Xanax Withdrawal and Detox

As one of the most popular drugs present in medicine cabinets across the United States, Xanax is the brand name for the potent, short-acting benzodiazepine (benzo), alprazolam. Considered a minor tranquilizer, alprazolam is often used to treat a host of anxiety disorders including panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder. Similar to other benzos, alprazolam binds to certain parts of the type A gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors.

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xanax detox

Alprazolam works by decreasing the movement of chemicals in the brain that triggers excitement, in turn reducing feelings of anxiety. The drug is available as compressed tablets and extended-release capsules.
First released in 1981 by The UpJohn Company, alprazolam was initially approved to treat panic disorder and subsequently soon became a blockbuster drug in the U.S. This was during an era in which panic attacks and other anxiety disorders were addressed as defined diagnoses. Decades later, Xanax became one of the most prescribed and most abused drugs as of 2010.

Since the Schedule IV drug works to slow down brain activity, reports have shown that alprazolam can also affect brain functions. 

Impeded brain functioning results in memory loss, compulsive behaviors, and lack of emotional range, which could significantly impact a person’s personality. While the potential for misusing Xanax for medical reasons has drawn substantial controversy, many experts have commented that the risks are fairly low and mirror that of other benzos.

However, other reports have warned that the fast-acting elements of the drug can attribute to its addictive tendencies, so patients who are prescribed Xanax should be monitored over time.

Even when Xanax triggers as prescribed, there are risks, particularly if taken with antidepressants, alcohol, or opiates. The elderly are at an increased chance for severe toxicity and possibly even death since they often have weakened immune systems and take several different prescription drugs simultaneously.

Some street names for Xanax include Xannies(Zannies), Xanbars, BlueFootballs, Upjohn, and Benzos, to name a few.

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Ready to get help with your Xanax detox today? Request a call from one of our addiction treatment specialists now!

Ready to get help with your Xanax detox today? Request a call from one of our addiction treatment specialists now!

Benzo Addiction

Benzodiazepines, ever since they were introduced in the 1960s, have been commonly used to treat anxiety, insomnia, alcohol withdrawal, and many other conditions. While they are very efficient and powerful when used to treat these conditions, they are used sparingly due to their very high addictive nature. So what makes benzos so addictive?

Similar to opioids and cannabinoids, benzodiazepine addiction is caused by dopamine surges as an effect of the drug, and the building of a quick tolerance. The dopamine surges are what causes the dopamine levels in the brain’s reward area to spike, and the brain reacts in such a way that it quickly becomes adapted to having high levels of dopamine. 

Adjusting to the spikes of pleasure, your brain reprograms itself to build a tolerance to benzos. This quick building of tolerance is what makes benzos so addicting. Due to their addictive nature, doctors will only prescribe benzos for short periods of time, usually no longer than three to four months. However, psychological cravings can develop very quickly and people commonly increase their dosage amounts from their own judgment, speeding up the rate that tolerance builds.

Once the cravings turn into full-blown addiction and dependency, the victim may find themselves seeking ways to obtain more Xanax than directed. Through doctor shopping, buying off of friends, and fake prescriptions, an addict can easily fuel the snowball effect that is Xanax addiction.

What Are the Withdrawal Symptoms of Xanax?

Similar to other medications used to treat anxiety and panic disorders, Xanax is one that should not be suddenly discontinued. While the goal is to stop abusing and misusing Xanax, people are urged to seek medical assistance when detoxing. Otherwise, abrupt cessation or “going cold turkey” can produce several uncomfortable and often dangerous withdrawal symptoms including:

  • Blurred vision
  • Breast tenderness
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hallucinations
  • Headaches
  • Heart palpitations
  • Insomnia
  • Increased menstrual bleeding, cramping
  • Muscle pain and stiffness
  • Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting
  • Psychosis
  • Seizures
  • Sweating
  • Sensitivity to light and noise (sharpened senses)
  • Trembling
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Weight loss or weight gain

When someone stops using alprazolam, the fear of anxiety returning can be intense. Because this and other withdrawal symptoms can seem dangerously overwhelming, it’s imperative to discuss a form of tapering with a medical professional.

