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Addiction and Substance Abuse

Rehab?

11/14/2007

Question:

I think I am addicted to a prescription drug (xanax). I also take it with alcohol which makes it work better. I have promised myself 100 times that I will stop taking it but I always take it again anyway. I feel like I need it just to be "normal" and get through the day.

I am wondering whether I need to go to a rehab program. Do they work? I am afraid to mention this to anybody because nobody would ever guess that I am a drug addict. I have a responsible job that I cannot afford to lose. My insurance will pay for 30 days of inpatient drug rehab but I don`t want to do this, thus letting everyone know about my problem, if it doesn`t actually work. What do they do in drug rehab and how successful is it? Are some better than others? How do you find a good rehab program?

Answer:

Xanax is a prescription medication that is one of the most addictive substances on the planet. It is one of a group of medications called benzodiazepines. Alcohol and Xanax act on similar receptor sites in the brain. Xanax is sometimes referred to as "freeze dried alcohol".   When Xanax or alcohol are taken on a daily basis, the body will develop tolerance, which means that you need more and more of the substance to "feel normal" and "get through the day" without experiencing withdrawal symtpoms.       

I would first recommend that you seek out a treatment center and go in for an assessment.  You mention that those around you would not guess that you have an addiction. As the disease progresses, the list of consequences grows and includes relationships with family, friends and job performance. Often times, the individual does not recognize the effects of their substance use, their addiction, and consequeces of use in the same way as their family, friends or co-workers. 

Now would be a good time to get a thorough evaluation.   The links below might help you to find the type of specialist that you seek. You can also check with your insurance company for a designated provider of addiction services.

Related Resources:

Addiction Resource Guide
Single-State Agency (SSA) Directory(Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
Find Substance Abuse and Mental Health Treatment (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

For more information:

Go to the Addiction and Substance Abuse health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Deborah L Hoy, CNS Deborah L Hoy, CNS
Clinical Instructor at the College of Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University