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Xanax Addiction and Abuse

Across the United States, Xanax is one of the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepines. Despite its common use among the general population, it’s still extremely addictive. With a high tolerance level and instant calming effect, Xanax abuse is becoming more widespread.

Easily reachable online or via prescription, Xanax has become a quick way to self-medicate in times of stress or worry. You might think that one hit won’t do much, but it’s still taking a gamble. Everybody is different, so you’ll never know whether you’ll become addicted or not, and it’s all too easy to slip down the path of drug abuse.

If you’ve been prescribed Xanax or have been taking Xanax without a prescription, it’s important that you take the time to understand the signs of addiction and abuse.

What Is Xanax?

Each year, 49 million doctors prescribe Xanax to help treat various mood disorders, specifically anxiety disorders and panic disorders. Belonging to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, Xanax comes in pill form and can help bring about a sedative effect.

This sedative effect is brought on by binding different gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors together in the brain and central nervous system, triggering a low level of brain activity. As a central nervous system depressant, Xanax effectively slows down nerve cells in the brain – these combinations produce a calming and tranquilizing effect.

Xanax’s sedative effect is also one of the reasons Xanax substance abuse is so common. Once a user develops a physical dependency on the drug and its calming effects, it can be difficult to break the cycle.

Overall, Xanax abuse is more common among young adults (18 to 25) than among those over 30. Like many other drugs, Xanax can have severe negative consequences.

Why Is Xanax So Addictive?

Classed as a Schedule IV controlled substance, Xanax can be highly addictive. Within a few weeks or months, users can become hooked on the drug due to its effect on the central nervous system.

As noted above, Xanax slows down nerve cell activity in the brain, which naturally creates a calming and tranquilizing effect. However, this doesn’t last long, and users soon find themselves having to up their dosage. Unfortunately, physical and psychological dependence can arise when more significant amounts of Xanax are consistently used.

This physical and psychological dependence on Xanax makes addiction so difficult to break out of. But treatment is available. By seeking professional treatment and support, you can go on to live a fulfilling life.

What Are the Signs of Xanax Addiction?

Though every individual experiences Xanax addiction differently, there are a few common signs and symptoms to look out for if you suspect you or someone you know is battling substance abuse.

Behavioral signs can include:

  • Engaging in risk-taking behaviors
  • Withdrawal from social activities or hobbies once found enjoyable
  • Trying to quit but failing
  • Secretive and suspicious behavior
  • Poor performance at work or school
  • Financial problems

Physical symptoms of benzodiazepine abuse can also include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia and sleeping problems
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Slurred speech and delayed motor responses
  • Headaches and migraines

Psychological symptoms of Xanax abuse can include:

  • Increased severity of anxiety disorders and depression
  • Lack of self-esteem and low self-worth
  • Poor hygiene and lack of self-care
  • Paranoia
  • Mood swings and abrupt changes to personality

The signs of Xanax abuse are easily noticeable once you know what to look out for. Despite this, it can be difficult to determine if you or someone else is abusing the drug.

However, if any of the symptoms above are experienced, an addiction may be present. In this instance, Xanax addiction and abuse treatment is recommended.

What Are the Long-Term Side Effects of Xanax Abuse?

When you abuse Xanax for an extended period, physical or psychological problems may gradually develop. While everybody’s experience with Xanax abuse is different, some of the most common long-term side effects of drug abuse can include:

  • Increased severity of mental health problems such as anxiety and depression
  • Memory loss
  • Abrupt mood swings
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Brain malfunctions including damage to brain cells and the early onset of dementia
  • Overdosing, which can sometimes be life-threatening

Though these side effects are daunting, it’s possible to change your fate if you acquire addiction treatment. The sooner you obtain therapy and go through medical detox, the sooner you can begin your recovery journey.

What Are the Risk Factors for Developing Xanax Addiction?

All benzodiazepines like Xanax carry the risk of addiction, but a few factors can make it more likely. Some of these risk factors include:

  • Genetic history of Xanax use or substance use disorder
  • A genetic history or prevalence of mental illness
  • A history of drug abuse
  • Mixing Xanax with other drugs, other benzodiazepines, or other medications
  • Having a co-occurring mental health disorder like anxiety or depression
  • Being between the ages of 16 and 25 (young adults are more likely to develop an addiction to Xanax)
  • Long-term Xanax use over a sustained period

Treatment for Xanax Addiction at NP Addiction Clinic

Despite all the hardships and struggles you might have suffered at the hands of addiction, recovery is entirely possible, and that’s what we’re here for. Located in Port St. Lucie, Florida, NP Addiction Clinic is dedicated to giving you the tools, resources, and support needed to overcome addiction.

We provide a range of addiction treatment options for those suffering from Xanax abuse at our treatment center. Our addiction treatment includes therapy (to ease your mental health), medicated-assisted treatment, and medical detox. We also provide a range of group therapy options for family members and friends, so you can start repairing your relationships.

With well-being at the forefront of our approach, we also provide addiction treatment for a range of co-occurring mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. Vetted health professionals run all our treatment facilities, so you can rest assured you’re in the best care possible.

