Xanax is a brand name of alprazolam; a drug belonging to the class of medications known as benzodiazepines. A sedative, commonly used in the short-term management of panic attacks, anxiety and sleep disorders, Xanax has a calming and relaxing effect.

While Xanax is a prescription drug and can be safe to use therapeutically, it is often consumed recreationally or in violation of a prescription. As with other prescription drugs, the potential for abuse is high.


The effects of Xanax are felt almost immediately. The fact that those effects wear off relatively quickly can mean that users are compelled to consume more of the drug. As dosage increases, so too does tolerance. To achieve the initial effects of Xanax, you’ll need to take increasingly greater quantities.

An increase in tolerance is likely to result in cravings and an inability to stop using the drug. Over time, the brain and body become used to Xanax. If usage stops, the body demands the drug by means of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

Xanax addiction is very difficult to overcome and many people will end up caught in a cycle of abuse, trying to avoid the unpleasant symptoms and lows of non-use.

Someone addicted to Xanax will compulsively seek it out, irrespective of negative consequences.

As a prescribed drug, Xanax is heavily regulated. Yet, it still has the potential to be abused.

With tolerance, Xanax doesn’t work as effectively. Sufferers may experience a return of symptoms and feel inclined to up their dose to keep them at bay. In this way, the brain becomes increasingly reliant on the drug to feel normal.

Addiction to Xanax develops for a number of reasons and is often the consequence of consistent abuse.


While many cases of Xanax addiction occur as a result of poly-substance abuse, dependence is rising in those without prior history.

There are factors at play however, that may influence the likelihood of becoming addicted to Xanax. Spending time around people who abuse drugs can be a contributing factor. Parental guidance plays a big part in the likelihood of someone developing an addiction. Children who are exposed to drug abuse are more at risk of developing their own problem later in life.

Peer pressure can also result in recreational drug use and teens are especially prone to engaging in risky behaviours, as the areas in their brain that manage judgement and self-control are still developing.

Different psychological factors can increase the risk of substance misuse. When used as intended, Xanax relieves the symptoms of anxiety. However, sufferers can develop a substance misuse disorder from the very medication prescribed to alleviate their problem.

Repeatedly turning to Xanax to ease mental health issues can increase tolerance. Over time, self-medicating in this way can become habitual and co-occur with a mental health disorder.

While some people may be able to use Xanax prescriptively, others will feel a strong impulse to consume it to excess.

Neuroscience has shown that people have varying levels of ability and brain function to control impulsive urges. If these genes are passed down through the generations, family members can be more prone to developing addiction problems.

Repeated use of Xanax can lead to changes in the brain that challenge self-control.

Over time, the brain’s reward system becomes less responsive to the drug. This effect is known as tolerance. The relief felt initially becomes much less intense and you’ll need to take more of the drug to achieve the same feeling.

Long-term Xanax abuse affects the brain’s chemical systems and functions, resulting in psychological addiction. The mind will compulsively drive the user to return to the drug and use becomes the all-consuming priority in an addict’s life.

Any time someone uses Xanax without, or contrary to, a prescription, it is considered to be abuse. The term abuse means you are using Xanax in a dangerous manner and potentially, without even realising.

When using Xanax recreationally, it may be combined with alcohol to achieve the desired buzz for a specific occasion, such as a party. The assumption is that people who abuse Xanax recreationally still have an element of control over their drug use.

While abuse is thought to be less severe than addiction, in reality, long-term abuse of controlled drugs can be equally harmful to your health.

The term addiction usually refers to a physical dependence but it generally means a psychological one too.

An inability to refrain from using Xanax is the first symptom of addiction and sudden withdrawal can be intense and unpleasant.