Teen Residential Treatment for Xanax

Table of Contents

This Article Sheds Light on the Following:

  • The definition, prescription, and addictive qualities of Xanax
  • Definition of teen residential treatment for Xanax
  • Causes, statistics, risk factors, dangers, and prevalence of Xanax abuse in adolescents
  • Common signs and symptoms of Xanax abuse in adolescents
  • Benefits of teen residential treatment for Xanax
  • Admission process and treatment protocol for Xanax addiction
  • Medication-assisted treatment for Xanax addiction

Cases of teen Xanax misuse and abuse are rapidly increasing. Xanax -a common benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety disorders- can create intense euphoric effects, making it dangerous and addictive. Luckily, residential treatment centers for teens in Los Angeles, US, for Xanax exist to help teenagers overcome chronic Xanax abuse, saving them from the severe physical and mental health consequences of this prescription medication. Let’s explore Xanax addiction and the significance of residential treatment for teens Xanax abuse challenges.

What is Xanax?

Xanax, officially known as Alprazolam, is an oral medication used to treat anxiety and panic disorders by enhancing the effects of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA). It is classified under benzodiazepines, a drug category that acts on the brain and nerves to produce a calming effect.

The Addictive Qualities of Xanax

Xanax is highly addictive when taken recreationally or combined with substances such as alcohol. Intake of large quantities over a long period can result in addiction or physical dependence. According to the Journal of Addictive Behaviors, 47% of chronic benzodiazepine users develop dependence. How, then, does Xanax use lead to dependence and addiction? This prescription medication causes brain alterations that suppress fear neurotransmitters and increase dopamine release, a chemical associated with pleasure and relaxation.

Unusually high dopamine levels trigger pleasurable emotions and sensations or euphoria, often called the ‘Xanax high.’ Teens get addicted to Xanax in pursuit of this feeling. Note that those who take Xanax as prescribed can also get addicted without noticing.

Importance of Addressing Xanax Abuse Among Adolescents

Xanax abuse can lead to addiction if left unaddressed, disrupting teen development and their acquisition of essential life skills such as emotional regulation. It can also lead to worsened mental health conditions, academic difficulties, strained relationships, and an increased likelihood of engagement in risky behaviors. Teenagers with Xanax abuse challenges, therefore, require comprehensive treatment and support to help them avoid potential teen addiction and develop healthy coping skills for easier navigation of challenges. Addressing Xanax abuse among teens also helps build healthier communities and a resilient, drug-free generation.

Definition of Teen Residential Treatment for Xanax

Teen residential treatment for Xanax offers a comprehensive and structured program to address Xanax addiction and other teen substance abuse and teen mental health conditions. Teenagers reside in a residential facility, receiving 24/7 supervision, therapy, counseling, and support for the entire treatment duration. The facility eliminates triggers, influences, and disruptions, allowing teens to focus fully on recovery.

Understanding Xanax Abuse Among Adolescents

Statistics and Prevalence of Xanax Abuse Among Adolescents

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Xanax is the mostly used tranquilizer by 12th graders. The 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health also discovered that 1.4 percent of people aged 12 or older misused benzodiazepines in the past year; adolescents aged 12-17 made up 0.7%.

Causes of Xanax Abuse in Adolescents

Most teens end up abusing Xanax because of its pleasurable effects, i.e., intense feelings of euphoria. Those who choose to ‘self-medicate’ using the drug may also develop an addiction. Lastly, the effects of Xanax wear off quickly, pushing teens to take more Xanax pills out of fear of withdrawal, leading to Xanax addiction.

Risk Factors of Xanax Abuse in Adolescents

The following factors increase the likelihood of Xanax abuse in teens:

  • A history of alcohol abuse
  • Presence of co-occurring mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • A family history of addiction
  • Easy access to Xanax
  • A chaotic home environment
  • Lack of parental supervision

Common Signs and Symptoms of Xanax Abuse in Adolescents

Adolescents who use Xanax for reasons other than the intended ones generally experience the following:

  • Confusion
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Muscle weakness
  • Blurred/ double vision
  • Respiratory problems, i.e., breathing difficulties
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Poor coordination
  • Dizziness
  • Impaired judgment
  • Memory impairment
  • Stupor/ coma

Also, read our complete guide on How to Tell if someone is on Xanax

Dangers of Xanax Abuse

Xanax abuse can lead to the following issues:

  • Physical/ Psychological Dependence

People who abuse Xanax regularly often develop tolerance, making them require higher doses to achieve the desired effect. This can lead to addiction or physical dependence.

