Xanax addiction is the most common prescription addiction in America.
Xanax addiction has raged here in the United states and around the world for three decades and an entire generation. There is no evidence or study that suggests that Xanax is effective long-term. In fact Xanax may even aggravate anxiety or panic if taken for extended therapy. There is however, overwhelming evidence of the adverse Xanax side effects, Xanax dependence and Xanax withdrawal potential, particularly in the long-term and high dose users.
Xanax’s exact mechanism of action is unknown. And there is no way to directly measure levels of Xanax in the brain or give any indication about how Xanax is effecting the brains chemical equilibrium. Tolerance to the anti-anxiety and hypnotic effects of Xanax develops within a few months. In spite of this damning information tens of millions of people for decades have been prescribed Xanax and other benzodiazepines as if they were the same as aspirin.
In 2008, 85 million prescriptions were filled for the top 20 benzodiazepines, an increase of 10 million over 2004, according to IMS Health. Included 66,000 veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress, according to a study released by Department of Veterans Affairs. Xanax dependence and Xanax withdrawal occurs within eight weeks in more than one third of patients. Preliminary reports of discontinuation of Xanax therapy in patients with panic disorder have revealed worsening of symptoms despite gradual withdrawal of medication.
Taken from a 1988 study involving 126 patients with panic disorder and phobic avoidance received either Xanax (alprazolam) or placebo in doses of 2 to 10 mg daily for eight weeks. Dosage was then tapered over a 4 week period after study was concluded.
Med Xanax can give the user worse symptoms than the original symptoms during a long withdrawal process. This should be an important fact to the medical community and something that must be looked at with a great amount of suspicion and concern. The extent of the national and worldwide addiction is staggering and here are some facts:
Xanax tolerance makes Xanax ineffective for panic & anxiety with extended therapeutic use
Physical Xanax dependence can occur in as little as 2 weeks
Xanax rebound symptoms are identical to original symptoms, but much worse
Post acute Xanax withdrawal can last for months or years
Abrupt Xanax withdrawal can cause seizure, delirium and death
Severe Xanax withdrawal syndrome occurs in over one third of the people4 million people in America have taken prescribed Benzos regularly for 5 or 10 years
Benzos are taken by at least half the illegal drug users and alcoholics worldwide.
The medical community makes a distinction between addiction and dependence. Addiction is defined as continued involvement with a substance or activity despite the negative consequences associated with it. Long term use of Xanax means some measure of physical dependence and continued use despite the drugs ineffectiveness is the definition of addiction. Xanax long term is often mis-interpreted, by both the patient and the prescribing doctor, as being beneficial in relieving symptoms. However all evidence suggests that long term Xanax therapy is preventing withdrawal symptoms rather than relieving the original condition.
Dependence may develop with regular use of benzodiazepines, even in therapeutic doses for short periods. – HSDB
Nearly 11 per cent of people surveyed in 1990 reported some benzodiazepine use, like Xanax, the previous year. A full one-third of the people taking benzodiazepines, like Xanax, for longer than one month will become dependent. About 2 per cent of the adult population of the US (around 4 million people) have used prescribed benzodiazepines, like Xanax, regularly for 5 to 10 years or more. The amount of people who have taken Xanax recreationally and in therapy is staggering.
A very large number of these long-term users must, at least to some extent have Xanax dependence and Xanax addiction. Exactly how many are dependent is not clear; it depends largely on how dependence is defined. Many studies have shown that 50-100 per cent of long-term users have difficulty in stopping Xanax because of Xanax withdrawal symptoms which is a clear indicator of Xanax dependence and Xanax addiction, which are the same in the mind of an addict.
Xanax withdrawal produces a Xanax rebound effect in a good many users that is so strong and exaggerated that many doctors opt to re-medicate with another type of benzodiazepine and not withdraw the patient entirely. In one clinical study over 25% of the people were taking two benzodiazepines at a time, like Xanax. The second benzodiazepine having been added to the prescription when the first stopped working. Xanax is abused heavily by the recreational drug community. Xanax aslo contributes to the “high” that drug users and alcoholics feel.
Xanax produces a calming effect through out the body. The calming effect sparks dopamine, which is the body’s gratification hormone and the same hormone that other illegal drugs activate. Similar to street drugs like heroin, the euphoria of some of the Xanax side effects can cause Xanax addiction and can be very dangerous.
The psychological condition that existed before use of Xanax started, is likely still there but the pathology of the brain has changed as a result of sustained use. The same psychological condition is exacerbated when the individual stops taking the medication. This condition is Xanax withdrawal syndrome, Xanax rebound or Xanax post acute withdrawal, depending on who makes the diagnosis. Xanax withdrawal can last for years after Xanax is stopped.
Xanax is a short acting benzodiazepine which is notorious for the worst withdrawal side effects. Xanax addiction is self-perpetuating, exactly like nicotine and other drug addictions. It could be much worse if you consider the psychological concerns involved with the medication and the painful long lasting withdrawal. Xanax addiction continues to rage in america and will continue to do so as long as the medical community is still prescribing Xanax and other benzodiazepines for anything other than short term therapy (under 2 months).
Clinical experience shows that most long-term Xanax users actually feel better after coming off the drugs. Many users that stop benzodiazepine use realize they have had below normal effects for years on the benzodiazepine. Much like a veil had been lifted from their eyes: the fears vanish, the mood improves, the colors are brighter, the grass is greener and the mind is clearer.
National Survey on Drug Use & Health (NSDUH) – Conducted by SAMHSA.
The survey revealed that Xanax abuse and Ativan abuse rose the most between 2002 and 2003, from 3.5 percent to 4 percent of those surveyed. The biggest jump was seen in users age eighteen to twenty-five which increased from 6.7 to 7.5 percent. Monitoring the Future (MTF) – Conducted by University of Michigan.
The 2004 MTF survey revealed that the use tranquilizers and sedatives remained relatively stable among all grades. About 2.5 percent of eighth graders, 5.1 percent of tenth graders, and 7.3 percent of high school seniors reported using drugs like Xanax between 2003 and 2004.