Xanax Addiction and Treatment
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Xanax Abuse and Rehabilitation
Xanax® (alprazolam) is a powerful prescription benzodiazepine or “benzo” used to treat different types of anxiety and sleep disorder. It is one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the country and across the globe, as well as one of the most addictive. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that Xanax consistently ranks within the top five for highest rates of overdose.
Despite its clear risk for addiction and subsequent overdose, Xanax continues to be prescribed at record rates. A study from the University of Virginia reveals that there were 48 million prescriptions written for the drug in 2013, a number which has remained relatively consistent over the past five years. Prolonged and untreated abuse of Xanax can lead to addiction and the subsequent need for treatment.
Signs of Xanax Addiction
The path to Xanax addiction can have many routes. Some start taking the drug with a doctor’s prescription for a legitimate medical condition – others recreationally abuse the drug out of curiosity or to chase a new high. Data from the organization Health Research Funding reveals that one in 11 high school seniors will take Xanax recreationally at least once in their lives and that seven out of 10 teens who are addicted to Xanax are taking the pills out of their home’s medicine cabinet. The organization also reports that Xanax is the fifth best-selling prescription in the United States, with rates of medical dispensation increasing at least nine percent for the past five years.
The ubiquitous and legally regulated nature of Xanax means that the lines often get blurred between acceptable use and misuse, which is why it’s critical that users and their loved ones be mindful of the signs of addiction.
Some of the most common signs of Xanax addiction include:
- Taking the drug at higher doses or more frequent intervals than prescribed
- DUI or other legal issues related to Xanax
- Physical or psychological withdrawal symptoms
- Constant preoccupation with the drug
- Dishonesty or indignance when asked about using
- Decline in professional or academic performance
- Extreme changes in mood
- Inability to sleep
Xanax prescriptions are generally meant to exceed eight months and the FDA asserts that patients who are taking the drug at 4 mg doses for a period exceeding 12 weeks are at significantly increased risk of addiction. If you or someone you care about is taking the drug on an ongoing basis and is experiencing these or any other strange symptoms, it might be time for Xanax addiction treatment. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that Xanax-related ER visits have nearly doubled over the past decade.
Treating Xanax Addiction
Proper Xanax addiction treatment must include comprehensive clinical interventions to address the acute medical and ongoing behavioral issues associated with the disease. While each user’s Xanax addiction treatment will vary based on the history and severity of their use, the process should always include some combination of detoxification (detox) and behavioral rehab. Prolonged and untreated Xanax abuse can have a severely negative impact on neurobiology and the central nervous system, and treatment is most effective when the physical and psychological aspects of addiction are adequately addressed.
Clinical Xanax detox and withdrawal management usually last three to seven days – however, lingering symptoms can last for some time after. Medical Xanax detox is the process by which patients expel the harmful toxins in their bodies that have accumulated through a protracted course of Xanax abuse. As opposed to trying to quit “cold turkey,” medical detox provides a safe, sterile, and compassionate environment in which patients can get expert health for their withdrawal symptoms and receive help in the event of a medical emergency.
Some of the more common Xanax withdrawal symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Anxiety and irritability
- Stomach illness
- Panic attacks
- Heart palpitations
- Weight loss
- Joint and muscle pain
- Inability to concentrate
Patients who are engaged in long-term Xanax use, but are not yet at the level of dependency should consult their prescribing physician to develop a tapering schedule. Tapering off of Xanax allows users to gradually cease their intake in a manner that will mitigate their cravings, as well as any severe withdrawal symptoms.
Xanax rehab addresses the behavioral elements of Xanax treatment through the use of techniques like group therapy, individual counseling, and supplemental therapies.
Xanax rehab can be administered through a variety of paradigms, including but not limited to:
- Inpatient – Residential programs in which patients stay at their treatment center for anywhere from 28 to 90 days as they receive their treatment.
- Outpatient – Patients attend multiple weekly treatment sessions and return home after each session. Intensive outpatient treatment (IOP) offers longer and more frequent treatment sessions. These programs can last anywhere from four to eight weeks.
- Partial-Hospitalization Program (PHP) – Clients stay in an ambulatory setting close to their treatment center for the duration of their program.
During Xanax rehab, patients address the behavioral fallout of their Xanax abuse, as well as the root causes that lead to and sustain their use. The process should be customized according to each patient’s care needs, whether they need help addressing a co-occurring mental disorder, need to reconnect with their families, or anything else.
Each rehab facility will offer their own specialized therapies to treat Xanax addiction, however, some of the more common include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), motivational interviewing, and different types of group therapy. It’s critical that rehab includes means of managing any associated panic or anxiety disorder, for which the drug is most commonly prescribed, without the use of the drug. Harvard University reports that certain types of sleeping pills may serve as an adequate and safe alternative to Xanax or other benzodiazepines in some clinical cases.
As patients are poised to complete rehab, they should be given customized aftercare plans from their facility that allow them to build on the progress they made in treatment, including referral information to local recovery meetings and addiction-trained therapists.
Paying for Xanax Addiction Treatment
Many who struggle with Xanax abuse disorder believe they can’t afford treatment. The reality is that there are more options than ever to help you or your loved one pay for the process. Private insurance companies routinely pay for Xanax detox while Medicaid and other types of state-sponsored assistance programs can help pay for outpatient rehab. Your employer-based health insurance plan may also help you pay for an all-inclusive inpatient program where detox and rehab are offered simultaneously. Our treatment resources can help you or your loved one find affordable and accessible Xanax addiction treatment.
Overcome Your Xanax Addiction Today
Perhaps you’ve convinced yourself that you don’t have a Xanax problem, despite clear evidence to the contrary; perhaps you’re afraid of the withdrawal symptoms you think you’ll face during treatment; perhaps you think you need Xanax to battle the anxiety or panic disorder that has consumed your life. Whatever your current reason for not seeking Xanax addiction treatment, it’s critical to realize that delaying the process renders you significantly more vulnerable to overdose.
Don’t let fear stop you from living the life you deserve. If you or someone you care about is struggling with Xanax addiction and needs treatment, get help now.