Whenever you receive a prescription for new medication, it is important to be sure that you understand both the benefits and the risks of taking Xanax. For example, Xanax can be a source of considerable relief from certain distressing symptoms. But when you take this medication, you are also at risk for several negative effects, including addiction to Xanax. Because of the public knowledge surrounding the dangers of this medication, many people ask the question, “How long does it take to get addicted to Xanax?” The more you know about the medication, the better prepared you will be to make the choices that are best for your continued health.
What Exactly is Xanax?
Xanax is a prescription medication that is typically used to treat people who have panic disorder and other anxiety disorders. Xanax is the brand name of this medication. The generic form is alprazolam.
Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines, or benzos, are a category of drugs that have a calming or sedating effect. Benzos are usually used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. They are sometimes also incorporated into medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for people who have become addicted to alcohol.
From 2004-2019, physicians in the U.S. wrote more than 376 million prescriptions for Xanax or alprazolam. This averages out to more than 23 million prescriptions per year. The annual number of Xanax prescriptions peaked at 28.9 million in 2014.
Is Xanax Addictive?
As noted in the previous section, Xanax is composed of alprazolam, which is a benzodiazepine. Although benzos have many legitimate medical uses, they are also often abused for recreational purposes due to their sedative effects. Benzo abuse can lead to tolerance and addiction.
People who use Xanax in a manner other than directed by their prescribing physician put themselves at risk for considerable harm. This includes developing an addiction to Xanax.
Here are a few warning signs of addiction to Xanax:
- Using Xanax for much longer than indicated by the professional who prescribed the medication
- Using Xanax more frequently or in larger amounts than directed
- Trying to buy, borrow, or steal Xanax that was prescribed to someone else
- Combining Xanax with alcohol or other drugs
- Becoming anxious or agitated when unable to acquire or use Xanax
- Lying or being secretive about the amount and frequency of Xanax use
- Trying to stop using Xanax, but being unable to do so
Because most people who take this drug do so on the advice of their physician, they may have no idea how long it takes to get addicted to Xanax. Without proper care, people who have developed an addiction to Xanax may experience considerable physical and psychological harm.
Thankfully, when a person receives effective professional treatment for an addiction to Xanax, they can regain control of their behavior and achieve successful recovery.
How Long Does it Take to Get Addicted to Xanax?
It can take as little as a few days for someone to build a tolerance to Xanax and can be as little as a few weeks before people can experience a physical addiction to Xanax. The speed at which Xanax use can turn into an addiction can differ from person to person. If you want to know how long it can take to get addicted to Xanax, you need to consider several factors:
- How much Xanax has the person been taking with each dose?
- How frequently have they been taking Xanax?
- How long have they been engaging in Xanax abuse?
- Have they also been abusing any other substances?
- Have they previously struggled with addiction to another drug?
- Do other people in their family have a history of addiction?
- Do they have a personal or family history of mental illness?
If you have been abusing this drug, and you have begun to wonder how long does it take to get addicted to Xanax, please consult with your family doctor or a reputable addiction treatment professional in your community. The sooner you get help, the more likely you will be to avoid some of the more devastating potential effects of Xanax addiction.
How is Xanax Addiction Treated?
Treatment for addiction to Xanax usually involves psychotherapy and education. If the pain of withdrawal has prevented a person from ending their Xanax use, they may begin their treatment with a short-term stay in a benzo detox program.
When a person enters treatment for Xanax addiction, one of their first activities should be to complete a thorough assessment. Treatment providers that conduct these assessments will be better prepared to identify and treat the full scope of the person’s needs. This includes any co-occurring mental health concerns that the person may not even realize they have been struggling with.
For example, many people who develop Xanax addiction may have been using the drug to self-medicate symptoms of anxiety, depression, or another mental health condition. Also, it’s not uncommon for people who struggle with addiction to have a history of trauma. An assessment will identify these and other concerns, so they can be effectively treated.
The therapeutic and educational components of treatment for Xanax addiction can help people make the behavioral changes that will support long-term recovery. During therapy, participants can address the issues that may have contributed to their Xanax abuse and addiction. They can then develop the skills that will help them deal with these and other challenges without resorting to substance abuse.
A comprehensive treatment program for Xanax addiction will also usually involve discharge planning services. This feature connects people with the community-based resources that can support their recovery efforts after they have transitioned out of treatment.
Begin Treatment for Xanax Addiction in Los Angeles
Renewal Health Group provides multiple levels of personalized care for people in the Los Angeles area who have become addicted to Xanax and other benzodiazepines. Our treatment programs are safe and supportive places where clients receive customized services from a team of dedicated professionals. If you have developed an addiction to Xanax, please know that help is available and treatment works. Contact us today to learn more.