How to Detox From Xanax Safely
Xanax, the brand name for the generic drug alprazolam, is a benzodiazepine, a class of prescription medications known as sedative hypnotics. Xanax is prescribed to help treat specific anxiety disorders and sleep disorders.1 When used as prescribed and under the care of a professional, Xanax can be beneficial. However, someone who is misusing Xanax can quickly become physically dependent on it. If a person becomes physically dependent on Xanax, they are at risk of withdrawal if they stop taking Xanax or heavily cut down their usage. Quitting Xanax “cold turkey” means stopping Xanax or reducing the dosage without any medical supervision or medication to help minimize unwanted and potentially harmful withdrawal symptoms.
This article will help you learn more about Xanax, quitting Xanax cold turkey, the symptoms of Xanax withdrawal, and how to safely stop using Xanax.
Can You Quit Xanax Cold Turkey?
If you have been consuming Xanax to the point where you are dependent on it, you may decide that you want to stop using. Suddenly ceasing your use, however, can be dangerous. That is because dependence is a physiological adaptation of the body to a substance, where the body becomes so used to the drug being present in the system that when the individual cuts back on their use or quits, withdrawal symptoms emerge. With significant levels of physiological dependence, a person may continue to compulsively drink or use drugs to avoid unwanted withdrawal symptoms.
Quitting Xanax cold turkey is risky and can result in seizures or death.2,3 Even though some people only experience mild health issues after abruptly stopping their use of Xanax, there are some withdrawal symptoms that can be more serious and difficult to manage.3
Due to the potentially serious outcomes of stopping Xanax, it is recommended that Xanax withdrawal occurs under medical supervision.2 While under medical supervision, a person who is dependent on Xanax may be tapered from the drug with the use of prescription medications if necessary. In many cases, another type of benzodiazepine may be substituted for Xanax to help with the taper.3 Another option is a drug called phenobarbital, which can also be used to complete this taper.2
What Are the Symptoms of Xanax Withdrawal?
When a person misuses Xanax, they can become dependent upon it, and if that person suddenly stops using Xanax, their body can react to the absence of the drug in a way that produces withdrawal symptoms.4 Such symptoms can vary from one person to another, and the severity of the symptoms experienced is often the result of a number of factors, including how much Xanax someone was previously consuming.
Someone is less likely to have severe withdrawal symptoms if they have no history of seizures, no co-occurring medical or mental health disorders, and no other dependency on drugs or alcohol.3
Symptoms of Xanax withdrawal can include:3
- Muscle pain.
How Long Does Xanax Withdrawal Last?
The length of time it takes a person to complete Xanax withdrawal can vary based on several personal factors. However, those who are receiving a benzodiazepine taper may need to remain on the taper for weeks or even months during their withdrawal.2
Some of the first symptoms of Xanax withdrawal are referred to as new symptoms, which are symptoms that occur after a person stops taking Xanax. These include nausea, diarrhea, tremors, or sweating. Many of these new symptoms of Xanax withdrawal do not subside until 2-4 weeks after last use.5
Rebound symptoms, such as anxiety or insomnia, are underlying symptoms that were usually one of the reasons that a person took Xanax to begin with. Rebound symptoms can reemerge after a person stops using Xanax and can include anxiety and insomnia.5 These symptoms can last for upwards of 3 weeks after ending Xanax use.5
The length of a Xanax withdrawal depends on specifics such as the dose taken and how tolerant a person has become to the drug.3 On occasion, some people will experience long-term withdrawal symptoms that could continue for up to 12 months after stopping use.5 Some of these long-term symptoms can include:5
- Difficulty thinking/concentrating.
- Stomach pain.
- Ringing in the ears.
- Muscle pain.
- Tingling in the feet and hands.
How to Stop Taking Xanax Safely
Withdrawal from Xanax or any benzodiazepine can be dangerous and is best done under medical supervision.2 Seeking help through a professional detox program is highly recommended, rather than quitting Xanax cold turkey, due to the potential dangers that could develop.2 There is no need for a person to go through the difficulties of Xanax withdrawal by themselves when many detox programs are available to help a person safely withdraw from this substance.
It is important to understand that by itself, addiction detox is not treatment but instead is often the first step towards preparing someone for continued treatment.2 Detox can help you remove Xanax from your system while medical personnel provides oversight to prevent serious complications from occurring and lessen the discomfort you might feel.2
Starting Treatment for Xanax Addiction
If you are seeking treatment for drug addiction, whether for Xanax or other substances, there are numerous types of addiction treatment available at Laguna Treatment Hospital. While the treatment plan that is best for you can only be determined after a thorough assessment, we offer treatment that is individualized for your needs. We offer evidence-based care in a structured setting to help you start your journey to recovery from Xanax addiction, as well as other types of substance use disorders.
Call us today to speak with a rehab admissions navigator, who can discuss the process of getting admitted to an addiction treatment center, including your payment options, and see how your insurance might help cover the cost of your stay.
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