Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam, a class 4-benzodiazepine drug most often prescribed for anxiety disorders. First introduced in 1976, it quickly became the drug treatment of choice for these conditions. Xanax is now the 11th most prescribed drug in the United States and the number one most dispensed anti-anxiety medication on the market, beating out Ativan, Klonopin, Valium and Restoril by a 2 to 1 margin or better.
- On average, over 50 million Xanax prescriptions have been written annually since 2012.
Xanax works by enhancing the chemical GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain. GABA’s main function is to inhibit brain activity. It is a commonly held belief, in the medical community, that over activity within the brain is a chief cause of anxiety attacks of all types.
How Long Does It Take To Get Addicted To Xanax
Getting addicted to Xanax is different for each person. It depends on how their individual set of metabolization building up a tolerance. Addiction is a matter meeting the following set of the following criteria. Addiction is characterized by:
- Inability to consistently Abstain
- Impairment in Behavioral control
- Craving; or increased “hunger” for drugs or rewarding experiences
- Diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships
- dysfunctional Emotional responses
It can take as little as 2 week’s time to become addicted to Xanax. If it has been prescribed for you, monitor yourself and ask those around you to watch for signs of developing problems.
Like all members of the benzodiazepine family of drugs, alprazolam has a high potential for addiction and considering the number of prescriptions written for it each year, it should not come as a great surprise that it is one of the most abused drugs in the U.S.
- In fact, Xanax has such a high addiction potential that many patients have experienced withdrawal symptoms after only taking it for 2 weeks. Yes, you can become addicted to Xanax in as little as 2 weeks time.
Why Xanax Is So Addictive
The same factors that make it such an effective treatment for anxiety also contribute to its high degree of addictiveness. Xanax is very fast acting being readily accepted by the digestive tract and absorbed into the bloodstream. For the average person, the time period between taking a pill and feeling its effects is generally less than 1 hour and many people have reported experiencing calming feelings in as little as 20 minutes.
At the same time, while it is fast acting it has a very long half-life. That is the time it takes for your body to metabolize or burn up half a dosage. The half-life of Xanax is over 11 hours and the high that accompanies it last for 5-7 hours depending on the dosage taken and a person’s physical condition.
In simpler terms, the effects of Xanax hit quickly, last a long period of time but then your brains receptors are left with a gentle reminder of where those good feelings came from. It can actually take months for your body to completely eliminate alprazolam from your system. During that time though you may not feel any effects, your body is constantly asking “where have the good times gone?”
Signs of Addiction
If you are taking Xanax and experience any of the below issues you may be developing an addiction problem and should seek professional advice.
- Cognitive impairment
- Dry mouth
- Impaired coordination
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sleeping for extended periods of time
- Slurred speech
Mere words cannot truly express what it feels like to go through withdrawals. Both the physical and psychological effects have been described in terms that perhaps only Dante’ or someone who has experienced them could understand.
All or any combination of the below along with depression, extreme anxiety, delusions and other mental issues could all be part of the process.
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