Medical Evaluation

As soon as you enter our clinic, our doctors will assess your medical history and mental health. This ensures that we’re able to craft up a personalized treatment plan to suit your needs.


During this stage, we’ll slowly wean you off drugs through medical detox. You’ll experience Xanax withdrawal as soon as your body is freed from toxins. This detox period can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

Withdrawal and Medication

The withdrawal process can be scary for those who don’t understand it. Some of the most common Xanax withdrawal symptoms include fatigue, insomnia, muscle aches, body pains, heart palpitations, and increased panic and anxiety. Though daunting, it’s important to remember that these withdrawal effects are just your body’s natural reaction to coming off drugs.

During the entire process, you’ll be under 24/7 medical supervision and care. We’ll also give you medication to help alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal and make your recovery journey smoother.


Once you’ve completed withdrawal and detox, we’ll continue to support you. We believe aftercare is just as important as treatment, so if you need a little bit of time to adjust, we’re more than happy to help.

Begin Your Journey to Recovery Today

Are you ready to begin your journey to recovery? At NPAC, we know just how big of a step seeking help is – that’s why we’ve created such a welcoming and holistic approach to addiction treatment. During your stay with us, you’ll be surrounded by caring and compassionate healthcare professionals and addiction specialists who will guide you through the recovery process.

We treat a range of mental health and substance use disorders, including everything from Xanax addiction and cocaine addiction to depression and anxiety.

If you have a Xanax addiction and would like to discuss treatment, please get in touch with our admin team. They’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you might have and walk through the admissions process.

Begin the first day of the rest of your life

To find out more contact our team


Kim L. Buckner


As a Substance Abuse Motivational Speaker, Pastor, Peer Advocate, and Facilitator. Kim helps clients avoid relapse by understanding their triggers. Those people, places and things that can cause craving, as well as internal triggers like feelings, thoughts, or emotions. Kim also clients with identifying and building healthy relationships now that they’re clean and sober.

Kim’s background includes extensive experience as a motivational speaker and work in faith-based organizations helping youth and adults alike. She says she is motivated by giving back to the community, understanding, and not judging who she comes into contact with. Kim’s favorite quote is by Dr. Raymond Johnson: “The respect given to others rebounds to the giver to deny the scared in the Other is to deny it in oneself.”

Caty Burns


Caty graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and minors in Counseling and History. Throughout her undergrad, she worked at the local CASA program, supporting volunteers advocating for children who had experienced abuse and neglect. Caty worked for seven years at a community mental health center (CMHC), partnering with children, adults, and families.

During those seven years, she taught life and coping skills as well as behavior management, provided case management and peer recovery services, and facilitated treatment teams that included the client, family, providers, and community members. I have also worked at an IOP providing group therapy services. She is currently working towards my Master of Social Work.

In her free time, Caty enjoys reading, especially historical fiction, spending time outdoors and having movie nights with her family. Disney World is her happy place, and she dreams of living among the elephants.

Madison Knowles

Mental Health Therapist

My name is Madison Knowles, I am a Mental health therapist at NPAC. I am a single-mother of two and I have a daughter who is globally delayed and has been diagnosed with autism. I have been in this industry since I was 16 years old, as I was fascinated with human behavior. I obtained my masters in applied behavioral analysis and started off working with people with disabilities. I then found my love for counseling when I worked with juveniles who had mental health and substance use issues. I then decided to go back for my mental health therapy license after that and working in a forensic treatment center. I went on to obtain my therapy credentials and since 2017, I have also been working on my PhD in forensic psychology in which I am currently working on my dissertation. I am inspired by change and how resilient people can be. My favorite inspirational quote is “Some will, Some won’t, So what, NEXT!!!” This quote has inspired me to try, try, and try again no matter how hard life gets, someone will give you a chance eventually. As a therapist at NPAC, I have been given the opportunity to work with diverse populations such as in substance use and mental health and I am known for my work with people on the schizophrenic spectrum as well as with other clients with other severe conditions including personality disorders.

Megan Carmona, LMHC

Lead Therapist

Our Lead Therapist, Megan, is a bilingual Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in working with adults who struggle with addiction, anxiety, depression, and trauma. As Lead Therapist, she provides individual, family, and group therapy sessions to our clients.  Megan says “I am very passionate about therapy, especially about supporting my clients in exploring their strengths and identity. My goal is to provide individuals with the tools that can help them achieve independence in coping with their challenges and facilitating personal development.” In her free time, Megan enjoys watching docu-series and playing video games with her family. Her dream is to own acres of land so she can care for vulnerable animals, especially old dogs, cats, and horses. 

Kristen Bensley

Primary Clinician

As Primary Clinician, Kristen works with all aspects of our clinical team, from case management to primary therapy.  She has broad experience working in the mental health field. Prior to joining our team at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic, Kristen was part of the team awarded the Evernorth Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Designation by Cigna. She says her motivation is to help people rediscover who they are and become excited about the future and all the possibilities life offers. Kristen’s favorite quote is: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

Ronn Daigle, MSW

Therapist, Utilization Review Clinician

Ronn Daigle services as a Therapist and Utilization Review Clinician at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has been working in the field of substance use disorder treatment since 2011, with experience in all facility-based levels of care. Ronn earned, both an Associate of Arts in Psychology (2013) and Bachelor of Science in Human Services, with an Addiction Studies Concentration (2015) from Indian River State College. 

