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I Think My Sister’s Hooked on Xanax

My sister has always been emotionally fragile. From a young age, she was put on Paxil to help manage her, at times, overwhelming state of anxiety. She was fearful of everything: flying, going out in public, being separated from my parents.

Almost two decades later, she was finally able to wean herself off it, but unfortunately got her hands on another drug: Xanax.

A Dangerous Coping Mechanism

Initially, my sister only used Xanax to cope with her (occasional) phobias, but as time went on, she started using it as a crutch to get through life.

popping Xanax for mental issues create dependency on itHer use hit an all-time high just recently. She started a new job this semester – teaching English to a bunch of middle schoolers with behavioral issues. Every day, her students curse at her, call her “fat” behind her back, and make her job so miserable that she’s been physically ill three different times in the last month.

In order to cope with the stress of her job, she starting popping Xanax as soon as she walked into the classroom each morning. It helped her get through the days at first, but then she kept finding she needed a higher dose to achieve the same effect.

Last week, she texted me saying she thought she was developing a problem with it; she was starting to experience withdrawal symptoms on the days she wasn’t teaching. She started feeling a tingling in her body and an even more intense wave of anxiety.

My Biggest Fear

Though she’s never had a problem with substance abuse – she’s never done illicit drugs and rarely drinks alcohol – I’m still fearful for her. Xanax is incredibly addictive, and though I’ve never had personal experience with it, I know many people who have. I know it acts on the central nervous system, making it hard to stop using. I know long-term use can lead to all sorts of problems down the road.

But what I fear most is that when she does find another job (thankfully she’s already applying elsewhere), will she still turn to it as her crutch? Will she still rely on it to get her through when life becomes inevitably stressful again?

Drugs have a funny way of keeping you in denial, of convincing you that you can stop whenever you want. They make you think that you’re in control. For my sister’s sake, I hope she realizes what’s at stake here before it’s too late.

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Additional Reading:   How Worried Should We Be About Benzos?



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