Xanax Addiction Facts and Statistics

Xanax Addiction Facts

Written By: Geraldine Orentas

Geraldine is Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s Digital Marketing Manager. She has a Bachelor’s in Journalism and experience in the digital media industry. Geraldine’s writing allows her to share valuable information about mental health, wellness, and drug addiction facts, hoping to shed light on the importance of therapy and ending the stigma.
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Geraldine. "Xanax Addiction Facts and Statistics." Lighthouse Recovery Institute., Last updated Jul 10, 2020 at 6:49PM | Published on Oct 15, 2014, https://lighthouserecoveryinstitute.com/xanax-addiction-facts/.

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Last updated Jul 10, 2020 at 6:49PM | Published on Oct 15, 2014 | Eating Disorders

Xanax has been around since the late 1960s. Most people know Xanax as a sleep aid, but eventually, researchers found other uses. Since Xanax is so widely popular and doctors can easily prescribe it for many ailments, most people don’t think about the negative repercussions of using it. However, not everyone discusses the severe Xanax addiction facts, and the statistics impacting the entire nation. 

What is Xanax?

Xanax comes from the benzodiazepines family, and it’s the brand name for alprazolam. Similar to benzos, it works to suppress the central nervous system. The FDA approved its use for anxiety disorders and panic disorders back in 1981. Most doctors prescribe Xanax for medical purposes, such as to treat anxiety in the short-term.

It works by interacting with neurotransmitters that inhibit brain activity, which helps keep anxiety at bay. Xanax is a fast-acting benzodiazepine, and people experience its benefits as quickly as an hour after taking it. Unfortunately, the effects Xanax can be extremely addictive, even when someone takes it as directed–virtually anyone can fall for Xanax addiction.

Other Names for Xanax

Many people fall for medications or hear about these medications without knowing they’re taking Xanax. It’s crucial to stop the abuse of Xanax to be aware of all the other names used to talk about it:

  • Alprazolam – generic version of the drug
  • Niravam – another generic version for sublingual use
  • Xannies or Zannies – common street names
  • Handlebars or Bars – because pills resemble a chocolate bar
  • Blue footballs – some pills are light blue and shaped like a football
  • Benzos – from their drug family name, benzodiazepine 
Xanax Addiction Facts

5 Interesting Xanax Addiction Facts You Should Know

Xanax is one of the most successful and worrisome blockbusters in the past years. The majority of people using it can fall for addiction, even without noticing. Like many other benzodiazepines, Xanax develops a tolerance, which quickly moves into a physical dependency. Just when someone starts seeing the warning signs, they become addicted to Xanax.

1. Don’t Mix Grapefruit with Xanax

Most people know about not mixing Xanax with alcohol. However, not everyone thinks of fruit juice as dangerous. It turns out, grapefruit and grapefruit juice can interact with liver enzymes that are crucial in breaking down Xanax. 

When someone mixes grapefruit with Xanax, the amount of the drug in their bloodstream increases and boosts side effects like confusion, drowsiness, and dizziness. Not to mention, because your body isn’t metabolizing Xanax, it means the substance stays in your system for longer, thus strengthening the tolerance and dependence for the drug. 

2. Withdrawal Symptoms Can Be Life-Threatening

Like other benzo prescriptions, Xanax addiction can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms, especially when people choose to quit cold-turkey. This method should never be a substitute for professional assistance. Ideally, people need to discontinue their use of benzodiazepines to minimize symptoms slowly.

Abruptly stopping Xanax, even if someone has only used it a short period of time, can lead to troublesome consequences and life-threatening side effects. Some Xanax withdrawal symptoms include hallucinations, tremors, and seizures. 

3. Generic Versions Are Very Affordable

Sometimes people turn to the black market to satisfy their demand for many prescription drugs. However, the generic for Xanax, alprazolam, is available in lower-cost presentations. Some pharmacies even offer 30 tablets of the medication for as little as $5. 

While this is fantastic for people with a legitimate need for Xanax, it also increases people’s risks of addiction. When people misuse Xanax, they don’t experience a financial burden to maintain or prolong their use. 

