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Medically Reviewed

The Connection Between Anxiety and Xanax Addiction

- 4 sections

Medically Verified: 2/1/24

Medical Reviewer:

Sahil Talwar, PA-C, MBA


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

Anxiety is a common yet potentially dangerous mental condition that millions of Americans suffer from on a daily basis. In fact, more than 40 million adults struggle with an anxiety disorder each year. There is an array of different forms of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, specific phobia, social anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. While some individuals are able to manage their anxiety, people lacking the proper tools or coping mechanisms can experience severe issues as a result of their anxiety. Sadly, this causes many people to suffer from co-occurring anxiety and Xanax addiction.

Unfortunately, anxiety disorders have the potential to cause significant issues in daily functioning. When intense anxiety consumes someone, it may lead to avoidance and isolating behaviors that cause severe disruption to careers, relationships, and daily responsibilities. In order to prevent the consequences of anxiety, many individuals seek out professional help – including therapy and medications. Oftentimes, anxiety is treated through the use of psychotropic drugs such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, or sedatives. Unfortunately, one of the most commonly used anti-anxiety medications is also highly addictive.


To explain, the most commonly used medication in the treatment of anxiety is a benzodiazepine known as Xanax. Individuals with anxiety who take Xanax are at an increased risk for developing an addiction to Xanax on top of their anxiety disorder. Anxiety and Xanax addiction have become known as one of the most common co-occurring disorders. If you or a loved one suffer from anxiety and Xanax addiction, it is vital that you seek professional dual-diagnosis treatment as soon as possible.


Anxiety and Xanax Addiction: What is Dual Diagnosis?

By definition, a dual diagnosis exists when a mental health disorder is co-occurring with a substance use disorder. It is important to note that co-occurring disorders may develop in any given order. To explain, some people develop a substance use disorder as a result of their mental health condition, while others may experience a substance use disorder that causes a mental condition to develop. Either way, individuals with a dual diagnosis must be treated for both conditions simultaneously in order for treatment to be successful.

Anxiety and Xanax addiction have been proven to be an extremely common form of dual diagnosis. This is due to the prevalence of anxiety disorders, as well as Xanax, being one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the treatment of anxiety. Additionally, because Xanax is a common medication for anxiety, many individuals may buy this drug off of the street in order to attempt to self-medicate. However Xanax is obtained, this drug is known to be habit-forming and highly addictive when used improperly.

Dual Diagnosis Anxiety and Xanax


Dangers of Using Xanax for Anxiety

Xanax is an extremely beneficial medication in the treatment of anxiety disorders when used properly. However, many individuals rely solely on Xanax, rather than combining it with psychotherapy treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. When individuals use both medication and psychotherapy treatments, they adopt new coping skills while learning how to shift patterns of distorted thinking. On the other hand, when individuals only utilize medications such as Xanax they learn to rely on the substance to treat their anxiety. As a result, individuals become dependent on the drug rather than learning how to properly manage their anxiety disorder.

To explain, when individuals with anxiety use Xanax over a period of time, their body becomes adjusted to the substance causing changes in brain chemistry. As a result, the long-term use of Xanax for the treatment of anxiety causes individuals to develop a tolerance to the drug. In other words, individuals will have to routinely increase their dose in order to feel the same anxiety relief as they have in the past. As a result, many individuals will begin to abuse their prescriptions by doubling up their dosage and not taking their Xanax as the doctor prescribed. Sometimes, individuals may run out of their Xanax prescriptions, causing them to buy Xanax illegally. Unfortunately, this can lead to an array of issues including overdosing due to obtaining counterfeit Xanax off of the street, or from taking too much Xanax at one time, and developing an addiction.

Signs of Xanax Addiction

Individuals who have anxiety and are addicted to Xanax will display certain signs that indicate a substance use disorder. Some individuals may be in denial, purposefully ignoring the signs of their addiction to Xanax. Early intervention is vital in regards to recovering from anxiety and Xanax addiction. If you or a loved one suffer from anxiety and Xanax addiction, you may notice a number of the following signs and symptoms:

Xanax Addiction Symptoms

xanax withdrawal symptoms

  • Lightheadedness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Decreased libido
  • Lying about how much Xanax you take
  • Irritable
  • Manic moods
  • Forgetful
  • Apathy
  • Try to stop taking Xanax but can’t
  • Experience when not taking the drug
  • Blurred vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Increased salivation
  • Constipation

Dual Diagnosis Treatment For You

Individuals suffering from co-occurring disorders such as anxiety and Xanax addiction should always seek professional help. In other words, anxiety and Xanax addiction are best treated by the attendance of a medical detox as well as formal addiction rehab. In doing so, individuals will receive treatment for both their anxiety disorder as well as their addiction to Xanax. This allows patients to recover from all aspects of their addiction and mental health condition, creating the best foundation of sobriety and mental health possible. If you or a loved one are in need of dual diagnosis treatment, contact Carolina Recovery Center today for more information about our comprehensive and individualized treatment plans.