How Natural Disasters Can Trigger a Xanax Relapse

How Natural Disasters Can Trigger a Xanax RelapseXanax is a prescription drug used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. It belongs to a group of medicines called central nervous system (CNS) depressants, because they slow down the automatic responses of the nervous system including the “fight or flight” reaction to stressful situations. In people diagnosed with anxiety and panic disorder this sense of reacting to impending danger is heightened. Other symptoms of anxiety and panic disorders include the following:

  • Sudden feelings of terror or impending doom
  • Sudden feelings of nervousness
  • Fear of having a panic attack
  • Intense feeling of dread
  • Feeling like you are losing control
  • Feeling like you are about to die

These feelings are often treated with psychotherapy and a drug regimen to get symptoms under control. However some people who take Xanax to control their anxiety symptoms become addicted to the medication. This requires detox and recovery from the drug, but overcoming addiction to Xanax is possible.

How Xanax Relapse Occurs

Relapse refers to taking Xanax, using a different drug or participating in an addictive behavior after one or more periods of abstinence from it. Relapse can occur for many reasons, but research discussed in Psychology Today indicates that the most common reason for relapse is response to a trigger. A trigger is a person, place or thing associated with past drug use that cues a person’s memory to engage in a certain behavior such as drug use. According to Psych Central common triggers associated with drug addiction relapse include the following:

  • Stress
  • Traumatic event, such as death, divorce, or other major loss
  • New relationships with the opposite gender
  • A promotion or a new job
  • Complacency
  • Boredom
  • Undiagnosed physical or mental health issue

A new study published in Science Journal shows that these environmental triggers can play a major role in drug relapse.

Natural Disasters and Trauma Can Lead to Relapse

Even the most seasoned recovering Xanax addict can experience relapse, if he or she encounters the right trigger. Natural disasters and trauma from natural disasters are examples of triggers that can plague those with an anxiety or panic disorder. The very nature of these disorders causes people to feel a sense of impending doom. Natural disasters and the trauma associated with them reinforce this sense of chaos and calamity. Many people who experience a natural disaster report feelings and experiences such as the following:

  • High level of anxiety or depression
  • Feeling helpless after losing loved ones or homes
  • Intense mood swings
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fear that the event will be repeated
  • Physical reactions such as headaches, nausea, loss of appetite and chest pains
  • Inability to feel pleasure
  • Exaggerated startle response

Recovering Xanax addicts who experience the above symptoms feel an intense desire to manage those symptoms through drug use.

Relapse Isn’t Failure

A recovering Xanax addict may relapse due to natural disaster, but this relapse is not a sign of failure. Just as a person suffering from any chronic illness is prone to relapse, a person prone to anxiety and addiction will crave the cessation of that anxiety after experiencing a traumatic event. When relapse occurs, a recovering addict needs to strengthen his or her defenses against further emotional or environmental cues that would lead to continued relapse. A recovering addict who relapses should take the following actions:

  • Refuse to give up. Sobriety is a lifelong process.
  • Refuse to wallow in guilt or shame.
  • Get to a sober environment immediately.
  • Take care of your needs. Make sure you are not hungry, angry, lonely, tired or bored.
  • Examine what led to the relapse, and learn from it.
  • Attend a support group meeting as soon as possible.
  • Make a game plan for how to respond positively to similar triggers in the future.
  • Talk to another recovering addict who has relapsed. Hearing how he or she moved past the relapse(s) can help your ongoing recovery process.

Sobriety is a lifelong process. You are not striving for perfection, but rather for a healthy, vibrant and drug-free life.

Getting Help for Your Xanax Addiction

If you are struggling with Xanax addiction, we can help. Call our toll-free number any time to talk with a recovery counselor. We are here 24 hours a day to talk with you about getting clean, staying sober and getting back on track after relapse. Call us today to take the first step to enjoying a drug-free life.

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