Does Xanax Abuse Lead To Increased Anxiety?

Xanax, a widely recognized and valuable medication, has long been prescribed to alleviate anxiety and panic disorders. While its effectiveness in treating these conditions cannot be denied, concerns have arisen regarding its potential for abuse and its impact on anxiety levels. At Alamo Behavioral Health, we are dedicated to helping individuals recover from Xanax addiction. In this post, we will explore the question of the relationship between Xanax abuse and increased anxiety. Through our experience and research, as a reputable behavioral health center in Texas, we hope to provide valuable insights for individuals struggling with Xanax addiction and those seeking a better understanding of its effects on anxiety.

What is Xanax, and what is its purpose?

First things first, we should begin with the basics of this drug and its uses.

Xanax, a brand name for the generic drug alprazolam, is a prescription medication classified as a benzodiazepine. Primarily used for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders, Xanax exerts its therapeutic effects by targeting the brain’s neurotransmitter system. It acts by enhancing the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain.

GABA receptors, which are abundant in the central nervous system, play a crucial role in regulating neuronal excitability. By binding to specific receptors, Xanax increases the effects of GABA, resulting in a calming and sedating effect. This modulation of GABA activity helps to reduce excessive neuronal activity and the associated feelings of anxiety and tension.

A pink candle in the shape of a brain on a blue surface representing the effects of Xanax on brain and the relationship between Xanax abuse and increased anxiety
Xanax use directly affects the brain, and that is where addiction may take hold.

Xanax is known for its quick onset of action and short duration, making it a valuable tool for managing acute anxiety episodes. For example, it may be used as a supplement to psychotherapy for addiction treatment, helping manage such symptoms. However, it is important to note that Xanax should only be used under medical supervision due to its potential for dependence and addiction.

The effects of Xanax on anxiety

With the above in mind, here we should clarify early that Xanax abuse leads to increased anxiety. This duality of the drug’s effects may seem paradoxical, but it is indeed true.

While Xanax is intended to alleviate anxiety symptoms, there are instances where it can actually cause or worsen anxiety. Xanax abuse, in particular, can lead to increased anxiety, creating a troubling cycle for individuals seeking relief.

This paradoxical effect occurs due to several factors:

  • Firstly, Xanax’s sedative properties can initially provide a sense of calm and relaxation. However, with continued use or misuse, tolerance and dependence can develop, leading to a rebound effect when the drug wears off. This rebound effect can manifest as heightened anxiety, panic, restlessness, and even increased heart rate.
  • Secondly, Xanax’s influence on the brain’s GABA receptors, which help regulate neuronal activity, can disrupt the delicate balance of neurotransmitters over time. This dysregulation can result in a hyperactive state and heightened anxiety.
  • Thirdly, abrupt discontinuation or withdrawal from Xanax can trigger rebound anxiety and other withdrawal symptoms. Thankfully, in recent years, drug addiction treatment in San Antonio has increasingly shifted toward addressing this factor.

Therefore, while Xanax can be effective in managing anxiety when used appropriately, the potential for misuse and abuse should not be overlooked, as it can contribute to a paradoxical increase in anxiety symptoms.

An anxious man in a red T-shirt
Without medical supervision, Xanax may actually exacerbate the symptoms it intends to treat.

How Xanax abuse emerges

We should also distinguish between use and abuse. With proper use under medical supervision, Xanax can serve as a very potent tool that improves the patient’s life. Abuse, however, can take a massive toll – and often emerges subtly.

Xanax abuse can gradually emerge as individuals develop a tolerance to the drug’s effects and seek higher doses to achieve the desired level of relief. Prolonged use of Xanax can lead to physical and psychological dependence as the brain adjusts to the presence of the drug and requires it to function normally.

Over time, individuals may find themselves relying on Xanax not just for anxiety management but also for its sedative properties and the temporary sense of well-being it provides. This pattern of misuse can spiral into addiction, where the craving for Xanax becomes compulsive and uncontrollable.

Addressing Xanax abuse is of utmost importance, as it can have severe consequences on an individual’s overall health, relationships, and daily functioning. Rehabilitation programs and treatment for Xanax abuse in Texas play a critical role in helping individuals break free from Xanax addiction. These programs typically involve a combination of detoxification, counseling, behavioral therapies, and support groups to address the physical, psychological, and social aspects of addiction.

