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Xanax Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, & Treatment

A woman holding her knees representing xanax addiction.

Xanax is a frequently misused benzodiazepine with powerful sedative properties. Familiarizing yourself with the indicators and red flags can help you identify Xanax addiction in someone that you care about. Read on to discover:

  • How addictive is Xanax?
  • Why is Xanax addictive?
  • Can you get addicted to Xanax after legitimate medical use?
  • How long does it take to get addicted to Xanax?
  • Is Xanax habit forming for everyone who uses it?

Is Xanax Addictive?

It is possible to become addicted to Xanax, even when using the medication as prescribed. The sustained use of benzos triggers the development of tolerance. This means that the drug’s effectiveness diminishes over time, leading many people to take higher doses to deliver the initial effects.

Continued use of Xanax brings about physical dependence, where the body becomes accustomed to the presence of the drug. This can result in withdrawal symptoms if the drug is suddenly discontinued. Typical withdrawal symptoms include headaches, nausea, vomiting, sweating, blurred vision, and convulsions. Dependence often but not always leads to addiction. Addiction to Xanax is characterized by a compulsive need to use the drug, even in the face of adverse outcomes.  

Xanax Addiction Signs

Xanax addiction signs may include:

  • Slurred speech: Individuals addicted to Xanax may exhibit slurred speech, making it difficult to communicate clearly.
  • Confusion: Confusion can be a common Xanax abuse sign, as the drug adversely affects cognitive function.
  • Drowsiness: Excessive drowsiness, often at inappropriate times, can be indicative of Xanax misuse.
  • Dizziness: Xanax abuse can lead to dizziness and impaired balance.
  • Weakness: Xanax abuse symptoms may include weakness and a loss of physical strength.
  • Blurred vision: Vision problems, including blurred vision, can be a side effect of Xanax abuse.
  • Lack of motor coordination: Impaired motor coordination is a potential sign of Xanax addiction, affecting the ability to perform physical tasks.
  • Difficulty breathing: Xanax overdose or abuse can lead to difficulty breathing. Respiratory depression can be a life-threatening benzo withdrawal symptom.
  • Coma: In severe cases of Xanax overdose, a person may slip into a coma that requires immediate medical attention.
image of woman representing xanax addiction symptoms

Xanax Addiction Symptoms

Xanax addiction is diagnosed based on the criteria outlined in DSM-5-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition). To be diagnosed with Xanax addiction, an individual must meet at least two of the following criteria within a 12-month period:

  1. Taking more Xanax than intended or using the medication for longer than planned.
  2. Unsuccessful attempts to moderate or discontinue Xanax use.
  3. Spending lots of time obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of Xanax.
  4. Cravings to use Xanax.
  5. Recurrent Xanax use resulting in failure to fulfill personal or professional obligations.
  6. Continued Xanax use despite use of the medication causing or inflaming interpersonal problems.
  7. Giving up or reducing important activities because of Xanax use.
  8. Recurrent use of Xanax use in situations where it is dangerous.
  9. Ongoing Xanax use even though it is triggering or worsening a physical or mental health condition.
  10. Tolerance, meaning that more Xanax is required to deliver the initial effects.
  11. Withdrawal symptoms presenting upon discontinuation, or using Xanax to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Xanax Addiction Treatment

Xanax addiction can be difficult to overcome, but there are many effective treatment options available to help people on the path to recovery. The choice of treatment depends on the severity of the addiction and individual needs. 

Medical detoxification

This is usually the first step in treating Xanax addiction. Under medical supervision, individuals are gradually tapered off Xanax to minimize withdrawal symptoms. Medical professionals may administer other medications to streamline the detox process and manage symptoms.

Inpatient rehab

For those with severe Xanax addictions or anyone who requires a more structured environment, inpatient rehab programs can be highly effective. These programs provide 24/7 care, therapy, and counseling in an immersive environment free of distractions and triggers for substance use. 

Outpatient treatment

Outpatient programs offer flexibility and allow people to continue with their daily responsibilities while receiving treatment. Outpatient rehab involves therapy, counseling, and regular check-ins with healthcare providers.

Behavioral therapy

Various forms of therapy, such as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and DBT (dialectical behavior therapy), are used to address the psychological aspects of addiction. These therapies help people identify triggers, develop coping strategies, and change addictive behaviors.

Support groups

Joining support groups like NA (Narcotics Anonymous) can provide a sense of community and encouragement during recovery. These groups offer a platform for individuals to share their experiences and learn from others with lived experience of addiction.

Holistic approaches

Many people benefit from holistic interventions like yoga, meditation, and acupuncture to complement traditional evidence-based methods of treatment.


After completing a formal treatment program, aftercare or continuing care might include ongoing therapy, participation in support groups, and strategies to maintain long-term sobriety.

Dual diagnosis treatment

If someone has co-occurring mental health disorders along with Xanax addiction, dual diagnosis treatment addresses both conditions simultaneously. This is the most effective pathway to recovery.

Xanax addiction treatment should be tailored to individual needs and may involve a combination of these approaches. Consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most suitable treatment plan for a person struggling with Xanax addiction.

a man celebrating getting xanax addiction treatment

Get Treatment for Xanax Addiction at Drug Rehab Centers

If you or a loved one have become addicted to Xanax, reach out to Drug Rehab Centers. We can help you connect with prescription medication rehabs throughout Southern California.

Call for more information about medical detoxification programs, allowing you to discontinue the use of Xanax as comfortably and safely as possible. You can also learn more about a variety of Xanax addiction treatment options in an inpatient or outpatient setting.

Call Drug Rehab Centers at 844-739-2005 to begin your recovery from Xanax addiction in California.

Juan Bonnet
Author: Juan Bonnet


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