Xanax, most commonly prescribed for anxiety and panic attacks, is a highly addictive benzodiazepine. Due to the fact that is very easy to develop a tolerance to Xanax, there is an extremely high potential for addiction, even when the drug is prescribed by a doctor. Currently, Xanax is the most commonly prescribed psychoactive drug in the United States.
As of 2017, the number of Xanax prescriptions has risen to over 25 million. Benzodiazepines, which include Xanax, are known for their strong addiction potential and have resulted in approximately 8,000 overdose deaths in 2015 in the United States.
The physical signs of Xanax use are the most effective way to tell if someone is abusing the drugs, because many of the physical symptoms only occur when someone is taking more than their prescribed dosage. By knowing the most common physical signs of Xanax addiction, it may be possible to help a loved one on the path to recovery before it is too late.
The most common signs of Xanax addiction include:
1. Disorientation and Lack of Physical Coordination
Xanax is used to treat the effects of anxiety by slowly decreasing nerve cell activity in the brain. However, if someone is addicted or abusing Xanax, this decrease in nerve cell activity can lead to dizziness and poor physical coordination. In addition, this same psychological process can also lead to memory loss, having lifelong implications.
2. Slurred Speech and Blurred Vision
Due to the fact that Xanax is a depressant, similar to the effects of too much alcohol, it commonly causes the slurring of speech and inability to see clearly. These physical signs are usually easier to spot, as an addict appears as they are under the influence. This also occurs especially because Xanax is usually combined with other substances, such as alcohol or opiates.
3. Drowsiness and Exhaustion
Similar to the effects of an alcohol hangover, individuals who abuse Xanax often feel sluggish and tired the morning after they use the drug. This “Xanax hangover” occurs as a mild withdrawal from the drug. With this Xanax hangover, headaches, nausea, fatigue, lack of motivation, and trouble sleeping are also very common symptoms.
4. Withdrawal Symptoms
With more serious abuse, many more withdrawal symptoms can occur. Because of the highly addictive nature of Xanax, many people who begin taking the drug develop a dependence, and later when they try to stop, very painful withdrawal symptoms. Because Xanax has a short half-life, meaning it enters and exists the body very quickly, these physical withdrawal symptoms can appear in as little as 6 hours after the last dose. The most common and easily identifiable Xanax withdrawal symptoms include seizures, headaches, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, and tingling in arms and legs.
A complete list of physical signs of a Xanax addiction:
- Sleep problems (insomnia)
- Memory problems
- Poor balance or coordination
- Slurred speech
- Trouble concentrating
- Increased sweating
- Upset stomach
- Blurred vision
- Appetite or weight changes
- Swelling in your hands or feet
- Muscle weakness
- Dry mouth
- Stuffy nose
- Loss of interest in sex
By being able to recognize the most common physical signs of a Xanax addiction, you may be able to help a loved one before it is too late.