Xanax Abuse, Treatment & Monitoring

Xanax is a prescription depressant that is known to be responsible for drug addiction, injury, and death. It is very beneficial for those who take it for relief of anxiety, tension, and panic attacks. However, it is only approved for use for up to 8 weeks, because of its extremely addictive properties.

The Risks of Xanax Addiction

Xanax is one of those drugs that is often abused by people needing a quick fix. Maybe they are feeling a bit anxious, or having trouble sleeping, so they pop a Xanax. Xanax is a benzodiazepine, a mild tranquilizer, and people can quickly become addicted to it. Not only is this drug psychologically addicting, but people quickly develop a physical dependence on the drug. They may feel they need more and more of the medication to feel the desired effects, and they will experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking it. 

In fact, Xanax has some pretty severe withdrawal symptoms, something that can deter someone from even trying to come clean from it. Symptoms include muscle pain, tremors, headaches, numbness, weakness, nausea, dry mouth, and severe flu-like symptoms.

A Dangerous Drug

Xanax can be very dangerous if combined with other drugs or with alcohol. People don’t always know this, and many people end up sick or even dead from drug interactions with Xanax. More people die from prescription drug-related deaths than from all other illegal drugs, and the most common prescription drug causing deaths is Xanax. (1)

Monitoring Patients

With the potential for abuse, addiction, side effects, and death, it is important for doctors prescribing Xanax to be extremely thorough in monitoring their patients. But a new report released by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University shows that primary care physicians are often less than diligent with their monitoring. Lead author of the study, Johanna Starrels, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of medicine at Einstein stated, “We were disturbed to find that patients with a drug use disorder were seen less frequently in the office and were prescribed more early refills than patients without these disorders.” (2)

Doctors should be seeing these patients for exams regularly, should be monitoring the refill time of the meds, and should be doing drug tests and other screenings on their patients. Those who are at risk for abusing drugs should be monitored more carefully. These measures may not eliminate all prescription drug abuse, but it can certainly help curb it. A patient who knows that their doctor is keeping a close eye on them may think twice before self-medicating or abusing the drug. Doctors can help prevent others from even becoming addicted to a drug like Xanax by educating and monitoring their patients.

Prescription drug abuse is still a growing problem. Prescription drug-related deaths have increased by 10 times in our county in the last four decades. In order to stop the abuse and the deaths, we need to educate patients and work to prevent the misuse through closer prescription monitoring.