What Type of Drug is Xanax?


Xanax And Other Types Of Benzodiazepine Drugs

Xanax (alprazolam) belongs to a type of drug called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines (benzos or BZDs) are  prescribed for various kinds of anxiety. Benzos are effective. But benzos are also addictive. And they can become so very quickly. Benzos work. But for some people, they work a little too well. Xanax addiction can be overcome. But it takes patience, dedication, and proper protocol.

In this blog, Harmony Stuart will help you to:

  • Gain knowledge of what benzos are
  • Explain why benzos like Xanax are so addictive
  • Understand how to overcome Xanax addiction
  • Treatment options without drugs
  • How to get help for types of drugs like Xanax


Gain Knowledge Of What Benzos Are

Doctors mainly prescribe benzodiazepines to treat anxiety disorders. Some scientific evidence also suggests that benzos may help people withdrawing from alcohol. Benzos work by slowing down certain processes in the brain and body. They take effect almost immediately. This attribute also tends to make them addictive.


Our brain make chemicals that regulate our bodies. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters. They influence our appetites, how we think, how active we are. They impact how we understand the world and conduct ourselves in it. One such neurotransmitter is gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. This means it inhibits. It slows things down. GABA keeps the inner workings of our bodies from happening too fast. In the case of anxiety, our thoughts race. Our heart rates elevate. And our blood pressure increases. GABA helps keep these things under control.

GABA And Benzos

Benzos (like Xanax) increase the amount of GABA in the brain. For someone suffering from anxiety, this helps them calm down. Their brain balances out what’s happening inside them. This makes them feel more stable and grounded.

Explaining Why Benzos Like Xanax Are So Addictive

Some medications will gradually make changes. For example, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) must usually be taken for a few weeks before a person notices a difference. But benzos can affect a person after a single dose. In fact, benzos are so addictive that a person can experience withdrawal after only 3-4 weeks of use.

Withdrawal is connected to dependence. If a dependent person stops consuming a drug, they experience withdrawal. If withdrawal symptoms occur, then the person has become dependent. So, a person can become dependent on benzos in less than a month. This means that a person suffering from Xanax addiction cannot function without Xanax. And what’s worse, benzo withdrawal symptoms can be fatal.

Understanding How To Overcome Xanax Addiction

The best way to overcome Xanax addiction is to prevent it in the first place. Use Xanax (or other benzo) for a short period of time. Make appropriate lifestyle changes to address the sources of anxiety. Then, phase out the Xanax. It’s always easier to prevent an addiction than it is to react to one. That said, below you will find some practical strategies to overcome benzo addiction.


Quitting benzos cold turkey is not advisable. Doing so can cause one to slip into benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome (BWS). BWS symptoms can cripple one’s life. And as mentioned above, BWS can be fatal.

A key method for avoiding BWS is tapering. Rather than simply quitting, tapering slowly decreases one’s dose. Tapering slightly lowers one’s BZD dosage over an extended period of time. This allows the body to acclimate itself to a lower dose, without producing withdrawal symptoms.

Use Different Medications

Several benzo alternatives exist. They do not produce effects as immediately as benzos. Rather, some of these meds build up gradually in one’s body. For example, most selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) need several weeks to help combat anxiety. The advantage to this is that they are less habit-forming than benzos.

Alternatives to benzos include:

Treatment Options Without Drugs

Medications can become invaluable to recovery. But, they are only one tool. We must not rely too heavily on medications to help us. Other methods for dealing with Xanax addiction will also help us. Therapy helps people become conscious of underlying problems. Once they have this awareness, they can begin making changes to their internal lives.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) helps us develop and integrate our thoughts. We learn to practice mindful awareness of what we think. Next, we learn how to make progress in spite of stress. Then, we acquaint ourselves with healthy emotional patterns. Finally, we become fluent in articulating our emotions.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) has also shown effective in treating benzo addiction. CBT helps us to audit our own thoughts. Rather than taking them for granted, we question and evaluate them for truth. This keeps our thoughts from asserting control over us.

