Xanax Addiction In Ohio | Signs Of Abuse, Withdrawal, & Treatment

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on December 5, 2022

Xanax is a benzodiazepine drug used to treat anxiety, panic disorder, and other mental health issues. Many people abuse it because it produces a sense of calm and relaxation. Xanax abuse can lead to addiction and raise the risk of overdose. Comprehensive treatment can help.

Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam, a prescription drug that treats anxiety disorders, including panic disorder. Some people also use it to fight insomnia, depression, and agoraphobia (fear of open spaces). 

One of the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepines, Xanax is also one of the most frequently abused. It’s classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance with abuse and addiction potential.

Xanax works by targeting GABA (gamma amino-butyric acid), a hormone that regulates brain activity. The drug enhances GABA’s function, producing a sense of calm and relaxation. Some people use it to self-medicate, a dangerous practice that can lead to addiction.

Signs Of Xanax Abuse

If you’re concerned that a loved one is abusing Xanax, knowing the signs can help. You may be able to intervene before they become addicted.

Signs of Xanax abuse include:

  • taking Xanax without a prescription
  • taking Xanax more often, for a more extended period, or in higher doses than prescribed
  • multiple prescriptions from different doctors (doctor shopping)
  • unmarked pill bottles or pills in little bags
  • powder residue from snorting Xanax
  • taking Xanax for every minor stress (rather than a regular dose)
  • excessive sedation

Xanax abuse increases the risk of adverse side effects from the drug. And abusing it for a long time can cause it to have the opposite effect—worsening the symptoms it’s meant to alleviate.

Xanax Abuse In Ohio

Xanax (alprazolam) is one drug of abuse sold on the street in Ohio, either diverted from pharmacies or homemade on pill presses. In 2021, the Ohio Narcotics Intelligence Center reported that fake Xanax pills were being sold containing fentanyl, a potent opioid. 

Fentanyl was involved in 81 percent of Ohio overdose deaths in 2020. Much of the time, the victim doesn’t know their drugs contain fentanyl, which raises the risk of overdose from fake Xanax and other counterfeit drugs.

Most people who buy Xanax on the street do so because they can’t get a legitimate prescription, which means they shouldn’t be taking it. Prolonged Xanax abuse often turns into an addiction.

Signs Of Xanax Addiction

The line between Xanax abuse and addiction can be challenging to define. Addiction is a loss of control over drug use. When someone can’t stop using or cut back on Xanax—even if they want to—they’re addicted. 

Common signs of Xanax addiction are:

  • loss of interest in hobbies
  • difficulty maintaining relationships
  • borrowing or stealing money for Xanax
  • poor work or school performance
  • job loss or school dropout
  • seeming sedated all the time
  • making Xanax a priority
  • spending time with new people who use Xanax
  • secretive behavior
  • health problems, such as increased anxiety, from Xanax use

Xanax addiction can take over a person’s life, destroying their health, relationships, and anything else that matters.

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

When you take Xanax (alprazolam) for a few weeks or more, your body gets used to it. First, you develop a tolerance (needing a higher dose to have the same effect), then your body begins to need the drug to function. 

When you have a physical dependence on Xanax, you’ll have withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking it or reduce your dosage too quickly.

Xanax withdrawal symptoms may be:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • irritability
  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • insomnia
  • tremors
  • muscle pain and stiffness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • racing heart rate
  • high blood pressure
  • feeling out-of-body (depersonalization)
  • disconnection from reality (derealization)
  • memory problems

Severe withdrawal symptoms include hallucinations, psychosis, seizures, and suicidal thoughts. 

Some people also suffer from post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), a condition in which withdrawal symptoms linger for more than four to six weeks, lasting for weeks, months, or more than a year. 

Xanax Overdose Risk

You can overdose on Xanax if you take a high dose or take it so often that your body can’t metabolize it. Xanax overdose can be fatal. 

Signs and symptoms of a Xanax overdose are:

  • extreme drowsiness
  • difficulty breathing (slow, shallow, or irregular breaths)
  • impaired coordination
  • very slow reflexes
  • loss of consciousness
  • coma

Mixing Xanax with other benzodiazepines, opioids, or alcohol, dramatically increases overdose risk. These substances are all central nervous system depressants. Taking them together can cause life-threatening respiratory depression. 

