Xanax Addiction and Recovery

What is Xanax?

Xanax is the brand name of a prescription medication called alprazolam, and falls into the benzodiazepine class of drugs. Typically, it is prescribed in the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders.

Xanax works in the same way as Valium and other benzodiazepines on the brain but is much stronger. These are all strengthen the effects of a neurotransmitter in the brain called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA slows down brain activity, so increasing GABA neurotransmission will result in less activity and reduced anxiety.

Xanax is a highly addictive drug and even those who use it as directed by their doctors can end up with a physical dependency.

Street Names for Xanax

Xanax is referred to by a wide range of slang terms which refer to the shape, colour and strength of the tablets. These can vary from region to region.

The name Xanax is used all over the world, except in Latin-American countries where alprazolam is prescribed as Tafil.  Other brand names are used in other countries.

  • Xannies or Zannies
  • Xanbars
  • Handlebars
  • Bars, Z-bars
  • Totem Poles
  • Zanbars
  • Blue Footballs
  • Upjohn
  • Benzos
  • School bus
  • Bicycle parts
  • Yellow boys
  • White boys

History of Xanax

Xanax or alprazolam was developed by Upjohn Laboratories in America during the 1960’s as an anti-depressant and an anti-anxiety medication.

A Swedish company, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, acquired Upjohn and now manufacture a long acting from of Xanax too. They developed the Xanax-XR that comes in 1, 2 or 3 mg capsules.

The Effects of Xanax Addiction

Xanax is a highly addictive drug which means that it (and others in the benzodiazepine class) create the phenomenon of tolerance which essentially means that over time, more of the drug is required to create the same effect.

Using Xanax, especially for a prolonged period, can have numerous negative effects on your body, mind and spirit. Xanax addiction is a widespread problem and affects the lives of numerous people. It takes time for addiction to develop and it may even longer before a person realises they have a problem.

Every addict’s path into addiction varies. This is a complex disease with many underlying layers which coupled together with trauma, abuse, depression and anxiety make it difficult to diagnose and treat without effective residential addiction treatment.


  • Changes in the brain chemistry – short term
  • Changes in the structure and function of the brain – long term
  • Neglecting personal hygiene
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Unhealthy eating habits/malnutrition
  • Cravings
  • Tolerance


  • Pronounced problems with memory and concentration
  • Confusion
  • Triggers
  • Compulsion
  • Obsession
  • Lying to yourself/denial


  • Apathy /Exhaustion
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Memory loss
  • Mood Swings
  • Paranoia
  • Fear
  • Psychosis
  • Loneliness


  • Potential increase in risky behaviour
  • Financial problems
  • Sexual problems
  • Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Lack of interest in work/school
  • Lack of interest and ability in maintain relationships/friendships
  • Damaged relationships with family members
  • Isolation
  • Lying to others


  • Damaged self-esteem and self-worth
  • Damaged relationship with self
  • Lack of interest in life
  • Needing to take the drug before carrying out the daily activities of life
  • Continuing to take the substance despite negative consequences

The signs and symptoms of Xanax addiction get progressively worse over time and there will be no resolution until effective addiction treatment and aftercare are sought.

Xanax Withdrawal

Compared to other benzodiazepines, Xanax has some of the most hazardous withdrawal symptoms. Xanax is more than 10 times as strong as drugs of the same class, like Valium and Klonopin and leaves the body more rapidly.

This can cause abrupt and severe withdrawal symptoms. Even the extended-release version of Xanax causes stronger withdrawal symptoms than many other benzodiazepines. Xanax withdrawal should not be attempted without proper medical supervision.

The Two Stages of Withdrawal – Acute and Post-Acute

There are two stages of withdrawal from Xanax addiction. The first stage has immediate acute symptoms and these are usually both physical and physiological. During stage two, former users experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms or PAWS.

These refer to a number of psychological symptoms which can last for weeks or months after the user has stopped taking the drug. This is one of many reasons why residential treatment is the most effective way to treat Xanax addiction.

Post-acute withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Cravings
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Lack of motivation
  • Inability to feel pleasure
  • Anger or emotional outbursts

Xanax Withdrawal at The Hader Clinic

Xanax withdrawal is very specific and symptoms may vary in severity and duration depending on the client. Symptoms can be both psychologically and physically unpleasant.

Accurate assessment by our capable medical team determines if our clients require a medicated period of detoxification.  This will depend on the individual’s circumstances and symptoms are always closely monitored by our skilled clinical and medical staff and treated accordingly.

Our team are highly experienced in providing safe and effective Xanax detox programs. They aim to keep clients as comfortable and supported as possible so they can participate in the program.

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