their medication for a period of time. During cases of increased tolerance, initially effective doses lose their potency and can no longer produce the effects you expect. This is when many people feel a need to increase Xanax dosage amounts…. just to be able to reach the initial therapeutic effects.
SYMPTOM 2: Withdrawal. The cluster of symptoms that emerge when you stop taking Xanax are called “withdrawal symptoms”. Usually, it takes about 6-8 hours after the last dose for symptoms of Xanax withdrawal to appear. Symptoms peak in intensity at round 72 hours after the last intake and may take about two weeks to subside. But, there is a possibility that they will reoccur after a while. These ‘rebound symptoms’ can last for weeks to months on end.
Withdrawal symptoms of Xanax include, but are not limited to:
- High blood pressure
- Mood swings
- Panic attacks
Xanax Dependence Signs
The main clinical symptoms of Xanax dependence can includes increased tolerance levels and the occurrence of a set of withdrawal symptoms…but there are a few other signs you can look for when looking for clues of Xanax dependence in yourself or a loved one.
Other signs of a problem with Xanax are:
- Being unable to control or stop Xanax use, despite desire to do so.
- Buying Xanax through illegal sources (online, off the street, off of someone else who’s prescribed)
- Going “Doctor shopping” – obtaining multiple prescriptions from several doctors.
- Hiding Xanax use from friends, family and coworkers.
- Running out of Xanax before it’s time for a prescription refill.
- Using Xanax longer or at higher doses than prescribed by your doctor.
If you can recognize 2 or more of these signs of Xanax dependence in yourself or someone close to you…do not worry! The main issues that you and your loved ones are facing can be managed successfully and safely in the hands of medical professionals.
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Does Xanax Dependence = Addiction?
NO. Not really!
But, what’s the difference between dependence and addiction?
Anyone who takes Xanax on a regular basis is expected to develop a degree of Xanax dependency. In fact, dependence is considered to be a normal and expected outcome of your body’s natural tendency to adapt to its environment. When you take the medication, your body adapts to the presence of the substance. However, the need for Xanax in people who are dependent-only does not continue after withdrawal symptoms resolve.
When Xanax addiction sets in, the drug takes a central role in your life. The need to obtain and use Xanax becomes more important than your job, your family, and your health. This is why people addicted to Xanax have a hard time stopping even though they are aware of the negative consequences and require structured and long-term Xanax addiction treatment to take back control over their life.
Who Can Help End My Xanax Dependence?
When you’re ready to address Xanax dependence, you need medical advice. You can seek help from licensed medical professional such as your physician, psychologist, or your prescribing doctor. In fact, it is best to seek help from someone with experience in treating benzodiazepine withdrawal using a gentle tapering protocol.
Still, your doctor can help you in many ways, such as by:
- Evaluating your dependence and Xanax use patterns.
- Crafting an individualized treatment plan that fits your specific needs and goals.
- Running tests to evaluate your overall health.
- Prescribing appropriate medications during your withdrawal and detox treatment.
Xanax Dependence Treatment Methods
Tapered withdrawal – Gradually cutting down the daily doses of Xanax is the most recommended therapy for lowering your tolerance levels, avoiding adverse withdrawal reactions, and ending dependence. Look into The Ashton Manual for direction.
Supportive withdrawal – The need to take Xanax again just to avoid withdrawal can be hard to handle alone. Thus, sharing experiences with peers at a support group may be the best way to overcome this struggle.
Supervised withdrawal – Detox clinics offer 24 hours care for people who are detoxing from Xanax. You can address your Xanax with the help of medical professionals at an inpatient detox program, which usually takes 3-5 days. But, it can last for as long as it takes your severe symptoms to wear off.
Home treatment – There is a possibility to treat Xanax dependence at home. Usually, over-the-counter medications are used to address symptoms as they occur. But, you need medical permission before you can begin to withdraw from Xanax at home.
Got More Questions?
Did we answer your basic questions about Xanax dependence? If not, please do not hesitate to write to us in the comments section below. We value our readers’ feedback. And we’ll try to respond personally and promptly to all legitimate inquiries.