In 2012, Xanax was one of the most prescribed psychoactive drugs to appear on the black market.

Addiction to any substance impairs function in everyday life. A person may find that they cannot feel normal without the drug and go to great lengths to find it.

Medications like Xanax are prescribed as a way to improve quality of life. But, some can be life-threatening to detox from after prolonged use.

Keep reading to discover what to expect from Xanax withdrawal and detox.

What Causes Xanax Withdrawal?

Xanax is not recommended for longterm use because of its risk of addiction. It’s a common benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety and depression.

Studies show that Xanax is physically addictive even after short-term use. Patients that took less than 4mg had an easier time reducing their usage to zero. Dependency on the drug was more common in patients taking over 4mg/day for more than 12 weeks.

A neurotransmitter in the brain called GABA acts as a natural sedative in the body. It inhibits certain cells from communicating.

Benzodiazepines create a calm, euphoric feeling using similar methods to GABA. After a few weeks of use, the psychoactive properties go away. People begin to abuse these drugs to retain that feeling.

Xanax is one of the strongest in the benzo family.

It enters and leaves the system rapidly. This causes withdrawal symptoms to take place quickly. Once the drug is gone, the brain is unable to produce GABA on its own. This leaves the user feeling very paranoid, depressed, and anxious.

Xanax Withdrawl Symptoms

During detox, your heart rate and blood pressure may increase. Abrupt stoppage can lead to seizures and even death. Symptoms of Xanax withdrawal:

  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Loss of feeling in fingers
  • Heart palpitations
  • Light and sound sensitivity
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Delirium

Duration of Withdrawal

After prolonged use of a benzodiazepine, the brain needs time to heal. It has to relearn how to function without the drug. This can take longer depending on the severity of the addiction.

Long-term effects of Xanax abuse increase risks of dementia, psychosis, and cognitive impairment.

Withdrawal Timeline

Acute withdrawal symptoms begin 6 to 12 hours after the last dosage. They grow and peak around day two and begin to subside between 4-5 days. This is the phase of the most physical discomfort. Longer symptoms can last for weeks or months.

The severity of withdrawal from Xanax depends on the dosage and the length of time the drug was used.

Without proper medical assistance, withdrawal symptoms can last years.

Detoxing from Xanax on Your Own

If you decide you want to stop taking Xanax, talk to your prescribing doctor. He or she will start to wean you off the medication. Decreasing by 5-10% biweekly can lessen the effects of acute withdrawal symptoms.

Quitting Xanax cold turkey could have dangerous effects. People with seizure disorders are more at risk for a life-threatening episode.

It is common to experience anxiety and depression after ending usage. These may also be more severe than before use of a benzodiazepine.

The severity of withdrawal is increased while your brain is unable to produce GABA.

Medical Detox for Xanax

The safest way to detox from Xanax is under the care of a medical professional. A clinical environment offers 24-hour care during withdrawal. Any emergencies that appear can be handled safely and effectively.

How Medical Detox Works and What to Expect

You may also go through the tapering phase in a clinical environment. Physicians and nurses will offer medications that ease the detox process.

Successfully recovering from addiction takes years to accomplish. The physical and psychological effects of drug use must be handled with equal care. Without treating the cause of drug abuse, relapse can occur.

The most successful methods of recovery offer a holistic, evidence-based approach. Effective treatment also addresses the person’s legal, psychological, medical, social, and job-related issues. No addiction treatment is one-size-fits-all because no addiction is the same.

A combination of therapy, medication, and aftercare is a must for successful results. In order to find the best facility, you will need to assess your individual needs.

Consult with an independent physician. This will tell you what your specific treatment needs are. It will also inform you of whether the center can help you achieve your goals.

Medications Available for Xanax Detox

Medications like SSRIs are prescribed to combat the anxiety that emerges during withdrawal. These medications aren’t habit-forming and users do not build up a tolerance to them.

A drawback of SSRIs is that they can take up to six weeks to take effect. They also have their own set of side-effects from discontinued use.

Valium is a common replacement to assist with Xanax detox. Valium is a slower acting benzodiazepine which means it leaves the body slower. This helps make the withdrawal symptoms more manageable.

Tapering Xanax can be difficult due to pill size. Valium is easy to taper, helping the body get used to the gradual decrease.