Xanax addiction begins when people begin to use this powerful prescription medication on a purely recreational basis because they like the way it makes them feel. But for people who develop addictions to Xanax after being diagnosed with anxiety disorder, it’s a more complicated situation. These people still require interventions and therapies for anxiety, despite not being able to take benzodiazepines, like Xanax, anymore.
Using the Mind
Xanax can be an effective medication for anxiety as it can slow down overactive cells and provide a chemically induced sense of calm. The brain also has the capacity to induce a sense of peace, however, and some therapies are designed to train the brain to use its own power for this purpose.
Mindfulness therapies can be remarkably helpful for people who have anxiety disorders. In these therapies, people are encouraged to identify the physical manifestations of rising anxiety, such as the following:
- Rapid breathing
- Fast heart rate
- Jumping muscles
When these signs are present, people are encouraged to take note of them and then use meditation or another form of relaxation to help the response to subside.1 It takes practice, but a study in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology suggests that mindfulness therapies like this can reduce symptoms of anxiety, and the benefits can persist for the long term.2
Finding the Source
While mindfulness therapies can help people to deal with anxiety as it appears, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help people to avoid the situations that tend to spark an increase in feelings of nervousness. Clients are asked to identify the people, places, and things that tend to make them feel unbalanced and/or upset and give voice to the thoughts that might come to their minds in these moments. Then, clients are asked to provide a list of techniques they can use to avoid these triggers. If they can’t, they begin to develop skills they can use in order to handle the situation without leaning on drugs or other dysfunctional techniques.
It’s true that therapy can be remarkably helpful for people who have addictions to Xanax, along with underlying symptoms of anxiety, but this kind of therapy isn’t typically provided until detox is in progress. When people are actively abusing drugs, they don’t have the skills or the strength needed in order to participate in therapy. They need the help of detox in order to allow their minds to heal as detox is the first step to overcoming addiction.
If you or your loved one is struggling with a Xanax addiction in addition to ongoing symptoms of anxiety, we’d like to help. At Black Bear Lodge, we specialize in helping people who have co-occurring addiction and mental health diagnoses, like anxiety. We offer specialized treatment programs that can provide you with both knowledge and power to better understand and overcome both struggles at one.
Please call us at our 24 hour, toll-free helpline at 706-914-2327 to find out more information on how to begin your journey today.
1 “Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy.”Psychology Today, Accessed 24 January 2018.
2 Hofmann, Stefan, et al., “The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: A meta-analytic review.”Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 2010.