Speak With Your Treatment Provider

DBT and CBT are only two examples of nonmedicinal treatment options for Xanax addiction. Speak with your treatment provider to find out more.

How To Get Help For Types Of Drugs Like Xanax

Xanax, and other types of benzodiazepines, have a high potential for addiction. If you or someone you love struggles with benzodiazepine addiction, call or contact Harmony Stuart today.

Xanax Abuse and Addiction

Xanax Abuse | Harmony Treatment and Wellness

Xanax Abuse – Xanax belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, which are often used to mitigate the symptoms of anxiety. These drugs are designed for short-term use and when used long-term have a high potential for abuse and addiction. Benzos are relatively short-acting medications that have a rapid onset and quickly reduce anxiety. Effects typically begin within a half hour of use and can provide relief for several hours after.

Benzodiazepines produce a relaxing effect by attaching to certain sites on GABA receptors in the brain. After a prolonged period of use, Xanax can cause changes to these receptors in the brain, making them less sensitive to stimulation. Eventually, an individual develops a tolerance to these drugs and requires him or her to take increasing dosages to produce the desired effect.

For people who have become chemically dependent, a decrease in consumption will likely lead to withdrawal effects. It can be quite challenging to regain control over prescription drug use without professional treatment.

Moreover, ue to the life-threatening symptoms related to withdrawal from these types of drugs, it is critical that individuals do not attempt to quit Xanax abruptly without appropriate medical supervision.

Causes & Risk Factors of Xanax Abuse and Addiction

Oftentimes, substance abuse addiction specialists are not able to identify an exact cause – there are numerous factors that can play a role in the development of addiction. However, some well-known contributors include genetics, individual characteristics, and environment.

Genetic Risk Factors

Much evidence has shown that addiction problems can run in families through traits that are genetically passed down through the generations. Moreover, people who have close relatives that have a substance abuse problem are twice as likely to incur a substance abuse problem themselves. While genetics certainly do not guarantee the development of an addiction problem, there is a definite association.

Brain Chemistry

Xanax works by affecting the brain’s reward system, creating feelings of euphoria and relaxation. Some people lack sufficient levels of chemicals in the brain to properly stimulate the reward system – one theory is that when people use Xanax or Ativan it helps make up for the lack of natural brain chemicals. People may then continue to use these substances to continue experiencing feelings of relaxation and pleasure, which can eventually result in addiction.

Environmental Risk Factors

Many people who grow up in unstable home environments or experience extreme life stressors may have come to rely on drugs such as Xanax to help cope with emotional pain. Also, some people are raised in an environment where substance abuse is viewed as acceptable behavior.

Psychological Risk Factors

Individuals who have developed addiction problems are also at high risk of having a co-occurring mental health disorder. People with undiagnosed psychiatric illnesses may not understand symptoms that they are experiencing and may be unsure how to deal with them.

In an attempt to self-medicate, people may begin to use Xanax as a way to manage symptoms. Over time, some individuals may start to rely on such substances to function on a daily basis.

Signs and Symptoms of Xanax Abuse and Addiction

Common symptoms exhibited/experienced by those who are abusing or are addicted to Xanax may include the following:

Mood Symptoms

Xanax Abuse | Harmony Treatment and Wellness

Mood symptoms associated with Xanax abuse may include anxiety, notable mood swings such as those alternating between depression and mania, agitation, rage, and restlessness.

Behavioral Symptoms

  • “Doctor-shopping,” or visiting multiple doctors to obtain more Xanax
  • Stealing or borrowing someone else’s Xanax
  • Decreased inhibitions and engaging in risky behaviors
  • Exhibiting hostility and violence
  • Neglecting family or personal responsibilities
  • Declining occupational or school performance
  • Taking higher doses or more tablets than what was prescribed
  • Chewing pills to make them work faster or crushing/snorting pills to enhance effects

Physical Symptoms

  • Swelling in hands and feet
  • Coordination difficulties
  • Dry mouth, stuffy nose
  • Decreased urination, constipation or diarrhea
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness, dizziness
  • Heart palpitations, tachycardia
  • Tremors or seizures

Psychological Symptoms

Psychological symptoms may include confusion, disorientation, difficult concentrating, hallucinating, and memory problems.

