xanax withdrawal symptoms

Important Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms All Recovering Addicts Should Know

When a loved one recovers from an addiction to Xanax, they’ll experience symptoms of withdrawal.

You might hear of Xanax addiction in the news. But without seeing the effects of the addiction and withdrawal firsthand, it’s hard to understand just how dangerous it is for addicts.

Xanax is a highly addictive medication. And unfortunately, addiction to Xanax is common for prescription drug abusers.

As a person starts to experience the effects of Xanax leaving their system, withdrawal symptoms will become obvious. Here are the Xanax withdrawal symptoms to know and how you can get (or give) help for recovery.

What Is Xanax?

You’ve probably seen commercials for Xanax. It’s a prescription medication used to treat panic disorders and anxiety.

While many people find Xanax helpful when used under the care of a doctor, others find it easily addictive. For serious prescription drug abusers, Xanax is easy to get without a prescription.

If you are prone to alcoholism or other drug abuse, avoid using Xanax.

If your doctor prescribes Xanax, use it exactly as directed. Never increase your dosage of Xanax without approval from your doctor.

And you should never take Xanax for longer than a month. Prolonged use leads to addiction of this medication.

Long-term use of the drug also weakens how well it works. This is often the reason people increase the dosage on their own. They feel it stops working as well as lower dosages, so they increase.

Before they know it, they are taking more than a recommended amount. And they can’t function without it.

How Does Xanax Work?

Xanax is a fast-acting drug. You’ll feel the calming effects of it quickly.

This is one reason why it’s a popular prescription drug for abusers. The fast-acting nature of the drug is also why it’s one of the most popular medications prescribed by doctors.

Xanax affects cognitive functions. When suffering from anxiety and depression, the brain struggles with memory, attention, and thinking.

Using Xanax to calm the brain helps patients focus and respond better to the stress that comes with anxiety.

People who abuse Xanax enjoy the effects that it has on the brain. While Xanax calms the brain’s stress, it also activates the pleasure centers.

In basic terms, Xanax subdues feelings of panic while increasing the brain’s sense of happiness and calmness.

The problem for Xanax abusers is they can no longer feel calm and happy without the use of the drug.

Symptoms of Xanax Abuse

Xanax is a Benzodiazepine (also known as “benzos”). It works to increase the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA in the brain.

The effects of Xanax increase the brain’s ability to reduce reactions to stressors. When used properly, a patient is calm and able to process anxiety in a healthy way.

But when abusing Xanax, a person will show exaggerated signs of feeling relaxed. These symptoms include:

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Lack of motor coordination
  • Blurred vision
  • Increasingly risky behavior

As a person falls deeper into Xanax addiction, watch for these behaviors:

  • Taking more pills than prescribed at one time
  • An inability to reduce a prescribed dosage without severe effects
  • Asking friends or family for their Xanax pills
  • Visiting more than one doctor to get extra Xanax pills
  • Buying Xanax on the street

If you take Xanax and experience these symptoms or behaviors, it’s time to get help. Or if you know someone with these symptoms, they need your help.

It’s important to treat Xanax addiction at the first signs of these symptoms. As abuse continues, the most serious effects of the drug include suicide or overdose.

In some cases, Xanax abuse leads to death due to the drug’s suppression of breathing.

Black Market Xanax Is Dangerous

Drug dealers know the popularity of Xanax as an abuser’s drug of choice. Without a prescription, Xanax is easily available on the black market.

It’s known by street names. If you hear a friend looking for Heavenly Blues, Tranx, Z Bars, or Sleepers, they’re looking for a supply of Xanax on the street.

Fake Xanax is more dangerous than abusing the prescribed drug. Black market Xanax is often laced with fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a pain medication (or opioid) that is stronger than morphine. Combining opioids and benzodiazepines (like Xanax) is extremely dangerous.

Both types of drugs act as a sedative. These drugs lower heart rate and suppress breathing.

Today, opioid overdoses are an epidemic. More than 115 people die in the U.S every day after overdosing on opioids. Combining an opioid with a drug like Xanax increases the potential for overdose.

But the black market isn’t entirely to blame for the combination of Xanax and opioids. Doctors often prescribe the two types of medication together when treating pain and anxiety disorders.

The result is an overdose death rate ten times higher than among those only receiving prescribed opioids.

Stopping Xanax Abuse

The first step to stopping Xanax abuse is to recognize the problem. Talk to a friend or consult with your doctor if you realize you’ve been abusing Xanax.

If a friend is over-medicating with Xanax, talk with them. They need to stop using the drug. But monitor anyone who is reducing or stopping the use of Xanax.

As a person begins to step away from Xanax, they’ll experience symptoms of withdrawal. Xanax stays in your system between two to four days. Within those days, the withdrawal will begin.

Depending on the extent of the abuse, withdrawal symptoms can be light or severe.

In either case, withdrawal should take place under supervision.

Detoxing From Xanax

Your recovery from Xanax addiction begins by detoxing from the drug. Once the drug leaves your system, healing begins.

In a best-case scenario, detoxing from Xanax abuse happens gradually under close supervision. The dosage is gradually reduced to minimize the severity of symptoms.

Going cold-turkey off of Xanax can be dangerous. A sudden decrease of high dosages of medication can lead to seizures and other severe reactions.

