Posted on February 11, 2019 by firstname.lastname@example.org
Xanax is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the world. It’s a fast-acting benzodiazepine that’s typically prescribed for anxiety or insomnia. While it works well when used occasionally for stopping an anxiety attack or getting some sleep during a stressful time, regular use can quickly lead to dependence and addiction. As little as two weeks of daily use can lead to dependence on Xanax and other benzodiazepines. Xanax is especially addictive though because it starts working quickly.
Prolonged use of Xanax or other benzodiazepines can have many adverse effects on cognition, including drowsiness, slower reaction times, loss of control over body movements, poor coordination, and anterograde amnesia. What’s more, these symptoms can persist for months after quitting benzodiazepines. These cognitive impairments are problematic in themselves but they also increase your risk of accidents and car crashes, and older people are at higher risk for hip fracture. And although benzodiazepines are usually prescribed to treat anxiety and insomnia, long-term use can ironically cause a rebound effect, leading to higher levels of anxiety or insomnia.
Any of these symptoms–drowsiness, slow reaction times, loss of coordination or control over body movements, amnesia, increased accidents, a return of anxiety or insomnia–are indications that your Xanax use has become a problem and it’s time to stop. However, you can develop a dependence long before these symptoms appear. Daily use for more than a week should be a red flag. Escalating dosage is another warning, as it indicates you’ve already developed a tolerance for the drug.
A final sign of physical dependence is when you try to quit using it but you can’t. Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be particularly severe and even dangerous. Symptoms typically include anxiety, irritability, insomnia, panic attacks, hand tremors, poor concentration, nausea, weight loss, sweating, heart palpitations, headache, muscle pain and stiffness, and distorted perceptions. Severe withdrawal may include hallucinations or seizures, which can be fatal. Quitting benzodiazepines can take months of gradual reductions. Each drop in dose typically causes some degree of withdrawal but the most dangerous effects can be avoided by stepping down slowly.
Signs of Xanax addiction include becoming preoccupied with the drug, being secretive about your use, setting aside time in your schedule specifically to use, and prioritizing use over more important things like friends, family, work, or school. Addiction to Xanax might also lead to borrowing or stealing money to buy drugs. These behaviors indicate a shift from just physical dependence to psychological addiction and they indicate it’s time to get help.
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