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Xanax Withdrawal

Xanax Withdrawal Can Be Dangerous

As a benzodiazepine, Xanax is a central nervous system depressant. The main active ingredient found in Xanax – alprazolam – actually changes the way the brain functions. With relatively high addictive potential, Xanax can lead you to both physical dependence as well as addiction. In fact, Xanax dependence is a serious medical condition that requires help from a specialist.

Here’ we’ll address the steps you need to take when you are planning to get off Xanax for good. In this article, we’ll review questions like, “Are Xanax withdrawal symptoms severe?” and, “How can they be treated?” More on a safe Xanax withdrawal in the text below. Then, we invite you for an open discussion on Xanax withdrawal in the comments section at the end of the page.
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Why Does Xanax Withdrawal Happen?

Xanax acts directly on the central nervous system to decrease abnormal excitement in the brain. As mentioned earlier, its psychoactive chemicals change the function of the brain. As the brain adapt to the presence of Xanax (this occurs after only few weeks of regular, daily dosing), it needs Xanax to function normally. Remove the Xanax, and it takes the brain and body time to even out.

Moreover, the human system begins to build up a level of drug tolerance over time, and tends to need more Xanax the longer you use it. Therefore, when you lower your Xanax dose or stop completely, you will experience symptoms of withdrawal.

When Does Xanax Withdrawal Start?

Usually, Xanax withdrawal starts about 6-8 hours after the last dose has worn off. Acute symptoms peak about 72 hours after the last intake. Many factors (including dosage, mode of administration, history of drug abuse, and so on) play a great role in duration of the withdrawal. Usually, it takes up to 10 day for withdrawal to end. However, some of the symptoms can reoccur after few weeks in cases of “rebound” withdrawal.

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

If you are physically dependent on Xanax, you can expect to experience symptoms of withdrawal when you lower/quit the daily dosage. This happens because the human system is trying to maintain balance. After a period of 3-4 weeks of daily dosing, the body adapts to the presence of Xanax and adjusts to accommodate for regular dosing. In fact, a Xanax-induced chemical state is now the new “normal”.

Xanax withdrawal symptoms can be physically and emotionally painful and – for some people – even life-threatening. Never try try to stop taking Xanax “cold turkey.” If you have a history of taking higher doses of Xanax, or taking it for a prolonged time you’ll probably face very intense withdrawal symptoms.

Some of symptoms associated with Xanax withdrawal can include:

  • coma
  • convulsions
  • cramps
  • depression
  • diarrhea
  • dysphoria
  • fatigue
  • fear
  • headaches
  • high blood pressure
  • mania
  • mood swings
  • nausea
  • psychosis
  • restlessness
  • seizures
  • spasms
  • vomiting

Xanax Withdrawal Medications

When it comes to quitting a powerful and addictive benzodiazepine medication such as Xanax, the safest way to come off is by gradual dose reduction. However, you should know that even when you choose this method of discontinuation, you’ll still have to deal with withdrawal. You can consult the Ashton Manual for current best practice in dose reduction from Xanax.

The severity of Xanax withdrawal symptoms requires medical supervision during any case of Xanax detox. Medical professionals at detox clinic can support you during the process. The may also prescribe the following medications to address withdrawal discomfort.

Buspirone – This medicine is considered appropriate because it doesn’t create physical dependence and is effective in relieving the emotional distress during Xanax detox. Besides the many positive effects of this drug, buspirone is a slow acting agent. This means that it will take approximately 2-3 weeks before you begin to feel its effects. This is why doctors usually prescribe buspirone during tapering. This medication is prescribed to people diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) who have a history of substance abuse.

Flumazenil – This medicine is usually prescribed in cases of Xanax overdose. Nonetheless, this drug has proven to be successful in reducing the intensity of withdrawal symptoms during Xanax detox. How?  Flumazenil blocks the effects of Xanax and reduces withdrawal intensity by attaching to the identical pleasure centers in the brain as Xanax. This medication is also used during rapid detox since flumazenil eliminates benzodiazepines from the body.

NOTE HERE: Flumazenil should not be used lightly since rapid detox is extremely dangerous and can intensify withdrawal symptoms exposing you to life threatening dangers. Any use of Flumazenil should be in accordance with a doctor or other medical professional.

Xanax Withdrawal Duration

In general, Xanax withdrawal lasts about week or two. Often, Xanax withdrawal symptoms start about 6-8 hours after the last taken dose, but severe symptoms occur about 72 hours after the last intake. Still, some of the symptoms of withdrawal are known to reoccur, even several weeks after the initial withdrawal has ended. Moreover, every Xanax user reacts differently on the drug, so withdrawal may differ for every person.

Tips For Coping With Xanax Withdrawal

Experiencing Xanax withdrawal can be hard and very uncomfortable. Our advice is listed below is in the interest of helping you gain control over your life again.

TIP 1. Make sure to always consult with medical professionals when you want to discontinue Xanax.

TIP 2. Be prepared with aids, therapies, and support that you will need during detox time.

TIP 3. Choose an individualized tapering program because every withdrawal experience is unique.

TIP 4. Use over-the-counter medications for addressing symptoms of withdrawal as they occur.

TIP 5. Drunk plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

TIP 6. Use body and mind therapies to focus on your recovery aims and to help you motivate through withdrawal.

Xanax Withdrawal Questions

The text above covers our basic knowledge of Xanax withdrawal. But, if you still have any questions, feel free to ask us in the comments section at the end or via the contact us page. All your comments are welcomed and appreciated. We try to respond to all legitimate concerns with a personal and prompt response.

Reference Sources: NIH: Discontinuation and Withdrawal Problems of Alprazolam
DHS: INFORMED CONSENT FOR MEDICATION
NIH: Alprazolam use and dependence. A retrospective analysis of 30 cases of withdrawal
NIH: Benzodiazepines: Dependence and a Therapeutic Approach to Gradual Withdrawal
NIH: Medicine Plus: Alprazolam

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