When suddenly absent of a calming drug, your brain goes into a panic. This can lead to shock.

Self-detoxification is a dangerous idea. Even if you realize you need help, never attempt to detox alone.

Consider in-patient detox treatment.

Treatment centers are best equipped to handle prescription drug withdrawal. At a qualified facility, detoxification takes place under the care of doctors and psychologists in a safe environment.

Symptoms of Xanax Withdrawal

There’s no easy way to say it: Xanax withdrawal is typically unpleasant.

When you miss your next regular dose of the medication, your body begins to react.

Xanax has a short lifespan in your system. Withdrawal systems can begin soon after you would normally take more of the drug.

Early Stages

Some people experience withdrawal symptoms as soon as six hours after their last dose. These symptoms can be minor changes in behavior or in how you feel.

You might feel general symptoms including:

  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety

As symptoms progress, you’ll begin to experience more commonly seen symptoms of withdrawal. These symptoms include some or all of the following:

  • Sore and stiff muscles
  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Twitches and muscle spasms
  • Tremors or shaking (particularly the hands)
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Teeth pain

If you are slowly reducing the amount of Xanax in your system, these symptoms are more easily managed. Find a safe and quiet place to rest. Have a friend or loved one close by.

Drink plenty of fluids. But avoid any additional medications to counteract the symptoms.

Don’t replace Xanax with other medications or alcohol. It’s important not to replace one addiction with another.

Severe Symptoms

If your withdrawal symptoms for Xanax are more severe than you can handle at home, find a treatment center right away. If you choose to go cold-turkey, you’re more likely to experience severe symptoms.

A doctor should supervise severe withdrawal symptoms or a sudden detox.

In the worst cases of withdrawal, you’ll also experience the symptoms above and more extreme symptoms. These can include:

  • Weight loss or gain
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • A racing heart or heart palpitations

Women in withdrawal might also experience breast tenderness, heavy menstrual bleeding, and menstrual cramping.

Acute Symptoms

Those in the severest form of Xanax withdrawal might also be detoxing from a combination drug. If they used black market Xanax, they could also suffer from withdrawal from an opioid.

Some of the most acute prescription drug withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Dysphoria (trouble feeling pleasure)
  • Depersonalization (or a detachment from self)
  • Hostility or aggression
  • Hallucinations and perceptual changes
  • Extreme sensory sensitivity (to light, touch, or sound)
  • Paranoia
  • Short-term memory loss

It’s critical for a doctor or detox team to supervise a person experiencing hallucinations, paranoia, or depersonalization. A person experiencing any of these symptoms can be a danger to themselves or others.

With depersonalization, you’ll feel disconnected from yourself. You’ll feel like an outside observer–like you’re watching your thoughts or body.

You might also feel like you have no control over what you say or how you move. It’s similar to feeling like you’re a robot under someone else’s control. Feeling like you’re not in control of your speech or movement.

Depersonalization also comes with physical or emotional numbness. You might feel like your memories are not your own.

These are dangerous symptoms. Combined with paranoia and increasing anxiety, it’s a volatile withdrawal situation that requires supervision.

Withdrawal Is Painful

We warned you that withdrawal is not a pleasant experience. Experiencing it yourself is physically painful.

It’s also an exhausting and emotionally draining experience.

Watching a loved one go through withdrawal is also a horrible experience as well. It’s helpless to watch them suffer as their body fights to make sense of itself.

Withdrawal can last several days to more than a week. And there’s no shortcut through the experience.

It’s a messy, ugly process. Your body must expel the drugs and recover to a new state of existence without drug dependence.

When you’ve made it to the other side of your detox, you won’t want to experience withdrawal again.

But while it’s a messy process, withdrawal also leads to beauty and restoration.

After you’ve detoxed from your Xanax addiction, you’ll begin recovery with a clearer mind. You’re no longer bound to the hold of Xanax. You’re now free to live a life without the substance that once controlled your life.

Avoiding Relapse

The best way to avoid another experience with withdrawal is to stop any future addiction before it starts.

Recovering from addiction is an ongoing process. It’s a way of life.

Benzo addiction treatment is especially difficult.

These drugs are some of the most addictive prescription drugs available. And because they have such a calming effect, it’s easy to combine Xanax with alcohol for a compounded mellow experience.

But with the right help, you can live a life free of drugs like Xanax. Choosing detox and withdrawal over drug dependency is always the best choice you can make.

When you’re ready for treatment, it’s important to find the best treatment facility to work through your recovery.

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms Are a Temporary Step to Healing

Xanax withdrawal symptoms are hard, painful, and scary. But they are temporary.

Don’t let the fear of withdrawal symptoms keep you from deciding to stop your dependency on this dangerous prescription drug.

A life of Xanax addiction and the potential for serious consequences is far scarier than withdrawal. We can manage what you’ll suffer through with supervised detoxification.

Addiction Treatment Services helps you to find the best treatment facility for you. The choices can be overwhelming when finding the right place to recover for yourself or a loved one.

We work within the addiction treatment community. Our team helps you understand the treatment process and options. And we find the best resources for you, your insurance, and your specific situation.

It’s hard to know how and when to choose to leave your addiction behind. And it can be hard to know how to step in and help a loved one.

Contact us today. Let us help you find the help you need for yourself or a loved one.

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.