A Xanax addiction doesn’t typically start without a reason, so it’s important to understand where it comes from. This medication is in the classification of benzodiazepines, which help to calm down the mind for those with anxiety. This medication is also a narcotic, so it can be a highly addictive substance as well. Doctors and psychiatrists often prescribe the medication to help people who have severe anxiety, but it sometimes becomes a problem.
While the medication has good intention behind it, it can quickly turn into an issue when a person loses control. When someone has this type of addiction, they can begin to have problems with loved ones as well as work. The best way to understand a Xanax addiction is to understand how anxiety works and where it comes from. Next, it helps to understand what happens in a Xanax addiction and how it develops over time.
Anxiety Often Starts a Xanax Addiction
We have complex minds that have gone through millions of years of evolution, and this involves complex survival skills. Our ancestors were hunters and gathers, and they had to know when to go after food or when to run away. For example, it may be good to hunt a buffalo for dinner, but not if it’s in a herd of other buffalo. It was also necessary for our minds to evolve to let us think quickly and get out of bad situations.
There’s a part of the brain known as the amygdala, which was one of the first parts of the brain to evolve. This part of the brain has our most primitive instincts, and it fully develops when we’re extremely young. When activated, it triggers our fight, flight or freeze response to help us when we’re in danger. We needed to experience symptoms of anxiety because they helped us survive, and these symptoms include:
- Large pupils to see better
- Increase in heart rate to pump blood faster
- Adrenaline runs through the system
- The brain thinks much more quickly to make split-second decisions
- We may sweat to pre-emptively cool ourselves down in case we have to run
As you can see, each of these symptoms serves a purpose and helps us escape danger without over-thinking. The way the amygdala works is that it deactivates once the danger is no longer present. Those who suffer from anxiety have an amygdala that doesn’t deactivate properly. Minor situations can trigger the symptoms of anxiety when there is no real danger.
Living with an Anxiety Disorder
Many people who have a Xanax addiction can’t think of a way to live without the medication because of his or her anxiety. Living with an anxiety disorder is extremely difficult, and it can keep a person from living a happy life. Anxiety can strike in many different forms and appear within a variety of different disorders. One example is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which happens when something reminds a person of his or her traumatic experience.
There are those who suffer from social anxiety, which is very common with those who have a Xanax addiction. Social anxiety makes it difficult for a person to go out in public, speak to groups of people or individuals. A person with social anxiety has a difficult time holding conversations because of the constant fears running through his or her head. This is why many people with social anxiety begin to isolate rather than going out with friends or family.
A General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is extremely difficult to deal with because it doesn’t need to have a trigger. Those who suffer from GAD can have anxiety and panic attacks when there is no trigger present. The person may be having an incredible day with nothing stressful going on, but the mind begins to start making up scenarios. It makes it very difficult because the person can’t avoid these anxiety attacks because they can happen at any time.
How a Xanax Addiction Develops
When someone is experiencing the symptoms of anxiety, one of the first medications doctors turn to is Xanax. This medication acts by calming down the amygdala, but it can also make a person feel very lethargic. Aside from lethargy, the medication is a narcotic because it triggers a dopamine flow in the brain. Dopamine is the chemical in the body that gives us pleasure and gives us a euphoric feeling that we begin to crave.
Most people who have a Xanax prescription are either told to take the medication as needed or throughout the day, for optimum mental health. When a person continues to take this medication, the body begins to build up a tolerance and dependence. One of the issues is that the person doesn’t learn how to deal with anxiety without the medication. The other issue is that if a problem develops, there’s a physical dependency that can lead to symptoms of withdrawal.
The symptoms of withdrawal from a Xanax addiction can include:
- Heart palpitations
- Muscle pain
Long-term use of the medication can turn into an addiction, but sometimes there is a genetic predisposition as well. There are some people with this predisposition that develop an addiction much quicker. The mind feels the flood of dopamine and begins to crave more of the medication because of the euphoric experience. This escalates quickly into taking much more of the medication than what is prescribed.
Abuse of the medication is the first sign that someone needs long- or short-term residential treatment for addiction. Abuse is taking the medication in any other way than what the prescription says. This can typically involve the person taking more than the recommended dosage or mixing the medication with alcohol or other drugs. The person may also see multiple doctors to get more refills because his or her prescription runs out too soon.
There are also people who never had a prescription for Xanax, but they were looking for a new way to get high. These people may have gotten the medication from a family member or friend and began abusing it. No matter what the situation was that led to the abuse, the person may start buying the medication illegally. There are people who sell their prescriptions because they know there are people that have a Xanax addiction.
Why is a Xanax Addiction Hard to Kick?
The disease of addiction is very cunning and powerful, and it alters the way a person’s brain works. The part of the brain that’s responsible for self-awareness and logical decision making isn’t functioning correctly. The amygdala is also responsible for survival, and a person’s mind tells him or her they need Xanax to be well. This makes it extremely difficult for a person to separate the truth from the false.
Many people don’t get the help they need because they will come up with a variety of excuses to keep using. The person will say he or she doesn’t have a Xanax addiction because the medications came from a doctor. It’s important to understand that the disease of addiction doesn’t want you to get well. The other issue with this type of addiction is the way our society looks at prescription medications.
From a young age, we learn that medications are the quickest, easiest and often only way to deal with illness. This is a falsehood, and the proof of this shows in statistics about our county’s prescription consumption. Our country consumes more narcotic medications than any other nation, and we lead by quite a large margin. Other countries turn to narcotic medications as a last resort while we turn to them first.
Recovering from a Xanax Addiction at a Short-Term Residential Treatment Program
If you have seen that your Xanax addiction has become a problem, you can recover and live a better life. First, you’ll go through a medical detox process to lose your mental and physical dependence on Xanax. From here, you will transition into a treatment program like Healing Springs Ranch where you learn how to not only overcome your Xanax addiction but learn about YOU and why an addiction developed in the first place. You will also experience a variety of holistic techniques to manage addiction and the underlying anxiety.
Healing Springs Ranch has the ideal treatment model for you if you’re tired of living the way you have been. We believe in treating our clients with an individual and holistic approach. You’ll see the benefits if you have the willingness to be open to change. When you come to treatment with the honest desire to get well and have an open mind, you’ll do great. Our program will help you see that you don’t need a narcotic medication to manage your anxiety or anything else.
We’re located centrally in Tioga, TX, at a beautiful, homey facility far enough away from civilization to get better without distraction. Here at Healing Springs Ranch, we believe in individualized treatment because you need a program that works for your specific issues. You’ll enjoy many experiential therapies that you can explore at your leisure, like a 9-hole golf course, yoga studio, workout facility, pool and much more. Don’t wait another day to begin your new life free from a Xanax addiction. Call now to get started. The number is 866-656-8384.