  • Respiratory Issues

Xanax abuse can lead to respiratory depression- a condition signified by breathing difficulties that can result in coma or death.

  • Physical Health Risks

Xanax can adversely affect the users’ physical health, leading to blurred vision, dizziness, gastrointestinal issues, headaches, muscle weakness, unsteady gait, tremors, and coordination issues.

  • Cognitive/ Memory Impairment

Teens who abuse Xanax may struggle to concentrate, pay attention, make decisions, and remember information or events.

  • Overdose

Using Xanax excessively or combining it with other substances, such as alcohol, can cause an overdose, signified by extreme sedation, slowed/ shallow breathing, confusion, and unconsciousness. The unfortunate side effect of too much Xanax can be death.

The Benefits of Teen Residential Treatment for Xanax

  • Teen residential treatment centers offer personalized treatment plans for teens struggling with Xanax addiction. These plans consider the teenager’s addiction severity, co-occurring mental health issues, individual preferences, and past trauma. They promote a sense of ownership and increase treatment motivation, engagement, and success.
  • It offers a safe and structured environment that eliminates triggers and temptations, allowing teenagers addicted to Xanax to focus fully on recovery.
  • Teenagers receive 24/7 care, support, and supervision, making monitoring treatment adherence and responding to crises easy.
  • It employs evidence-based therapies such as CBT, group counseling, and DBT tailored to meet the unique needs of every teenager.
  • Residential treatment programs help teens addicted to Xanax understand their condition, develop healthy coping strategies and learn essential life skills for sustained recovery.
  • It integrates educational components, ensuring that teens with Xanax abuse challenges are not left behind in their studies and schoolwork.
  • It fosters personal growth and resilience.
  • It allows family participation through family therapy sessions that allow teens and their family members to understand and resolve issues within the family dynamic.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Xanax

Medication-assisted therapy combines pharmacological and therapeutic interventions such as DBT and CBT to help teens overcome substance abuse’s physical and psychological aspects. Given that there are no FDA-approved medications for Xanax addiction, treatment professionals only administer medications to manage withdrawal symptoms, stabilize mood and treat underlying mental health conditions responsible for Xanax misuse, such as anxiety in teens. Common medications used during Xanax addiction treatment include:

  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Selective Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Benzodiazepine tapering protocols

Side Effects of MAT for Xanax

The side effects of medication-assisted therapy differ depending on the medications used. The selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors used during Xanax addiction treatment can lead to nausea, headache, weight changes, sexual dysfunction, sleep disturbances, and gastrointestinal issues. At the same time, the benzodiazepine tapering protocols can cause muscle tension, spasms, rebound anxiety, irritability, and insomnia. Note that these side effects can vary from one person to another.

Admission Process and Treatment Protocol

Admission Requirement and Evaluation Process

Teens undergo an evaluation process before residential treatment to determine the needed level of care and if they are suitable for the program. At Key Healthcare, we ask parents to fill out an in-depth assessment about their child (to shed light on their medical history, co-occurring mental health disorders, treatment goals, and Xanax use history) as part of our initial screening process and then invite them into our teen treatment facility to see what we are all about. After completing our assessment and considering the teen’s physical and psychological health, support system, and substance abuse patterns, we recommend the teen treatment programs that best fit their condition and its severity.

Phases and Duration of Treatment

Teen residential treatment for Xanax addiction takes 45-60 days. It happens in four phases, namely:

  • Assessment and Evaluation

The assessment and psychological evaluation for teenagers serve to determine the severity of the Xanax addiction, identify co-occurring disorders and develop tailored teen Xanax abuse treatment plans.

  • Detoxification

During detoxification, treatment professionals help teenagers safely withdraw from Xanax under supervised conditions. They also manage withdrawal symptoms and offer necessary medical support.

  • Active treatment

The active treatment phase uses therapy, counseling, and medication-assisted treatment to address the psychological, behavioral, and social aspects of Xanax addiction, promote healthier coping strategies, and offer relapse prevention education.

  • Aftercare planning

During aftercare planning, teens liaise with treatment professionals and their parents to develop teen aftercare programs that promote smooth transitioning, ongoing support, and relapse prevention.