Effects of Xanax Abuse

Xanax abuse can produce many adverse effects. The intensity of effects experienced depends upon the duration of abuse, the amount of the substance regularly used, and individual character traits of the abuser.

These effects may include:

  • Short-term memory loss
  • Social isolation and relationship conflicts such as divorce
  • Legal or financial problems, incarceration
  • Inability to function at work or school
  • Hospitalization
  • Migraines
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Uncontrollable muscle twitches or seizures
  • Suicidal thoughts

Many people who have substance abuse problems also experience a co-occurring mental health condition. These may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Additional substance addiction (drugs or alcohol)
  • Borderline personality disorder, or other personality disorder such as antisocial personality or histrionic personality disorder
  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders such as social anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Schizophrenia

Effects & Symptoms of Withdrawal from Xanax

Withdrawal from a Xanax dependency can be dangerous should only be done under the direction of a qualified medical professional in a safe environment. The detox process will slowly decrease the amount of Xanax in the body to minimize the chance of life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

Symptoms of withdrawal from Xanax may include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Sleep disturbances, insomnia
  • Intense sweating
  • Nervous feelings and anxiety or depression
  • Aggressive behaviors
  • Weight loss
  • Tingling sensation in hands and feet
  • Seizures
  • Suicidal thoughts or death resulting from suicide or health
  • complications


A life-threatening overdose of Xanax is unlikely when taken as directed or used alone, without the presence of drugs or alcohol. However, benzodiazepines such as Xanax are currently estimated to be involved in at least 30% of overdose deaths in the United States. In the majority of cases, other drugs such as opioids or alcohol were also involved.

The following are signs of an overdose, and immediate medical attention may be required to save a life:

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Confusion – saying things that don’t seem to make sense
  • Dizziness even when not moving around
  • Blurred vision and difficulty focusing
  • Weakness
  • Slurred speech -they have become difficult to understand
  • Difficulty breathing – breathing is slow, shallow, labored, or stopped entirely

Treatment for Xanax Abuse

Xanax abuse can result in many adverse mental and physical effects as well as impaired functioning in many vital aspects of life, such as academics, career, and family. Treatment for Xanax abuse may begin with a gradual tapering of the drug over the course of weeks or months to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

Long-term rehab, therapy, and counseling should co-occur with the tapering medication schedule or should closely follow it. Our center offers comprehensive, evidence-based approaches that have been shown to treat Xanax abuse and addiction effectively. We offer both inpatient and outpatient treatment formats, each of which includes psychotherapy, family counseling, and group support.

Our medical staff and mental health professionals aim to provide the very best care for our clients and ultimately, provide them with the tools they need to achieve sobriety and sustain well, happy lives long-term treatment has been completed.

If you or your loved one is abusing Xanax, other drugs, or alcohol, please contact us as soon as possible. You CAN regain your life with our help!

Meth and Xanax

Meth and Xanax | Harmony Treatment and Wellness

Meth (methamphetamine) is a potent, illegal stimulant drug that produces feelings of energy and euphoria. Xanax is a benzodiazepine and central nervous system (CNS) depressant used to treat anxiety and insomnia. Mixing meth and Xanax is dangerous and potentially deadly because meth works to increase heart rate and blood pressure while Xanax has the exact opposite effect.

Moreover, the reaction that results is a product of two drugs with contradictory effects. Thus, the body is placed under severe stress and effects can lead to risky, unpredictable health risks and complications. For one, this pair can put excessive strain on the heart and may directly contribute to cardiac arrest or stroke.

Meth itself is often mixed with other substances to enhance a high or reduce manic symptoms. Users sometimes report using too much meth and then turning Xanax or other CNS depressants to calm nervousness and anxiety and maintain a higher level of functionality.

As a result, the user may erroneously believe that they are indeed back to normal, but in reality, they are still impaired. Indeed, driving and other activities can still be dangerous and lead to injury or death to the user or others encountered in their path.

