know before taking Xanax

An Antidote and a Problem: 11 Things You Need to Know About Xanax

About 5% of American adults suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).  Chronic insomnia, restlessness, irritability, lack of focus and pain from prolonged muscle tension is enough to wear anyone into submission.

If you’re suffering from these symptoms, taking Xanax might seem like a good idea. But, recent scientific findings reveal that Xanax might be worse for your long-term well-being.

In this article, we’ll reveal eleven things you should know about Xanax. We’ll also talk about where you can find relief from addiction.

#11: Xanax Has Short Term Side-Effects

The short-term side effects of Xanax include: decrease or loss of physical coordination, slowed breathing, heart palpitations, stuffy nose, sweating, chest pain, blurred vision, upset stomach, and swelling of hands or feet.

Meanwhile, psychological side effects of Xanax can include irritability, dizziness, loss of focus, sleeping problems, memory loss/difficulty, and fatigue.

These might seem like a fair trade to relieve the symptoms of generalized anxiety. But there’s much more to consider whether Xanax is the best option.

#10: Xanax Can Be Both an Antidote, and a Problem

Taking Xanax People with GAD want to enjoy life again. They want freedom from the creeping worries, the “adrenaline bleed” and the feelings of impending dread. This is perfectly reasonable considering these statistics about Xanax use in America:

  • 77% of Americans regularly experience the physical symptoms of stress.
  • 73% of Americans regularly experience the psychological symptoms of stress.
  • 33% of the American population lives with “extreme stress.”

So, if you’re experiencing extreme stress, you’re not alone. Plenty of people start taking Xanax during a stressful period of their lives, but they stop before the habit becomes an addiction.

But for others, the desire for temporary relief leads to long-term dependency. This is because, while Xanax “turns down the volume,” on GAD symptoms, it doesn’t eliminate the cause.

Instead, it slowly makes your body dependent on the drug, which is the first phase of addiction. The more dependent you become on Xanax, the further you get from learning to cope with the symptoms of stress and anxiety.

In a 2015 study, only 16% of American adults reported that their stress had decreased over the previous year.  Meanwhile, 48% of American adults reported an increase in stress symptoms.

Doctors across America write about 50 million prescriptions for the family of drugs (benzodiazepines, or “benzos”) to which Xanax belongs. Xanax is one of the top ten best-selling (prescription) drugs in America and the 5th most prescribed drug.

Xanax prescriptions have also increased since 2008-averaging about a 9% increase every year. All these statistics reveal two important things about Xanax use in America:

  1. Xanax is becoming more popular.
  2. Stress is becoming more common.

This suggests that Xanax is not the long-term answer to treating America’s growing epidemic of stress and anxiety. But that’s not all.

#9: Xanax Use Has Been Linked to Depression Symptoms

Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults (18 or over) in the United States. That’s 18.1% of the population, making anxiety the most common mental health issue in North America.

What most people don’t know is that nearly half those diagnosed with anxiety disorders are also diagnosed with depression. Xanax is a tranquilizer. On the streets, it would be called a “downer.”

It doesn’t take a medical degree to figure out that downers are the last thing a depressed person needs. Of course, you might be one of the 10% of Americans who suffer from anxiety, but not from depression.

But we’ll explain later how taking Xanax over a long enough time period could change that. For now, you should know that 33% of long-term Xanax users report an increase in depression-like symptoms.

#8: Xanax is Highly Addictive

Alprazolam, a member of the benzodiazepines drug family, is the generic name for Xanax.

Like other benzodiazepines, alprazolam calms your brain and central nervous system by enhancing the effect of a naturally occurring neurotransmitter called “GABA” (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid).

Your body releases GABA to calm you when you’re anxious. GABA then binds to receptors, which transmit a “message” to your central nervous system, sending a wave of calm throughout your body.

The problem is, if your GABA receptors are overloaded, they become less sensitive to these “chill out” messages. This means, your brain has to send more GABA neurotransmitters to get the same message across to the rest of your body.

To put this into perspective, imagine trying to shout instructions at a group of people. Every time you shout for new instructions, the people lose a little bit of their hearing. You have to shout louder, and louder, and louder until you can’t shout any louder.

This is essentially what benzodiazepine addiction does to your brain and nervous system. The more Xanax you take, the more you have to take. This is why people who start taking just a few Xanax a day eventually find themselves swallowing them like tic tacs.

#7: Xanax Addiction Literally Rewires Your Brain

Modern neuroscientists have discovered that your brain can “rewire” itself in response to your behaviors and your environment.

Norman Doidge, M.D. (author of “The Brain that Changes Itself”), writes about stroke patients who regained their power of speech and a woman with literally half a brain who lived a perfectly normal life.

How is this possible? Because the neural networks in your brain are not static. They can reorganize themselves to compensate for brain function lost through injury or disease.

This is called “neuroplasticity,” and the brain can perform this function at any stage of life. But, when it comes to addiction, neuroplasticity has a dark side.

