Addiction and mental health very often go hand in hand. This occurs for several different reasons – most commonly, those with mental health conditions will turn to chemical substances as a means of self-medication; as a way to alleviate and attempt to eliminate uncomfortable psychiatric symptoms. Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health conditions in the United States. Xanax (a benzodiazepine) is a medication very commonly prescribed to treat moderate to severe anxiety disorders. It is not uncommon for those taking Xanax to have developed a substance abuse disorder before being professionally diagnosed and medicinally treated. Therefore, Xanax addiction and substance abuse (such as opiate abuse) often overlap. Say an individual behind abusing prescription painkillers to treat symptoms of an undiagnosed anxiety disorder. The painkiller abuse escalates, and eventually, the individual begins to use heroin. While using heroin, the individual is finally treated in a psychiatric setting and prescribed Xanax. While keeping up with taking any medication is undoubtedly difficult during active addiction, the individual ultimately brings the Xanax prescription to an inpatient drug rehab (one the heroin use becomes completely unmanageable and life-threatening). Will the medical staff at the rehab prescribe Suboxone to alleviate cravings and symptoms of withdrawal while the patient is already taking a prescription sedative like Xanax? In short – no.
Mixing Suboxone and Xanax
Suboxone is a medication commonly used as a part of comprehensive opiate addiction treatment (or, medication-assisted treatment – MAT). Those who take Suboxone will only be prescribed the drug for a short period – it is effective initially, but it is not a long-term solution to opiate addiction. AS previously mentioned, an individual may be prescribed Xanax and Suboxone at one time to treat two completely separate disorders (by two separate doctors). However, this does not mean that it is safe to take Xanax when on Suboxone, or vice versa. Both drugs are sedative and cause somewhat similar effects, such as slowed breathing and decreased heart rate. Suboxone acts as an opioid antagonist, meaning that it blocks opioid receptors in the brain the same way an opiate would, without the narcotic effects. When taken as prescribed, Suboxone will not get an individual “high” – however, that does not mean that the prescription medication is not abused. Some people will take Xanax and Suboxone at the same time intentionally, hoping to feel a more intense high than the Xanax can provide on its own. The truth is, however, that the two drugs interact adversely. The central nervous system is severely affected, and rather than feel high the individual will start to feel extremely ill. Medical professionals will always conduct detailed drug screenings before prescribing any medication-assisted treatment to ensure that there are no benzodiazepines in the bloodstream whatsoever.
Evoke Wellness at Miramar and Dual Diagnosis Recovery
At Evoke Wellness at Miramar, our main priority is ensuring that you have access to the comprehensive, dual diagnosis care that you need. We have extensive experience treating those who suffer from a combination of anxiety and opiate addiction, and we understand that prescribing Xanax and Suboxone at one time is very far from a good idea. Instead, we focus on utilizing several proven, effective, non-narcotic medications and holistic modalities to treat symptoms of anxiety. Those with a history of substance abuse should very rarely be prescribed addictive medications (like Xanax) in early recovery. Fortunately, there are many alternative options. Additionally, we will only prescribe Suboxone for the treatment of opiate cravings and withdrawals if our team of medical professionals deems doing so necessary. We understand that recovery occurs on a case-by-case basis and that what works for one of our clients might not work for another. That is why we’re proud to offer a comprehensive and highly individualized dual diagnosis recovery program. For more information on anxiety, opiate addiction, or dual diagnosis treatment, please feel free to give us a call today with any questions you may have.