How Long Does it Take to Become Addicted to Xanax?
Xanax® is a drug that belongs to a class known as benzodiazepines. A sedative, Xanax is often prescribed to help treat anxiety disorders and seizures. Also known by its generic name of alprazolam, Xanax is a powerful substance with both great clinical potential and addiction risk. It made our list of the 5 Most Dangerous Drugs.
Like many other prescription medications, it’s important to know that alprazolam can be immensely beneficial when taken as prescribed. However, individuals can become addicted to Xanax even with regular, prescribed use. When it is abused, the risk for addiction increases substantially.
Xanax, or alprazolam, may be prescribed for many things. It is most commonly used to help treat insomnia or anxiety disorders. It is also sometimes used to help pulled muscles as it does have effects similar to muscle relaxers. As we’ll discuss, Xanax is a useful but dangerous medication. It may be better to try some upper back stretches, acupuncture, or meditation to see if you can find help for your ailments.
Risk Factors for Addiction to Xanax
Like addiction to any other drug or substance, there are factors that may play a role in whether or not an individual becomes addicted. Although risk factors for alprazolam addiction may give you an idea of how likely you are to become dependent, individuals without risk factors may still become addicted.
- Personal or family history of addiction or alcoholism
- Personal or family history of mental health disorders
- History of adversity, trauma, and/or abuse
- High doses of Xanax
- Long-term use
- Use of other drugs or alcohol along with alprazolam
How Long Does it Take to Get Addicted to Alprazolam?
Although you may think of other drugs as the most addictive substances out there, alprazolam is certainly one of the most addictive prescription medications. Research suggests that dependence can arise in as little as one week of regular use. This means that upon stopping consumption, individuals may experience physical withdrawal symptoms after just a week of use.
The truth is that most people aren’t going to be addicted after just a week of use. However, it illustrates just how addictive Xanax truly is. With regular use, the body and mind can grow dependent in just a few weeks. Even if taken exactly as prescribed, an individual may become addicted to alprazolam with a month or less of use. In those who have taken the drug for longer periods, addiction is much more likely.
If somebody is abusing alprazolam, taking more than prescribed, or mixing it with other drugs, they are likely to become addicted more quickly. As individuals take Xanax regularly, tolerance builds in the system. This means the person will have to take more of the drug to achieve desired effects, therefore increasing greatly the risk of developing an addiction.
Knowing the Signs and Symptoms of Addiction
Whether you’re concerned about yourself or a loved one, it is important to know the signs of addiction arising. The earlier you can catch addiction, the more options you will have to work with it, find a way to recover, and have an easier experience with withdrawal.
Symptoms of addiction to Xanax (alprazolam) include:
- Increased tolerance, or needing higher doses
- Agitation when drug wears off
- Obsession about getting Xanax
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Changes in mood, eating habits, or appearance
- Withdrawal effects when stopping consumption
- Taking Xanax more often or in higher doses than prescribed
As the most prescribed psychoactive medication in the United States, Xanax addiction is a growing problem. If you or somebody you know is taking alprazolam or other benzodiazepines, be sure to know the warning signs and reach out for help before it’s too late!