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The Effects of Long-Term Xanax Use

Panic Disorders And Xanax Abuse

Xanax is a drug from the benzodiazepine class often used to treat anxiety disorders, panic attacks, and other related mental health issues. Taking Xanax works to increase the activity of the brain chemical GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which in turn work to suppress the activity of the central nervous system.

While this creates rewarding short term effects of Xanax like sensations of calmness, relaxation, and euphoria, abusing Xanax can be quite dangerous. Since too much Xanax can slow breathing, high doses are potentially dangerous due to the risk of an overdose causing a fatal respiratory depression, especially if Xanax is combined with other drugs in an effort to get high rather than simply address mental health issues responsibly.

And though Xanax helps some patients who take the drug under the guidance of a professional treatment provider, the drug also comes with a greater risk of developing addiction than most other prescription drugs, even other benzodiazepines.

This is because Xanax has a short half life compared to those other benzodiazepines, which creates the temptation to simply take more Xanax as soon as the first dose wears off. Psychological effects of Xanax can be so rewarding that psychological dependence can develop quickly, and physical dependence can also develop more quickly than with many other drugs.

Tolerance, which occurs when one needs increasingly high doses of Xanax to feel the same effect or “high” that they did initially, can set in after only days of Xanax use. Over time, Xanax abuse will change the way the brain operates, as the person’s system gets “used” to having Xanax around, which can result in life threatening withdrawal symptoms when chronic use is ceased in someone who has developed a physical dependence on Xanax.

Signs Of Xanax Withdrawal

One of the biggest signs of a potential addiction to Xanax is the emergence of withdrawal symptoms if someone tries to stop taking Xanax. If the addiction was relatively mild, symptoms may be limited to cravings and anxiety, but if someone who has been on Xanax for an extended period abruptly ceases their use, their previously subdued central nervous system may go into a dangerous hyperdrive.

In severe cases, this may result in a medical emergency, as seizures and heart palpitations can arise. Thus, medical detox is usually advised for those suffering from Xanax addiction, so that medical professionals can step in if one of these serious symptoms does emerge.

If one wants to stop taking Xanax on their own, they will have to taper off their doses of the drug very carefully, and should still be prepared to visit the emergency room if signs of severe Xanax withdrawal emerge. Less serious but still highly unpleasant adverse effects of Xanax abuse can include anxiety, muscle cramps, vomiting, sweating, rebound insomnia, and tremors.

Long Term Effects Of Xanax Abuse

Despite the risk and unpleasantness of Xanax withdrawal, ceasing Xanax use is still undeniably preferable to staying on the drug because of the severity of the potential long term effects of Xanax.

These long term side effects of Xanax seem to include significant brain damage, to the extent that older adults who had taken Xanax for three to six months were found to be thirty two percent more likely to have developed Alzheimer’s disease, a devastating illness marked by severe memory loss and cognitive impairment.

Even more worrisome, older adults who had continued to use Xanax long term (or for more than six months) were at an eighty four percent higher risk of developing this devastating condition. Because of this potential for brain damage as well as the potential for addiction, it is now generally recommended that one should stop their use of the prescription drug after only up to six weeks.

What To Expect During The Treatment Process For Xanax Addiction

As with other forms of substance use disorder, the recovery process from Xanax addiction generally requires professional care. After detox has taken place and the short term effects of Xanax withdrawal have been dealt with, recovery from the psychological longer term effects of Xanax addiction can occur.

Luckily, addiction treatment is covered by most forms of health insurance. Depending on the severity of the Xanax use as indicated by a substance abuse assessment, either inpatient or outpatient treatment options may be recommended.

Once the person with addiction has entered a substance abuse treatment program, a clinical professional can determine whether a patient was trying to suppress any underlying mental illness by abusing Xanax.

Known as dual diagnosis, the co occurrence of substance abuse and mental illness is a common phenomenon. Often, panic disorders or generalized anxiety disorder that were suppressed by the short term effects of Xanax abuse will now need to be dealt with in other ways so that the person can learn to maintain sobriety.

Addiction treatment also often involves support groups, which can give those suffering from addiction to Xanax a place to share their feelings and to connect with others who have gone through similar struggles.

Family members may also be brought into a person’s treatment process, since they are a significant part of a person’s life and thus will be critical to that person conquering their Xanax addiction. With the help of a family therapist, relational issues related to the addiction can be resolved in a safe space and both long and short term effects of Xanax abuse on the entire family unit can be addressed.

Substance Abuse Treatment Options For Xanax Addiction At Reco Intensive

Reco Intensive is an addiction treatment center located in Delray Beach, Florida, that provides treatment for addictions stemming from many different forms of illicit and prescription drug use, including Xanax use.

We are also equipped to provide treatment for any dual diagnosis associated with a person’s drug abuse, helping those with Xanax addiction to learn alternate coping mechanisms that they can use instead to cope with negative emotions and painful symptoms so that they do not have to resort to leaning on their addiction.

Along with providing various forms of evidence backed therapy proven to effectively treat addiction, our addiction treatment program also includes many holistic aspects meant to heal the whole person, such as regular yoga practice, art therapy, and nutritional guidance.

Now that you are aware of the long term effects of Xanax abuse, it should be clear to you why there is no time to waste in seeking help if you are currently struggling to control your addiction to Xanax, or if you care about someone suffering from such an addiction.

To discuss treatment options for Xanax addiction or addiction to any other drug, feel free to contact our addiction treatment center anytime by phone at 844.955.3042 or to fill out our online contact form here. There’s no time to waste in getting back on the road to an addiction free life and a brighter future.

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