What Are The Stages of the Xanax Withdrawal Timeline?

There are several variables that can affect the Xanax detox and withdrawal timeline differently among people including:

  • A person’s unique chemistry
  • A person’s environment
  • Strength of the dose
  • Duration of use
  • Frequency of abuse

Four primary stages are involved in Xanax detox and withdrawal that range in length and severity. It’s important to note that each stage works differently depending on the individual user.

THE BEGINNING

During the first stage, (detoxification and withdrawal) symptoms generally begin within six to 12 hours after the user’s last dose—the symptoms will begin to manifest as the fast-acting drug starts to leave the body. It’s fairly common for individuals to experience mild anxiety and insomnia during this stage.

THE REBOUND

This stage of the Xanax withdrawal timeline typically lasts between one and four days and is defined by the strong presence of the “rebound” symptoms anxiety and insomnia. It’s critical to undergo medically supervised detox during this phase since the vengeful return of the feelings people so desperately attempted to eradicate can become unbearable as they peak during this stage. Additionally, flu-like symptoms including nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting are common and will generally become alleviated on the fourth day.

THE DOWNWARD SLOPE

People will typically continue to feel the effects of Xanax for five to 14 days after quitting the drug. Though the symptoms will peak during days one through four, they are persistent for the next several days.

THE RETURN

he final stage of Xanax withdrawal, which begins two weeks after someone stopped taking the drug, is considered the return. For some people, this could mean returning to a feeling of “normal” functioning. others, it brings on the same feelings of anxiety and psychological conditions that had been present prior to even taking Xanax.

Medical experts have stressed the importance of hydration and drinking water during the Xanax withdrawal timeline since vomiting and diarrhea can put people in danger of dehydration.

Although there are several Xanax withdrawal medications that can help ease symptoms like pain relievers and anti-diarrheal and anti-nausea medications, there are many alternative remedies reported to help with the symptoms of the Xanax withdrawal timeline including meditation, counseling, exercise, and dark or quiet spaces.

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Why Should I Detox from Xanax?

Detoxification and withdrawal are crucial steps for the road to recovery, and can be scary and dangerous. As such, the best way to detox from Xanax is at a certified and well-known recovery or rehab center. Having trained medical staff around 24/7 can certainly help minimize chances of harm and ensures your vitals are monitored as symptoms are managed.

Even if detoxing at a rehab center, patients are recommended to taper their use to prevent any form of shock to the system. 

Often a carefully monitored taper process can last about 15 weeks. It’s worth noting; however, not to taper too quickly as doing so can often lead to withdrawal and relapse.

What Is The Next Treatment Step After Xanax Detox?

Once the necessary detox has been completed, the next step is typically entering a residential treatment facility that offers programs for Xanax addiction. Fortunately, there are several treatment options to choose from: inpatient treatment, residential treatment, and outpatient treatment.

Though outpatient treatment is the most flexible for work, school, and other life obligations, for many people it may be worth it to take a pause on life and explore the residential and inpatient options which generally require at least a 30-day stay. Either way, people need to be aware that options are available to help bring them on track to a drug-free life.

Also, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is another method that can help during this process, as it can help people address problematic thoughts and feelings to eventually overcome addiction.

The goal at hand is to attain sobriety, which is easier said than done—but not impossible. It’s important to realize that sobriety requires a new skill set that can be learned and honed in a variety of ways including individual counseling, family counseling, group therapy, and support group meetings.

Start Your Path To Recovery Today

Seeing as to how dangerously addictive Xanax is, and how severe the withdrawal symptoms can be, we strongly urge you or anyone you know that may be suffering from Xanax withdrawal or addiction to seek professional medical treatment.

It is no surprise that medical detoxification is one of the most important in drug addiction treatment, and in the case of Xanax, it is almost always needed. Here at Maryland House Detox, we ensure that your medical detox process is as easy and comfortable as possible. Our team of professional and friendly doctors, nurses, and psychiatrists can make recovery a breeze for you.

The path to complete recovery can be a long and potentially strenuous one, so why not let Maryland House Detox start you off in the best possible way? Call us at (855) 969-8748 and start taking back what is rightfully yours; your life, free from addiction.