To paraphrase a statement from a 2012 addiction study conducted at the Centre for Neuroscience Research at the University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia:

“Addiction is a long-term and recurring brain disorder where compulsive patterns of drug use and drug seeking eclipse other activities. As the behavior goes from casual to compulsive, the potential for relapse is underpinned by neuroadaptations in brain circuitry, similar to those at work during long-term memory formation.”

In other words, drug addiction “programs” your brain for dependency. While the brain can heal by reprograming itself, it takes time, energy and proper conditioning.

People who go to rehab have a fighting chance at making this change. But, since 95% of people who need specialty substance abuse treatment don’t get it, it’s easy to see why so many people become slaves to addiction.

Thankfully, there is a way out of this tangled web of dependency. But it takes more than willpower. We’ll talk about that later.

#6: Xanax Abuse Can Lead to Other Types of Drug Abuse

By now, you know that addiction changes your brain and its interaction with your nervous system. But if your neuro-receptors are “numbed” to one neurotransmitter (such as GABA), you can still get a similar effect by switching to a different drug.

Many of the people who come to us for Xanax addiction treatment are combining it with alcohol or other illicit drugs. Also, since Xanax users report an increase in depression symptoms, some of them use stimulants to treat the depression.

In fact, 86% of people who seek assistance for Xanax problems admit to taking Xanax as a secondary drug. Again, this is because addiction changes your brain’s wiring.

Once these changes happen, addiction becomes less about one particular drug and more about the general use of mood-modifying chemicals.

#5: Taking Xanax Puts Others in Your Life at Risk

About one in twelve high-school seniors self-report to having abused Xanax at some point. Seven out of ten of them admit to getting the pills from their parents’ medicine cabinet.

The same sources reported that half of these teens believe that using prescription drugs for recreation is safer than using illegal drugs. But again, addiction changes your brain in a way that makes you highly vulnerable to other types of drug abuse, including illegal drugs.

In 2009, sixteen million Americans over the age of twelve admitted having used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes. Nearly half of teens who take Xanax will take it with at least one other drug.

So, if you’re a parent taking Xanax, it’s worth considering whether your teen will become one of these statistics.

#4: Xanax Withdrawal is Physically and Emotionally Stressful

An addict who decides to quit has no choice but to go through withdrawal. Sometimes, the fear and dread of withdrawal is so severe, it stops the addict from getting help.

Friends or family members who call our addiction intervention specialists understand this. They see their loved ones trying to quit, or cut back, only to be beaten into submission by the physical and emotional stress of withdrawal.

Thankfully, Xanax withdrawal is temporary, and there is freedom on the other side. But Xanax detoxification should happen under intense medical supervision.

It’s also best followed up by an intensive drug rehab program to ensure long-term success. But if you, or someone you love, is headed towards Xanax addiction, it’s important to know that Xanax withdrawal can be more stressful than the anxiety it’s supposed to treat.

#3: Xanax Addiction Can Erode Your Relationships

The average person with a Xanax addiction will take between 20 and 30 pills a day. The more Xanax you take, the more likely people are to get worried. If they think you’re losing control, they’ll try to either distance themselves or to help.

In many cases, people who want to help can be the hardest people to deal with. If you have any experience with addiction, you’ve probably heard them say things like:

  • “Why don’t you just stop?”
  • “You’re going to kill yourself.”
  • “You can stop if you really want to.”

If you’re suffering from anxiety and/or depression, you don’t want to be around people who make you feel worse. This is why addicts often distance themselves even from the people who are just trying to help.

People who suffer from depression and anxiety have less frequent social interactions. Considering how hard it is for non-addicts to understand addiction, it’s easy to see why. Addicts also retreat from relationships due to feelings of shame or inadequacy.

#2: Benzodiazepine Related Deaths Are On the Rise in America

Every day, about 115 Americans die from overdosing on opioids. Over 30% of these overdoses involve benzodiazepines. But that’s not all.

Since 1999, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported a consistent rise in opioid deaths involving benzodiazepines.

In 1999, the average death count ranged between 5,000 and 10,000. By 2015, that number had exploded to between 30,000 and 35,000. Other commonly abused benzodiazepines include Valium (diazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam), and Ativan (lorazepam).

Between 1996 and 2013, the number of adults fulfilling these benzodiazepine prescriptions increased from 8.1 million to 13.5 million. That’s a 67% increase.

Benzodiazepine purchase sizes are also on the rise. The average (out of 100,000 adults) quantity of benzodiazepine obtained has risen from 1.1 kg to 3.6 kg lorazepam-equivalents.

In 2016, the CDC issued new guidelines for opioid prescription in an attempt to slow the rising death toll. The guidelines recommend clinicians to avoid prescribing benzodiazepines along with opioids.

The FDA also issued a “black box” warning to warn of the dangers of using opioids and benzodiazepine together.

However, this growing trend of Xanax addiction and regulatory pressure has also created a black market for Xanax. Underground Xanax dealers sell pills for $1 and $10 a piece (depending on dose size).