Side Effects, Dangers & Long-Term Impacts of Xanax

Before delving into further specifics and common questions, here we should outline Xanax’s overall effects. While use and abuse do differ, using any drug can entail side effects, risks, and long-term use impacts.

A worried man sitting indoors
Xanax can have notable effects, even outside of abuse.

Side-effects of Xanax use

Initially, Xanax use can result in various side effects, including:

  • Drowsiness and fatigue
  • Impaired coordination and dizziness
  • Memory problems and confusion
  • Slurred speech and difficulty concentrating
  • Nausea, vomiting, and upset stomach
  • Headaches and blurred vision
  • Changes in appetite and weight fluctuations
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Paradoxical anxiety or panic attacks
  • Respiratory depression and slowed heart rate

While such symptoms can typically be treated and overcome, some may lead to abuse and addiction. This is particularly true in cases of self-medication.

Dangers of Xanax abuse

Should abuse emerge, it can pose numerous dangers and risks. Beyond the fact that Xanax abuse leads to increased anxiety, risks include:

  • Increased risk of addiction and dependence
  • Development of tolerance, requiring higher doses for the same effect
  • Withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation, including rebound anxiety and seizures
  • Impaired cognitive function, memory problems, and difficulty concentrating
  • Respiratory depression and suppressed breathing
  • Increased likelihood of accidents, falls, and injuries due to drowsiness and impaired coordination
  • Negative impact on mental health, exacerbating anxiety and depression
  • Relationship and social problems due to erratic behavior and mood swings
  • Financial difficulties and legal issues associated with obtaining and using Xanax illicitly
  • Overdose, especially when combined with alcohol or other drugs, potentially leading to coma or death

It is crucial to recognize these dangers and seek help promptly if struggling with Xanax abuse to prevent further harm and ensure a healthier future.

Long-term impacts of Xanax use and abuse

Lastly, long-term Xanax use and abuse can result in various lasting impacts, including:

  • Chronic physical dependence and addiction
  • Cognitive impairment and memory problems
  • Increased risk of developing mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety
  • Social isolation and strained relationships
  • Decline in academic or occupational performance
  • Financial strain due to the cost of acquiring the drug
  • Physical health complications, such as liver damage
  • Tolerance, requiring higher doses for the same effect
  • Withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation, including seizures and rebound anxiety
  • Potential overdose, leading to coma or death

Such long-term impacts deserve the utmost attention. Understanding and acknowledging them early is crucial in recognizing the urgency of addressing Xanax use and seeking appropriate help and treatment.

Pink tablets on a hand representing the relationship between Xanax abuse and increased anxiety
Long-term untreated Xanax abuse can, unfortunately, lead to overdose, especially in polydrug use cases.

Common Concerns Regarding Xanax Abuse and Increased Anxiety

With the above in order, we understand that you may still have an array of questions about Xanax, its history, and its effects. Therefore, we will dedicate this section to addressing some of the most common concerns before concluding this exploration.

Why is Xanax the Most Popular Anti-Anxiety Drug in America?

Xanax has gained immense popularity as the go-to anti-anxiety medication in America for several reasons.

  • Firstly, its fast-acting nature provides immediate relief during acute anxiety episodes.
  • Secondly, its effectiveness in managing anxiety symptoms has been widely reported, making it a trusted choice among both healthcare professionals and patients.
  • Thirdly, Xanax’s versatility allows for flexible dosing, catering to individuals with varying levels of anxiety.

The medication’s wide availability and extensive marketing have contributed to its widespread recognition and subsequent popularity. This versatility makes it a potent tool for trauma informed therapy for substance abuse, as it can treat symptoms of anxiety.

However, it is crucial to use Xanax responsibly and under medical supervision, as its potential for abuse and addiction necessitates caution and proper monitoring.

Is Xanax addictive?

Yes, Xanax has a well-documented potential for addiction. AAC reports that about 4 out of 10 people who use benzodiazepines for 6 weeks or more will develop a dependency. Xanax acts on the brain’s GABA receptors, producing a calming effect that can lead to dependence with prolonged use. Regular use of Xanax can result in tolerance, where higher doses are needed to achieve the desired effects, increasing the risk of addiction. Abrupt discontinuation or reduction in dosage can trigger withdrawal symptoms, further highlighting its addictive nature.

While Xanax is an effective anti-anxiety medication when used as prescribed, it is crucial to acknowledge that Xanax abuse leads to increased anxiety and to be mindful of its addictive potential. We strongly recommend that you only use it under medical supervision, following prescribed dosages, and consulting healthcare professionals for guidance on proper use.

