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 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.

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!

Colorado, Other States Seeing Increase in Benzo Addiction

rxbottle2Benzodiazepenes are strong anti-anxiety prescriptions that millions of people across the United States are taking, and many of them are abusing the drugs. Medications like Xanax or Klonopin are commonly prescribed to treat anxiety and insomnia in patients. However, doctors are noticing an alarming trend with these medications. Those who have been on the drug for a long period of time are experiencing adverse effects and are becoming highly addicted. Some patients are speaking out and saying that they wished they had never been put on the drug, or that they had done more research on the potential of the severity of their dependence.

Kelly McMillian started taking Klonopin in 2008 when she was 29 years old. She had gone to her doctor complaining of anxiety and insomnia. At first the medication worked wonders on her symptoms but then she realized that she couldn’t stop taking the drug. If she went a day without the powerful medication her anxiety would become extremely intense, and she wouldn’t sleep. She realized that she had an addiction to benzodiazepenes. In order for her to get off the drug she had to adhere to a strict program to slowly lessen the amount she was taking, so as to not have a seizure or any other of the harmful withdrawal symptoms that are associated with a benzo addiction.

In 2011 the amount of people passing away from drug overdoses surpassed that amount of people who died in drunk driving related accidents. Armed with that alarming news, doctors should be more vigilant in prescribing drugs that are highly addictive, like Xanax. Abruptly stopping a Xanax or any kind of benzo prescription can be extremely dangerous and life threatening. Doctors caution that those who want to stop taking benzos do so under the care of a physician. Some withdrawal symptoms that can occur when a person stops taking benzos are; seizures, insomnia, severe anxiety, intense cravings for the drug and suicidal thoughts.

The state of Colorado has noticed that more and more people in the state are addicted to benzos. Reports show that the amount of people who died from benzo-related causes have almost doubled between the years of 2003 and 2012. Law enforcement cautions that benzos are most dangerous when mixed with alcohol or other drugs.