Recovery is possible. We are open 24/7. 866-797-7962

Medically Reviewed

5 Signs of Xanax Addiction

- 6 sections

Medically Verified: 2/1/24

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Xanax is a highly addictive benzodiazepine medication that is commonly prescribed to treat anxiety disorders. Many people become addicted to Xanax after being prescribed it, sometimes inadvertently. Others use it recreationally due to its effects of promoting feelings of relaxation and well-being.

However, despite being an effective treatment for anxiety in the short term, Xanax actually causes cognitive damage and causes other health issues with long-term use.[1] Recognizing the signs of Xanax addiction can people identify if they are abusing Xanax, allowing them to seek out treatment as soon as possible to minimize the damage drug addiction can have on their lives.


1. Developing a Tolerance to Xanax

An early sign of Xanax addiction is developing something called tolerance. Tolerance to drugs occurs with prolonged and regular use of a substance. This means that as a person continues to use a drug, even if it is as prescribed, their body gets used to having it in the system. As the body becomes accustomed to having Xanax, the desirable effects diminish and more drugs are needed to achieve the same effect.[2]

People who are prescribed Xanax and struggling with addiction may find themselves taking their medication more frequently than what is prescribed. Recreational Xanax users will notice they are needing to buy Xanax more often as their tolerance increases.

2. Having Cravings for Xanax

Cravings for Xanax are another phenomenon that occurs with substance use disorder. Individuals struggling with Xanax addiction may start the day with every intention of not using drugs that day. However, as the day goes on, they begin to have extremely strong urges to take Xanax.[1]

This is known as cravings. Drug cravings are one of the reasons why Xanax is so addictive. These cravings make it very difficult for a person to stop using Xanax, even if they want to stop.

3. Using Xanax is Negatively Impacting Your Relationships

A side effect of long-term Xanax abuse is changes affecting one’s mental and cognitive state.[1] This results in people acting differently than how they normally would when using Xanax. These personality changes are often very noticeable to friends and family members.

People who are addicted to Xanax find themselves basing their entire day around getting and using the drug. They may become both physically and emotionally unavailable to family and friends. In instances where loved ones approach the person about their problem, the person may become defensive and angry at the people trying to help them.

The behaviors that accompany Xanax addiction severely damage relationships. People struggling with Xanax addiction will find themselves distancing themselves from others to avoid criticism. Others will distance themselves from the person who is addicted to Xanax to avoid being hurt emotionally by seeing a loved one destroy their life.

4. Engaging in Risky Behaviors to Get Xanax

Individuals suffering from addiction will resort to extreme measures in order to obtain their drug of choice. People who are prescribed Xanax and become addicted may engage in “doctor shopping.” This occurs when a person’s physician is no longer willing to prescribe the amounts of Xanax that they want. As a result, individuals may visit multiple doctors with the intention of obtaining multiple different prescriptions.

When doctor shopping doesn’t work, people often turn to buying Xanax on the streets from drug dealers, putting themselves in dangerous situations. If they do not have enough money for Xanax, they may steal from strangers or even loved ones in order to get the money to buy it.

Xanax also lowers a person’s inhibitions and results in them engaging in other risky behaviors such as having sex with strangers, smoking cigarettes, or getting in a car with a driver who is also on drugs.[3]

5. Experiencing Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

A clear-cut sign of Xanax addiction is experiencing withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop taking the drug. Symptoms of include:

xanax withdrawal symptoms

  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Mood Changes
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Insomnia [1,2]

Xanax withdrawal occurs because the body is so used to having the drug that it needs a period of time to adjust to not having that substance anymore. Xanax withdrawal symptoms are extremely uncomfortable and usually require a period of detox. During detox, the body gets rid of the remaining Xanax and becomes used to functioning without it.[2]

Getting Help For Xanax Addiction

If you believe you are struggling with Xanax addiction, it is important to get help as soon as possible. Getting sober from Xanax is extremely difficult and requires outside help in order for someone to be successful. This includes Xanax detox as well as an inpatient drug rehabilitation program.

At Carolina Recovery Centers, we are here to help you on the difficult journey of recovery. Our highly trained staff works with you closely to address all of your concerns. They will come up with a specialized treatment plan to ensure long-term success in quitting Xanax. Contact us today to get started.