This trend has turned Xanax addiction into an expensive habit and Xanax addicts into criminals.

#1: Good News: Xanax Addiction is Treatable

How do you know if your Xanax habit has become an addiction?

The World Health Organization (ICD-10) and the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV), has set six qualification standards for answering that question:

  1. Withdrawal: physical and/or emotional.
  2. Limited control: regrets about dosage size or frequency.
  3. Lifestyle consequences: negative impact on your relationships, career or physical health.
  4. Neglect of activities: putting off or neglecting social, career or recreational activities.
  5. Wasted time and/or energy: excessive time spent hiding or indulging the habit.
  6. The desire to stop: multiple failed attempts to quit or cut back.

If you, or someone you love, meets three or more of these qualifications, it’s time to get help. The good news is that a personalized Xanax addiction treatment plan can be very successful.

The problem is, only one out of ten addicts actually get help. You can make a choice today to escape this grim statistic and find freedom.

Stop Taking Xanax and Start Your Recovery Today

Xanax isn’t the only alternative for treating stress and anxiety. In fact, 90% of patients who take Xanax alternatives claim to do just as well as those taking Xanax.

This is good news. And the sooner you get into a personalized and professional treatment plan, the sooner you can be free of Xanax addiction.

Just call us or fill in our contact form to get started right now.  Our benzodiazepine addiction treatment programs typically start with drug detoxification, followed by intensive inpatient or outpatient rehab programs.  Talking to an intervention specialist is the first step to discovering which program is best for you.

Isn’t it time to break the cycle? Contact us right now, and let’s put you on the road to recovery.

xanax addiction and abuse

What to Expect When Going Through Xanax Withdrawal

About 20 percent of all Americans have abused prescription drugs by using them for medical reasons.

One of the most commonly abused drugs is Xanax, or Alprazolam by its generic name. Though originally created to help people manage the symptoms of their anxiety and panic attacks, many people unwittingly become addicted to this benzodiazepine pill.

If you suspect that your own Xanax use has spiraled out of control, or if you’re concerned that someone you care about is currently abusing Xanax, you may be curious about recovery and treatment options.

You’re also likely to be wondering what you should expect when it comes to Xanax withdrawal.

In addition to pointing out the signs of addiction and why the drug is so addictive, we’ll also provide you with a rough timeline of withdrawal from Xanax. Then, we’ll tell you how you can find the right treatment plan for yourself or someone you love.

What Makes Xanax so Addictive?

In order to fully prepare for the withdrawal symptoms from Xanax, you first need to understand what makes it so addictive.

The percentage of people who have developed an addiction to Xanax has risen steadily over the past few years.

While this certainly has to do with an increase in Xanax prescriptions, the truth is that addiction and deaths from overdoses are becoming more and more commonplace in America. National attention on emergencies like the Opioid Crisis makes it clear that addiction is a serious issue.

The point here is that addiction can happen to anyone, at any time. It doesn’t discriminate based on social class, gender, age, or religion. The addict could be the medical doctor that gives you your annual checkup, the college professor, or the hardworking PTA mom whose addiction eventually turns her homeless.

So, how do people become addicted?

First of all, it’s incredibly easy to build up a high tolerance for Xanax (and other benzos) fairly quickly. You might find that you need to take a higher dosage of pills and take the pills more frequently than you did in the past just to feel the same results.

Plus, many people enjoy the feelings of bliss and relaxation that abusing Xanax creates. Xanax actually interferes with your brain’s GABA receptors, which gives you an enormous rush of endorphins.

In other words, the “rewards sector” of your brain is activated, and you feel good.

Soon, you’ve taken so much that you realize you can no longer go about your normal daily routine without a huge amount of pills.

Now, let’s take a quick look at some of the most common signs and symptoms of a Xanax addiction.

The Signs of Xanax Addiction

There are physical, behavioral, and psychological signs of a Xanax addiction. The severity of these symptoms will vary from addict to addict, and will usually depend on the amount they abuse and how long they’ve been taking Xanax.

You may notice that the addict seems tired all the time and that they can’t focus or even go about daily life with the same energy they used to. Their speech may start to slur, and they may have trouble with coordination and even walking normally.

If the addict is your partner, you may also notice a lack of a sex drive. They may complain of being nauseous or light-headed, and frequently tell you that they feel dizzy or have a headache.

You may start to notice that they’re forgetting details of important conversations, or that they sleep through things like their work alarms or other key events.

The addict may seem confused, and you may feel like you need to walk on eggshells around them. It’s hard to tell what sets them off these days, but their mood swings have become intense and frequent.

At times, they seem almost manic. They speak quickly, but what they say really doesn’t make much sense. Soon afterward, they become enraged or fall into a crying fit.

You may feel like the addict just isn’t around as much anymore, and when they are, they just seem to want to stir things up. They’re accusatory, they blame you for things that aren’t your fault, and they only seem to come around when they need money from you.

