Xanax Withdrawal and Benzodiazepines Detox
When a patient is prescribed a serious medication like Xanax, or any of the other benzodiazepines – also know as benzos, it is important to recognize as the body builds a tolerance to that medication, withdrawal and detox may be necessary for the patient to overcome a potential addiction to Xanax or similar drug. Xanax withdrawal and detox symptoms tend to occur when a person has already become addicted to the drug, has developed a tolerance to the medication and needs a higher dosage to achieve the same level of effect, or has regularly misused and intentionally abused the drug. Keep reading to learn more about Xanax withdrawal and detox, what to expect and how to get through the process.
Xanax Uses and Medical Purpose:
If you or someone you know takes Xanax, you may already have a basic understanding of how the drug works, why it is prescribed and who should take it. However, there are some who take and abuse drugs like Xanax, which is part of the benzodiazepine family of drugs. Benzos are primarily prescribed for people who suffer from a Generalized Anxiety Disorder and/or experience regular, unexpected or expected panic attacks.
A medical professional, often a general practitioner or mental health professional like a psychiatrist, will prescribe a drug like Xanax to help a person better manage their anxiety. Xanax and other drugs like Valium will work to help calm the person’s neurons that affect stress. The drugs work to enhance the effect of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). The GABA works to control the neurons in the brain that directly impact a person’s stress and anxiety. Xanax is a mild sedative, hypnotic and muscle relaxer combo that works together to control both the physical and mental side effects of anxiety or panic attacks. Once a person is able to calm down from such an attack, they are able to better cope with their anxiety.
However, benzos like Xanax do have tolerance building effects on the patient, unlike some types of anti-anxiety medications like SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). Because a person can build a tolerance to this type of medication, they often begin to take more of the drug more frequently in order to achieve the same effect. Some patients take this too far and begin the dangerous path to Xanax addiction, which can negatively impact a person for years to come both mentally and physically. If a person actively works to overcome their addiction or tolerance to Xanax, it can result in serious withdrawal symptoms and side effects, which is why it should always be done slowly under the direction of a doctor or mental health professional.
Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms:
Because drugs like Xanax have such powerful, long-term effects on the brain, it stands to reason that the Xanax withdrawal process may not be easy, especially if the user has been doing so for an extended period of time and consumes copious amounts of the drug.
Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms include:
- Difficulty sleeping and insomnia
- Severe feelings of depression and apathy
- Excessive sweating
For those who may be dependent on benzos like Xanax, it is vitally important that they do not suddenly quit the drug cold turkey. Doing so can result in a plethora of physical and mental health issues. Some of these include life-threatening seizures, tremors and muscle cramps. Any mental health professional will recommend a slow taper and detox of the medication.
Xanax Detox Process – What to Expect:
As a person becomes dependent on a drug, their body and central nervous system in the brain develops a tolerance. It takes time for a person to overcome these issues along with a medical professional to help oversee the Xanax detox process so it is done as safely as possible with the doctor able to help the patient cope with the detox symptoms. Most patients are not encouraged to take benzos for an extended period of more than 8 months, in most cases.
Weaning from Xanax is possible, but must be done carefully. Depending on the severity of the dependence or addiction (especially if the addiction is the result of intentional abuse of Xanax) the detox process can easy and short or difficult and long. Typically Xanax weaning is done by reducing the amount of the medication by a certain percentage over a period of time. This is directly decided by a doctor based on how much of the drug a person takes and for how long they’ve taken it. Sometimes the Xanax detox or weaning can take place without any kind of any inpatient treatment. However, for those who are addicted to Xanax, and potentially other prescription drugs, your doctor may recommend you go through the Xanax detox in a supervised environment like a rehabilitation center or inpatient program. At the very least, they might suggest carefully monitored outpatient treatment. Along with Xanax detox, the patient often undergoes therapy and may be switched to other medications to help the patient still cope with the effects of their anxiety disorder. Xanax detox and weaning should not be taken lightly and should not be attempted without the supervision of a medical professional.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to benzos or Xanax, be sure to contact your doctor immediately to begin receiving help for the addiction and get on the road to recovery.