Ohio Treatment For Xanax Addiction

The best treatment programs in Ohio for Xanax addiction use a blend of evidence-based and experiential therapies that nurture your physical and mental health. Reputable treatment centers in Ohio work with you to create a personalized treatment plan. 

Xanax Detox

Xanax addiction treatment should begin with a medically assisted detoxification (detox) program. Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be life-threatening. 

Medical detox is an inpatient program that provides medical supervision around the clock. This support keeps you safe and strong through the unpleasant withdrawal process.

Behavioral Therapy

Quality Xanax treatment programs are based on behavioral therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and motivational interviewing (MI).

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy explores how your thoughts affect your behavior. A therapist works with you to determine negative thought patterns that trigger substance abuse, then teaches you positive coping strategies for a more positive behavior pattern.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy examines how you react and respond to your emotions and the world around you. It focuses on awareness and mindfulness.
  • Motivational interviewing lays out your recovery goals, helping you focus on them, remember why you’re working toward recovery, and believe that you can achieve it.

Exercise & Nutrition

Addiction can be just as hard on your body as it is on your mind. Exercise heals your body and naturally boosts dopamine, a reward chemical that’s stimulated by drug use. Eating well also nourishes your body to keep you strong and healthy in recovery.

Yoga & Meditation

Yoga is the practice of stretching, balancing, and strengthening your body. It requires focus (usually on your breath) and mindfulness (being aware of the present moment). Meditation is the practice of focusing on a specific thought, activity, or object to clear your mind.

Meditation and yoga are often used together to reduce stress. They can be used as positive coping techniques in difficult situations, rather than alcohol or drug abuse.

At Ohio Recovery Center, we offer a variety of proven treatment options for drug addiction. Before you begin treatment, a therapist will work with you to create the best treatment plan for your individual needs. Reach out to us today to learn more.


How Long Does Xanax Stay In Your System?

The prescription drug Xanax (alprazolam) has a half-life of 11 hours, has effects that last for around 5 or 6 hours, is cleared from the body in 2 to 3 days, and can be detected through its metabolites in urine samples for 4 to 7 days, or up to 90 days in hair.

Learn more about How Long Xanax Stays In Your System

What Is A Standard Dose Of Xanax?

The standard dose of alprazolam (brand name Xanax) is 0.25 mg to 0.5 mg administered up to three times a day for those suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). 

However, depending on the severity of your anxiety disorder, your prescribing doctor may change your dosage. 

Learn more about Xanax Dosage

How Much Does Xanax Cost?

The cost of Xanax depends on if you have a prescription or if you purchase it off the street. With a prescription, it can cost around $10 for sixty 0.25 mg tablets with insurance. On the street, Xanax costs about $1 per 0.25 mg tablet.

Learn more about Xanax Street Price & Prescription Cost In Ohio

What Does Xanax Feel Like?

When a person abuses Xanax, they can experience a “high” that causes feelings of euphoria, sedation, and calm.

Learn more about What Xanax Feels Like

What Does Xanax Look Like?

Each shape of Xanax can appear in a different color. However, the prescribed tablet primarily appears white. Specific colors may designate the corresponding dosage, and fake Xanax is likely to be yellow in color.

Learn more about What Xanax Looks Like

Can You Smoke Xanax?

Xanax (alprazolam) is a prescription drug intended for oral use. 

While it may be possible to smoke Xanax after it is crushed into a fine powder, evidence suggests that much of the drug will be burned away during the process, and the portion that is absorbed can be physically harmful in a variety of ways.

Learn more about Smoking Xanax

  1. Fox 8 — Ohio warns of dangerous counterfeit prescription pills https://fox8.com/news/ohio-warns-of-dangerous-counterfeit-prescription-pills/
  2. National Library of Medicine: DailyMed — Label: Xanax - alprazolam tablet https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=388e249d-b9b6-44c3-9f8f-880eced0239f
  3. Ohio Department of Health — Drug Overdose https://odh.ohio.gov/know-our-programs/violence-injury-prevention-program/drug-overdose/

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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