In short, they’re just not the friend, parent, or romantic partner you once knew. Perhaps you’ve even recognized a few of these symptoms in yourself.

What Makes Xanax Withdrawal Worth It?

You know firsthand that attempting to negotiate with an addict can be a nightmare.

If you’re the person with the addition to Xanax, you may also be curious about why you should bother to go through the pain and process of Xanax withdrawals.

First of all, when you’re addicted to Xanax, you face real-world consequences for your actions. You’ll lose friendships, potentially your jobs, and maybe even custody of your children.

But getting clean and sober is about a lot more than just getting your emotional life back on track.

There are serious long-term and immediate health risks to Xanax users.

These include severe depression and the development of possible mood disorders, a loss of or extreme damage to brain cells, and even a loss of memory.

In addition to experiencing hallucinations and paranoia, a long-term abuse of Xanax seriously increases your likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s later in life. You’ll also be much more likely to have seizures, a heart attack, or a stroke.

This risk is compounded if you use other drugs and drink alcohol to excess while taking Xanax.

Of course, the risk of overdose and death is always present when you’re abusing Xanax or any other type of benzos.

This, more than anything else, should be the reason why you get treatment. Now, let’s take a closer look at what you can expect from a Xanax withdrawal.

Xanax Withdrawal: What to Expect

If you decide to enter into treatment or have convinced someone you love to go, the first phase of your plan will likely be a detox process.

This is much safer than quitting Xanax “cold turkey,” but it helps to know what to expect.

Keep in mind that the type of withdrawal symptoms you deal with will depend on the other medications or alcohol you’re using or abusing, if you have any psychological issues, and your general health.

The withdrawal symptoms from Xanax will also vary in length and severity depending on how much Xanax you’ve been taking.

Immediate or Early Symptoms

In most cases, the symptoms of Xanax withdrawal begin about 12 hours after the last dose of Xanax has been taken.

The immediate symptoms listed here will usually last throughout the entire detoxification process, but will gradually become less severe.

Usually, however, the first few days of the detox (days one through four) are the most difficult.

You may experience a wide variety of physical and emotional symptoms during this initial phase. They can include numbness in the extremities of the body, pain, headaches, blurry vision, and intense sweating.

You may find that your anxiety is at an all-time high, perhaps even worse than it was before you started taking Xanax. Unfortunately, this is one of the most common signs of Xanax withdrawal.

This psychological instability is one of the reasons why it’s so important not to quit on your own. The temptation to use again in a futile attempt to “regain control” is simply too great.

You may also deal with a loss of appetite, increased heart rate, and find that you’re overly sensitive to light and sound. Sleeping will also be a challenge during this phase, so expect to deal with insomnia.

Finally, tremors in the hands and throughout the body are very common in the early stages of withdrawal. “The shakes” can be irritating and difficult to control. You may find that you also feel incredibly nauseous and that you feel generally sore throughout your entire body.

Serious Xanax Withdrawal Risks

Unfortunately, many people are at a high risk of experiencing more severe consequences of withdrawal.

Once again, this is where we remind you that it’s never a good idea to stop using on your own – it could kill you.

For example, you could have a grand mal seizure, which means that you completely lose consciousness in addition to have muscle convulsions. In some cases, you may go into a coma. This is less likely if you detox through a medical program.

You may also experience psychosis, including paranoid delusions and frightening hallucinations. Though the majority of your psychological treatment will take place in rehab, some mental health care may be provided during the detox phase as well.

Additionally, some addicts are at risk for malignant hyperthermia, which happens when your body temperature goes over 106 degrees. In rare cases, this may cause bleeding in your brain.

If this happens, you’ll want to be in a place where you’re able to get immediate and professional medical attention. That’s just one more reason why you should enter a detox facility.

You should also be aware that, depending on the nature of addiction, you may face protracted withdrawal. This means that your withdrawal symptoms can last for several weeks or even months longer than the average user.

Additionally, these symptoms could come on seemingly out of nowhere.

In such cases, medication and a more specific detox/treatment program may need to be created.

Potential Xanax Withdrawal Remedies

Especially if your team feels that you’re at a high risk for some of the more severe Xanax withdrawal symptoms mentioned above, you may need medication to help you to make it through the detox process.

There are several different medications that you could be prescribed.

In some cases, you’ll need to be given a dosage of a long-acting benzo like Valium, with the intention of gradually and safely decreases your dosage over time.

In some cases, medications like Gabapentin, Divalproex, and Carbamazepine can also be used to help to ease withdrawal symptoms.

The idea here is that you’ll be able to better control your overall cravings for the pills because a small amount of them are still in your bloodstream. You may also be given anti-depressants and beta-blockers, depending on the opinions of your medical team.

Soon, you’ll be ready to enter into talk therapy. Treatments often include cognitive behavioral therapy. This helps you to recognize the triggers that cause you to want to use and gives you effective coping mechanisms to resist the urge to do it.

