If you’ve experienced bouts of anxiety, panic attacks, or insomnia, you may have heard of Xanax. Your doctor may have even prescribed you that drug, as it is normally used to treat those conditions.
When you take it properly, Xanax is pretty safe and effective. However, it does have addictive properties. The DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) even classifies it as a Schedule IV controlled substance. If you’re not careful, you could inadvertently get addicted to it.
More so if you intentionally misuse Xanax. If you take more than what your doctor prescribed, or if you don’t stop taking it after the prescription has ended, your chances of addiction are even higher.
Whether you misuse Xanax or not, you may be asking, “How do I know if I’m addicted to Xanax?” Here are some signs you should watch out for.
Feeling extremely tired often
Xanax is a kind of drug known as a central nervous system depressant. In other words, it slows down the functions of the brain. This is how Xanax relaxes you when you have anxiety attacks.
But if you are addicted to Xanax and take a lot of it, the effects on your brain are stronger. As a consequence, you will feel tired nearly all the time. The urge to sleep all day would be too strong.
In turn, you may also lose interest in the things you used to enjoy, like sports and hobbies. Also, your energy levels would not be as good as they were before. Even casual interactions with friends and family would become less appealing to you.
Aside from constantly feeling tired, you could also experience these symptoms:
- difficulty talking straight
- dry mouth
- salivating for no apparent reason
- low sex drive
- uncoordinated movements
Wanting to take more than the prescribed dose
Xanax is a really potent medication, so your doctor would only give you small doses that last for a few days. If you follow the prescription to the letter, you should not experience problems.
But you can still develop a tolerance for the drug. Once that happens, you’ll find that taking the drug at the prescribed dose no longer has an effect on you. Later on, you could have this temptation to take a higher dose. If you do, you may feel the same effects as you first took Xanax.
Tolerance builds up over time, though, so later on, you would need even higher doses to achieve the same effects. This is the beginning of a Xanax addiction.
Important note: Tolerance to Xanax is not the same as addiction. You may have become tolerant to it, but you can stop the addiction process before it begins. The best way is to tell your doctor once the effects of Xanax start to wear off. Do not adjust your dosage by yourself.
Afterward, your doctor could either slightly increase your dosage or prescribe a different medication altogether.
Seeking more Xanax even after the prescription has ended
Prescriptions of Xanax only last a few days to minimize the risks of getting addicted. Once your prescription is over, you would normally stop taking the drug. But if you have an urge to continue taking Xanax, this could be a sign that you’re starting to get addicted to it.
This is also preventable, though. What doctors often do is taper off the dosage of Xanax near the end of the prescription. In other words, your dosage would decrease gradually until it reaches zero. This way, you will not have the urge to take more Xanax later on.
Losing interest in the things you used to love doing
A clear sign of Xanax addiction is dedicating lots of time to taking the drug. As the drug-seeking behavior eats up more and more of your time, you’ll have no more time for your passions, hobbies, and other interests. Not just that, but you would no longer be interested in doing them too. Your desire to get more Xanax will take over your brain, and the drug will become your main interest.
You may not notice it at first, but over time, you’ll feel that you absolutely need to take Xanax just to function normally. You can’t imagine life anymore without it. You would then become so obsessed with the drug that it will be the number one thing on your mind all the time.
Your relationships with family and friends become sour
Xanax addiction will also affect how you relate with family and friends. If you used to spend a good deal of time with them, once you’re addicted, you would make up a lot of excuses not to hang out with them anymore. You’d always decline invitations from your friends, and you wouldn’t want to attend family gatherings either.
Eventually, your friends and family would notice, and they may reach out to you. But you could interpret those gestures as them just telling you off on your drug habits. Your response would either be to shun them or get mad at them, turning these relationships sour.
This is another way that drug-seeking behavior hijacks your normal life. Once your friends and family stop interacting with you, you may feel happy at first because there’s no one to bother you anymore. But later on, you would feel extremely sad. This negative emotion then fuels your addiction even further.
Can I get treatment?
Of course you can. There are lots of treatment options available to you, and a lot of people are willing to help you overcome your addiction.
You may have to put yourself into a rehab center for a month or more, but it’s worth the time and effort. At rehab, professionals will be by your side, helping you to stop your drug habits and to build better life skills. They will also recommend aftercare options to keep you on the drug-free path after rehab is done.
Soon enough, you will be ready to live a normal, healthy lifestyle once again.