Recent statistics from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) revealed that in one year, nearly two-thirds of emergency department visits related to meth also involved another substance – and more than 10% included the use of benzodiazepines such as Xanax.

In fact, polydrug abuse (the use of one or more illegal drug or misuse of multiple prescription medications in combination with alcohol) often leads to overdose because when these substances are combined, effects are unpredictable and often far more intense and dangerous than any one substance alone.

Meth and Xanax | Harmony Treatment and Wellness

Meth and Xanax Overdose and Death

Combining meth and Xanax increases the risk of complications and deadly side effects. The following symptoms may manifest due to use of this combination:

  • Excessive drowsiness/sleepiness
  • Cardiac arrest (heart attack)
  • Light-headedness
  • Slow/impaired breathing
  • Stroke
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Dizziness

Using meth and Xanax can also result in a life-threatening overdose. Benzodiazepines contribute to thousands of deaths each year and are highly addictive. If used to ameliorate an intense and uncomfortable meth high, both dependence and tolerance (in which the user needs increasing amounts of the drug to achieve the desired effect) can occur and the risk of overdose substantially increases.

Addiction and Withdrawal Symptoms

Meth, like Xanax, is highly addictive. Just a brief period of use can compel the user to repeat consumption long-term. The method of ingestion is most often smoking, but some snort or inject it to induce a faster and more intense high.

When addiction develops, discontinuing meth use can be extremely challenging due to the very unpleasant and uncomfortable effects of withdrawal. Symptoms may include depression, lethargy, fatigue, insomnia, anger, irritability, anxiety, nervousness, paranoia, and strong cravings.

Over time, using an increasing amount of Xanax can lead to physical dependence, especially when more than the recommended or prescribed amount is consumed. Abrupt cessation of Xanax can result in severe withdrawal symptoms, and these effects may increase when other substances are used simultaneously.

Meth use, in addition to increasing energy and hyperactivity, can lead to anxiety that follows the euphoria. When users start experiencing a “comedown” from meth, they may consume downers such as benzos, sleep aids, and alcohol to mitigate unpleasant stimulant effects. Using CNS depressants such as these can take the edge off, both slowing down brain activity and causing sedation.

For these reasons, most healthcare and addiction professionals strongly recommend that users seek a professionally monitored medical detox to prevent relapse, overdose, and death.

Using Xanax to Prevent Tweaking

The use of meth may lead to a condition known as “tweaking.” This refers to the aftermath of an intense rush, usually following a binge.

Users binge to prevent withdrawal symptoms and a comedown, but after multiple using, effects decrease to the point that the user can no longer achieve a high and has no choice but to tweak and crash.

During the tweaking phase, the user experiences feelings of apathy, paranoia, intense cravings, insomnia, and may exhibit odd, unpredictable behavior and sometimes psychosis and hallucinations. To mitigate or prevent the effects of tweaking, users may turn to Xanax as a means to counteract the effects of a meth comedown. There may be unpredictable effects, however, from combining these two opposite-reacting substances.

If a person uses both drugs in conjunction, the effects that are produced can be very disturbing and unpredictable. Users may alternate back and forth from hyperactivity to excessive sedation. These polarizing effects can lead to increased anxiety and further drug use.

Meth and Xanax: Recommended Treatment

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most common, most researched, and effective form of treatment. CBT works to change a person’s attitudes and behaviors, as well as their thoughts, and feelings toward drug abuse and stressors or trauma they have experienced. CBT also focuses on the adoption of coping skills and fosters a patient’s ability to deal with triggers.

If the patient is dependent on Xanax, the psychiatrist or physician will likely recommend a tapering schedule in which the person is slowly weaned off the drug by decreasing dosages over time to lessen dependence and mitigate withdrawal symptoms.

Following a tapering schedule or detox, meth and Xanax users should participate in a residential (inpatient) or outpatient treatment program. Our center offers both formats which include behavioral therapy, counseling, and group support.

You can regain your life and be free of drugs and alcohol! Please contact us as soon as possible and start your path to wellness and recovery.

Related: Injecting Meth