You’ll also work with your team to address the psychological reasons why you may have become addicted to Xanax in the first place. You’ll slowly learn how to rebuild your life without Xanax.

The journey will certainly be a challenge, but we can promise you that it’s well worth it. Now, let’s talk about how you can begin your first step on the road to recovery.

Are You Ready to Get Help for a Xanax Addiction?

We hope that this post has taught you more about the reasons for Xanax addiction, as well as what you can expect out of Xanax withdrawal.

You don’t have to spend the rest of your life letting your Xanax addiction control things. You shouldn’t let the potential symptoms of Xanax withdrawal stop you from getting the help that you need, either.

Instead, find the right detox and rehab center for you.

Let us help you understand your insurance, connect with a facility that’s a good fit for your personality and level/type of addiction, and much more.

Reach out to us to get started.

Xanax withdrawal

Comprehending the When and How to Xanax Withdrawal

1 out of 7 Americans will struggle with addiction.

What does the word addiction mean to you? For most people, when they hear of someone being an “addict”, they think of them as lacking willpower. If they really wanted to quit, they would just stop, right?

Unfortunately, addiction is a deceptive disease that doesn’t have anything to do with willpower. Many people are aware they have a substance abuse problem yet they don’t know what to do about it.

Fortunately, new studies are helping medical communities better understand addiction. Previous negative stereotypes are being erased and treatment methods are improving.

People are learning that addiction is a chronic disorder that usually requires some kind of intervention. Without outside help, it can be more difficult and even impossible for the individuals to quit using a substance.

Are you or a loved one suffering from an addiction to Xanax? Learning about Xanax withdrawal can help prepare you for what lies ahead. Read on to learn about how and when you should quit taking Xanax.

How Xanax Works

Xanax withdrawal is easier to understand when you know how Xanax works. The official medical name for Xanax is alprazolam, and it belongs to the benzodiazepines family.

While benzodiazepines aren’t opioids, they are a type of painkiller and tranquilizer. Because Xanax affects your mood, it’s considered a type of psychoactive drug. It’s also a sedative with effects that are similar to those of valium.

Doctors usually prescribe benzodiazepines with the intention of the patient using them temporarily. Minor wounds, surgeries, and dental procedures often result in a prescription for benzodiazepines. However, they can also receive a prescription to take on an as-needed basis for panic disorders.

What Does Xanax Do to Your Brain Chemistry?

Xanax affects your brain and central nervous system with the purpose of helping your body to calm down. Xanax is meant to treat anxiety and problems with panic disorders. It works by communicating with your brain’s GABA neurotransmitter.

GABA is short for gamma-aminobutyric acid. Your body naturally produces the chemical GABA to produce sedative effects. If you’re in distress, your brain receives a message.

Your body tells your brain that you are feeling a negative emotion and need help. Anger, sadness, anxiety, and fear all send signals to your brain that you should try to relax.

In an effort to calm you down, your body will release GABA. After you take Xanax, it works on enhancing your GABA neurotransmitter’s activity. As a result, more of the calming chemical enters your bloodstream.

When used for a long time, Xanax can cause mild to severe withdrawal symptoms. If you take high dosages for a long period of time, the withdrawal symptoms can become more intense. After a long period of use, Xanax will no longer be as effective on your body.

Xanax isn’t a bad medication–it’s actually very good at helping people overcome their anxieties. However, many people struggle with its addictive properties. Individuals who have had drug and alcohol problems before are more prone to becoming addicted.

The standard dose for Xanax is usually between .75 and 1.5 milligrams. Directions for dosages will be different for every individual. However, in most cases, doctors will tell patients to only take Xanax when they really need it.

How Long Does It Stay In Your System?

Xanax begins working the moment your body starts to digest it.

Within minutes of taking it, you’ll feel the drug affecting your central nervous system. When you take it in high dosages, Xanax can give users a euphoric relaxation. It’s easy to abuse Xanax because it works quickly and is noticeably effective.

Many people with an addiction to Xanax say they use the drug to escape from negative feelings. You can become addicted to Xanax even if you take the recommended dosage. Your body begins to crave the mental escape and feeling of peace.

After taking Xanax for a few weeks, it can start to become habit forming. You’ll notice that you feel the need to take more of the drug and you feel anxious when you’re running low.

The high you feel from high dosages of Xanax only lasts 2-4 hours. During that time the user won’t feel an ounce of pain or worry. However, after the high has worn off, you might feel sluggish and tired.

After prolonged use of Xanax, your body will build a tolerance. Your body will no longer respond to the drug at the same level it was before.

Instead of releasing a lot of GABA, your brain will only release a little bit. As the GABA production slows down, the user will have to take even higher dosages.

You can become dependent on Xanax to regulate your brain’s activity. If you develop a dependence on Xanax, you’ll only be happy when you have it in your system. After developing a dependency, you can start to experience problems with withdrawal symptoms.

Next, we’ll explain exactly what withdrawal means.

