In the final decades of the 20th century, Valium was the anti-anxiety drug that was widely prescribed—and abused—by millions across the world, especially women that were routinely advised to take it by doctors for everything from minor stress to genuine anxiety. Today, Valium is no longer as carelessly prescribed because of its well-documented addictive properties, but that doesn’t mean this type of drug is no longer in use.
In fact, in the 21st century, a new drug has taken Valium’s place that even comes from the same anti-anxiety family. Where people during the 60s, 70s and 80s came to think of Valium as the drug that the middle and upper class were routinely addicted to, today it is Xanax that occupies that role. And because of that, Xanax addiction treatment has come to the fore to help people to overcome the addiction when the effects of this drug take control of their lives.
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What Is Xanax?
Xanax, otherwise known by its generic medical name Alprazolam, falls under a class of drugs called Benzodiazepines. “Benzos” are generally prescribed as anti-anxiety drugs, muscle relaxants, and anticonvulsants to help people recover from certain types of muscle related injuries. Xanax and other Benzos like it are classified as “Schedule IV” drugs. This means they are recognized to have legitimate medical uses, have relatively “low” addictive properties compared to other drugs, but can only be legally used when prescribed by a doctor, and are thus unavailable for off-the-shelf purchase the way other products like cough syrup or low-grade painkillers like Tylenol or Advil are.
Because Xanax is an anti-anxiety drug, it is widely prescribed by doctors for the treatment of anxiety and panic attacks. It is also sometimes prescribed as a treatment for insomnia. While some doctors may feel comfortable about immediately prescribing Xanax for dealing with stress, others may refer a patient to a psychiatrist first, since psychiatrists specialize in dealing with psychoactive substances for dealing with emotional problems. It is usually through a prescription given by a doctor that most addiction will occur, requiring Xanax addiction treatment.
The Xanax Abuse Cycle
While Xanax is a Benzo, like Valium, the biggest difference between these two drugs is duration. Taking Valium results in anti-anxiety effects that last for 4-6 hours, however, the drug remains in the system for days. Conversely, Xanax has a shorter “half-life” and while its effects can last for a similar period of 4-6 hours, it starts to leave the system after about 11 hours.
Xanax works relatively quickly, similar to painkillers, and the effects can be felt in as little as an hour after use. While a strong sense of “euphoria” is not common, it may occur in a small number of Xanax users. Most, however, simply feel a sense of relaxation and well-being from taking Xanax, and, with prolonged or excessive use, can impair their cognitive functions. Forgetfulness and an inability to focus during activities that require concentration are common symptoms of Xanax use so while it does reduce anxiety and panic attacks; it also leaves users handicapped for activities that may require sharp or agile thinking.
Treatment for Xanax Addiction
Like other drugs, Xanax creates a physical addiction within the body, where the physiological systems develop a very real dependency on the presence of the drug. It has now become an “appetite” for the body, similar to how the body knows it needs food and water in order to survive. This means addicts should detox from Xanax first before moving on to any Xanax rehab programs.
By going to professional Xanax rehabilitation centers like Beachway Therapy, addicts can undergo a carefully monitored detoxification to help them overcome the physical withdrawal symptoms from Xanax, which can range from nausea and vomiting to a dramatic spike in the anxiety the Xanax held off, such as suicidal thoughts, depression and impaired thinking.
Get Treated for Xanax Addiction
Once the detox period has been safely completed, Xanax addiction treatment can begin in earnest. The most important phase in this step is intensive, personal therapy for the addict. The cause of anxiety and panic attacks are what led to a Xanax dependency in the first place.
Now is the time to develop the tools and coping strategies to allow people in recovery to take these challenges head on, and take control of their lives, rather than relinquishing that control to hide from life’s stresses in substances like Xanax again. If you or someone you know is addicted to Xanax, call today at 877-284-0353 to speak with one of our addiction experts.