Xanax is often prescribed as an anti-anxiety medication. It may also be prescribed to those who are struggling with chronic insomnia or any other condition that a doctor may not know how to effectively treat. It is a benzodiazepine and creates a calm, sleepy feeling soon after it has been taken. This also means that it is often used when it shouldn’t be used when those sensations are craved.
Facts About Xanax Addiction
1. Doctors write 50 million prescriptions for the family of drugs to which Xanax belongs.
2. Xanax is currently the 9th best selling drug in the United States.
3. When prescription drugs are only considered, Xanax is the 5th most prescribed drug in the US right now.
4. 125,000. That’s the number of people who wind up visiting US emergency rooms every year because of complications related to their Xanax use.
5. Prescription rates for Xanax have been climbing at a 9% annual rate since 2008.
6. The number of annual hospital admissions that are directly related to Xanax use: 60,000.
7. 86% of people who seek assistance for Xanax problems say that they took the Xanax as a secondary drug.
8. In 2009, 16 million Americans age 12 and older had taken a prescription pain reliever, tranquilizer, stimulant, or sedative for non-medical purposes.
9. Xanax saw the second largest pharmaceutical increase in production in the US from 2004-2009, with production rates increasing 148%. Only oxycodone products saw higher levels of production.
10. About 2.6 million people will abuse prescription drugs for the first time in any given year.
11. 50% of teens believe that prescription drugs are safer to take than street drugs for recreational purposes.
12. 49% of teens will take Xanax with at least one other drug, such as alcohol.
13. 7 out of 10 teens who are addicted to Xanax are taking the pills out of their home’s medicine cabinet.
14. The number of Xanax prescriptions has risen from 29.9 million to 37.5 just in the last 5 years alone.
15. The average person with a Xanax addiction will take between 20-30 pills every day.
16. 33% of long-term Xanax users report that they experience an increasing in their depression-like symptoms.
17. 90% of patients who take Xanax alternatives for their anxiety symptoms are doing well with the less addictive products.
18. Xanax prescriptions are not recommended to exceed 8 months.
19. The effects of Xanax can usually be felt within a few days to a couple weeks.
20. 1 in 11 high school seniors self-report that they have abused Xanax at some point in their lives.
The Potency of Xanax
Xanax is arguably one of the most addictive legal drugs that is widely available today, even if there are prescription controls on it. This makes it a drug that is easy to abuse and mixing it with other depressants will give users a double high, which furthers the risk of addiction.
Even though the short half-life of Xanax gives users a good chance of inadvertently overdosing on the drug, it is still one of the most dangerous drugs of its class that is currently available by prescription. Because it is so widely available, the statistics of Xanax addiction show that this drug affects everyone in every population demographic, even if it isn’t recommended for children under the age of 18.
The Effects and Impact of Xanax
There are legitimate reasons to take Xanax. It stops the feelings of nausea in people who are undergoing chemotherapy, for one. The problem is that over time, the body begins to adapt to the compounds in the drug, forcing people to take more and more of it to get the desired effect. Eventually the brain will stop producing the GABA-A that Xanax binds to in the brain, relying on the drug solely for its production.
The good news is that treatment options are working and doing so at highly successful rates. With 9 out of 10 people able to successfully transition to other anti-anxiety or anti-nausea medications that aren’t as addictive, there is hope to be able to break this addiction. If you see a friend or loved one who seems exhausted all of the time, has trouble with their memory, or has emotional stability issues that have recently developed, then there may be a Xanax addiction involved.
We need to educate ourselves against the dangers of Xanax. Educating doctors about not prescribing it as a general catch-all would certainly help the Xanax addiction statistics as well.