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Xanax, generically known as alprazolam, is an anti-anxiety prescription medication that belongs to the subsection of sedative-hypnotics known as benzodiazepines.

It is primarily used to treat panic attacks, anxiety disorders, excessive worry, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Xanax is a central nervous system depressant that works by acting on certain neurotransmitters in one’s brain, specifically the GABA-A (gamma-aminobutyric acid-A). When Xanax binds to this receptor it elicits a calming effect as it slows down excessive brain activity and reduces feelings of panic and/ or stress. Xanax is fast-acting and typically begins working within one to two hours. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the average half-life, meaning the length of time the substance will remain in one’s system until the concentration in one’s blood has been reduced by half, of alprazolam “has been found to be about 11.2 hours (range: 6.3-26.9 hours) in healthy adults.” Xanax can be a highly effective medication when used properly and under the direct supervision of a medical professional. However, as is true with any medication, there are risk factors and potential side effects associated with taking Xanax. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies Xanax as a Schedule IV Substance, which is defined as “drugs with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence.” When abused, Xanax is known to be a drug with high addiction potential.

Addiction, also known as substance use disorder, is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic brain disorder. It is characterized by compulsively engaging in rewarding stimuli (e.g., abusing drugs) without regard for consequence. Often individuals who abuse Xanax will develop a tolerance to the substance, meaning they will require more of the drug (e.g., higher dosage, more frequent use, etc.) to achieve the same desired effects that were once accomplished using less of the substance. An individual that struggles with addiction will prioritize satisfying his or her drug cravings above all else. 


The first step in the treatment process for Xanax addiction is to undergo detox, which cleanses the body of all abused substances. Subsequently, depending on the needs of the individual, continuing the recovery process by participating in formal substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment programs may be advised. There are outpatient treatment programs and inpatient treatment program options available. Regardless of the structure of the program, a customized treatment plan will be developed that is specific to each participant, to ensure all nuanced needs are met. Outpatient treatment programs do not offer room and board but instead require participants to attend a certain number of treatment hours, daily, for the duration of the program. 

Inpatient rehab programs are an entirely immersive experience as participants live at the treatment facility for the duration of the program. Attending an inpatient treatment program provides an individual with the opportunity to practice implementing healthy changes in a safe and relatively controlled environment. In addition to the various therapeutic methods that are offered, regular exercise, healthy eating habits, obtaining ample sleep, and rejuvenating self-care practices are integral components of inpatient treatment programs. Substance abuse and addiction treatment programs can teach individuals useful tools and healthy coping mechanisms to navigate the inevitable challenges of life and continue the path of recovery. 

Further Information and Support

Navigating the challenges that arise from living with mental illness, struggling with substance abuse, and/ or addiction can not only be all-consuming but are often impossible to effectively handle without proper support. If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding mental illness, substance abuse, and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. Bear in mind that you do not have to be on this journey alone. At {Upwell Advisors}, we offer unique, customized concierge therapeutic services to provide our clients with unparalleled support throughout every step of the recovery process. 

Feel free to reach to contact us anytime via email at [email protected] We look forward to supporting you on your journey.

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