By The Recovery Village Ridgefield
Editor Erica Weiman | Medically Reviewed By Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD
Last Updated: May 31, 2023
Editorial Policy | Research Policy
Understanding Xanax Addiction
Drug and alcohol addiction is a serious issue across the United States. In many cases, prescription drug use disorders begin with a legitimate prescription to a medication like opiates or benzodiazepines but quickly develop into a life-altering condition.
The most popular benzodiazepine is Xanax, the brand name for alprazolam. It is usually prescribed to treat panic and anxiety disorders. Xanax works by enhancing gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter in the brain. GABA helps slow down brain function, leading to an improvement in anxiety symptoms.
Xanax — like other benzodiazepines — is a sedative. Those who misuse benzos typically do so for their sedative effects, or they combine them with other drugs, like opiates.
Generic Name for Xanax
Alprazolam is the generic name for Xanax. The drug can be sold under its generic name or brand names. Brand names for alprazolam include:
- Xanax: Available in long-acting and short-acting dosage forms, and as both a tablet and an oral concentrate
- Niravam: Available as an orally disintegrating tablet that dissolves on the tongue
Street Names for Xanax
Street names for Xanax are commonly used. They include:
- Blue footballs
Xanax Abuse Symptoms
Xanax misuse can have numerous effects on the body. Common Xanax side effects include:
- Problems with memory
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleeping for extended periods of time
Effects of Xanax Abuse
Someone who uses Xanax — particularly for a prolonged period of time — may experience negative effects. Because the drug is a central nervous system depressant, it can slow down aspects of a person’s physical and mental health. Some effects of Xanax abuse include:
- Extreme drowsiness
- Coordination problems
- Decreased reflexes
- Slowed breathing
Some of these effects are even more pronounced when Xanax is combined with other central nervous system depressants like opioids. The FDA has issued a Boxed Warning about taking Xanax with opioids due to a heightened risk of overdose and death.
Xanax Abuse Signs
Someone developing a Xanax use disorder may display outward signs of their condition. Signs include:
- Isolating themselves from their loved ones
- Losing passion for activities they once enjoyed
- Problems at school or work
- Lying or stealing
In some cases, an intervention may be necessary to help your loved one seek treatment for their struggle with Xanax. While the thought of confronting your loved one might be unpleasant, it may be just the push needed to get them on the road to lifelong recovery.
Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms
Detoxing off Xanax is not as straightforward as with other substances. Without medical supervision, Xanax withdrawal can be uncomfortable and dangerous. Xanax withdrawal seizures are possible and can be deadly. This is why it’s necessary to seek medically-assisted detox from Xanax.
While detox centers are often a good resource for the detox process, it’s better to visit a treatment center that offers medical detox, such as The Recovery Village Ridgefield. After detox, you can immediately begin an inpatient treatment program.
Xanax withdrawal symptoms can begin within hours after the last dose and may include:
- Fast pulse
- Hand tremor
- Nausea or vomiting
Xanax Addiction Treatment
For people with a Xanax use disorder, making the decision to begin treatment is a tough but necessary choice to provide long-term recovery. At The Recovery Village Ridgefield, we offer a full continuum of care for Xanax addiction. Our programs start with Xanax detox and then continue through inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab and aftercare planning. Many of our addiction specialists and healthcare professionals are in recovery themselves. They understand what you’re going through.
Addiction does not need to control your life. A substance use disorder is a diagnosable disease, and just like any other health condition, it needs to be treated to provide a better quality of life. Our center is convenient to Vancouver, Washington; Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon and Eugene, Oregon, and we are dedicated to helping you find your path to recovery. If you or a loved one need Xanax addiction treatment, reach out to us today. Help is only one call away.
Our Recovery Advocates are ready to answer your questions about addiction treatment and help you start your recovery.
- ClinCalc. “Alprazolam.” Accessed December 12, 2021.
- Drugs.com. “Xanax.” September 1, 2021. Accessed December 12, 2021.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Benzodiazepines and Opioids.” February 3, 2021. Accessed December 12, 2021.
- Connecticut State Department of Consumer Protection. “Alprazolam.” Accessed December 12, 2021.
- United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). “Benzodiazepines.” April 2020. Accessed December 12, 2021.
- PsychDB. “Sedative, Hypnotic, or Anxiolytic (Benzodiazepine) Withdrawal.” March 29, 2021. Accessed December 12, 2021.