White pills spilled on a green surface
As with many prescription drugs, Xanax has a recorded potential for addiction.

Can Xanax cause manic episodes?

Xanax use has been associated with the potential to induce manic episodes, although it is relatively rare.

Mania is characterized by an elevated mood, increased energy levels, racing thoughts, impulsivity, and reckless behavior. While Xanax is primarily used for anxiety and panic disorders, it can affect mood regulation in susceptible individuals. In some cases, Xanax can trigger or exacerbate manic symptoms, especially in individuals with a history of bipolar disorder or other mood disorders.

It is, therefore, important to monitor mood changes and report any unusual or manic-like symptoms to healthcare professionals when using Xanax. Adjustments to the treatment plan may be necessary to ensure optimal management of both anxiety and mood disorders.

Does Xanax help with overthinking?

Xanax can provide temporary relief for overthinking, as it has a sedative effect that can help calm racing thoughts.

However, it is important to note that Xanax is not a long-term solution for overthinking. It primarily addresses the symptoms rather than the underlying causes of overthinking. Therapy, counseling, and other non-pharmacological approaches are often recommended to address the root causes and develop healthy coping mechanisms for managing overthinking in the long run.

Can Xanax cause panic attacks?

Xanax is not known to cause panic attacks in individuals who do not have preexisting anxiety or panic disorder. However, in some cases, Xanax can lead to rebound anxiety or a temporary worsening of panic symptoms when the drug wears off. This can occur due to the body’s adjustment to Xanax and the subsequent withdrawal of the medication’s effects. Such rebound effects can indeed cause panic attacks in some cases.

In individuals with a history of panic disorder or anxiety, Xanax can be an effective medication for managing and reducing the frequency and intensity of panic attacks. It sees use in dual diagnosis treatment in San Antonio, for example, as a treatment tool for underlying mental health disorders. However, it is always important to discuss any concerns or potential side effects with a healthcare professional.

Spilled white pills next to a stethoscope and a blank doctor's notepad representing the relationship between Xanax abuse and increased anxiety
Like many prescription drugs, Xanax can have rarer or undocumented effects depending on each case.

Does Xanax cause anger issues?

Xanax itself is not known to cause anger issues directly. However, in rare cases, individuals may experience changes in mood while taking Xanax, including increased irritability or agitation. These effects are more likely to occur at higher doses or with prolonged use.

It’s important to note that any changes in mood should be reported to a healthcare professional for evaluation and adjustment of the treatment plan if necessary. Furthermore, it’s essential to consider individual differences and potential interactions with other medications or substances. Xanax is primarily prescribed to alleviate anxiety and panic symptoms, and while it can have a calming effect, it is important to monitor and address any concerning changes in mood while taking the medication. As we’ve covered above, Xanax abuse and increased anxiety can be related – which may indeed trigger mood swings and anger in certain cases.

Does insurance cover Xanax addiction treatment?

Insurance coverage for Xanax addiction treatment varies depending on the specific insurance provider and policy. Many insurance plans, including those offered by major providers like Humana, Tricare, and Aetna, offer coverage for substance abuse treatment, which may include rehab programs for Xanax addiction.

However, the extent of coverage and the specific details of what is covered can vary. It is important to review the insurance policy and contact providers directly to inquire about the coverage details for Xanax addiction treatment.  Additionally, many treatment centers work closely with insurance providers and can assist in verifying coverage and navigating the insurance process. Seeking guidance from both the treatment center and the insurance provider can help you make informed decisions about Xanax addiction treatment options and ensure the best utilization of available insurance coverage.

At Alamo Behavioral Health, we accept all major insurance policies, including:

Various pills in a plastic container for dosing representing Xanax abuse and increased anxiety
Insurance coverage does typically extend to Xanax addiction treatment, but it’s always vital to consult providers.

