Learn About Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms And Effects

Quitting drugs is a good idea, but people have to end their drug use in the right way. Withdrawing from Xanax is no exception. Xanax withdrawal symptoms can start just hours after a person stops using it. The symptoms generally peak around one to four days. When a person attends a drug and alcohol addiction treatment center and undergoes withdrawal, he or she might experience the following:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle pains and spasms
  • Blurry vision
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tremors
  • Numbness in the fingers
  • Sensitivity to sound and light
  • Heart palpitations
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Paranoia
  • Bouts of panic

Working with professionals to create a detox program and establishing a schedule to gradually taper from Xanax are some of the best ways to overcome Xanax dependence or addiction.


Additional Information About Benzodiazepines and Xanax

Alprazolam is the generic name for the drug commonly known as Xanax. Xanax is a prescription drug that belongs to a category of drugs known as benzodiazepines, drugs that have sedative properties. They are sedatives because they have the ability they have to raise GABA levels in the brain. GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, which means it has a calming effect.

One of the more commonly prescribed benzodiazepine medications is alprazolam. It is so common that in 2010, it was the eleventh-most prescribed medication in the United States. Doctors prescribe Xanax to treat anxiety and panic disorders. The medication spurs the release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter and hormone that transmits signals and affects mood.

Because of its effects on mood and its ability to sedate, people sometimes abuse Xanax. The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) said that during 2011, around 10 percent of all emergency room visits were related to the abuse of medications such as Xanax.

Sadly, Xanax is very addictive. According to the prescribing information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), using Xanax can lead to dependence. This is especially true if people take higher doses for more than one month.

GABA is a natural sedative found in the brain. It may slow down some functions of the body and mute reactions to stress. In time, Xanax can cause the brain to quit making GABA. Instead, the brain becomes dependent upon Xanax to relieve stress. When people stop taking the medication, they may experience withdrawal. Their brains struggle to retain natural balance and order. You should not detox from Xanax without medical supervision, as it could be dangerous and even life-threatening.

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Physical Symptoms of Xanax Withdrawal

Xanax is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. It lowers body temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate. It is intended to reduce the user’s panic, stress, and anxiety. This medication has been used to help reduce epileptic seizures as well.

When people take medications such as Xanax for a while, their brains and bodies become accustomed to them. If people stop taking Xanax abruptly, they may experience a rebound in these functions. Their heart rate, respiration, body temperature, and blood pressure may rise drastically. They may have seizures that may lead to a coma or even death. Some physically noticeable symptoms of Xanax withdrawal include the following:

  • Blurry vision
  • Headache
  • Tension in the teeth or jaw
  • Muscle spasms and aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Numbness in the fingers
  • Diarrhea
  • Tingling in the legs or arms
  • Sensitivity to sound and light
  • Altered sense of smell
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Heart palpitations
  • Cramping
  • Hypertension
  • Fever and/or sweating
  • Delirium

You should not stop taking Xanax suddenly, a practice known as going cold turkey. Your vital signs could experience extreme distress if you do so. Instead, consult medical professionals when you detox, because they can help gradually wean you from the drug and supervise the process. They can monitor your body functions and rates. According to the Journal of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, some people have had grand mal seizures during Xanax withdrawal. The seizures could be fatal if you do not receive the proper medical guidance.

Psychological Symptoms of Xanax Withdrawal

Benzodiazepines such as Xanax will act on many bodily functions, including motivation areas of the brain, mood regulation, and the user’s reward system. This is often how people become dependent on the drug. Xanax may affect different areas of the brain on a range of different levels. When people become dependent upon Xanax, they may try to quit using the drug. The problem is that their brains need time to go back to prior or normal functioning levels.

You may experience a range of emotional symptoms while going through Xanax withdrawal. As the medication leaves your body, some of the symptoms can be quite powerful, such as paranoia, panic, and anxiety. You may experience depression and suicidal thoughts. These are just some of the reasons why medical professionals should monitor you closely during your Xanax withdrawal. When you are withdrawing from this drug, you may feel as if you are unable to control your emotions. You may experience:

  • Mood swings
  • Concentration problems
  • Nightmares
  • Jumpiness
  • Irritability
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Hallucinations

These are all symptoms you may experience with Xanax withdrawal. Help from a mental health professional may provide valuable assistance during this time. Counseling may help you learn to manage your emotions and the withdrawal symptoms you might be experiencing.

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Withdrawal Timeline for Xanax

Xanax is one of the shorter-acting drugs. According to the FDA, the average half-life for Xanax is around eleven hours. That means it typically takes about eleven hours for the body to eliminate half of the Xanax in the system.

Once the drug stops producing major effects in the body, generally around six to twelve hours after the last dose, the symptoms of withdrawal begin. For benzodiazepine drugs, people typically experience acute withdrawal symptoms around six to eight hours after their last dose. The symptoms may peak on the second day of withdrawal and stop within four to five days.

After quitting Xanax, some people may also experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms. Such symptoms could last for weeks or even months. If they do not address them, the post-acute withdrawal symptoms may cause people to relapse. This means they may begin to use the drug again. Regular therapy sessions may help people address these symptoms and prevent relapses.

Some people experience protracted withdrawal. This condition may cause psychiatric withdrawal symptoms and cravings for the drug. The symptoms may last years if people do not address them with the proper professionals.

Withdrawal Factors You Should Know

Just as each person experiences addiction differently, each person will have their own unique withdrawal symptoms. The timeline for Xanax withdrawal may change based on many different factors. Some of the varying factors may include the following:

  • Strength of dependence
  • Dosing schedule
  • Method of ingestion
  • Use with alcohol or other drugs
  • Age when Xanax use started
  • Genetics
  • Length of time using and/or abusing this drug
  • Levels of stress
  • Mental health issues
  • Family history of addiction
  • Personal prior history of addiction
  • Underlying medical issues
  • Environmental factors

These are some of the most common factors for determining how long Xanax withdrawal symptoms may last and how severe they may be. Withdrawal from Xanax can be less dangerous and more comfortable if you seek the help of medical and mental health professionals. You should visit professionals and facilities that are experienced in treating substance abuse disorders.

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Xanax Detox Center Safety

It is best to withdraw from Xanax with the help of a professional addiction detox center that specializes in Xanax addiction. The detox center will offer you the support, monitoring, and supervision you need to overcome your dependence and addiction. It will introduce you to mental health and medical professionals who may assist you.

Detox centers offer you a safe space to . The professionals there will help you control your withdrawal symptoms and taper you from the medication. When you slowly taper from the medication over a period of time, you can more safely detox from it. This may reduce the intensity of your withdrawal symptoms.

Are you ? Have you been abusing it for a while? Did you just start abusing? You should know that it is safer to withdraw from this drug with the help of a professional Xanax detox center instead of on your own.

It may be difficult to overcome a substance abuse disorder, regardless of the drug or drugs used. Xanax addiction is often difficult to overcome, but you can find the help you need. Make the call to find professional help for Xanax withdrawal today.

Want more information about how Chapters Capistrano can help? Feel free to call 949-276-2886 and one of our addiction specialists will help get the information and help you need.

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Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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