Alprazolam (Xanax) is a benzodiazepine used for the short-term treatment of anxiety and panic disorders. The drug affects the chemicals in the brain that cause anxiety. While a patient is following a prescription from a doctor, there is little risk that he or she will develop an addiction to alprazolam, especially compared to other addictive substances. Alprazolam can be a safe and effective way for people whose lives are interrupted by anxiety to find relief.
However, it is a controlled substance, meaning it does have addictive potential when taken in large quantities or used for a longer period than a few weeks of treatment. Frequency, amount and duration of use are not the only factors that influence whether or not an individual becomes addicted to alprazolam. The availability and cost of the drug also play a role in abuse and addiction.
Is Alprazolam Easy to Obtain?
Benzodiazepines are widely prescribed. Alprazolam in the form of Xanax is among the top 100 most commonly prescribed medications. Anyone with access to healthcare also has access to a legal prescription for alprazolam for the treatment of anxiety and sometimes insomnia. Compared to many other prescription medications, it is easy to obtain.
However, a patient’s addiction history can make it more difficult to obtain a prescription for alprazolam. Physicians are less likely to prescribe an addictive substance to someone who may be unable or unwilling to use it responsibly. However, doctor shopping, or receiving the same prescription medication from multiple doctors, is a way for users to subvert the restrictions on the amount and duration of treatment with alprazolam. Illegally obtaining the medication through friends and purchasing it online without a prescription are also ways that users avoid these restrictions. These habits, unlike following a prescription, can easily lead to tolerance, dependence and addiction.
Who Uses Alprazolam?
Anxiety is a common mental health issue that many people experience, whether consistently or only during times of high stress. It can easily interrupt an individual’s daily life, and alprazolam can help. Many people begin treatment with the intention of following a doctor’s instructions. However, if their body begins to build a tolerance to the drug, it can become less effective and cease to relieve anxiety. At that point, some users begin taking alprazolam irresponsibly and unintentionally develop habits that can lead to addiction. Others self-medicate anxiety by obtaining the medication illegally, without having a good idea of how much of the drug to take or how frequently and how long they should be taking it.
Recreational users may not be as drawn to alprazolam as other drugs because they may not have access to healthcare, and the street prices for Xanax can be higher than when receiving it through a physician. Another reason recreational users might prefer other drugs is that alprazolam’s euphoric effects and addictive properties are less than many other psychoactive drugs. Many recreational users who decide to use alprazolam combine it with alcohol or other CNS (central nervous system) depressants in order to heighten the calming effects, which can be dangerous.
Help for Alprazolam Addiction
If you or a loved one is addicted to alprazolam, call our toll-free helpline to speak with an admissions coordinator about your treatment options. We are available 24 hours a day to help you find an individualized treatment plan that is right for you. Please call today.