Signs of Xanax abuse

Distinguishing between use and abuse can present challenges. Still, recognizing the signs of Xanax abuse is crucial for identifying a potentially dangerous situation and seeking appropriate help. Xanax abuse can have serious consequences for an individual’s health, relationships, and overall well-being. Some common signs of Xanax abuse include:

  • Frequent or excessive use of Xanax beyond the prescribed dosage
  • Seeking multiple doctors or pharmacies for Xanax prescriptions
  • Using Xanax without a legitimate medical need or prescription
  • Engaging in deceptive or manipulative behavior to obtain more Xanax
  • Neglecting responsibilities and social activities due to Xanax use
  • Experiencing elevated anxiety
  • Experiencing cravings or withdrawal symptoms when attempting to cut back or stop using Xanax
  • Building tolerance and requiring higher doses to achieve the desired effects
  • Mixing Xanax with other substances, such as alcohol or opioids, for intensified effects
  • Exhibiting changes in behavior, mood swings, or increased agitation or irritability
  • Experiencing financial difficulties or legal issues related to obtaining and using Xanax illicitly

If you or someone you know displays these signs of Xanax abuse, it is crucial to seek professional help for rehabilitation. Medically assisted detox in San Antonio is always the safest route to detoxification and recovery from substance use. Professional assistance can provide the necessary guidance, support, and treatment to address Xanax addiction and its underlying causes.

A woman comforting her firend
If you identify signs of Xanax abuse in a loved one, it’s crucial that you comfort them and help them seek medical attention.

Rehabilitation programs often involve a combination of detoxification, counseling, behavioral therapies, and support groups to help individuals overcome Xanax addiction, regain control of their lives, and develop healthier coping strategies. Remember, seeking help is a courageous step toward recovery and a path to a brighter and healthier future.

Treatment options for Xanax addiction

Finally, here we should outline available treatment options for Xanax addiction. We understand that rehab can seem intimidating, which often stems from fear of the unknown.

The first step is often a medically supervised detoxification process to safely manage withdrawal symptoms and gradually reduce the presence of Xanax in the body. Once detoxification is complete, individuals can engage in comprehensive rehabilitation programs that address the physical, psychological, and behavioral aspects of addiction. Counseling and therapy sessions, both individual and group, play a crucial role in addressing the underlying causes and triggers of addiction while providing support and coping strategies for recovery.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is commonly employed to identify and modify unhealthy thought patterns and behaviors associated with Xanax abuse. Other evidence-based therapies, such as motivational interviewing and contingency management, may also be incorporated into the treatment plan.

In some cases, as Xanax abuse and increased anxiety happen, medications may be prescribed to help manage anxiety symptoms during the recovery process or to assist in tapering off Xanax gradually. Additionally, support groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or 12-step programs can offer valuable peer support and guidance from individuals who have gone through similar experiences.

How long does Xanax addiction treatment last?

The duration of treatment varies based on individual needs and progress, and ongoing aftercare and relapse prevention strategies are essential components of a successful recovery. Seeking professional help from qualified addiction specialists is crucial to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses the unique circumstances and needs of each individual struggling with Xanax addiction.

A person holding a cup extending their hand toward the sun
Addiction treatment may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be; the first step is half the battle.

Break the connection between Xanax abuse and increased anxiety with Alamo

Xanax, a well-known and valuable drug, can provide relief for anxiety when used appropriately. However, it is crucial to recognize the potential for addiction, the adverse effects of Xanax abuse, and the paradoxical connection between Xanax abuse and increased anxiety.

As experts in the field, addiction professionals at Alamo Behavioral Health have extensive experience in treating Xanax addictions. Our dedicated team is fully equipped to address Xanax addiction in a personalized and professional manner, providing comprehensive care that encompasses detoxification, therapy, counseling, and relapse prevention strategies. We understand the challenges individuals face when grappling with Xanax abuse and are committed to guiding them toward recovery, restoring balance, and enhancing their overall well-being.

If you or a loved one is struggling with Xanax abuse and increased anxiety or other symptoms, please feel free to contact us today. Seek the help you deserve and take the first step towards a healthier and happier life.

“Huge thanks to the friendly staff”

Seeking help at Alamo Behavioral Health was the single best decision of my life. The clinical team is amazing, and other staff members are friendly and really do their best to create a supportive environment. I have a long way to go, but I know that I'm not alone, thanks to everyone at Alamo.

Jeremy Atkins

5.0 Stars

Take the first step

how it works

Transform your life with one call

Reach out to our detox center in San Antonio and jumpstart your recovery. Our all-inclusive inpatient rehab for veterans in Texas is there for you.

how it works

Explore our treatment options

Discuss your treatment and insurance options with your San Antonio rehab advisor and find the most effective recovery program for you.

how it works

Schedule Your Admission Date

Let us help you regain control of your life today! Move forward with your treatment in one of the most serene detox centers in San Antonio.