Types of Therapies and Activities Offered in Teen Residential Treatment for Xanax

  • CBT

Cognitive behavioral therapy for teens helps teens change their thoughts and behaviors. It is administered through activities and techniques such as cognitive restructuring, journaling, behavioral experiments, problem-solving, relaxation, stress management, and guided discovery. Its benefits include emotion regulation and teen negative behavior reduction.

  • DBT

Dialectical behavior therapy for teens helps teens learn how to deal with difficult situations, manage emotions and develop healthier coping skills. It is administered through individual therapy sessions, group skills training, and phone coaching. Teenagers undergoing this therapy learn emotion regulation, mindfulness, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness skills.

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

ACT for teens helps them accept things beyond their control and commit to acting on those within their control through acceptance, cognitive defusion, being present, values, committed action, and the observing self. It is based on the idea that thoughts and feelings don’t have to control our behaviors.

  • Group Therapy

Teen group therapy allows them to connect with peers and develop supportive relationships. They also get to practice communication skills and gain insight from others with similar experiences.

  • Family Therapy

Teen family therapy in Los Angeles helps teens and their family members understand and resolve the problems within the family dynamic. It helps foster better communication and healthy relationships between family members.

  • Holistic and Recreation Therapies

Teen treatment centers offer holistic and recreational therapies such as teen yoga, teen surf therapy, art therapy for teens, hiking, and music production during Xanax addiction treatment to help teens reduce stress and gain greater self-awareness.

 The Role of Peer Support Groups

  • They foster a sense of belonging
  • They reduce feelings of isolation
  • They promote empathy and accountability among members
  • Members obtain mutual support, encouragement, and a chance to share their personal stories, struggles, and successes.
  • They offer teens a platform to learn from each other and gain valuable insight

Life After Xanax Abuse Treatment

Strategies for Transitioning Back to Home, School, and Community

The following strategies can help teenagers transition successfully to their daily lives after Xanax residential treatment:

  • Aftercare for teens, i.e., develop a comprehensive aftercare plan that outlines the activities, interventions, and resources to help teens cope with triggers, stressors, and cravings
  • Collaborate with school administrators, counselors, and teachers to develop an academic plan that supports reintegration into the school environment.
  • Maintain a structured and supportive home environment by setting clear boundaries and expectations
  • Develop a relapse prevention plan that identifies triggers, early warning signs, and high-risk situations avoidance strategies in collaboration with the treatment team.

Relapse Prevention Techniques

  • Learning and practicing healthy stress management techniques such as relaxation exercises and mindful practices
  • Identifying triggers and high-risk situations and responding to them appropriately and following the relapse prevention plan
  • Building a stable and supportive social network
  • Avoiding environments with prevalent Xanax misuse
  • Effecting lifestyle changes that prioritize physical and mental well-being
  • Regularly attending therapy sessions, counseling, and support group meetings

Follow-Up Care Options With Key Healthcare

The main follow-up care options after Xanax addiction treatment include:

  • Intensive Outpatient Treatment- Intensive outpatient programs offer ongoing therapy, counseling, and support to teens as they gradually transition back to their daily lives. They are flexible enough, allowing participants to receive support while fulfilling their personal and occupational obligations.
  • Support Groups- Teens in recovery can join support groups to enjoy a sense of community, encouragement, and accountability. They also get a chance to share their experiences and obtain valuable insights for long-term sobriety.
  • Aftercare Programs- Aftercare programs offer continued support through ongoing therapy sessions, access to additional resources, and check-ins with treatment professionals.
  • Individual Therapy- Teenagers can attend teen individual therapy sessions with qualified therapists after treatment to address underlying issues, reinforce coping skills and receive ongoing support.

Why Ongoing Support Is Important After Teen Xanax Abuse Treatment

Teens need ongoing support after Xanax addiction treatment for the following reasons:

  • To obtain resources that can help them navigate potential setbacks and challenges
  • To reinforce healthy coping skills
  • To address lingering emotional issues
  • To foster a sense of community ( support groups)
  • To sustain motivation and develop resilience
  • To build and maintain a healthy lifestyle for long-term sobriety
  • For sustained recovery and a brighter future


Teen residential treatment for Xanax addiction provides a beacon of hope for adolescents dealing with Xanax abuse, as it offers a safe and supportive environment for successful treatment and recovery.

Our Key Healthcare residential facilities offer personalized care, evidence-based therapeutic approaches, education, family participation, and relapse prevention to help teens recover and lead healthy, productive lives. If you have or know of an adolescent grappling with Xanax addiction, kindly contact us for tailored support, treatment, and guidance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Does Xanax Affect the Brain and Body?

