Xanax, also called alprazolam, is a benzodiazepine medication prescribed by doctors for short-term management of anxiety or sleep disorders. Xanax produces calming effects by suppressing the inhibitory receptors in the brain and central nervous system to decrease abnormal excitement in the brain which leads to anxiety. The drug has addictive properties if taken in large doses over a long period of time. Abuse of the drug is rising due to its pleasurable effects. Learn more about the side effects of detox from Xanax and how to seek help for addiction.
Addiction and abuse of Xanax is a growing problem within the United States. Between 2004-2010, the number of people who visited the emergency room suffering from the effects of Xanax nearly tripled. Of the 125,000 people who visited the ER in 2010, over 96,000 had used more than one drug with Xanax. Most often alcohol, marijuana, cocaine or opiate narcotics are used along with Xanax.
A person with addiction to Xanax may experience withdrawal when the drug is stopped. As the body becomes used to the presence of the drug, it is natural to feel like the drug is needed to keep balance when, in fact, the body will restore balance without the presence of Xanax if given the opportunity. Withdrawal is the body’s way of restoring balance both physically and psychologically. This should only be done under the supervision of a physician as the effects can have serious, negative consequences which include:
- Brain fog
- Increased anxiety
- Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
Individuals with addiction to Xanax who were prescribed the drug for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder or insomnia may experience rebound symptoms after quitting the drug. Rebound effects are intensified symptoms of a pre-existing psychological disorder which may include anxiety, panic attacks and the inability to sleep. This may fade away after a week but may require specialized treatment.
Withdrawal from Xanax may be more intense than other benzos but does not last as long. This short-acting benzo produces effects sooner which are over more quickly than other benzos. Withdrawal begins as soon as the body and brain are deprived of the drug’s presence. The following is a timeline for detox from Xanax:
- First 6-12 hours: increased anxiety and irritability
- Days 1-4: rebounding anxiety, insomnia peak while other symptoms such as shaking, muscle pain and sweating may occur
- Days 5-14: withdrawal symptoms may last two weeks after use while anxiety and insomnia will persist
- Days 15+: lingering symptoms will be mild but protracted symptoms may fluctuate up to two years
Tapering is recommended for individuals weaning off Xanax. A doctor may recommend switching to a less potent benzo with a shorter half-life and detox should always be done under a physician’s supervision in the case of medical complications.
Detox and withdrawal are part of the process of addiction recovery from Xanax and other benzos. If you or a loved one need help quitting Xanax, The Villa has programs and resources available to support your journey back to health. Call us to find out how we can help you heal.