The benzodiazepine (benzo) Xanax (alprazolam) is a drug typically used to treat anxiety disorders, panic attacks, and insomnia. However, since Xanax is a habit-forming drug many people tend to become physically dependent on it and develop an addiction. Withdrawal is a syndrome that occurs after ceasing the use of a substance that an individual has developed an addiction to, causing unpleasant and sometimes dangerous symptoms that vary depending on the substance. Symptoms of Xanax withdrawal can range from mild to severe, depending on the amount of use and how long it’s been since starting the withdrawal process. Seeking treatment at a professional detox treatment center is recommended to monitor the withdrawal process, provide medical support, and ensure safety and comfort.
In this blog, we will cover the dangers of withdrawing from Xanax, the withdrawal timeline, and the common symptoms of Xanax withdrawal.
Withdrawing from Xanax
Xanax is notoriously difficult to withdraw from. As a benzodiazepine, withdrawing from Xanax can cause life-threatening seizures when use is abruptly stopped. Withdrawal seizures usually occur in patients who have been taking Xanax for a long period of time and at high doses, with the severity of seizures ranging from a single episode to coma or death. Most medical professionals recommend a tapering technique when withdrawing from Xanax to lower the physical symptoms you may experience. This leads to the Xanax withdrawal timeline.
Xanax Withdrawal Timeline
The length that Xanax withdrawal lasts depends on the length of the addiction and the quantity of the drug regularly used. Those who have abused Xanax for only a short period of time, or at a low dose, may have a significantly shorter withdrawal period and display milder symptoms. However, those who have abused Xanax for an extended amount of time, or in large doses, are likely to experience an extended withdrawal stage and more dangerous symptoms.
The Xanax withdrawal timeline can vary depending on various factors such as the person’s age, weight, overall health, dosage, and duration of use. However, there are general stages that a person may experience during the withdrawal process.
Early Stage of Withdrawal
The early stage of Xanax withdrawal typically begins within a few hours to a day after the last dose. The symptoms that occur in this stage typically last the first few days of withdrawal.
Acute Stage of Withdrawal
The acute stage of Xanax withdrawal can last up to two weeks and can be the most intense. During acute withdrawal, an individual can experience severe withdrawal symptoms and it is important to seek medical attention or be in a treatment facility if you are experiencing Xanax withdrawal symptoms.
Post-Acute Stage of Withdrawal
The post-acute stage of Xanax withdrawal can last several months to a year or longer, and symptoms may come and go during this time. These symptoms can range from developing various mental health conditions to prolonged physical symptoms.
Common Symptoms of Xanax Withdrawal
Symptoms of Xanax withdrawal depend on the length of the addiction. On average, symptoms appear within the first few days and last approximately two weeks. If the Xanax addiction is severe, withdrawal symptoms may last longer and can be life-threatening.
An individual withdrawing from Xanax is likely to experience increased levels of anxiety. As a common anxiety medication, Xanax interacts with neurotransmitters in the brain to produce a calming sensation. The absence of Xanax can increase the individual’s anxiety to higher levels than before they started medicating, leading to the individual developing a generalized anxiety disorder, a panic disorder, or other anxiety disorders.
As a highly addictive benzodiazepine, Xanax abuse causes a chemical alteration within the brain. Once withdrawal begins, the individual may feel depressed as Xanax is no longer altering neurotransmitter activity as was once frequently occurring. This can cause the individual to develop depression and other dangerous mental health conditions.
Sweating is the body’s way of trying to rid itself of the remaining traces of the substance. During withdrawal, the central nervous system can become hyperactive, leading to excessive sweating. This can be due to the body’s attempt to regulate its temperature, as the sweat produced by the body cools the skin, helping to regulate body temperature. Sweating during withdrawal can occur at any time of day or night, and it can be profuse and uncomfortable, leading to feelings of restlessness and discomfort.
Due to profuse sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea that are likely to occur during the withdrawal stage, the body becomes extremely dehydrated. This intense dehydration causes muscles and joints to cramp up, producing involuntary spasms. This is the body’s way of detoxification from substance abuse.
As the most dangerous symptom of Xanax withdrawal, these seizures can be fatal if the individual is not under medical supervision. When an individual abruptly stops taking Xanax, its absence causes abnormal nerve activity within the brain and the individual is at high risk for seizure as a result.
Due to the severity of some of these symptoms and the potential for life-threatening side effects, such as seizures, clinical supervision within a professional detox treatment facility is highly recommended.
Xanax Addiction Treatment Options
As previously mentioned, treating Xanax withdrawal by utilizing a treatment center or detox clinic is the best method to get rid of Xanax from your body. There are many different types of treatment options available for those looking for substance abuse treatment. Some treatment options include:
- Inpatient Medical Detox
- Outpatient Partial Hospitalization Programs
- Sober Living Homes
- Addiction Support Groups
Xanax Addiction Treatment at Knoxville Recovery Center
If you or a loved one is abusing Xanax, know that recovery is possible. Xanax is a dangerous substance to withdraw from, making it extremely important to seek medical attention if you experience any withdrawal symptoms. At Knoxville Recovery Center, we offer a clinically supervised detox program to clients in need. After detox is successfully completed, clients will have the choice of being admitted into our inpatient or outpatient treatment programs. We fully understand that every individual has different needs and both programs offer unique benefits.
At Knoxville Recovery, individuals will have the option to participate in various types of therapy and counseling, learn new coping mechanisms for dealing with addiction, get treated for any coexisting mental health problems, and learn to live a healthy life free of substance abuse. If you or a loved one is struggling with Xanax withdrawal, contact us today to learn more about our programs.