Xanax is a medication that is commonly prescribed to treat anxiety disorders and panic disorders characterized by panic attacks, according to the US Library of National Medicine. A benzodiazepine, the drug, also known as alprazolam, works by decreasing the activity in the brain. It provides a feeling of calm in users whose brain activity is so intense that they are experiencing symptoms of extreme anxiety that are physical in nature and overwhelming. In users whose brain activity is at normal levels, the effect is a “high” characterized by deep relaxation. Many find this feeling instantly addictive.
If someone you love is abusing their prescription for Xanax or if they are taking the drug without a prescription and have an addiction to the medication, don’t wait to help them enroll in the treatment program they need to stop using the drug today. Contact us at Axis and learn more about how our intensive detox and addiction treatment program can help your family member begin the healing process.
Taking Xanax Without a Prescription
One of the primary definitions of Xanax abuse is taking the drug without a prescription. There are reasons that this is termed “abuse” and not just “use.” A doctor’s involvement means that the dosage should be safe and correct. Determined based on mental health and medical history, other medications currently used, age, weight, etc., the dose of Xanax prescribed and the number of times it should be taken per day is highly personal.
Without medical investigation prior to Xanax use, the patient is simply taking the drug to get high and that is always “abuse.”
There are always risks and issues that come with taking a benzodiazepine, but without a prescription, those risks increase exponentially. Individuals who use Xanax when there is no medical need are at increased risk for:
- Accident under the influence
- Damage to the liver and kidneys
Even if your loved one is prescribed Xanax, it is still possible for him to abuse that prescription and be at risk for all the same issues facing the user who takes the pills recreationally and without a doctor’s supervision. Xanax abuse occurs when your loved one:
- Crushes the pills before swallowing them
- Takes larger doses than prescribed or doses more often than recommended
- Gets multiple prescriptions for Xanax from multiple doctors
- Often reports “losing” his prescription so he has an excuse to get an emergency prescription from the doctor or emergency room
- Drinks alcohol, smokes marijuana, or uses other drugs in order to augment the effects of Xanax
- Ingests the pills by snorting them or dissolving them in water and injecting them
When Xanax abuse is an issue, your loved one is courting trouble with his health, his freedom, his finances and more. Overdose and medical emergency are likely eventualities.
Other Disorders Treated With Xanax
The US Library of National Medicine also reports that other disorders are also treated with a prescription for Xanax in some cases, including:
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Agoraphobia (fear of open spaces)
- Other phobias
No matter what the reason for your loved one’s prescription for Xanax, it’s easy to develop a physical dependence and, especially if the nature of the issue is a mental health disorder, it’s very common for a psychological dependence to soon follow. For example, patients who are prescribed the drug in order to fend off symptoms of panic attacks may develop high levels of anxiety at the prospect of being without their medication in the event of an attack and inadvertently cause an attack due to their anxiety.
In the same way, for patients who take Xanax on an “as needed” basis, their physical symptoms of anxiety or depression may worsen at the thought of no longer having access to Xanax.
Comprehensive Care Can Help
It’s important that your loved one have round-the-clock support to get through the detox process as well as long-term psychotherapy that addresses the underlying issues of anxiety or depression.
Learning how to manage these symptoms healthfully can help to ensure that your family member avoids relapse due to triggering emotions or stressful events when he returns home.
Contact our counselors here at Axis and discuss the goals for treatment for your addicted family member. We’re here to help you aid your loved one in building a new life defined by strength, confidence and balance. Call now for more information.