Xanax addiction, withdrawal and treatment
Xanax is a brand name for alprazolam, a central nervous system depressant prescribed to treat anxiety and panic disorder.
Xanax can be addictive, even after relatively short-term use at recommended doses. Risk and severity of dependence increase with higher doses and longer periods of use. Long-term use of Xanax can increase tolerance.
Withdrawal symptoms include insomnia, restlessness, agitation, anxiety, abdominal pain, muscle cramps, vomiting, sweating, tremors and seizures.
Withdrawal symptoms appear one or two days after a person stops use of Xanax and continue for two to four weeks or longer.
Dependence is treated by gradually reducing the dosage. Inpatient or hospital treatment may be necessary for addicts who have a high tolerance or have had seizures during withdrawal.
Overdose symptoms include drowsiness, confusion, impaired coordination, diminished reflexes and coma.
Xanax overdose can be fatal, but most Xanax deaths are caused by a combination of Xanax with alcohol and/or other drugs, which can dangerously enhance the effects.
The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies Xanax as a Schedule IV drug, with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence. Other Schedule IV drugs include Soma, Darvocet, Valium, Ativan and Ambien.
Sources: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings.
— Compiled by Michelle Quigley