Excessive and prolonged use or abuse of Xanax can lead to addiction, physical dependence, impaired cognitive function, poor coordination, impaired reaction time, and withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia, rebound anxiety, seizures, and agitation.

What are the Most Common Withdrawal Symptoms of Xanax?

Abrupt discontinuation of Xanax use can cause anxiety, tremors, panic attacks, hyperventilation, sleep problems, loss of appetite, muscle spasms, extreme sweating, general discomfort, abnormal sensations, seizures, and hypersensitivity to sound, light, or touch.

How Long Does It Take to Recover from Xanax Addiction?

There is no fixed recovery duration for Xanax addiction. However, the acute phases of Xanax withdrawal last 1-2 weeks, after which sobriety and sustained recovery start.

Is It Safe to Stop Taking Xanax Cold Turkey?

No. Stopping Xanax use without a gradual tapering process is not advisable as it can result in serious withdrawal symptoms such as seizures, tremors, and life-threatening complications, requiring medical attention. You should therefore help your son or daughter find the right help and support instead of quitting cold turkey.

Can Therapy Help Treat Xanax Addiction?

Yes. Therapy combined with other interventions can help treat Xanax addiction. Therapeutic approaches such as CBT and DBT offer teens a supportive and structured environment to explore what causes or triggers their addiction, develop healthy coping skills and learn healthier stress and anxiety management skills. Therapy also helps teens identify and challenge distorted thoughts and beliefs about addiction and addresses co-occurring mental health disorders.

Can Teens Overdose on Xanax?

Yes. Taking Xanax excessively or combining it with other substances, such as alcohol, can lead to an overdose, causing central nervous system depression, loss of consciousness, and respiratory depression.

What are the Short-Term Effects of Xanax Abuse on Teens?

The short-term effects of Xanax abuse include dizziness, drowsiness, impaired coordination, impaired cognitive function, slurred speech, blurred vision, slow reflexes, irritability, mood swings, and increased aggression.

Can Drinking Alcohol While Taking Xanax Be Dangerous?

Yes. Xanax and alcohol are both central nervous system depressants. Combining them can lead to lowered blood pressure, severe depression, increased overdose risks, intensified potential for memory loss and blackouts, excessive sedation, confusion, and drowsiness.

How Long Does Xanax Stay in the Body?

Xanax has a half-life of roughly 11 hours. However, it takes 2-4 days to fully clear from most people’s bodies. Factors that influence how long Xanax’s effects last in the body include age, weight, metabolism, liver function, dosage, alcohol use, and duration of intake.

What are the Risks of Taking Xanax with Other Medications?

Medications such as nefazodone, ketoconazole, fluvoxamine, oral contraceptives, cimetidine, and propoxyphene make it more difficult to break down Xanax, increasing the duration it takes to fully clear from the body.

Can Xanax Make Teens More Anxious or Depressed?

Even though Xanax treats anxiety, it can lead to dependence, negative psychological effects, and withdrawal symptoms such as rebound anxiety if abused. Teens should therefore obtain Xanax prescriptions from treatment professionals and abide by the prescribed use.

How Can Parents Detect If Their Child Is Abusing Xanax?

The following warning signs should help parents detect teen Xanax abuse: sudden behavioral changes, declining physical health, significant mood swings, poor school performance, increased secrecy and isolation, decreased interest in activities that do not involve Xanax use, change of methods of Xanax intake for amplified effects and intake of more Xanax than prescribed.

How Can Schools Help Students with Xanax Addiction?

Schools can help students with Xanax addiction by collaborating with parents and community resources to ensure holistic support. They should also cultivate early identification and prevention strategies for Xanax addiction.

What Resources Are Available for Families Struggling with Xanax Addiction?

Families struggling with Xanax addiction can join support groups such as NAMI, attend family therapy sessions, participate in relevant educational programs and workshops, and obtain information from different online resources.

How Long Does It Take to Get Addicted to Xanax?

The timeline for getting addicted to Xanax differs from one person to the next. Some may take a few weeks or months of regular use, while others may take longer due to genetics, individual susceptibility, usage patterns, and co-occurring mental health conditions.

How Can Xanax Overdose Be Treated?

Xanax overdose can be treated through emergency medical services, supportive care, stabilization of vital signs, and Flumazenil intake. Flumazenil is administered in healthcare facilities under the close supervision of medical providers to reverse the effects of benzodiazepine overdose.