19 Jul How Long Does it Take to Become Addicted to Xanax?
According to the Merriam- Webster dictionary, the word addiction is defined as the compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal. As we have detailed in previous blogs, Xanax is an extremely addictive prescription drug and definitely exemplifies all the signs and symptoms of such. For anyone who is using Xanax on a regular basis it is important to know the dangers of prolonged use and the risks associated with Xanax and addiction. It is also vital to know just how long it takes for a user to become both physically and mentally dependent upon Xanax to hopefully avoid addiction.
Risks for Those with Mental Health Disorders
When Xanax enters the body, it causes the brain to release GABA chemicals in the brain resulting in a calming effect emotionally and physically. This fact is what makes Xanax a viable treatment option for people seeking relief from anxiety and panic disorders. Unfortunately, these kinds of mental health issues often go hand in hand with a higher than normal tendency to become dependent upon substances. One of the most common questions addicts get is why do they continue to use drugs, legal or illegal, even after they start experiencing negative consequences such as tolerance or withdrawal and the answer is simple: they work to relieve their ailments in a way other things won’t.
For people who are diagnosed with mental health disorders, a drug like Xanax is going to have extremely effective results in countering the negative feelings they have on a daily basis. This fact leads many people to become addicted without even realizing it, and frequently even while they are under doctor supervision and are taking the medication exactly as prescribed.
Physical Effects Lead to Physical Dependence
Xanax is an extremely potent drug, and in comparison to other drugs only a small amount is necessary to have a drastic effect on the body. Another important thing to note is that Xanax has a very short half-life and takes effect very quickly, making it a prime target for substance abusers. The physical effects felt by Xanax include drowsiness, euphoria and wellbeing and someone who is seeking relief from any number of emotional or physical ailments will run towards the false sense of relief brought on by the drug.
What is difficult with Xanax is that because tolerance is built so quickly, after about two weeks of continuous use the dose must be increased in order to continue feeling the effects of the drug. Though it is often only prescribed in low doses for intermediate use, it is all too easy to become dependent even after just one or two weeks of use. And, as we mentioned earlier, prescriptions are given to people who struggle with serious mental and emotional disorders who are the most likely to develop addictions.
Withdrawal from Xanax
Many people who are unfamiliar with addiction might ask why the cycle of dependence continues once the user realizes they are hooked. With substances like Xanax, it is not as easy as one might think to just stop the behavior, or quit “cold turkey.” One of the main factors in this is the feeling of withdrawal that is felt once prolonged use is stopped. What ends up happening is that the body becomes so used to the drug being in its system that it stops naturally doing what it is supposed to do. More or less the drug has essentially taken over those certain jobs. For example, Xanax releases the neurotransmitter GABA into the brain, which is already naturally occurring in the brain but at times and with certain people may need a boost.
But, after a period of time, the brain realizes it no longer needs to produce GABA naturally and stops doing it. Then, once the drug is taken away the person is left feeling more anxious and depressed than they ever did before, ending them in a worse position than if they had never taken the drug at all. Then it may seem like the only reasonable choice they can make is to continue using the substance or have to bear the negative feelings of going without it. Aside from the psychological withdrawal that happens, physical withdrawal is a big factor too.
How Does Xanax Work?
Xanax is a tranquilizer that sedates the central nervous system much like alcohol or opiates would. After prolonged use the physical body becomes adjusted to this and can wreak havoc on the user if they decide to stop use all at once. It is not uncommon for people who are dependent on Xanax to experience seizures when trying to quit along with a myriad of other negative symptoms, much like someone trying to detox from alcohol would. This can make quitting troublesome and difficult, leading the person to just continue using the substance or trying to manage their use because it is easier than going through the effort of quitting.
Xanax is one of the most widely prescribed drugs in the nation and is the most commonly abused anti anxiety medication. Unfortunately it is only recently being discovered just how addictive it is and how much risk is involved in long-term prescriptions of it. If you are struggling with an addiction to Xanax please seek help from a medical professional.