8 Warning Signs Of A Xanax (Alprazolam) Addiction

Xanax is a type of benzodiazepine and is considered one of the most addictive prescription drugs on the market today. Someone who is abusing Xanax will usually exhibit certain warning signs that they are misusing it or going through withdrawal.

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Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


Xanax is a popular medication that is usually prescribed for anxiety and depression. Because it has sedative effects as a central nervous system depressant, it can also be prescribed for sleep disorders.

Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam, which is a type of benzodiazepine. Similar prescription medications include Ativan and Klonopin. Benzos are also used to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms and seizures.

Unfortunately, Xanax, along with other benzos, has become one of the most abused prescription drugs available today. It is not uncommon for people to abuse Xanax alongside other drugs or substances.

Common Signs And Symptoms Of Xanax Abuse

The following are some of the most common warning signs of Xanax misuse.

1. Drowsiness

Xanax has strong sedative characteristics, and is even sometimes prescribed for treating insomnia and other sleep disorders.

Someone who is abusing Xanax will appear sleepy frequently and may even fall asleep at inappropriate times or places.

This chronic drowsiness can also contribute to a person’s inability to focus or concentrate while on Xanax.

2. Nausea Or Vomiting

One of the most commonly reported side effects of Xanax use is nausea that is often accompanied by vomiting.

Someone who is using Xanax to the point of abuse may also experience painful physical symptoms as well.

For example, people may experience Xanax-induced gastritis, or stomach pains, when misusing the prescription.

3. Cognitive Impairment

Xanax abuse may cause cognitive impairment and memory problems in particular.

With heavy use, a person can experience black-outs where they are completely unaware of what they are doing and unable to recall it afterwards.

These episodes can be very dangerous because a person may act out violently or engage in risky behaviors that they might not engage in normally.

They may find themselves with legal troubles afterwards or with guilt for having hurt someone unintentionally.

4. Increased Anxiety

It is possible to build up a tolerance to Xanax relatively quickly, and when this happens a person may find that the medication no longer effectively treats their anxiety as it was meant to do.

Instead, Xanax abuse may increase anxiety symptoms, particularly when people take higher doses of the drug.

5. Worsened Depression

In the same sense that Xanax addiction can make anxiety worse, abuse of Xanax can worsen depression — even though this is the condition Xanax is often meant to treat.

This is even more likely to happen if the person is starting to suffer in their personal life and relationships due to addiction.

6. Doctor Shopping

Doctor shopping is a behavior that people with addiction engage in that involves visiting multiple doctors or treatment facilities.

They do this in hopes of being able to obtain multiple prescriptions and increased access to pills.

7. Short Attention Span

Xanax abuse results in cognitive impairment, which can affect a person’s long-term and short-term memory as well as their overall attention span.

They may have difficulty focusing or concentrating because their short-term memory is so impaired.

8. Lack Of Motivation

Xanax slows down a person’s brain functions and bodily functions, relaxes them, and sedates them.

In this state, it is hard for a person to find the energy or ambition to take care of themselves or their responsibilities.

A lack of motivation can also contribute to a person’s increase in depression or suicidal thoughts if they start to feel hopeless or unable to change their circumstances.

Signs Of Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

A person experiencing Xanax withdrawal can experience severe and life-threatening symptoms of withdrawal and should never attempt to go through detoxification on their own.

With medical supervision, Xanax withdrawal symptoms can be reduced by tapering off the drug at a comfortable and safe rate.

Intense Cravings

A person who is experiencing Xanax withdrawal will have their thoughts completely consumed by the drug. They will likely have trouble performing normal activities in their lives until they get more Xanax.

These cravings are associated with a physical dependence on the drug, which will only get stronger the more it is used.

Panic Attacks

Since Xanax is often prescribed for treating panic disorder, it should come as no surprise that someone might experience panic attacks while withdrawing from it.

Without the effects of Xanax to comfort them, they will be triggered more easily and find it harder to calm down.

Mood Swings

A person withdrawing from Xanax will experience drastic changes in their mood and may even act out violently or aggressively.

After taking more Xanax, they might find themselves suddenly calm and relaxed and free from anxiety once more.

Treatment Programs For Xanax Addiction

A treatment program for Xanax addiction will typically start with medically monitored detox to ensure the person achieves sobriety safely and as comfortably as possible.

This part of addiction treatment is often considered the most challenging.

Once a person has achieved sobriety, they can choose between inpatient treatment, where they live onsite temporarily, or outpatient treatment where they visit a treatment center a few times a week while living at home with family members.

Either way, it is very important that someone with a Xanax addiction also addresses their mental health and any behaviors that led to their addiction in the first place.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is often an effective therapy option for those recovering from Xanax abuse.

Find Substance Use Disorder Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center

If any of the previous warning signs remind you of yourself or a loved one, it may be time to consider seeking drug addiction treatment.

When you are ready to make the call, Bedrock Recovery Center is here to answer.

Our treatment options for drug abuse are extensive, and your comfort and safety are our top priority. Everyone deserves to live the life that they want to live — call our helpline today.

  1. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a684001.html
  2. United States Drug Enforcement Administration https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a684001.html
  3. United States Food and Drug Administration https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/021434s016lbl.pdf

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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