What Is Xanax Withdrawal?

It is possible to become addicted to a substance that you have a prescription for. Individuals are most likely prescribed Xanax because of a problem that’s affecting the quality of their life.

The problem could be anxiety issues, panic disorders, or other feelings of fear and impending doom. Anxiety and panic disorders can be symptoms of a chemical imbalance. Xanax is helpful but doesn’t fix the chemical imbalance causing the anxiety or panic.

Instead, Xanax is more like a band-aid that helps cover up the symptoms with a temporary solution. Withdrawing from benzodiazepine (Xanax) can be even more dangerous than withdrawing from cocaine. Fear of previous anxiety symptoms resurfacing can add extra stress to the user.

The drug also affects your brains chemistry and causes your mind to need the drug to function properly. Xanax withdrawal happens when you abruptly decrease the dosage or stop taking the drug. The previously suppressed chemical imbalances will now begin to resurface.

Except now your brain expects the presence of Xanax to help regulate its systems. Your brain adapted to using Xanax and now you’re asking it to function on its own. The previous problems with anxiety are now exacerbated by your brain’s inability to fix the problem.

Withdrawal can begin within hours after you stop taking Xanax. Immediately, individuals can start to feel both emotional and physical side effects. After a few days, the symptoms can worsen in intensity.

Physical Symptoms of Withdrawl

There are several physical symptoms of Xanax withdrawal.

Here is a list of some of the symptoms you could experience during withdrawal:

  • Sweating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Blurry vision
  • Numbness in fingers
  • Lack of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Sudden weight gain or loss
  • Women may have intense menstrual cramps
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Tingling in legs and or arms
  • Hypertension
  • Tightness in jaw
  • Tooth pain
  • Heart palpitations
  • Muscle spasms

Benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome is another way to describe these unpleasant symptoms. Everyone will have their own unique experience of quitting Xanax.

Psychological Symptoms of Withdrawl

Along with physical symptoms, there are psychological symptoms too.

Here’s a list of the different withdrawal symptoms you could experience:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Paranoia
  • Fear
  • Sensitivity to an external stimulus (like lights and sounds)
  • Confusion
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Depression
  • Isolation from loved ones

Your personal brain chemistry can affect the withdrawal experience. A previous chemical imbalance can affect the intensity of the symptoms. If you had major anxiety problems before, the symptoms of Xanax withdrawal could be more intense for you.

Cold Turkey Detox

How you quit will affect your withdrawal from Xanax symptoms. Quitting cold turkey means you immediately stop taking Xanax. Abruptly quitting any addictive substance can cause your withdrawal symptoms to intensify.

Your body’s central nervous system can go into shock when you don’t wean off Xanax.

Your brain will exhaust itself as it tries to make up for the lack of GABA. In many cases, the symptoms will come in waves. Users may think they are finally free of withdrawal symptoms.

Yet after a short while, they find themselves facing another wave of debilitating symptoms. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms after you thought you were in the clear is a form of post-acute withdrawal syndrome(PAWS).

The syndrome causes people to suffer through emotional and physical pain even though the drug is no longer in your system. If you experience PAWS, you may have the following issues:

  • Problems remembering things
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Problems paying attention
  • Low energy levels

Benzodiazepine has been a leading cause for a few fatality cases. In most of the cases, the individual isn’t passing away from an overdose of Xanax but rather from quitting abruptly.

One case involves a female user who was using high dosages of Xanax. The woman took approximately 200mg of Xanax over the course of 6 days. After she ran out, she quit taking the drug altogether.

Four days later she went to the hospital with a high temperature, hypertension, and seizures. About 15 hours after entering the hospital, the woman passed away. Sadly, she probably could’ve survived if she hadn’t tried to quit alone.

A safer way to quit Xanax is to taper off and slowly lower your dosages. Quitting without medical supervision is dangerous and can be deadly.

Slowly Quitting Xanax

The safest method for detox is to taper off using medical supervision. You might be wondering how long Xanax withdrawal lasts. The answer will vary from person to person.

Depending on how long you’ve been using Xanax, you might need extra time to detox. Having medical professionals guide the process will help protect you from life-threatening situations.

You can avoid problems with psychosis and seizures when you slowly wean off the drug. While you go through medical detox, the medical staff will look out for your safety and well-being. To help you taper off your Xanax, they will slowly lower your dosage over time.

The amount they lower your Xanax dosage to will depend on how much you were taking previously. The recovery process could take up to 8 weeks or in some cases even longer. Your physician will slowly lower the dosage more and more every week.

Your friends and family members can be a great support system while you’re withdrawing from Xanax. However, they shouldn’t be your only source of support. You should always have medical assistance to detox successfully and safely.

While family members may mean well, they could accidentally make things worse for you.

Certain family members might try to use a tough love approach while other members may hover and over-focus on your needs. The stress caused by relying on family for detox can actually end up prolonging your withdrawal symptoms.

Finding a Treatment Center

You or your loved ones don’t have to go through Xanax withdrawal alone.

