Xanax (alprazolam) is one of the most widely used anti-anxiety drugs in the United States, prescribed to people with depression and panic disorder, among other psychiatric problems.
People may experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking Xanax after extended periods of use, such as cravings and muscle spasms.
Treatment for Xanax withdrawal, including medical detox, can address these symptoms, while Xanax addiction treatment can treat the underlying issue that leads to withdrawal.
Physical Symptoms Of Acute Xanax Withdrawal
When someone uses a benzodiazepine for an extended period of time, physical dependence develops.
A benzodiazepine dependence means that when their use is suddenly halted or curtailed, withdrawal symptoms will follow. In many cases, these acute symptoms can be mild and short-lived, lasting only a few days.
However, in more serious cases, acute withdrawal symptoms can persist for several weeks or even months at a time.
Tremors, fasciculation (twitching) hyperreflexia (hyperactive reflexes), blepharospasm (eye twitching), and increased muscle tension are all common in the early stages of withdrawal.
Other muscle-related symptoms due to Xanax withdrawal include muscle jerks, muscle cramps, and muscle weaknesses.
Rebound from the relaxant effects of benzodiazepines may be the cause of these symptoms.
Benzo belly is a common withdrawal symptom of Xanax and other benzos.
And those who try to quit this prescription drug cold turkey might find some uncomfortable consequences, such as abdominal discomfort and distention.
These uncomfortable symptoms may cause people to eat less and lose weight while on Xanax in the long run.
Long-term use or high doses of Xanax can cause seizures if people abruptly stop taking the drug. When GABA is increased in the brain, Xanax is able to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety.
You may become physically dependent on the drug as a result of this effect over time. Stopping taking Xanax suddenly will cause your brain to have far less GABA than it was previously used to.
Seizures are associated with GABA deficiency, which is why Xanax withdrawal can bring on such a bad case of these symptoms.
Seizures are considered some of the most severe withdrawal symptoms and one of the reasons that healthcare at a certified treatment center with medical professionals is often necessary.
Psychological Symptoms Of Xanax Withdrawal
Depression, anxiety, mood swings, and irritability are a few of the psychological symptoms that you can experience if you are undergoing Xanax withdrawal.
Even short-term abuse of tranquilizers can cause long-term brain changes that can lead to depression and other mental health issues.
If you have been taking tranquilizers, such as Xanax, for a long time, you may experience panic attacks when you stop taking it.
These are sudden feelings of terror that can be accompanied by sweating, heart palpitations, and shaking.
Some people feel like they are having a heart attack when they suffer from panic attacks.
Panic attacks can start shortly after stopping benzodiazepines.
Anxiety can occur due to Xanax withdrawal symptoms.
This is because of how long-term Xanax use affects serotonin levels in your brain.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and emotion. When you’re using Xanax regularly, it can cause a depletion of serotonin in your brain.
When you stop taking it abruptly or decrease your dosage too quickly, your body won’t have enough serotonin to function properly and you may experience anxiety as a result.
Withdrawal from Xanax can bring on suicidal thoughts in some people. People who are going through Xanax withdrawal should be closely monitored for signs of depression and suicidal ideation.
The feeling of being “out of sorts” is common during Xanax withdrawal. A person may feel as if they have no control over their thoughts and feelings.
Mood swings, hallucinations, and terrifying nightmares are all possible side effects of Xanax withdrawal.
Anxiety, shame, frustration, hopelessness, and guilt are all common symptoms of withdrawal as well and can lead to suicidal inclinations.
Cravings for drugs are not uncommon during withdrawal. This is a serious symptom of withdrawal that can lead to relapse and should be addressed by a professional.
If you’re experiencing cravings, it’s important to remember that they will subside in time.
It’s important to stay away from friends and situations that encourage drug use during withdrawal, as cravings can increase when you’re around people who use drugs or alcohol.
When cutting off Xanax, the body is used to that assistance for reducing brain activity, allowing sleep to occur more easily.
However, a person going through Xanax withdrawal may experience a rebound of sleeplessness. Xanax-induced insomnia can be treated with medical detox to help curb those initial symptoms.
Factors That Affect The Xanax Withdrawal Process
A number of factors may affect the Xanax withdrawal process and overall timeline for detox, such as the following.
Cold Turkey Detoxification
If you want to detox from Xanax cold turkey, it’s important to understand that there are factors that can affect your withdrawal process.
For example, if you have an underlying mental health condition or a history of substance abuse, detoxing from Xanax cold turkey may be especially dangerous.
To reduce your risk of adverse effects and ensure a safe Xanax withdrawal process, you should consider undergoing medical detox.
The Tapering Method
The far easier and more effective way to withdraw from Xanax use is to use a tapering method, especially if you have developed a physical dependence on or addiction to the drug.
This extends out the withdrawal timeline, but may also lessen the risk of experiencing protracted withdrawal symptoms, since you will gradually lower your dose of Xanax.
As with other forms of Xanax detox, tapering off Xanax should only be completed under medical supervision to lessen the risk of life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
The body creates physical symptoms that are the opposite of those caused by the drug itself to bring the back body to equilibrium.
Rebound symptoms can occur in people who were prescribed Xanax for anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, or insomnia and have stopped taking the medication.
Anxiety, panic attacks, and inability to sleep can all be pre-existing psychological disorder symptoms.
Other Health Conditions
If you have other health conditions, your withdrawal process may be complicated by these conditions.
For example, if you have a history of heart disease or diabetes, you may experience more severe symptoms than someone without these health conditions.
If you’re concerned about your risk of adverse effects during withdrawal, talk to your doctor about medical detox.
How To Treat Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms
While a doctor will recommend that you stop taking Xanax, it’s up to you how quickly you choose to do so.
Any symptoms associated with benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome should be gone in a matter of days and can usually be treated within a medical detox program for Xanax addiction.
Detoxing in a medically supervised environment helps ensure you don’t experience life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, such as dangerously slowed heart rate.
Under medical supervision, people may receive counseling or therapy to help with cravings, appropriate medications for mental health symptoms, and other effective forms of care.
Treatment Options For Xanax Abuse
Whether you or a loved one has just begun abusing prescription drugs like Xanax, or have been using it for some time, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible.
One of your first steps is to sign up for an outpatient or inpatient addiction treatment program.
Most treatment options for Xanax abuse combine medication and behavioral therapy.
This dual approach is often necessary because addiction to prescription drugs is a complex condition involving physical and mental symptoms, as well as situational triggers and environmental stressors.
Medical detox alone won’t address the underlying issues which led to drug abuse, and they may be exacerbated by withdrawal from Xanax.
However, cognitive therapy can help you understand what’s happening in your brain during withdrawal and how to cope with those symptoms.
Find Substance Use Disorder Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center
If you or a loved one is facing drug or alcohol abuse, don’t wait another day to get help.
Bedrock Recovery Center offers a range of treatment options to help treat the active drug addiction, ongoing withdrawal symptoms, and contributing mental health issues.
Contact our Massachusetts treatment facility today to learn more.
Bedrock Recovery Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.