Understanding Xanax Withdrawal and Detox Treatment

Xanax (generic name: Alprazolam) is a prescription benzodiazepine that has a hypnotic-sedative effect for the treatment of anxiety, seizure, and sleeping disorders. It reduces symptoms of anxiety and seizure by slowing down the effect of the nervous system, allowing someone with an overactive nervous system to feel calm and relaxed. It’s widely prescribed as a short-term treatment, so Xanax misuse is increasingly common.

Xanax Tolerance and Withdrawal

Two of the key symptoms of substance abuse disorder according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) are tolerance and withdrawal. Tolerance occurs when a person’s body no longer responds in the same way to the same amount of Xanax. Thus, an individual takes higher doses to achieve the same effects. This often precedes or occurs in conjunction with withdrawal.

Withdrawal is a good indicator of physical dependence. When the body adjusts to having a certain substance such as Xanax, it becomes dependent on the substance to function normally. If physical dependence has developed and Xanax use is suddenly stopped, withdrawal symptoms will occur.

Withdrawal symptoms are generally uncomfortable and may be distressing, which is one of the reasons why it’s so difficult for individuals to stop using Xanax once they have developed physical dependence. These symptoms last anywhere from several hours to days after the last dose, but they can be alleviated during medically supervised detox.

Symptoms of Xanax Withdrawal

Xanax withdrawal may have two phases: the acute and the protracted phase. Acute withdrawal symptoms come on immediately when a drug is discontinued and last for days or weeks. However, protracted withdrawal may persist for several months as the body learns to function without Xanax.

Symptoms of acute Xanax withdrawal include:

  • Insomnia
  • Muscle pain and cramping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritability
  • Excessive sweating
  • Tremors or seizures
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Aggression
  • Depression
  • Headache
  • Increased heart rate

Symptoms of protracted withdrawal may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Depression
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Sensation of pins and needles in limbs (paresthesia)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tremors
  • Tinnitus

Factors that affect Xanax withdrawal

Xanax dependence can develop in as little as 3 to 6 weeks, even when Xanax is taken as prescribed. At this stage, withdrawal symptoms are likely when discontinuing use, typically lasting between several days to weeks. The precise duration of Xanax withdrawal symptoms depends on several factors, including:

  • The amount of Xanax the individual had been taking regularly.
  • How long the individual had been taking Xanax.
  • Co-occurring use of other substances, such as alcohol or other depressants.
  • Co-occurring mental health illnesses.
  • An individual’s age.

Xanax withdrawal and detox timeline

Although it’s hard to pinpoint a precise Xanax detox timeline due to differences in individual characteristics, acute Xanax withdrawal can be roughly charted according to the following timeline:

  • Day 1: Withdrawal symptoms typically begin around 6-8 hours after the last dose of Xanax was taken.
  • Days 2-3: The peak of Xanax withdrawal symptoms will occur around this time. This is when symptoms will be most severe and hardest to overcome.
  • Days 4-6: Withdrawal symptoms will begin to improve, eventually tapering off altogether.

It’s important to note that medical detox cannot shorten the timeline of Xanax withdrawal; this natural process will take place regardless of treatment. However, medically supervised detox can greatly improve your condition and safely alleviate symptoms, ensuring that Xanax is fully and safely eliminated from your system.

How medical detox from Xanax can help

Since benzodiazepine withdrawal is so difficult to overcome, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that Xanax use is tapered off under the supervision of healthcare professionals. By gradually decreasing the dose instead of quitting “cold turkey,” withdrawal symptoms will be less severe and easier to manage. This can help slowly adjust the body to a lower and lower dose. An alternative to tapering off the use of Xanax is to use another medication to help stabilize the individual or reduce their withdrawal symptoms.

Though detox is only the first step in addiction treatment, it is a vital hurdle toward addressing mental health issues that influence drug abuse in therapy. Detox alone may not be enough for long-term recovery, but it can restore the body’s chemical balance in order to be better prepared for behavioral therapies further along in treatment.

What medical detox is like
Medical detox typically occurs in an inpatient facility where a person can be monitored 24 hours a day. This is beneficial for individuals as it removes them from external stressors or triggers, making it easier to complete the withdrawal phase without relapsing. Doctors and medical professionals can monitor vitals and track detox progress, adjusting treatments to reduce withdrawal symptoms such as pain, anxiety, or sleep disturbances. Overall, medical detox is a safer and more comfortable way to stop using Xanax.
Medications used in Xanax detox

During medical detox, several safe medications may be employed to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. For instance, a person may be given longer-acting benzodiazepines like clonazepam or diazepam, which have a milder effect and can help taper off Xanax more safely.

Another medication called flumazenil may be used to block the effects of benzodiazepines like Xanax. This may be useful for both acute and protracted withdrawal symptoms. In addition to these, drugs such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants, or antianxiety medications may be used to treat underlying health issues during detox.

Since all of these drugs carry their own risks and side effects, medications should only be administered under the supervision of medical staff to ensure there are no negative effects or detrimental interactions that could impair safe withdrawal.

Xanax Withdrawal At Riverwalk Ranch
A Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan Area Addiction Treatment Center

At Riverwalk Ranch, we can assist you in managing Xanax withdrawal symptoms as part of our comprehensive addiction treatment services. Located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, our professionals use only scientifically-supported therapies to help you safely and comfortably eliminate Xanax from your system and begin your journey toward recovery. Our facilities can serve as an encouraging and safe haven to overcome addiction, surrounded by medical professionals and like-minded individuals all working toward a healthier life free from addiction.

If you or a loved one is suffering from Xanax addiction, contact our addiction treatment center today at (877) 863-3869. Whether you live in Texas or you want a fresh new environment to support your recovery, Riverwalk Ranch can provide a safe and therapeutic home for you. Everyone deserves a happy and healthy life free from addiction, and we are committed to helping you overcome Xanax withdrawal in order to get you there.

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