Xanax is used for treating anxiety and panic disorders. It causes certain neurotransmitters to remain inactive, leading to an anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effect. After a set time (10–14 days), however, withdrawal symptoms begin and continue until the patient starts retaking Xanax. If you or someone you know is addicted to Xanax, here’s what you need to know about withdrawal from this dangerous drug.
- 1 Signs and Symptoms
- 2 What Does Withdrawal Mean?
- 3 What to Expect During the Withdrawal Phase
- 4 Signs and Symptoms of Withdrawal from Xanax
- 5 Methods of Treatment for Withdrawal from Xanax
- 6 Important Things to Remember About Withdrawal from Xanax
- 7 Serious Symptoms and Side Effects
- 8 Recovering from Xanax Addiction
- 9 How You Can Benefit from Detox
- 10 On the Road to Recovery
Signs and Symptoms
Physical symptoms manifest as respiratory problems such as shortness of breath and wheezing; muscle cramps; nausea; vomiting; stomach pain; diarrhea; fever or chills.
Psychological symptoms include irritability, hostility, mood swings, panic attacks, nightmares/strange dreams, memory loss, and insomnia.
Additional psychological symptoms can include paranoia, aggression, hallucinations, and delusions.
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Why do these happen?
These symptoms occur because Xanax suppresses activity in the “stress hormone” system, leading to an overreaction by the body when it returns to normal.
What Does Withdrawal Mean?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), withdrawal refers to the “physical and psychological signs that occur when stopping drug use after a long period.” Withdrawal symptoms can happen any time within 24 hours, but they typically peak at around three days. The length of time it takes for withdrawal symptoms to subside varies depending on the drug being abused.
During this period, users have a solid desire to retake Xanax to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
In some cases, these cravings can be so intense that a person will do whatever it takes to get more of the drug. If you fear dependency on Xanax and are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, seek medical attention.
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What to Expect During the Withdrawal Phase
Withdrawal From Xanax can be a difficult experience for someone to go through, especially when they are not prepared. Xanax has many negative withdrawal effects, so knowing what to expect can help you get through it faster.
Withdrawal From Xanax is categorized into three stages which include early/minor, major, and severe.
Early/Minor includes the following: anxiety, insomnia, abdominal cramping, muscle twitching, shivering or trembling, and nausea or vomiting, among others that start between 6-12 hours after the last dose.
Major Withdrawal Symptoms that begin between 12-24 hours after stopping include hallucinations (visual and auditory), delirium tremens (DTs) (symptoms like seizures, confusion), seizures.
Severe withdrawal symptoms usually start after 48 hours. This includes confusion, depersonalization, severe anxiety or agitation that is not improving, extremely high blood pressure (hypertension) that cannot be controlled by medication, heart rate of over 100 beats per minute, and can last for months to years.
Signs and Symptoms of Withdrawal from Xanax
If someone is experiencing any following, they should seek medical attention immediately: seizures, hallucinations (visual or auditory), delusions, fever above 101 degrees F., irregular heartbeat.
People withdrawing from Xanax often have insomnia which causes them to stay up all night long due to extreme discomfort even if they go without sleep for an entire day or two.
A common withdrawal effect associated with Xanax is diarrhea which usually lasts between 24-48 hours and can be especially uncomfortable and challenging to get through.
Vomiting is another effect of withdrawal from Xanax, and it often accompanies diarrhea which makes the two symptoms even more difficult to endure. Fortunately, these effects typically last between 24-48 hours.
Nausea is a common withdrawal symptom that frequently occurs during Xanax withdrawal. Sometimes it is so severe that people have difficulty getting out of bed and going about their daily activities.
What Not to Expect During Withdrawal
There are certain withdrawal symptoms associated with Xanax which you should keep an eye out for but do not necessarily need medical attention if they occur. These include irregular or rapid heartbeat, tremors, seizures, and hallucinations.
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Methods of Treatment for Withdrawal from Xanax
There are certain medications to help detoxify the body and reduce withdrawal symptoms, but it isn’t a quick fix, and you should still expect at least two weeks before seeing any improvement.
Benzodiazepines are some of the most commonly used drugs to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms. They include diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), alprazolam (Xanax), and chlordiazepoxide (Librium).
Benzodiazepines act on many parts of the brain simultaneously, resulting in suppressing withdrawal symptoms, making it easier to cope.
Abusing Xanax can be extremely harmful because of the health issues that come with taking it and what happens when someone tries to stop using it. If you or someone you know is abusing Xanax, talk to your doctor about how effective treatment centers can help get rid of dependency or even just cut back.
The first drug treatment available is Benzodiazepine Replacement Therapy (BRT) and is used to slowly wean you off of Xanax.
Another drug treatment available is called Naltrexone which, if taken in conjunction with another drug, helps reduce withdrawal effects and cravings.
Unfortunately, there is no one cure for addiction, but various methods can help get someone through their ordeal and back on track to a healthy normal life.
