Xanax (alprazolam) is an anxiolytic that helps treat panic attacks, social anxiety disorder, depression, and insomnia.
Xanax, like other benzodiazepines, binds to receptors in the brain which are responsible for regulating the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid).
Gamma-aminobutyric acid is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, meaning that it helps to suppress your central nervous system’s arousal and reactivity.
Abuse of Xanax and the following withdrawal symptoms, such as taking higher doses or more frequent doses, can affect how Xanax works in the body. This in turn can lead to a range of side effects, including insomnia.
Why Does Xanax Lead To Insomnia?
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the primary mechanism by which benzodiazepines like Xanax help people sleep.
GABA, a neurotransmitter, works by decreasing brain activity, allowing a person to relax and sleep.
However, Xanax withdrawal and drug abuse or addiction may worsen the situation and make it difficult to fall and stay asleep.
This is known as the rebound effect, since a person undergoing Xanax withdrawal may experience the very symptoms Xanax is being used to treat, such as rebound anxiety or other rebound symptoms.
Other reasons Xanax may lead to insomnia during either acute withdrawal or protracted withdrawal include the following.
When a person becomes physically dependent on a drug, they typically develop tolerance to it.
The body becomes accustomed to having a certain amount of that substance in its system and craves more of it to achieve the same effects, also known as a Xanax dependence.
When an individual stops taking benzodiazepines like Xanax, they may experience withdrawal symptoms. Acute withdrawal symptoms can include insomnia, anxiety, irritability, and tremors.
Early-stage withdrawal, also called acute withdrawal, is a term used to describe the first few days of detoxification. Common symptoms of early-stage withdrawal can include insomnia, anxiety, tremors, and irritability.
These symptoms typically peak in intensity around day three or four, then gradually fade.
However, when the symptoms peak, it may be difficult to sleep for the person who abuses the benzo or is in the withdrawal process.
How To Ease Insomnia From Xanax Withdrawal
If you’re experiencing any benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms after coming off Xanax, there are a few things you can do to help ease your transition.
Medically Monitored Detox
The first step in getting off Xanax is to enter a medically monitored detox program at a certified treatment facility.
These programs will help you safely taper off your medication under medical supervision, and also provide you with emotional support and resources for managing withdrawal symptoms.
Take care not to quit cold turkey. A medically monitored detox program will also ensure that you do not experience any life-threatening complications as a result of withdrawal.
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
If you’re not able to enter a medically monitored detox program, or if you would like to reduce your dependence on medication as quickly as possible, you may want to consider using medication-assisted treatment.
Certain medications will help lessen severe withdrawal symptoms and ease cravings.
If you have an opioid addiction alongside a Xanax addiction, you can receive care for withdrawal from that substance in addition to the symptoms of Xanax withdrawal.
Mental Health Care
One of the greatest challenges of Xanax withdrawal is treating the mental health conditions Xanax was being used to treat. This can include insomnia.
When you enter a certified treatment program facilitated by medical professionals, you’ll receive care not only for the most severe withdrawal symptoms, but also for mental health issues.
This helps ensure your detox is successful so you can move on to explore addiction treatment options.
Non-Benzodiazepine Treatments For Insomnia
There are non-benzodiazepine treatments for insomnia that you may want to consider instead of or along with benzodiazepines, such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and herbal remedies.
Zolpidem, zaleplon, and zopiclone, among other nonbenzodiazepines, have hypnotic efficacy comparable to that of benzodiazepines and favorable safety profiles.
Non-benzodiazepines are less likely than benzodiazepines to disturb regular sleep patterns.
For chronic insomnia, eszopiclone (Lunesta) appears to have fewer side effects than benzodiazepines, based on indirect comparisons.
Treatment Services For Xanax Addiction
Xanax is known to make people feel sleepy. When you quit taking it for the first time, you may experience the reverse effect.
Sleep problems and insomnia put you at greater risk for other health and mental disorders as they worsen.
Addiction treatment is designed to help people find a way through their substance abuse issues and lead them back to a productive life.
Contact your general physician for advice on treatment for alprazolam withdrawal. You will likely be prescribed benzodiazepines, although there is some evidence that long-term use of these medications may increase addiction risk.
Alternatively, doctors may prescribe antidepressants instead of or in addition to anti-anxiety drugs during withdrawal.
Find Drug Addiction Recovery Services At Bedrock Recovery Center
At Bedrock Recovery Center, we have extensive experience treating prescription drug addiction. You will find an array of services tailored to your needs at our Massachusetts treatment center.
If you or a loved one are in need of healthcare for Xanax use or another form of substance use, we can help. Call us today to learn more about your recovery options.