Alprazolam is a psychoactive benzodiazepine that is sold under the brand name Xanax and under other generic names. It is used to treat the following conditions:
- Social anxiety disorder
- Panic attacks
- Generalized anxiety disorder
In some cases alprazolam is used to treat nausea in chemotherapy patients. Due to the euphoric sedative effect that users experience when they first use the drug and the onset of withdrawal symptoms when use is discontinued, alprazolam is one of the most frequently abused benzodiazepines. It is a schedule IV controlled substance in the US and fully one third of all patients who use the drug for more than a month will become dependent on it.
How Alprazolam Works
As with all benzodiazepines, alprazolam works by enhancing the effects of certain naturally occurring chemicals that manage a variety of psychological functions in the brain, including the following:
- Emotional management
- Impulse control
- Stress tolerance
- Waking and sleeping
By boosting the levels of “feel good” chemicals in the brain, alprazolam can provide panic relief in as little as 10 minutes. When first used the drug causes a mildly euphoric high, but this effect tends to fade rather quickly as the user’s tolerance is established. Abuse among patients with a legitimate prescription is rare, but possible. Most abusers use the drug recreationally – often combining it with alcohol or other drugs in very potent and deadly drug cocktails.
For many people with anxiety disorders negative life events can be triggers for increased drug use. These events could include any of the following:
- The death of a loved one
- Financial distress
- The loss of a job
- Struggles in school
- Natural disasters
- Being the victim of a crime or assault
- Enduring bullying or verbal abuse
Events such as these can send a person into a drug-seeking mode of behavior. Many will feel unable to manage intensely emotional or painful experiences and will retreat into substance use as a means of self-medicating anxiety, fear or panic. If the drug is not powerful enough on its own, the user might add alcohol, painkillers or marijuana to the mix. This type of abuse can lead to overdose and addiction very quickly.
Successfully Treating Alprazolam Addiction
Alprazolam addiction is both physiological and psychological in nature. Recovery requires the comprehensive and holistic treatment of the addict’s mental and physical health. This is often accomplished in residential treatment facilities but may also work on an outpatient basis depending on the intensity of the abuse and the underlying condition that fuels it. No two addicts are exactly alike and the most successful benzodiazepine rehabilitation programs understand that and treat their patients accordingly. Customized rehab programs tend to offer the following types of therapies:
- Various types of individual counseling
- Support group meetings
- Spiritual and moral support
- Coping skill development
- The cultivation of healthy relaxation and calming techniques
- Aftercare programs
It is critical to the health and wellbeing of the addict that the symptoms of addiction are addressed alongside the underlying anxiety disorder or other mental health issue that lead to the abuse in the first place.
Alprazolam Dependency Treatment Helpline
If you need help getting off of alprazolam, or if you find that negative life experiences send you into a substance abuse pattern, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our admission coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions and connect you to the best recovery program for your specific needs. Call now.