Physical and psychological effects of Xanax abuse and long-term addiction
Xanax abuse can cause devastating physical and psychological effects that persist for months and even years after recovery. Xanax is one of the most prescribed medications in the US, used to treat panic disorder, anxiety, and insomnia. It is also one of the most addictive medications available. Persistent Xanax abuse affects virtually every aspect of an addict’s physical and mental wellbeing, significantly compromising the user’s ability to function. The long-term effects of Xanax abuse and addiction can be overcome, but it may be a long and difficult journey.
Why is Xanax so addictive?
Xanax is a benzodiazepine medication that is 10-20 times more potent than Valium. It works by boosting a neurotransmitter named gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) that slows the activity of nerve cells in the brain, creating a calm, relaxed feeling. Xanax works very quickly, affecting users in just minutes and has a very short half-life. This immediate “reward” ramps up the potential for abuse of Xanax, as does the fact that users often become tolerant quickly and need increased amounts of the drug to create the same feelings.
Long-term effects of Xanax abuse
Persistent Xanax addiction and abuse damages an addict’s mental, physical, and psychological wellbeing. These deleterious effects are widespread and include:
Xanax abuse frequently leads to short-time memory loss. It is not unusual for Xanax addicts to have no memory of their actions or whereabouts while they are on the drug. As Xanax abuse progresses, users may experience persistent amnesia and forgetfulness. These memory formation problems can continue for months and even years after addicts have stopped taking Xanax.
The long-term effects of Xanax use can include problems with mental focus and concentration. Users may demonstrate hyperactivity or an inability to complete a task. Mental acuity and cognition can suffer, so that users seem “spacey” or out of touch with what is going on around them.
Prolonged Xanax abuse can create a variety of emotional and mood disorders. Xanax addicts may become aggressive and develop severe anxiety disorders. They may become clinically depressed and even suicidal. Many Xanax addicts show a marked decrease in appetite, sex drive, and desire for social interaction. Emotional upsets, agitation, and outbursts can become common.
Impaired motor function
Xanax abuse impairs motor function, which can show as a lack of coordination, clumsiness, and a loss of balance. Xanax addicts may experience numbness or tingling, and can develop noticeable tremors and muscles twitches that reduce their ability to perform every day functions.
Compromised physical health
Xanax addiction can cause users to develop gastrointestinal and stomach issues, such as nausea and vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, and urinary incontinence. Prolonged Xanax use can affect users’ cardiovascular system, so they may develop hypertension, experience a rapid heartbeat or arrhythmia, and have an increased risk of heart attack.
Recovery from Xanax abuse
Overcoming the long-term effects of Xanax abuse and addiction can be difficult. Abruptly stopping Xanax can cause seizures, coma, or death, even in users who have only taken the drug for a short time. Anyone wanting to stop a longstanding Xanax habit should begin their Xanax addiction treatment under the supervision of a physician or who knows how to detox safely so there are no catastrophic physical results.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.