Is Xanax (Alprazolam) Addictive?

Xanax is a prescription medication that is often abused recreationally. Abusing Xanax can be dangerous and potentially leads to an addiction to Xanax, which can pose risks to both the body and mind in the long term.

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Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


Xanax is a prescription medication that is used to treat a variety of anxiety disorders such as panic disorder and depression. Xanax is a brand name for alprazolam.

While it is highly effective when treating anxiety, Xanax has shown to be addictive and pose risks for abuse.

It is currently considered one of the more addictive and dangerous prescription drugs available today.

Is Taking Xanax Once A Day Addictive?

Xanax can be addictive even if just taken once per day as prescribed. This is one of the reasons why Xanax is not generally prescribed for long-term use.

Even people who use Xanax only for a short period of time report withdrawal symptoms after they stop taking it.

What’s It Like To Be Addicted To Xanax?

While the effects of Xanax can be helpful in the short term, its side effects can quickly turn unpleasant when use turns into abuse.

Oftentimes, a drug addiction to Xanax starts off as a prescription that a person genuinely needs.

How Xanax Affects The Mind

Xanax is a fast-acting benzodiazepine, and its effects can usually be felt within about 30 minutes of taking it.

Xanax works by attaching to receptors in a person’s brain that contain a neurotransmitter called gamma-Aminobutyric acid, or GABA.

GABA works to lessen anxiety, slow down functions throughout the brain and body, and calm the central nervous system.

While on Xanax, a person may feel a calming sense of euphoria and an overall lightening of their mood and stress.

Effects Of Xanax Addiction On The Body

Abusing Xanax can cause physical dependence and result in some very uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when the person attempts to quit.

During a Xanax high, the drug can cause a slowed heart rate and breathing, as well as drowsiness.

Because the body’s overall functions have been slowed by Xanax, a person may feel physically and mentally relaxed.

How Xanax Abuse Can Lead To Addiction

Xanax addiction generally starts as someone is abusing it and begins to develop a Xanax tolerance.

At this point, they will need to start taking higher and higher doses in order to feel the same effects they once felt with smaller doses.

The more a person uses Xanax, the more they will start to feel as though they can no longer function normally without it.

They will experience strong cravings and their thoughts will be consumed by Xanax and when they will get their next dose.

A Xanax addiction becomes particularly dangerous when it is being used in unison with other drugs, especially opioids.

Both opioids and Xanax slow important bodily functions, and, when used together, can increase a person’s risk for overdose.

Can You Reverse A Xanax Addiction?

A Xanax addiction can be reversed, but it is not an easy addiction to overcome.

Withdrawal from benzos has the potential to be fatal, so it is never recommended that someone attempt to detox from Xanax on their own.

Supervised healthcare treatment can greatly reduce a person’s risk for relapse.

When addressing a person’s addiction to Xanax, it is important to address their mental health as well, and look for any co-occurring disorders.

Cognitive behavioral therapy has proven to be especially effective when treating an addiction to benzodiazepine use.

Stopping Xanax Use Can Cause Withdrawal Symptoms

Stopping Xanax use can cause uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, and when stopped suddenly, can cause dangerous withdrawal symptoms as well.

It is typically recommended that people going through Xanax withdrawal do so under medical supervision at a treatment facility.

Withdrawal symptoms from Xanax use include:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • panic attacks
  • cravings
  • headaches
  • insomnia
  • confusion
  • irritability
  • muscle cramps
  • nausea and vomiting
  • seizures
  • suicidal thoughts

Xanax Addiction Treatment Services

It’s important that someone who is addicted to a benzodiazepine go through medical detox under the supervision of medical professionals.

Attempting to detox on your own can result in life-threatening complications.

Xanax addiction treatment programs include:

  • outpatient treatment
  • inpatient treatment
  • medically monitored detox
  • intervention services
  • court-ordered rehab
  • behavioral therapy
  • peer support
  • relationship counseling

Find Substance Use Disorder Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center

At Bedrock Recovery Center, we are understanding of the hesitations that often surround addiction treatment.

We are here for you every step of the way, whether you are seeking substance abuse treatment for yourself or one of your loved ones.

Are you ready to get started at a treatment center for drug abuse? You deserve a life full of health and wellness. Please give us a call today to discuss your options for entering recovery.

  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus
  2. United States Drug Enforcement Administration
  3. United States Drug Enforcement Administration

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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