Xanax Detox and Addiction Treatment

woman addicted to taking xanax

Xanax is a medication prescribed to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Also known as alprazolam, Xanax belongs to a class of psychoactive drugs known as benzodiazepines or “benzos” for short. These substances produce a calming effect due to the way they lower brain activity. Xanax is one of the most popular forms of benzodiazepines and can be addictive. Unlike other benzodiazepines, Xanax is a short-acting treatment, which means that, while its effects don’t last as long, a user will feel them faster.

Withdrawal symptoms of Xanax often feel more severe than symptoms from other benzodiazepines. One of the reasons Xanax is so addictive is the quick but short-term relief it offers. If addiction occurs, medically detoxing from the medication is best to avoid severe withdrawal symptoms.

Detoxing From Xanax

People taking Xanax should not stop taking Xanax cold turkey, which can be dangerous. The safer route is to gradually taper off the medication, preferably under the supervision of a medical professional. Medical detox, particularly in a detox facility, offers a safe space to monitor and support the person to manage physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms.

Someone who tries to quit Xanax cold turkey is more likely to experience adverse side effects such as seizures, panic attacks, and cognitive impairment. A medically supervised detox can help create an individual recovery plan based on factors specific to each person, such as:

  • Lifestyle
  • Personality
  • Environmental stressors
  • Reasons for taking Xanax
  • Availability of clinical and personal support

Typically, medical detox works by carefully tapering off the person’s Xanax dose over time, switching them to a longer-acting benzodiazepine, or providing other medications to help manage severe withdrawal symptoms.

This type of supervised detox process helps manage negative withdrawal symptoms. Medical detox providers can also offer counseling and support to help the individual learn to manage daily stresses that occur in their life without the use of drugs. Treatment following detox can also offer relapse prevention tools when individuals return to their everyday lives. Therapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) aids in identifying the links between thoughts and actions, showing people other ways to respond to events in their life.

Symptoms of Xanax Withdrawal

A person may start experiencing withdrawal symptoms within hours of taking their last dose of Xanax. These symptoms typically peak within one to four days after individuals stop using Xanax. Possible physical withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Muscle pain
  • Tremors
  • Diarrhea
  • Numb fingers
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Heart palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Seizures

Psychological symptoms of withdrawal can range from anxiety, panic, and paranoia to depression. Therapy and counseling can help with this aspect of withdrawal. Medical detox teams closely monitor individuals who detox from Xanax for signs of mental health complications.

Different factors can affect the duration of withdrawal symptoms. For instance, a family history of addiction or mental health issues may lengthen the time someone experiences withdrawal symptoms. Other underlying medical complications, environmental factors, and higher stress levels may also play a role.

Dependence Versus Addiction

A person may be dependent on a medication such as Xanax but not addicted. The difference lies in someone’s need for the drug — is it physical or mental? A physical need often includes tolerance, requiring more medication to achieve the same effects. Individuals dependent on Xanax may also suffer from withdrawal symptoms if they stop or reduce their dosage.

Addiction occurs when people continue to take the drug, no matter the consequences. Physical dependence can also play a role, but despite its damaging impact, the mental and emotional need for the drug typically signals addiction.

Someone suspected of having an addiction may display signs such as changes in their mood, behavior, appearance, or performance in their jobs or schoolwork. Most likely, they will try to hide their dependence. Loved ones of someone with a dependence or addiction to Xanax can try to talk to the individual, but they should prepare for various outcomes. The goal is to create a safe space for an open dialogue where the person is comfortable asking for help.

What To Know About Taking Xanax

Individuals should only take Xanax as prescribed by a doctor to help lower the risk of addiction. If someone already has an issue with substance abuse, their risk is higher for developing a problem with Xanax. Some people experience side effects even when taking Xanax properly.

These side effects can include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Light-headedness
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Talkativeness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased salivation
  • Changes in sex drive or ability
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Changes in appetite
  • Weight changes
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Joint pain

More serious side effects range from shortness of breath to seizures, severe skin rash, and yellowing of the skin or eyes. If someone experiences these symptoms, confusion, problems with speech, coordination, or balance, they should seek medical attention immediately.

Addiction to Xanax is treatable. It is important to remember the ongoing nature of recovery for anyone. Both the individual in recovery and their friends and loved ones should be patient during this time.

Effective, Non-Judgemental Treatment For Xanax Addiction

At Bridges of Hope, our treatment philosophy relies on a comprehensive and integrated approach to issues related to substance use and mental health disorders. We use therapeutically proven, evidence-based clinical practices to provide high-quality addiction treatment. If you or someone you know in Indiana needs treatment for Xanax, contact us. Our compassionate staff and judgment-free clinical team are ready and willing to help.

Remember, we’re not doctors. If you have specific medical questions about your care, please consult your health care provider.