Prescribing medications to help Xanax addiction is often part of the treatment process as a user goes through withdrawal. These medications can be used to help the addict feel more comfortable during the initial stages of breaking free from addiction.
Xanax is available by prescription and is used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. It may also be given to patients who experience anxiety that is caused by depression. This medication belongs to the benzodiazepine class of drugs, and it works by boosting a natural chemical in the brain (GABA). When ingested, Xanax helps the patient feel calm and relaxed.
Potential for Addiction
When Xanax is taken as prescribed, the likelihood of developing an addiction is relatively low. A patient who takes a higher than prescribed dose or who takes the drug more often than directed by his or her doctor may become addicted to it. The hook for addiction to this medication is the initial feeling of ecstasy it creates for the user. An addict is trying to recreate this experience every time he or she uses the drug.
Xanax creates both a physical and an emotional dependency in users. The addict may feel that he or she can't function well without the medication and uses it to help deal with everyday situations. The physical aspect of the addiction means that the addict must continue to take the drug to avoid going into withdrawal.
Medications to Help Xanax Addiction
The withdrawal symptoms associated with Xanax addiction can be extremely uncomfortable and dangerous, so it's essential that withdrawal happens under the supervision of trained medical professionals. Rather than try to quit using the drug "cold turkey," it's a better choice to gradually reduce the amount the individual takes. Going off Xanax all at once can be very dangerous since the addict may experience seizures or convulsions during the process. In some cases, these conditions may even prove fatal. Medications to help Xanax addiction may be given during this time to help the addict feel more comfortable.
The initial stage of treating a Xanax addiction is freeing the addict from the physical effects of the drug. The detox stage can be difficult for the addict to get through, and this is a major reason why some people are reluctant to seek treatment. They began taking the drug as a way to feel good, and they aren't necessarily willing to give up the high they get from it - especially if doing so will make them physically uncomfortable during the 10-14 days it takes to get the Xanax out of their system. Another challenge associated with treating an addiction to Xanax is that the user typically experiences an escalation of the anxiety symptoms after ceasing to use the the drug.
Two medications that have been used successfully to treat the symptoms of Xanax withdrawal are Tegretol and Klonopin.
- Kloponin (also known as clonazepam) is another drug in the benzodiazepine family. It is prescribed to treat symptoms of anxiety,as well as insomnia and panic attacks, and it's meant to be used on a short-term basis.
- Tegretol (carbamazepine) is an anti-seizure medication used to treat epilepsy. It is also prescribed to people with bipolar disorder due to its mood-stabilizing properties. This medication can help a person deal with the emotional symptoms associated with going through Xanax withdrawal.
Both medications are given at the beginning of the process. Since the Kloponin is similar to Xanax, it is used as a substitute in the initial stages of the detox process. Over time, the level of Kloponin being prescribed is lowered, and the dosage of Tegretol increases. It's important to understand that these three medications are not meant to be used together on a long term basis. The use of Xanax should be decreased as use of the other medications is increased, and users should keep in close contact with their physicians during the entire detoxification process.
Withdrawal from Xanax is best done under the direction and care of a physician trained in addiction medicine because blood tests must be conducted to monitor the addict's medication levels as well as the physical symptoms of withdrawal. These specialists, known as addictionologists, are certified in this field and have experience treating patients with drug and/or alcohol abuse issues.
Once the detox phase has been completed, Xanax addiction treatment can begin in earnest. An addict can be treated on an outpatient basis, but a residential program can help the individual learn why he or she turned to the drug. By going through this process, the addict can also come to realize the kinds of events that will trigger the urge to use and develop alternative strategies for coping with them.