Xanax (generic name: alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine drug that treats acute anxiety disorders or seizure disorders for short periods of time. Long-term use or abuse of this drug can lead to serious complications. Untreated Xanax addiction can even lead to an early death, often due to accident while under the influence or a benzodiazepine-related overdose.
Benzodiazepine drugs like Xanax, Klonopin and Valium offer the benefit of almost-immediate relief from anxiety. The fast-acting reward of these drugs is dangerous, because it can trigger a strong desire to rely on benzodiazepines as a coping mechanism. The problem only becomes more complicated once a person develops a tolerance for these drugs and soon requires ever-larger doses to achieve the original effects.1
If you are concerned about the health risks related to Xanax dependence or addiction and you are ready to avoid any further health problems, contact us at Michael’s House to learn more about our Xanax rehab programs.
Xanax Addiction Health Risks
Xanax slows or suppresses normal brain activity, so it does carry some side effects. People who are using other drugs, either by prescription or through recreational use, will see more of these side effects. Even natural herbal supplements can interact with benzodiazepine drugs. Taking this medication on an empty stomach can also increase risk.
Xanax can aggravate underlying illnesses, including mental health conditions. If a person already struggles with substance use, Xanax may not be a safe medication. Alcohol strongly interacts with Xanax and other benzodiazepines and can speed up the overdose process. The longer and more often you use Xanax, it will become more likely that you will experience a severe health condition, difficulty breathing, or an overdose.
Use of Xanax or other benzodiazepines slows your reaction time. This puts you at risk for a serious accident, such as an auto crash or injury. You may also experience mood swings, depression, irritability, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. These changes in mood may lead to irrational thinking, which may also impact your health.3
Chronic Xanax Addiction Health Risks
If you are using Xanax on a regular basis, you may be trying to patch-over a more serious problem. If you rely on Xanax to get through each day, you are using a drug that is designed for temporary use to get through a long-lasting struggle. Over time, people who use benzodiazepines regularly need more of these drugs to feel the initial effects. The combination of a higher dose over a longer period of time will always lead to trouble.
There are some long-term risks to Xanax use. Once the brain becomes accustomed to this drug, it will begin to operate differently. Withdrawal is a common problem after Xanax use. Without regular input of this benzodiazepine, the brain will struggle to re-regulate itself after becoming accustomed to the drug. Over time, a person will experience withdrawal between each dose of Xanax, which can deteriorate relationships, mood, and job productivity. Soon, the effects of this drug begin to impact job stability, relationship security, and even the ability to have a safe, healthy home.
“By the time I was 17, I started to get horrible anxiety attacks and added prescribed Xanax to my drinking… in my mind there was no abuse and no problem with that. I actually showed up in rehab with my Xanax prescription and started arguing with them because they were taking the Xanax away from me. I told them that I needed to keep taking those because of my anxiety, that I had no problem with it, and that I took them exactly as prescribed. They didn’t buy that story.
“I learned that I’m worth being loved through my recovery. It’s okay to ask for help. If you ask for help, people will help. They help because they love you and they care. I’m not alone. Addiction is the disease of loneliness. When we isolate, we are in a bad place. Today I’m not alone anymore. I let myself be around others, and I let other people in my life.”Julie M. of Heroes in Recovery
Xanax Addiction Health Risks: Death
When Xanax use leads to accident or chronic abuse leads to serious health problems, death is always a health risk. Because this drug slows brain response and breathing, drug overdose followed by coma and death is always a risk. Drug addiction is often referred to as “slow suicide” for a reason.
Every time a person opts to abuse Xanax, that person risks her life. If Xanax or any other benzodiazepine drug is mixed with alcohol, the risk increases exponentially.
Fight Xanax Addiction Health Risks at Michael’s House
If you would like to learn more about our Xanax addiction treatment program here at Michael’s House, contact us today at 760.548.4032. Our recovery professionals can help you determine how serious the problem is and what can be done to help.
1 Longo L., Johnson B. Addiction: Part I. Benzodiazepines--side effects, abuse risk and alternatives.American Family Physician. 1 April 2000. Web. Accessed 15 Nov 2017.
2 Ashton H. Toxicity and adverse consequences of benzodiazepine use. Psychiatric Annals. 1995. Web. Accessed 15 Nov 2017.
3 Barbone F, McMahon AD, Davey PG, Morris AD, Reid IC, McDevitt DC, et al. Association of road-traffic accidents with benzodiazepine use. Lancet. 1998. Web. Accessed 15 Nov 2017.