Is Xanax Addictive? How to Recognize Addiction and Deal with It

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The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient's unique health circumstances and needs.

Xanax is a controlled medication approved by FDA for panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder treatment. Over the years, it has proven effective in treating other health conditions, including generalized anxiety disorder, depression, insomnia, and chemotherapy-induced nausea. While Xanax is one of the most prescribed psychiatric medications in the United States, concerns over its addictive potential remain undeniable.

Xanax depresses the central nervous functions and produces a calming effect that makes it suitable for treating panic disorders, anxiety, and sleep problems. With long-term use, the body and the brain become dependent on the drug and cannot function properly without it. Sudden stoppage of use can elicit serious withdrawal effects. Besides the sedative effects, individuals can get addicted to Xanax because it promotes dopamine release and stimulates pleasure centers in the brain.

Ask EZCare doctors about the most effective plan for anxiety treatment for you.

Is Xanax addictive?

Xanax (a generic name is alprazolam) belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines and is prescribed for multiple health conditions. The FDA classifies Xanax as Schedule IV controlled medication, indicating it has a low potential for abuse. However, long-term therapy with alprazolam carries a considerable potential for abuse, misuse, and addiction.

Individuals taking the drug usually develop tolerance very fast, implying they will have to take a higher dosage to achieve the desired effects. For instance, someone might take up to 20 to 30 Xanax pills daily to get similar outcomes previously achieved by the lowest dose of Xanax.

According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Xanax is highly addictive and can get a user addicted within a few weeks of regular use. Four of every 10 users become dependent on the benzodiazepine within at least six weeks of regular intake. If a person develops withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, sleep disturbances, restlessness, or anxiety after stopping Xanax medication, it indicates that they have already developed dependence. Tolerance and withdrawal effects are the primary indicators of Xanax addiction.

The Symptoms of Addiction to Xanax

Other signs and symptoms of addiction to Xanax include:

  • Obsession about acquiring and using Xanax.
  • Continued use of the drug despite awareness and experiencing its adverse effects.
  • Loss of interest in things or activities previously enjoyed.
  • Inability to stop using the medication, notwithstanding the desire to discontinue its use.
  • Lack of ability to regulate the amount of the drug the person consumes.
  • Continued engagement in risky activities such as driving while under the influence of alprazolam despite knowing the action is dangerous.
  • Getting into trouble with law enforcement agents due to the use of Xanax.

Typically, Xanax addiction causes a person to ignore school, family, or work responsibilities as the energy is redirected to seeking and using the drug.

Due to tolerance, individuals hooked on Xanax are at significant risk of overdose. Taking alprazolam with other drugs or alcohol can cause potentially fatal overdose symptoms such as:

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Slower heart rate
  • Fainting
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Muscle weakness and loss of balance
  • Coma

Do you have any disturbing symptoms? Consult a doctor online in 24 hours to get help.

Treatment of Xanax Addiction

Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms resemble those of barbiturates or alcohol and can be fatal. Therefore, if a person dependent on the medication wants to quit usage, the discontinuation should be supervised by a medical professional. Do not stop using Xanax immediately if dependence has already formed, as this might precipitate life-threatening convulsions.

The healthcare provider will discontinue the drug by tapering the Xanax dosages (gradually decreasing the daily dose of Xanax) before briefly switching the user to a long-acting benzodiazepine and then stopping it.

This gradual reduction in the amount taken per day reduces the risk and severity of withdrawal symptoms.

Besides the medical intervention, individuals with Xanax addiction can join wellness-focused support groups to help them deal with the psychological effects of dependence.

Addiction to Xanax: FAQs

How addictive is Xanax?

Alprazolam (Xanax) has a low tolerance threshold making it quite addictive. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 5.4 million people aged 12 or above reported misusing benzodiazepines. The addictive potential of Xanax makes it one of the most commonly abused substances by individuals above 12, after alcohol and marijuana. Most teens treated for Xanax addiction accessed the drug from family cabinets, attributable to the surging prescription of Xanax and other benzodiazepines such as Ativan for sleep problems and anxiety.

What does addiction to Xanax look like?

Generally, benzodiazepines’ impact on the brain is quite huge, to the extent that any slight change in dose can cause severe physical and emotional effects. Taking the drug can cause bad Xanax side effects such as memory loss, agitation, mental confusion, and vertigo. And when addiction occurs, stoppage of Xanax use causes intolerable withdrawal symptoms, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, and seizures. Those addicted to Xanax can lie about drug use, develop rapid emotional shifts, and fail to fulfill their daily responsibilities.


Xanax is a prescription medication for treating anxiety, panic, and sleep disorder. Although effective, its low tolerance and high dependence potential make it one of the most addictive medicines on the market. Individuals with Xanax addiction can benefit from medical detox and social support groups, helping them return to everyday life. Consult a doctor at EZCare Clinic to know how to avoid Xanax addiction and receive an online prescription for the most suitable medication.


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