Learning to relax without Xanax
Xanax (alprazolam) is a medication in the benzodiazepine class of drugs, prescribed for anxiety and panic attacks. It is the single most prescribed psychiatric medication in the United States and is a federally controlled substance due to the potential for abuse. It is abused often due to its quick action and calming effect. The most common drug combinations found in ER patients are Xanax and alcohol or Xanax combined with other opiates such as hydrocodone and oxycodone.
Addiction to Xanax
- Symptoms of addiction include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurred or double vision
- Amnesia or forgetfulness
- Lack of focus, inability to concentrate
- Tremors and lack of muscle coordination
- Lack of interest in sex
Recovery from Xanax abuse is difficult and can be dangerous. It is recommended that a person be weaned from the drug by taking consecutively smaller doses supervised by a physician. Even when detox is complete, mind, body and spirit take time to recover.
Alternatives to Xanax
Whether a person is in recovery from Xanax abuse or has anxiety or a panic disorder and would prefer not to take drugs, there are some relaxation methods to use to help reduce anxiety and panic disorder symptoms:
- Take a walk or hike – Walk in a park, on a beach or other place with natural surroundings. Walking or hiking provides thinking time with the benefit of a physical workout, which also helps mental outlook
- Yoga – Why is yoga always mentioned as a path to tranquility? Because it works. Focusing on body position and breathing takes concentration, which counteracts anxiety and the mood improvement remains when the yoga is complete
- Laughter – Laughter is the polar opposite of anxiety and triggers healthy changes in the body. It strengthens the immune system, boosts energy and diminishes pain. Laughter is contagious, fun, free and easy. Take a friend and visit a comedy club or watch a silly Christmas movie. If there are children in the family, play a game with them that makes them laugh
- Play a game – There are plenty of games (such as charades) that need no equipment and are lots of fun. Choose a category such as movie stars or book titles and watch and join in as people desperately and silently try to provide clues
- Massage – A pampering massage and the relaxing effect it creates can do wonders for an anxious person and a gift certificate for a spa massage makes an appreciated gift
- Help someone in need – Helping others rewards both the helper and the helped. Offer to do grocery shopping for a busy friend with children or take a Christmas tree to an elderly person who may not get out much
- Enjoy a long bath – Add your favorite fragrance or bubbles, perhaps grab a book or magazine, or just soak with eyes closed until muscle tension floats away. It’s really difficult to feel anxious in such surroundings
The ability to relax without resorting to medication means there are no unpleasant side effects and no chance of becoming addicted, so give it a try and see what happens.
Sovereign Health Florida is a behavioral health treatment center. Our clinicians provide state-of-the-art therapy with the goal of returning patients to a drug-free healthy life. If you would like further information, please call our 24/7 helpline.
Written by Veronica McNamara, Sovereign Health Group writer