Signs & Symptoms of Xanax Addiction

Bayside Marin is a premier rehabilitation center dedicated to the treatment of Xanax addiction in California. Bayside Marin blends evidence-based treatments with alternative, holistic modalities to comprehensively treat all aspects of our client’s life.

Understanding Xanax

Learn about Xanax and substance abuse

A prescription medication that is recommended and prescribed by many doctors for the alleviation of anxiety symptoms is Xanax. When taken as directed by one’s doctor, Xanax can balance the mood-regulating neurotransmitters within a person’s brain that are known to cause symptoms of anxiety when they are unbalanced. This medication, which is classified as a benzodiazepine, is proven effective for anxiety sufferers and allows them to resume their lives without the fear, worry, and apprehension that are cornerstone to this mental health condition.

There are those, however, who consume this prescription medication while not under the direct supervision of a doctor, take Xanax in amounts that far exceed the recommended dosage, and individuals who only take this medication solely for the mind and mood-altering effects that it is known to produce. When an individual uses Xanax in these ways, it is known as Xanax abuse. Developing a chemical dependency concern of this kind is often wrought with a number of adverse effects that can lead a person into the depths of an addiction to this medication. When this occurs, an individual’s mental health, physical health, relationships, and ability to functioning in healthy manner are all negatively affected. Should a person realize that he or she is addicted to this anti-anxiety medication, treatment should be sought in order to break the vicious cycle of a Xanax addiction.


Xanax addiction statistics

With nearly 27% of young adults between 18 and 25 and 21% of men and women over the age of 26 reporting a history of abusing Xanax, the abuse of this prescription medication remains an ever-present concern in the United States. Research also shows that as much as 5% of all Americans have used Xanax for non-medical and recreational reasons in the past year. Finally, those who have studied the prevalence rate of Xanax abuse in this country believe that these percentages could continue to rise despite attempts to regulate prescriptions of this medication.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for Xanax addiction

There can be multiple causes that explain why and how a person comes to abuse Xanax. However, several professionals in the fields of mental health and addiction believe that genetics and a person’s environment can play the most integral roles in the onset of this type of substance abuse. Furthermore, these same professionals agree that there are certain risk factors that can make an individual more vulnerable to abusing Xanax. Consider the following:

Genetic: It is widely believed by professionals in the field of addiction that a contributing cause for substance abuse and/or addiction has to do with an individual’s genetic makeup. If a person has a family history of abusing substances, such as Xanax, there is an increased likelihood that that individual is vulnerable to developing similar attributes.   

Environmental: If a person is exposed to certain environmental influences or stressors, it is possible that a Xanax abuse problem can develop. Should an individual have easy access to this prescription medication or is not properly supervised by one’s doctor when prescribed Xanax, there is a high potential for abuse. Furthermore, if a person endures a great deal of undue stress and lacks the necessary skills for coping with said stress, the improper use of Xanax could result if the previously mentioned circumstances are occurring.

Risk Factors:

  • Family history of substance abuse or addiction
  • Personal history of mental illness
  • Lack of support system
  • Easy access to Xanax
  • Lacking regular supervision from a doctor when Xanax is prescribed
  • Experiencing ongoing stress
  • Lack of coping skills

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Xanax addiction

Taking note of the signs and symptoms of Xanax abuse can be the first step towards getting the help that is needed to combat a chemical dependency concern of this kind. Depending on the length of time a person has been abusing this medication and the amount that is being abused, the indicators that suggest a person is abusing Xanax can vary. To know if you or a loved one is struggling with a Xanax abuse problem, it is imperative to determine if any of the following symptoms are present:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Declined occupational performance
  • Over-consuming Xanax
  • Visiting a number of doctors to obtain more prescriptions for Xanax
  • Stealing or borrowing Xanax
  • Forging prescriptions
  • Risky behaviors
  • Decreased inhibitions
  • Chewing pills to make them work faster
  • Crushing and snorting pills to increase effects
  • Hostility and violence
  • Neglecting responsibilities

Physical symptoms:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Diarrhea
  • Fluctuations in weight
  • Changes in appetite
  • Seizures
  • Decreased urination
  • Swelling in hands and feet
  • Coordination difficulties
  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Jaundice
  • Tachycardia
  • Tremors
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Stuffy nose
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Poor concentration
  • Disorganized thoughts
  • Impaired memory
  • Disorientation
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Drastic shifts in mood
  • Depressed mood
  • Increased agitation
  • Irritability


Effects of Xanax addiction

The aftereffects of abusing Xanax can be far-reaching and impact every area of an individual’s life. Failing to seek treatment for this type of addiction can result in the following, some of which could be irreversible:

  • Short-term memory loss
  • Social isolation
  • Relationship conflicts
  • Divorce
  • Legal problems
  • Migraines
  • Muscle pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Seizures
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Inability to function at work
  • Incarceration
  • Hospitalization
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Financial problems
  • Chest pain

Co-Occurring Disorders

Xanax addiction and co-occurring disorders

Abusers of Xanax frequently suffer from additional mental health concerns at the same time. In many cases, the abuse of Xanax occurs as a way to cope with the presence of symptoms of a mental health condition. The listed mental illnesses are that that are often diagnosed in individuals who are struggling with an addiction to Xanax:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Depressive disorders
  • Additional substance use disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder

Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of Xanax withdrawal and overdose

Effects of Xanax withdrawal: Long-term abuse of Xanax can lead to the onset of withdrawal symptoms if the abuser of this medication abruptly stops his or her use. Withdrawing from Xanax can be uncomfortable and cause a person to go to great measures to acquire and consume more of this medication. The telltale signs and resulting effects of Xanax withdrawal are as follows:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Suicidal ideations
  • Blurry vision
  • Aggression
  • Weight loss
  • Depressed mood
  • Tingling sensation in one’s arms, hands, legs, and/or feet
  • Seizures
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Profuse sweating

Effects of Xanax overdose: Overconsuming Xanax to the extent that one’s body is unable to efficiently metabolize it results in an overdose. Considered a medical emergency, a Xanax overdose can cause vital organ damage and result in the loss of one’s life if medical attention is not sought. The listed signs indicate that an individual is experiencing a Xanax overdose and should heed as warnings that professional medical help is needed:

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Weakened muscles
  • Poor balance
  • Light-headed feeling
  • Fainting
  • Confusion  
  • Loss of coordination

This is an excellent treatment center with a great staff. They gave me the start to a new life of maintaining sobriety from Xanax.

– Anonymous Client
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