The effects of Xanax withdrawal have proven to be devastating. Both short-term and long-term users experience a variety of symptoms with ranging severities. It is critical to understand the effects of Xanax withdrawal even if you follow your prescription’s guidelines.
Individuals seeking addiction treatment are best fit to enroll in a program that best fits their needs. Therefore, when looking for a program, utilize all of your resources, including consulting Addiction Intervention.
What is Xanax?
Xanax is the most prescribed psychiatric drug in America. It’s an anti-anxiety medication that is used to treat several disorders. Xanax is classified as a benzodiazepine and is highly addictive and commonly abused. When taken correctly, Xanax works well in treating:
- Panic disorder
- General anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Panic attacks
- Other forms of anxiety disorders
Since Xanax is a benzodiazepine, it is in the same family as Restoril, Estazolam, and Valium. There are several slang terms for Xanax, including benzos, bars, zannies, zanbars, blue footballs, and Upjohn.
How Does It Work?
Xanax works to balance out the chemicals in the brain. It increases the brain’s number of neurotransmitters, which help people feel calm and relaxed. Xanax is highly effective when used correctly.
The neurotransmitter that Xanax targets is called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is present in everyone’s brain, but some people struggle with regulating it properly. In this case, for many people, it can help rid or dampen anxiety and its symptoms by stimulating the production of GABA. Xanax also slows brain activity, which also helps to reduce anxiety and stress.
Xanax Addiction and Abuse
Since Xanax is prescribed so often, it’s a fairly accessible drug. Individuals who use Xanax who don’t have an anxiety disorder take the drug to feel calm and happy. Xanax is commonly combined with other substances like cocaine and alcohol. The drug is incredibly addictive, and its potent effects only last for a few hours. Therefore, individuals who abuse it tend to need high doses since the body develops a drug tolerance.
It’s common for people who abuse Xanax to become addicted quickly. Research shows that even after just short-term use, it is physiologically addictive. This is believed to be the case primarily because, after long-term use, the brain produces less GABA on its own. Some reports show that Xanax addicts must take up to 30 pills per day to experience their desired high.
Withdrawal Symptoms from Xanax
Since Xanax is known to be highly addictive, doctors typically prescribe it only for short-term use. It’s not uncommon for people to take the drug longer than recommended by their doctor. Studies show that in this case, the chance of developing a physical dependence is high.
The effects of Xanax withdrawal are strong. Not only are the symptoms mentally challenging, but they’re physically demanding as well. Withdrawal symptoms from Xanax are not always limited to long-term use or abuse. They may even occur in short-term users who follow their prescription.
Xanax withdrawal symptoms may take place as early as six hours after your last dose. For the next 48 hours, though, they begin to worsen and peak in severity. Most symptoms subside within five days or so, but in some circumstances, symptoms are permanent. Unfortunately, Xanax can cause permanent damage to the brain in long-term users.
Following Xanax use, the brain needs time to recover and function without the drug. Many individuals who take Xanax for anxiety experience worse anxiety symptoms once stopping the medication. Other long-term effects may include permanent cognitive damage, memory loss, psychosis, and dementia.
PAWS, or post-acute withdrawal syndrome, is another potential downside of using Xanax. Many addicts with PAWS report experiencing withdrawal symptoms for years after quitting. PAWS causes people to be more likely to struggle with depression, mood swings, social issues, drug cravings, and more.
Common Withdrawal Symptoms
The severity of Xanax withdrawal symptoms depends on the intensity and length of the addiction. Following your last dose of Xanax, you may experience many symptoms, including:
- Blurred vision
- Intense drug cravings
- Muscle pain
- Increased heart rate
Severe Effects of Xanax Withdrawal
Withdrawal symptoms from Xanax can lead to severe injury or even death in some cases. Seizures and increased heart rate are two of the devastating symptoms that may be fatal. No one should detox from Xanax on their own; it’s too dangerous.
A monitored and calculated medical detox is vital when stopping Xanax. During detox, you will taper off of the drug instead of stopping “cold turkey.” The risk of fatal withdrawal symptoms from Xanax is mitigated in a treatment setting. Even if stopping “cold turkey” does not kill you, it can cause permanent damage to your health.
In a treatment setting, medical professionals can even make withdrawal symptoms less uncomfortable. Some individuals in treatment even report not experiencing withdrawal at all when their detox is coordinated successfully.
Although it’s possible to detox on your own, it is unsafe. The best and safest way to quit Xanax is under a medical professional’s supervision within a treatment program. The professional monitors key vitals and mitigates specific symptoms by supplementing nutrition and more. There is also medication available that is designed to minimize or eliminate drug cravings.
When committing to treatment, a successful detox sets the foundation for recovery. Especially considering Xanax, detox may be the most crucial step in recovery. Due to the severity of withdrawal symptoms, we can help you find a tested and proven detox program.
What is Detox?
Detox is short for detoxification. This is a process in which the body removes toxins from the system. These toxins may be from alcohol, drugs, or any substance. Detox is a natural process, but in some situations, medical assistance is required.
Each person may have a unique experience when detoxing. This depends on the type of substance, length of use, and severity of the addiction. Other factors play a role, too. Mental health is a factor to keep in mind, as well as your medical history. With that being said, the safest route to a successful detox is under the supervision of a professional.
Detoxing at Home
When dealing with substances such as alcohol or Xanax, we do not recommend detoxing at home. We understand individuals would rather be in the comfort of their own home, but the stakes are often too high when dealing with these drugs.
If you have a history of relapse or a severe substance use disorder (SUD), we recommend a medical detox followed by a structured recovery environment.
Inpatient rehab will not only help you stop using substances, but it will also help find the root causes feeding into your addiction. These programs, also known as residential treatment, offer a substance-free environment with 24/7 medical and clinical support. These programs can last anywhere from one to three months and sometimes even longer.
Inpatient treatment involves several different forms of therapy. During treatment, you may participate in any or all of the following:
Individual therapy is a form of talk therapy. It typically involves a patient one-on-one with a licensed therapist. During individual therapy sessions, the therapist will guide the patient through their behavior, emotions, and challenges. The ultimate goal is to take time to understand and heal past trauma. By doing so, the patient has a better understanding of their addiction and their triggers. After successful individual therapy, you will be able to address your behavior and cognitive patterns healthily.
Group therapy follows guidelines similar to those of individual therapy. The main difference is, instead of one-on-one treatment, there are at least two individuals present with a therapist. Group therapy helps patients focus on their interpersonal growth. During group therapy sessions, each member expresses their emotions, struggles, experiences, and goals. This is beneficial for each participant because it allows them to exercise healthy habits and coping skills within a real-world social environment.
Substance use is not only damaging to the addicted individual but their family as well. Many treatment centers offer family therapy to their clients. It is an excellent opportunity for each family member to open up and potentially heal damage sustained throughout the addiction.
Outpatient rehab is a less intense form of rehabilitation compared to inpatient. However, outpatient rehab does still include the forms of therapy listed above. Instead of living at the treatment facility, clients can still live at home and continue working or attending school. Outpatient rehab works best for those who have already completed inpatient rehab. It’s a less intensive level of care that does not cater to individuals with an active and severe addiction. Instead, this level of care focuses on 12-step participation and continued relapse prevention.
Get Help Today
In general, withdrawing from any substance is agonizing. Xanax has potentially the worst and most dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Detoxing on your own is possible, but it is genuinely an unsafe option. If you or a loved one struggles with a Xanax addiction, please allow us to help you find a treatment program that best fits your situation. Please contact us today.