Xanax addiction is a severe and potentially life-threatening condition. People who have become physically dependent on Xanax may be unable to stop on their own and face severe withdrawal effects if they try. Fortunately, evidence-based methods of Xanax addiction treatment can help people break free from addiction and achieve recovery.
Understanding Xanax Addiction
Xanax is a prescription medication commonly used to treat anxiety disorders. It belongs to the drug class of benzodiazepines, which includes other medications like Valium, Klonopin, and Ativan. Though this medication is often effective at helping people deal with anxiety disorders, it is a highly addictive substance and is often abused.
How Xanax Affects the Brain
Benzodiazepines work as central nervous system depressants. This means they slow down the body’s automatic functions, such as the heart rate and breathing process, and can provide a powerful sense of relaxation and relief from anxiety.
However, they also release a large amount of dopamine within the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is associated with reward — and when large amounts of dopamine are released, people are more likely to repeat the behavior that caused its release.
Over time, people who take Xanax regularly can alter their brain’s response to dopamine, creating a physical dependence. This has several powerful effects, such as:
- Loss of interest in favorite hobbies or activities
- A powerful, intrusive craving for Xanax
- Feeling like activities outside of substance use are boring or not pleasurable
- Decreased motivation
After a certain point, the structural brain changes associated with substance abuse can make it nearly impossible for people to quit using Xanax on their own. Fortunately, qualified treatment centers can help.
Risk Factors for Xanax Addiction
Certain factors increase the risk that somebody will engage in Xanax abuse and develop a benzodiazepine addiction. These include:
- A family history of substance use disorders
- Co-occurring mental illness
- Previous substance abuse problems
- Starting to use or abuse Xanax at a young age
- A history of traumatic experiences
While Xanax addiction can affect anyone, these risk factors make it more likely that a person will begin to misuse Xanax or other drugs.
Xanax Addiction Treatment
Fortunately, treatment for Xanax addiction at a professional substance use treatment center is a highly effective method of helping people overcome a substance use disorder, even when it feels impossible to do so. Decades of research have been dedicated to helping people break free from addiction, and many effective medications and therapies have been developed to help with this task.
Xanax addiction treatment typically takes place in stages. Each of these stages has a specific purpose as they help people who live with Xanax addiction begin the recovery process and learn how to maintain their sobriety for the long haul.
Medical detox is the first stage of Xanax addiction treatment. Detox focuses on helping people overcome the physical effects of Xanax addiction, specifically through managing the withdrawal process. Xanax withdrawal can be dangerous if attempted without medical intervention — but medical detox can help.
When people withdraw from Xanax abuse, they might experience several troubling withdrawal symptoms. These include:
- Sleep difficulty
- Excessive sweating
- Racing heart rate
Seizures from Xanax withdrawal symptoms can be deadly, but fortunately, medical detox offers specific interventions that can mitigate this risk.
At a medically assisted detox center, medical professionals monitor patients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Since benzodiazepine withdrawal is so dangerous, patients are slowly weaned off Xanax in a controlled and supervised taper. This process helps mitigate the risk of seizures, and it greatly reduces the severity of physical withdrawal symptoms.
While detox is a vital first step in the Xanax treatment process, it must be followed by quality addiction care in order to support long-term sobriety. As such, the last days of detox are focused on helping patients transition to a drug and alcohol treatment facility where they can continue receiving therapies that will help them maintain their sobriety.
An outpatient treatment facility is often the next step after someone has completed medically assisted detox. Outpatient programs come in several different levels of care, including:
- Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs)
- Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs)
- Outpatient programs (OPs)
PHPs offer the highest level of care, with clients receiving treatment several days a week for several hours at a time. IOPs require less time at the treatment center, while OPs meet just a few days a week for a few hours.
At each level of outpatient treatment, clients receive targeted therapies to help them build the tools needed to live a life in recovery. These might include treatments like:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Medication-assisted treatment
- Self-help support groups
- Family therapy
- Relapse prevention programs
All of these treatment options have been proven to reduce relapse rates and teach people the coping skills required for recovery. While Xanax addiction often has lingering psychological effects, an effective treatment program can help a person overcome drug cravings as they learn how to enjoy their lives in recovery.
Unlike inpatient treatment, people enrolled in outpatient treatment programs continue to live in their own homes or in supportive recovery housing. After the treatment day has been completed, they return to their own friends, families, and communities. This helps them put the tools learned in treatment into practice in the real world — not a treatment bubble.
An aftercare program is another evidence-based tool for helping people maintain their sobriety long-term. Aftercare programs typically begin after a person has graduated from outpatient treatment but still needs help maintaining accountability and requires support during the recovery process.
Aftercare programs offer a variety of services, such as continuing therapy or attending alumni groups for recovery support.
Start Xanax Addiction Treatment with Harmony Healing Center
If you or a loved one is struggling with Xanax addiction, reach out to Harmony Healing Center by filling out our confidential online contact form. We know how difficult it can seem to break free from addiction — but it is possible, and our team of addiction specialists can help.
Don’t delay getting the help you need any longer. Reach out to our team to begin Xanax addiction treatment today.