4. Higher Risk of Mental Impairment

Overall, many clinical studies found that long-term use of benzodiazepines increases people’s risk of mental impairment. Long-term use of alprazolam can cause mental impairments linked to severe depression, Alzheimer’s, and other mental health conditions. 

When people also struggle with these impairments, their Xanax addiction can also lead to more severe adverse reactions. Not to mention dangerous withdrawal side effects. 

5. Prescription Rates Are Off the Roof

Even with the well-known facts about the dangers of Xanax addiction to medical professionals, prescription rates don’t slow down. Since 2009, Xanax prescription rates have held steady at nine percent of all benzodiazepine prescriptions in the United States. 

Unfortunately, most of these prescriptions are going to people age 65 or older, the most vulnerable population towards Xanax addiction. Older people have slower metabolisms, which means their body takes longer to break-down medications like Xanax. 

Xanax Addiction Statistics

Xanax Addiction Statistics

When a drug like Xanax, which has been around for decades, it’s easy to understand how people use and misuse the drug. Continuing to learn more about the different Xanax addiction facts is important to understand the future of prevention and treatment. Some of the most shocking Xanax addiction statistics are even hard to believe. But, without a doubt, when a prescription drug is as popular as Xanax, addiction is bound to follow. 

  • The rate of Xanax abuse for those aged 18-25 (10.3%) was nearly double that for people aged 26 or over (5.7%).
  • More than 50% of the almost 176,000 emergency room visits for Xanax in 2011 also involved alcohol or other drugs.
  • Xanax prescriptions account for 44% of all doctor’s orders for anxiety problems. 
  • Prescriptions for Xanax increased by about 27% from 2006 to 2011, reaching almost 50 million orders. 
  • Due to the nonmedical use of Xanax, emergency-related visits increased by 625% from 1995 to 2011, surpassing 100 thousand visits a year. 

Xanax Addiction Treatment Options

There’s no doubt Xanax addiction can be challenging to fight, but it isn’t impossible. Anyone who chooses to quit Xanax needs to find the right support system to prevent withdrawal symptoms. Thus, finding a partial hospitalization program (PHP) that monitors the Xanax detox process is paramount to do so under a controlled and supervised scenario. 

Many addiction treatment centers count with Xanax addiction specialists that can guide people through their recovery. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, our Xanax addiction recovery programs include:

Xanax Medical Detox: In this clinically supervised detox process, we ensure the patient’s safety and make the withdrawal phase as comfortable as possible by minimizing withdrawal symptoms and using medication-assisted treatment services to guarantee a complete detoxification process. 

Dual Diagnosis Treatment: Unlike other benzos, most people don’t mix Xanax with other substances. However, long-term use of Xanax can lead to mental impairments, including paranoia and depression. Dual diagnosis programs can help treat co-occurring conditions as well. 

Intensive Outpatient Programs: When patients are looking to seek addiction treatment while maintaining daily obligations like work, school, or caregiving, IOPs are a more flexible option that still gives people access to the help they need. 

Long-term Recovery Programs: With long-term recovery assistance, patients can have the ongoing support they need to maintain long-lasting sobriety. Recovery programs are crucial to relapse prevention. 

Get Help Today

If you or someone you love is struggling with drug abuse, ask for help immediately. Please, call Lighthouse Recovery Institute today and speak with our addiction specialists to learn more about our comprehensive and personalized addiction treatment programs.

We offer unique and personalized treatment plans because we believe no two addictions are alike. The journey towards recovery is a long one, but together and with your family and friends’ support, we’re sure you’ll make it. Please, whether you or a loved one is thinking about starting addiction treatment, don’t delay it. Start your addiction treatment journey today. 

Written By: Geraldine Orentas

Geraldine is Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s Digital Marketing Manager. She has a Bachelor’s in Journalism and experience in the digital media industry. Geraldine’s writing allows her to share valuable information about mental health, wellness, and drug addiction facts, hoping to shed light on the importance of therapy and ending the stigma.

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