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Xanax (Alprazolam) Detox: What To Expect

Xanax withdrawal syndrome can be life-threatening if it is done too quickly. To protect yourself and your loved ones, you should always use a medical detox program to go off Xanax.

Xanax is a short-acting benzodiazepine that interacts with the GABA receptors in the central nervous system.

This prescription drug’s sedative effects are often used to manage serious anxiety disorders and panic disorders.

If you engage in substance abuse and form a physical dependence, you will need to go through a medically managed detox to ensure your safety. This is especially true with benzos, including Xanax abuse.

In most cases, a Xanax detox consists of a diazepam taper with frequent observation and symptom management.

Getting Off Xanax: What Happens During Xanax Detox?

When you first go into a treatment facility for a Xanax detox, the staff will need to know your daily dosage to establish an inpatient treatment plan.

Unless otherwise indicated, your healthcare team will convert your Xanax (alprazolam) dosage over to the equivalent dose of Valium (diazepam) up to 40 milligrams per day. This calculated dosage will be given to you each day for four to seven days.

Once you’ve stabilized on that dosage, your healthcare team will gradually decrease the dose you are given each day to slowly taper you off benzos and help you get off Xanax.

Your personal tapering schedule will vary depending on your benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms.

If you are experiencing severe symptoms, you may have several days in between dose reductions.

Overall, for a short-acting benzo like Xanax, you can expect this process to take two to four weeks. If you were engaging in high-dose Xanax abuse, your detox process may take longer.

Symptoms Of Xanax Detox

When you detox from Xanax use, you will experience withdrawal following your last dose.

Under controlled conditions, the symptoms of withdrawal can be managed to improve safety as well as the likelihood of long-term success.

These are the symptoms of Xanax withdrawal that you can expect to encounter even with a personalized tapering schedule.

Anxiety

Heightened anxiety is a common side effect of Xanax withdrawal. It is not merely the return of your anxiety symptoms.

Due to changes in your central nervous system caused by drug abuse, you will actually be more prone to anxiety than usual as you come off Xanax.

The good news is that this vulnerability is reversible.

Cravings

All forms of withdrawal will be accompanied by cravings. When you have a drug addiction, your body is physically dependent on drug use.

Cravings are the way your body communicates that its needs are not being met.

Sleep Problems

Xanax is a mild sedative that is sometimes used to help people sleep.

If you are struggling with acute withdrawal, you may experience Xanax-induced insomnia and other forms of sleep disturbance during detox.

Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are a symptom of severe anxiety.

Given the link between rebound anxiety and Xanax withdrawal, you are likely to be more prone to panic attacks during this time.

Tapering Off Xanax

Tapering off Xanax is an essential part of detox because going “cold turkey” can be incredibly dangerous.

When you first start your detox, your treatment team will start by administering the diazepam equivalent of your daily Xanax dose up to 40 milligrams (mg). A 0.5 mg daily dose of Xanax is approximately 5 milligrams of diazepam.

From there, your tapering schedule will depend on the severity of your addiction. Generally speaking, tapering schedules are divided into two groups.

If you are using less than 4 mg of Xanax per day, you will be in the low-dose category. If you are using more than 5 mg of Xanax per day, you will be in the high-dose category.

The length of time between dose reductions will be personalized according to your symptoms.
Learn how to taper off Xanax.

Treatment For Xanax Withdrawal

Xanax withdrawal is not going to be pleasant, but it is much safer when you use a tapering schedule under direct medical supervision.

These are a few ways that professional detox treatment at a rehab center can help.

Medical Detoxification

Tapering is a form of medical detoxification.

Instead of simply going off the drug and dealing with a full host of withdrawal symptoms, diazepam is used as a gentler way to gradually get your body back to normal.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment is aimed at symptom relief. With MAT, a dedicated medical team will provide medication to reduce the side effects of withdrawal whenever possible.

Medications like buprenorphine and methadone are typically used to treat opioid addictions. In rare cases, they may also be used to help with Xanax addictions.

This approach is risky, and the FDA suggests avoiding it unless there are no other treatment options.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy is an important part of addiction treatment. This evidence-based approach targets negative thoughts, triggers, and harmful patterns of behavior.

As a result, CBT is one of the most helpful therapeutic approaches for people who are struggling with drug addiction as well as anxiety or depression.

That makes CBT one of the best options for people with a Xanax addiction.

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

Motivational interviewing is another therapeutic technique that has proven effective with drug addiction.

This client-centered approach focuses on promoting a relationship of support between the therapist and the patient.

By listening carefully and providing directive input, the therapist aims to help the client find the motivation they need to make real changes in their life.

Motivational interviewing may be an excellent option for you if you’re unsure of your current choices.

Is Detoxing From Xanax At Home Safe?

Detoxing from Xanax without medical observation is not recommended. Without a proper taper and MAT, you risk having serious withdrawal symptoms.

Seizures, psychosis, and hallucinations can all occur if detox is done improperly. Each has the potential to cause serious harm.

That is why you are much better off finding a high-quality addiction treatment program that will provide a medical detox as well as inpatient or outpatient addiction therapy.

Find Substance Use Disorder Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center

At Bedrock Recovery Center, our goal is to ensure that you have the physical and psychological support to choose a life without drug addiction.

We realize that it isn’t easy, and there will be times when you want to go back to using drugs. That is why we want to be there to help you make the right choices for your health and your mental health.

If you’re ready to quit abusing prescription drugs but are afraid of detox, give us a call at our Massachusetts treatment center today.

Written by
Bedrock Recovery Editorial Team

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This page does not provide medical advice.

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