Addiction treatment services can guide you to the help you need. Recovery becomes possible the moment you or a loved one acknowledges the need for treatment.

Addiction Treatment Services helps provide families with the answers they need to get treatment. Our goal is to help simplify things for you by providing you with guidance. Our team of experts work within the industry and can help you understand the different treatment processes and options.

We can also help you comprehend how insurance plays into entering a treatment program. After you feel comfortable with how the treatment works, we can begin to make referrals. Our team can recommend professional intervention services. We can also refer you to the best addiction treatment centers.

Let us guide you and your family to the best help possible. Contact us today to schedule an intervention, ask questions, or request more information.

getting off Xanax

How to Get Off Xanax Safely

Doctors have prescribed Xanax to almost 50 million people for help with anxiety, panic attacks, and more.

As a benzodiazepine, Xanax (or Alprazolam) works within the GABA receptors of your brain and central nervous system to help you feel calm.

There are several different dosages of Xanax that you can take — however, it’s important to note that, when not used correctly, Xanax can be addictive.

In some cases, you may notice that you’ve built up a high tolerance in as little as six months.

If getting off Xanax is a priority for you, then you need to make sure you do it safely.

So, what do you need to know about how to stop taking Xanax?

Keep on reading this post to find out.

Never Quit Cold Turkey

What is one of the most important things you need to know about getting off Xanax?

Going cold turkey is never the right approach.

We know that, especially since deaths from overdoses on benzos like Xanax are on the rise, you may feel that the best thing for your health is to put down your pill bottle and never pick it up again.

However, doing that could cause you to experience severe withdrawal symptoms. This is because your body has developed a chemical dependency on Xanax. Depriving your body of the pills could cause it to start shutting down.

When you stop taking Xanax completely, your brain’s GABA activity plummets. Soon, your body begins to look for other ways to produce a healthy amount of neurotransmitters.

This puts you at a high risk for experiencing some dangerous withdrawal symptoms. These include tremors and full-body convulsions, seizures, entry into a coma, and even feelings of mania.

Be aware that, even if you don’t feel these Xanax withdrawals within the first few hours of going cold turkey, they may appear after a few days without the pills.

In some cases, you may experience severe withdrawal effects even after you’ve stopped taking Xanax for good. That’s why it’s so important to enter into a medically-supervised detox program — especially if you’ve been taking Xanax for a long period of time. They can help manage your withdrawal so that you don’t suffer any long-term effects.

Why You Should Stop Taking Xanax

Some people are so afraid of the potential Xanax withdrawal symptoms that they wonder if it’s worth getting off Xanax.

After all, it’s only a pill, right?

Wrong.

When abused, Xanax can lead to serious consequences on your long-term health.

People who abuse Xanax often struggle with memory problems and general confusion. In fact, many aren’t aware that long-term abuse of Xanax actually makes you more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

In some cases, you may experience extreme, frightening psychosis. Xanax abuse can cause both auditory and visual hallucinations, which can worsen any pre-existing psychological conditions you may have.

You’re also more likely to develop seizures and lose lots of your overall muscular coordination. Expect to feel not only tired, but exhausted and lethargic, almost all the time.

Of course, we haven’t even discussed yet the serious consequences that abuse and addiction can have on your relationships, your finances, and your career.

Understanding the Xanax Withdrawal Timeline

If you’re weaning off Xanax in a medical environment (we’ll talk in more detail about what to expect later on in this post), we know you’re curious about the withdrawal timeline.

In general, you should expect to experience the first symptoms of withdrawal between 6-12 hours after you’ve taken your final dose.

Remember that if you take fast-acting Xanax, you may experience symptoms even sooner than that. During your initial withdrawal phase, you’ll likely deal with intense anxiety and paranoia. You’ll also feel restless, and will probably deal with insomnia.

Soon afterward, you’ll begin to enter the second phase of withdrawal from Xanax. This is, unfortunately, the most difficult part of the withdrawal timeline. You should expect it to last for about 1-4 days in total.

You may deal with nausea and vomiting, continue to have insomnia, experience panic attacks, and suffer from diarrhea. In some cases, your symptoms will feel somewhat like the flu — think chills and fever, excessive sweating, and a loss of appetite.

The next phase, which can last for up to two weeks after the second withdrawal stage ends, is somewhat of a continuation of the above symptoms. However, they’ll begin to subside during this time.

You’ll begin to feel better after about 14-15 days off Xanax completely. This is likely when you’ll enter a longer-term treatment program and rehabilitation center.

Understanding Your Detox Options

Anywhere from 10-20% of people who have to take Xanax will eventually become addicted to the medication.

Because of alarming numbers like these, you’ll have lots of different ways of getting off Xanax.

In some cases — especially if your addiction is more severe — you may even use other benzos to help your body learn how to detox from Xanax. This helps you go through detox without experiencing withdrawal symptoms that could cause you harm.

