Menu Close

Are There Less Addictive Drug Alternatives?

Providing Trusted, Evidence-Based
Treatment for Three Decades and Counting

If you or a loved one is experiencing addiction, we’re here to help.


Therapeutically, one benzodiazepine is almost indistinguishable from another. All medications in this class reduce electrical activity inside the brain, bringing relief from feelings of anxiety and reducing symptoms associated with epilepsy and seizure. But some benzodiazepine medications take hold quite quickly inside the brain, and that attribute makes them slightly more addictive than their counterparts. For people who have an addiction to Xanax (alprazolam), this distinction could prove vital, as it could allow people to switch to a different medication and experience a more profound level of relief.

Choosing the Xanax Dose

Before delving into substitute medications that might help a person to break a reliance on Xanax, it might be best to discuss different formulations of the same drug, as the way that the medication is packaged and sold could play a big role in the way the addiction syndrome unfolds.

Extended-release formulations of Xanax contain a large amount of powerful chemicals, and the pills are designed to dissolve slowly inside a user’s body. People who are addicted can subvert that process by:

  • Chewing the pills and swallowing the powder
  • Crushing the pills and snorting the powder
  • Crushing the pills, mixing the powder with a liquid and ingesting that drink
  • Crushing the pills, mixing the powder with a liquid and injecting that substance

These methods allow all of the power of the pills to hit a user’s body at once, and when that happens, the person can be simply overwhelmed by sensation. An addiction can quickly follow, when people behave in this manner. Switching a person addicted to these pills to standardized formats might help to reduce the impact of the addiction.

Moving to Another Substance

For those who really want to get better, just moving to a better Xanax pill won’t do the trick. Instead, they’ll need to switch to a different medication formulation, and ideally, they’ll work with providers on a tapering schedule, so they can stop using drugs altogether.

In a paper published in the journal CNS Drugs, researchers suggest that alprazolam isn’t the most addictive benzodiazepine available. That distinction goes to flunitrazepam (Rohypnol). But the researchers claim that Xanax is moderately addictive, and that could be enough to prompt a switch.

According to a study in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, other options with a smaller abuse liability include oxazepam (Serax) and halazepam (Alapryl). Someone with a Xanax addiction might benefit from a switch to these medications, followed by a tapering protocol in which they take smaller and smaller doses each day until they achieve sobriety.

If you’d like to learn more about how you could help someone to break free of an addiction to Xanax and learn how to live a life that’s both rewarding and sober, we’d like to help. The Stabilization Center at Michael’s House can provide the person you love with targeted therapies that can provide a smooth transition to sobriety, and that can be followed by inpatient care in our luxury treatment facilities. Our integrated approach allows us to address mental health concerns along with addictions, and our proven methods really can make a difference for someone you love. Please call us, and we’ll tell you more.