Withdrawal from Xanax does not have to be hard on the mind or body when it happens properly. There are plenty of medications and treatments available to make things easier during this time, so don’t give up hope until you talk to your doctor about it first.
Important Things to Remember About Withdrawal from Xanax
Indeed, Xanax withdrawal isn’t as simple as some people make it out to be. Your experience might be anything from uncomfortable to unbearable.
It might be physically dangerous. If you’ve been taking Xanax every day, stopping is going to take some time, patience, and resolve.
Taking a drug cold turkey can be extremely dangerous. The only safe method to quit smoking is to taper down your dosage under the supervision of your doctor.
Quitting cold turkey can result in severe and life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, such as delirium and grand mal seizures.
That is not something you want to gamble on. Delirium is a condition in which cognitive functioning and behavior fluctuate rapidly, causing agitation and disorientation. A tonic-clonic seizure (also known as a grand mal seizure) is characterized by strong muscular contractions and loss of consciousness.
If you’ve been following your doctor’s orders and taking your Xanax as prescribed, you may be experiencing a withdrawal.
Xanax doesn’t care who you are or what your background is. Anyone who takes enough of the drug for more than a few weeks will develop a dependency.
Once you have developed a dependency, your brain will need to readjust itself to function normally without Xanax in your system. The only way to accomplish this is to slowly wean yourself off the drug.
Serious Symptoms and Side Effects
While tapering down your dosage, you may experience bursts of anxiety and irritability. People feel varying levels of physical and mental pain.
For example, you may feel unusual sensations, like you’re crawling out of your skin, along with feelings of restlessness and irritation. In 2017, doctors prescribed roughly 45 million doses of alprazolam (Xanax), and thousands of patients have become dependent and abused as a result.
According to a recent survey, in 2018, 5.4 million individuals over the age of 12 misused prescription benzodiazepines such as Xanax.
Alprazolam may increase the effect of other drugs, including sedatives or alcohol.
People who struggle with anxiety tend to take more Xanax, which can become a problem when they stop taking it.
Recovering from Xanax Addiction
How can you tell if someone is addicted to Xanax?
Someone who uses Xanax without a prescription or continues to use it after their prescription runs out is probably an addict.
Ankylosing spondylitis, seizures, intestinal problems (e.g., constipation), mood swings, depression, hallucinations, and suicidal thoughts are just some of the withdrawal effects that might occur if you stop cold turkey.
Again, this doesn’t mean that your experience will be negative if you take the right steps to safely withdraw from Xanax.
If you’re trying to quit cold turkey but don’t feel capable of going through it on your own, talk to your doctor about treatment centers for Xanax addiction.
Unfortunately, a benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome may remain for months or years after taking an overdose or quitting abruptly.
While you can gradually taper down your dosage with the help of a doctor, recovery may require medication and/or therapy.
Some doctors recommend taking benzodiazepines during at least the early stages of withdrawal to suppress symptoms until they subside.
Benzodiazepines work by enhancing the effect of GABA, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in your brain that keeps your neurons calm. The more GABA there is, the calmer you feel.
Fortunately, you won’t become hooked on Prozac or Zoloft.
Both medications work by restoring the brain’s natural balance of serotonin and norepinephrine, also known as monoamines.
How You Can Benefit from Detox
When you do decide to stop taking Xanax, don’t just quit cold turkey. You can suffer from undesirable side effects and withdrawal symptoms by going cold turkey.
It’s common for detox programs, such as those at a recovery center, to prescribe medication as part of the treatment process.
A detox program can provide the support and care you need as you go through withdrawal.
Detox is a process that helps your body eliminate chemicals from your system, including prescription medications such as Xanax.
Even if your addiction isn’t severe, there’s no reason to suffer through withdrawal alone when you can benefit from detox and other treatments at a recovery center.
When you complete a detox program, you’ll likely enter an inpatient or outpatient treatment program for addiction.
A detox program typically runs for a few days to a week. During this time, you’ll slowly taper off Xanax with the help of medical professionals at detox centers.
At some treatment centers, they use Ambien to treat withdrawal symptoms since it’s similar to Xanax. While many people prefer residential programs, outpatient or daycare programs might be more convenient for you.
A high-quality treatment center will help you heal physically, mentally, and emotionally after addiction.
Detoxing from Xanax in a treatment program can be a positive experience when you’re in the right place at the right time, with experienced professionals guiding your every move.
On the Road to Recovery
Once you’ve tapered off Xanax, your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant to help your recovery process. Many treatment centers combine medication with many different therapies for a holistic approach to complete recovery from addiction. While Xanax can effectively relieve anxiety and depression, quitting is the best way to avoid potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.ARCSFL provides best treatment facility to benzodiazepine addiction.
If you’re having thoughts about quitting Xanax, talk to your doctor and get started on a detox program right away so you can begin living a healthier and happier life.