According to an article published in the journal American Family Physician, between 10 and 12 percent of people in the United States take benzodiazepines to help treat an anxiety disorder. Most people take the drugs for a short period of time, and as their conditions improve, they stop taking the drug. There are some people, however, who begin to take the drug for recreational purposes, and out of all of the benzodiazepines available, they may hone in on Xanax for abuse purposes. The drug is reinforcing, because it begins to work quickly. People who abuse Xanax feel results immediately, and that immediate response may drive them to compulsive use.
The best Xanax rehabilitation programs strive to help the addict learn to live without substance abuse. Since people who abuse Xanax often have other issues to contend with, these programs are highly tailored and customized.
Basics of Rehabilitation
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states that all top addiction recovery programs, whether they’re for Xanax addiction or for any other form of addiction, should be based on the following concepts:
- Recovery starts with hope. Addicts should be told, time and again, that recovery is possible and achievable.
- Recovery is personal. The addict has a huge amount of influence over what sorts of programs are provided, and how those programs will work. The addict’s cultural background, preferences and prior trauma must all be taken into account. The addict must be respected, and the addict’s wishes honored, in order for therapy to truly take hold.
- Recovery is multi-directional. Programs that address the addict’s emotional health, home life, career and living situation have a greater chance of success than programs that only focus on the chemical addiction.
- Peers support recovery. By meeting others undergoing recovery, and having access to people who support the addict’s work in recovery, the addiction can lessen.
In other words, modern addiction recovery programs tend to focus on the needs of the individual, and that person has a strong role to play in the recovery planning process. Addiction recovery programs don’t happen “to” someone with an addiction. Instead, addiction recovery programs happen “with” the help of the addict. They’re tailored, personalized and customized, and they work on many fronts. In this way, they can provide the help the addict needs in order to heal.
In most top addiction recovery programs, addicts are given access to medications to help treat their symptoms, and they’re asked to participate in a variety of forms of therapy to help them understand why they became prone to addiction in the first place. By combining medications with therapy, doctors often have the greatest chance of success in reaching their patients. But, this is only a structural suggestion in the world of addiction. Not all patients need medications, and not all forms of therapy work on all patients. This might be more true for Xanax addiction than with any other form of addiction.
Dual Diagnosis in Xanax Abuse
Mental illness and Xanax abuse often go hand in hand. According to Mental Health America, some people develop mental illnesses due to their substance abuse, while others use substances in order to mask illnesses they might already have. It’s very difficult for medical professionals to determine whether the mental illness or the addiction came first, Mental Health America says, and often, medical professionals wait to make that determination until the detoxification program is over.
Some people who have panic disorders may experience a relapse of their symptoms when they stop taking Xanax, according to an article published in the journal Psychiatric Annals. As these patients move through the detoxification and recovery process, they begin to feel more and more anxious and worried, and these feelings can drive them back into drug use. It’s quite possible that these people have underlying anxiety disorders that predated their addictions.
Some people who develop psychiatric symptoms due to addiction may see a decrease in their symptoms as they taper away from Xanax. According to an article published on Medscape, some people may experience wild swings in feelings of panic and unease due to their addictions. They flood their bodies with chemicals and then experience withdrawal, over and over, and these wild swings in behavior can be incredibly disconcerting. By removing the medication and allowing the person to experience a steady flow of the same level of chemicals, these swings in mood might decrease.
In either case, people with a dual diagnosis of Xanax abuse and another mental illness benefit from intensive forms of therapy. In individual therapy sessions, addicts learn more about the mental illness they’re experiencing, and they learn how the addiction tends to augment that mental illness. Often, they participate in cognitive behavioral therapy, where they learn techniques that can help them identify harmful thought patterns that can contribute to addiction and negative behaviors.
This sort of therapy is common to most addiction programs, but people with dual diagnosis problems may have more therapy sessions and go at a slower pace than do people who don’t have a dual diagnosis. In other words, the therapy pace is adjusted to allow the people to retain an added about of information.
People who abuse Xanax often abuse other drugs at the same time. For example, the American Family Physician article mentions that people abuse benzodiazepines like Xanax along with opioids like heroin, in order to smooth out the highs and lows addicts feel between doses. Xanax addicts also tend to abuse alcohol, as the Xanax helps to intensify the effects of the alcohol. The article reports that up to 80 percent of people who abuse Xanax abuse another drug at the same time.
While people who are recovering from a Xanax addiction often simply taper off the drug through the course of therapy and use no other withdrawal medications, people who are recovering from addictions to alcohol or opiates like heroin often need to take medications. The goal of this medication therapy is to reduce the uncomfortable physical symptoms caused by withdrawal from drugs, and to keep the addict from experiencing mental cravings for the drug. The drugs used for each form of addiction can vary widely, however, and the dosage each addict needs to take is also highly dependent on the dosage of the drug the person has been using.
For these reasons, most top Xanax recovery programs begin with some form of interview, followed by a urine screening. Medical professionals need to know what the user has been taking, and at what dosages, so the proper medications can be administered. The addict must be completely honest here. Even though the addict has been through detoxification already and is therefore, technically, in a clean state, some drug withdrawal reactions can kick in weeks or even months into the best rehabilitation programs. The addict will need to be clear about the drugs he or she has taken, so the medical staff knows what to expect.
Teens and Xanax
Adolescents may abuse all sorts of medications, but according to an article published by the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, teens may be particularly drawn to Xanax abuse because:
- The drug is plentiful and easy to find.
- Teens believe it’s “safe” because it’s provided by doctors.
- The drug makes stressed teens feel relaxed.
- Many other people abuse Xanax, so peer pressure is strong.
The best teen Xanax rehab programs usually include counseling sessions, and some programs might also include the entire family in counseling sessions. In these family addiction sessions, the entire group comes together to discuss the teen’s addiction, the family’s communication style and the issues that might stand in the way of the teen’s recovery. By helping the teen to form a closer bond with the family, the teen’s urge to medicate with Xanax might cease. In addition, some therapists use a reward system with their teen Xanax addicts in recovery. Each time the teen can provide a urine test that’s free of Xanax, the therapist provides a prize. This gives the teen something to look forward to and something to work toward, and that can be a powerful motivating tool for this age group.
People who abuse Xanax may think that there’s no need to enter a formal treatment program, and they can simply stop taking the medication at home and beat the addiction without assistance. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, this isn’t a safe idea. Xanax and other benzodiazepines can cause severe withdrawal symptoms, and they could even be life threatening. In addition, as mentioned, Xanax addictions often go hand in hand with a variety of other conditions that must also be addressed in order for the addict to heal. Formalized treatment programs are the best places to get this sort of help.
At Alta Mira, we provide the best Xanax recovery programs that are customized and targeted to meet the needs of our individual clients. We know that Xanax recovery is possible, and we’d like to help make it happen for you. Please call us today.