This is part of the process of tapering off of Xanax, and it’s something that you should never attempt on your own.

Coming up with your own Xanax taper schedule is dangerous, and it’s likely that you’ll start using again because the symptoms you will experience will be so intense.

Benzos like Valium are given in smaller dosages, gradually weaning you off of the drug. Your treatment team will ensure that you only take safe dosages of the medication.

You’ll also have access to other more standard medications in detox to help you to manage the symptoms of withdrawal. In some cases, things like common pain relievers (think Tylenol and Advil) will be able to help you. You may also find that you need to take medications to stop your nausea, like Dramamine.

Especially if you’re suffering from intense gastro-intestinal issues during withdrawal, your medical team may also suggest anti-diarrheal medications.

You’ll also need to make sure that you’ve kept an eye on your overall water intake during the detox process.

You’ll be at a higher risk of dehydration, especially if you’re experiencing withdrawal side effects like vomiting and diarrhea.

Getting enough liquids is also key because serious dehydration can cause seizures. Since during the detox process you’re already at a higher risk for seizures, you need to take hydration seriously.

Co-occurring Mental Health Issues and Xanax Withdrawal

In many cases, those that struggle with an addiction to Xanax also have some sort of a mental health disorder.

This is called a co-occurring disorder, and throughout your treatment, you’ll need to work on developing a plan to help you manage both sides of this difficult coin. But if you have a co-occurring disorder, know that you’re not alone.

In fact, about 8 million people in the United States alone have co-occurring disorders that can cause them serious stress and make them more likely to become addicted to drugs, pills, or alcohol.

It doesn’t matter whether the addiction or the mental health issue came first. The important thing is that you take both of these issues seriously.

Since your mental health issues will increase during the detox process, it’s important that you and your team come up with a plan.

Getting off Xanax also means that you’ll need to stop taking SSRIs and other forms of medication for your mental health. This makes a lot of people nervous, and for good reason.

In the vast majority of cases, you’ll still be able to take the non-benzo mental health medications prescribed to you during the detox process. Of course, if you’re frequently getting sick, the medication won’t be as effective.

This is why cognitive behavioral therapy and standard talk therapy often begin during the detox process itself. Now, let’s take a look at other ways to treat your mental health during the recovery process.

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

It’s important to note that a huge part of learning how to stop taking Xanax for good is to make sure that your mental state has its own recovery process.

While therapy and rehab won’t necessarily be able to completely cure your depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorder, it will be able to teach you coping mechanisms, and will help you to understand the underlying causes of addiction.

One of the most popular methods is cognitive behavioral therapy.

Cognitive behavior therapy, or CBT for short, helps you identify and overcome unhelpful or unproductive patterns of thought. We all have “learned” behaviors influenced by both our genetics and the environments in which we grew up.

In most cases, we’ve all had to develop coping mechanisms and even survival strategies. However, not all of these are healthy or even effective.

CBT is all about understanding not only your own behavior but also what motivates other people. It also has a distinct focus on improving your own sense of self-worth and overall confidence.

You’ll face your fears and will likely even confront difficult realities about your past experiences. In some cases, you may even use role-playing to help you to better understand your overall thought process.

Other Forms of Therapy

Of course, CBT is far from the only kind of therapy that you’ll receive during the rehabilitation process.

In many treatment centers, talk therapy and mental health programs exist to give you the tools that you can use to fill up your recovery toolbox. What works for one person might not be as effective for another, and vice versa.

It’s important that you find a treatment program that treats the whole person. In other words, detoxing alone isn’t enough. You may find that you need to “re-learn” how to live a sober lifestyle.

You may need to understand how to feed your body in a healthy way, or how to master different forms of exercise, and much more.

In some cases, you may even need to find a treatment program that helps you to address and reconnect with members of your family and others that your addiction has hurt.

You may choose to enter into a sober living facility once you complete your inpatient treatment. In some cases, you may even transition into an outpatient program. This means that you’ll spend part of your day at the treatment center, and part of it out in the “real world.”

Your treatment team will be able to help you to develop a recovery program that’s uniquely suited to your needs.

You have no idea how wonderful life can be when you get off Xanax. Are you ready to get started on your own recovery?

Do You Need Help Getting off Xanax?

If you need help getting off Xanax, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. There are millions of people that experience the same hardship you’re going through. There are also people that care and want to help you.

It’s not necessarily your fault that you developed a dependency on Xanax, and it’s not a sign of weakness, either. Many people don’t even realize that they’ve become addicted to Xanax until the symptoms of withdrawal have become unbearable.

If you need help, you shouldn’t quit cold turkey or attempt to wean yourself off of Xanax alone. Doing so only makes you likely to start using again, and it’s dangerous.

Instead, let us connect you to the kind of help that you truly need. No matter what sort of treatment you’re looking for, we’ll help you find it.

A better, benzo-free life is possible, and you can begin to feel like you’re in control of your life again.

Reach out to us to learn how you can get started. We’ll help you start living your best life today!