Ronn additionally earned a Master of Social Work degree in 2021 and is a current Registered Clinical Social Work Intern working toward licensure (LCSW). He describes himself as detail oriented, and solution focused.

Ronn says: “There is nothing more fulfilling than working with someone who doesn’t believe in himself or herself, and being there in the moment with them when the belief begins. We work with individuals who come to us at a point and time in their respective lives where they do not believe that change for others is possible; let alone for themselves…throughout the process they eventually come to a point where they realize that change is not only possible, but achievable.”

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI

Assistant Clinical Director

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI is the Assistant Clinical Director at Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic who specializes in the treatment of LGBTQ, addiction, as well as mental health disorders ranging from depression and anxiety, to Bipolar Disorder, trauma, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, and eating disorders. Erika utilizes a number of modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness amongst others. Erika has been in practice for close to a decade and has earned her license in Mental Health Counseling, as well as being a Master’s Certified Addiction Professional. Erika has worked with many individuals including couples counseling and family therapy, and is fluent in Spanish.
Throughout my years of practice, one of the things I enjoy helping people find is inner peace. Whether you are in the deepest parts of depression, overrun by your anxiety, controlled by your addiction, or there are certain issues in your life that are negatively impacting your ability to function, and have a happy, healthy life, maybe now is the time to talk about it. I am a big believer in empowerment, working hard in therapy, and utilizing different techniques to help you regain that inner peace that may have been lost along the way. I want to work with you as a team because with two people, absolutely everything is possible. I want to be there as a therapist, to help build you up, support you, but also help you be honest with yourself and accountable. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, my biggest goal for you is going to be simple….for you to no longer need my services. Why? Because if you no longer need my services, it means that you have regained your peace, you have regained your strength, you have regained your confidence. It means that you now have the tools to address any issues that try to derail you, and best of all, you will have the insight to overcome and thrive. So let’s begin this journey together, and get you to the place you want to be, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, and in your sobriety.

Aurelio Ayuso, MSW, LCSW, CAP, ICADC

Clinical Director

Aurelio has worked with those that suffer from the disease of addiction in adults and juveniles alike for over 10 years, beginning in the United States Navy where he proudly served for 20 years, working with those that were succumbed by addiction due to trauma and continuing his passion for helping those in need locally in Central Florida.

He specializes in both Addictions and Trauma, he has worked first as a therapist then as the clinical supervisor to both the Juvenile and Adult Drug Court programs in Brevard County. Aurelio has been instrumental in developing substance abuse treatment programs directly tailored to help those that also suffer from complex trauma due to their addiction. He has been recognized by several organizations for his forward thinking and ability to tailor treatment to individuals in the most restrictive environments.

Mr. Ayuso received his Graduate Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker as well as Certified Addictions Professional in the State of Florida, and Internationally Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor. Aurelio specializes in the treatment of Addiction, Trauma, and Abandonment using strength based strategies deeply rooted in Solution Focused, and Mindfulness Therapies. At the Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic he passionately develops holistic curriculums that foster the belief that through addressing the mind, body, and spirit together, the Disease of Addiction can be addressed successfully.

Robert Lehmann, MHSA

Chief Operating Officer

Bob Lehmann is the Chief Operating Officer at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has a Master’s Degree in Human Services Administration with a concentration in Mental Health Administration and over twenty-five years of experience as a senior executive at addiction and mental health treatment facilities.

One of the reasons for his commitment to excellence in addiction treatment was his experience related to family members who suffered from the disease of addiction. Bob has been actively involved in community organizations throughout his career. Recently he was one of the founders of the Florida Addiction Treatment Coalition (FATC) and is its present Vice President. FATC was designed to bring together treatment executives in Florida to advocate on behalf of treatment facilities and the clients they serve adhering to a foundation of integrity and service excellence.

Jose R. Toledo, M.D.

Medical Director

A well-rounded and accomplished individual, Jose R. Toledo, M.D., is the Medical Director of Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a neurologist with 25 years of experience and has been in private practice since 1991 on the Treasure Coast of Florida. He completed his neurology training at the State University of New York and his Fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh in Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology.

He also completed 24 months of acute inpatient psychiatry at the Western Missouri Mental Health Center, University of Missouri in Kansas City. In 2008, Dr. Toledo participated in and was certified in the continuing medical education activity entitled “Buprenorphine and Office-Based Treatment of Opioid Dependence” from The Medical University of South Carolina during which began his quest to found and head Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a brain specialist with particular competence in addiction medicine and out-patient detoxification treatment and integrates the fields seamlessly. He is certified to prescribe Buprenorphine (Suboxone). He incorporates his background in neurology into the addiction field. Dr. Toledo is member/fellow of The American Medical Association, The Florida Medical Association and The American Society of Addiction Medicine