Xanax (brand name for Alprazolam) is a prescription drug in the benzodiazepine class of drugs and is similar to diazepam (Valium) or clonazepam (Klonopin).
This medication can be effective in mental health treatment at reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and similar mental health disorders.
But Xanax use is highly addictive, and people who take the drug can develop a Xanax addiction by taking high doses of it, beyond what is prescribed.
Recognizing this, some try to stop taking the drug and manage withdrawal symptoms at home. But can you safely go through a Xanax detox without the help of medical professionals or a treatment center?
The short answer is yes. But it is not advisable.
Tapering Off Xanax At Home
The common tapering recommendation for Xanax withdrawal is .5 mg every three days.
But a tapering schedule can be difficult to stay with on your own and without the help of a detox program and a treatment plan. In some cases, Xanax detox can be dangerous.
Benefits Of At-Home Detox
That said, there are some benefits to detoxification at home versus getting a medical detox at a detox facility.
When you go through Xanax withdrawal or any other kind of benzo withdrawal at home, you have the benefit of privacy.
Detoxification can be a difficult and emotionally taxing process. Withdrawal symptoms can strip you of dignity, something that, perhaps, you have already suffered by recognizing a drug addiction.
At home, you do not have to worry about the judgments of others.
Going through a benzo detox is already stressful because you have to face withdrawal symptoms and the emergence of the mental health problems that you had prior to taking Xanax.
People often do not want to add the stress of being in a treatment center surrounded by strangers, even if they may understand what you’re going through.
By contrast, at home, you can have the support of a family who you know and who care about you, something you may not find at detox centers.
Family can help you with symptoms and at-home remedies and can provide accountability and encouragement to push through detoxification until the symptoms resolve.
Risks Of At-Home Xanax Detox
But there are also risks to going through Xanax detox at home. While the benefits are attractive, the risks of benzodiazepine withdrawal without getting a medical detox are dangerous.
Life-Threatening Withdrawal Symptoms
Some side effects of Xanax withdrawal can be life-threatening.
These severe withdrawal symptoms can include:
- heart problems such as palpitations and high heart rate
- suicidal ideation
You could be putting your life in danger by trying to deal with these symptoms without medical supervision.
Lack Of Medical Support
When you detox at home, you do so without the help of medical support.
Whether you are experiencing a seizure or just muscle pain, the medical staff of a treatment center can help you resolve withdrawal symptoms safely.
Another danger of benzodiazepine detox is rebound anxiety.
Xanax is used to treat anxiety, so when you detox from it, you can sometimes experience panic attacks more severe than what you were originally treated for.
Treating Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms At Home
While it is not advisable to get through Xanax detox at home, there are things you can do to treat withdrawal symptoms.
People going through detox, whether from Xanax or another benzo, often have trouble with sleep.
Higher doses of Xanax cause intense drowsiness, and when they have been removed people experience insomnia.
Melatonin is one homeopathic remedy that has proven effective for sleep in many individuals. Taking melatonin at night can help calm you down.
Another remedy for Xanax-induced insomnia to consider is magnesium. Magnesium is a naturally occurring mineral that has a mild sedative effect and can sometimes ease muscle pain as well.
Cravings for Xanax during detox can be intense and cause recurrent drug abuse.
While there is not necessarily a pill for these cravings, any natural remedy that has a mild sedative effect can be helpful for reducing the intensity of cravings.
Also, don’t overlook such techniques as:
- positive self-talk
- guided imagery
- relaxation techniques
- alternative drug-free activities to look forward to
These things can be effective tools for overcoming cravings no matter what approach you take to detox.
Rebound anxiety and panic attacks are difficult to deal with under any circumstances.
In addition to using natural sleep remedies, there are other supplements you can take to help reduce anxiety during detox.
Some of these include:
- lemon balm
- lavender (as a pill or oil)
Be sure to read up on these medications and ask your doctor about interactions with other prescription drugs that you take.
How Long Will At-Home Xanax Withdrawal Last?
The length of the Xanax withdrawal process depends mostly on how long you taper off the drug. Under ideal circumstances, Xanax withdrawal at home takes around two weeks.
But the following factors can cause protracted withdrawal:
- how long you have taken the drug
- how much Xanax you have taken as of your last dose
- your level of anxiety prior to taking Xanax
Of course, the other big factor in the withdrawal timeline is whether you take medication prescribed through a detox program.
Post-Detox Treatment Programs For Xanax Addiction
Detoxification from Xanax or another benzodiazepine is only half the battle.
Once detox is over, you have to continue in your recovery, which could include finding new treatments for the pre-existing anxiety disorder and discovering what deeper motivations lie behind benzodiazepine addiction.
If you were hoping to avoid a treatment program by doing an at-home detox, you may still find yourself in one.
Treatment programs for Xanax abuse sometimes include:
- inpatient treatment
- outpatient treatment
- evidence-based therapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy
- support groups
Find Substance Abuse Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center
Bedrock Recovery Center is located on the east coast and is a treatment facility with years of experience helping people like you recover from benzodiazepine substance abuse.
When you come to Bedrock, we look at the treatment options available and choose the one that best fits your needs.
Call our helpline today and let us guide you or your loved one on the road to addiction recovery.
Bedrock Recovery Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.