What is Xanax?

Xanax is a brand of prescription drug Alprazolam, also known as a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Alprazolam is the most commonly prescribed and misused benzo in America. The calming effect that comes from Xanax pills allows people with panic disorders to feel less like they are in crisis while having panic attacks. 

Some other names this drug goes by: 

  • Xanax bars 
  • Zanies 
  • Planks  
  • Yellow Boys
  • Zanzibar

Xanax can be habit-forming even at usual doses, and long-term drug abuse/misuse may lead to addiction, possibly requiring a medical detox and an inpatient treatment program.

Detox Vs. Withdrawal: What is the difference? 

Many people use the terms “Xanax (Alprazolam) detox” and “withdrawal” interchangeably. However, they are not the same. A detox from Xanax is a treatment approach that aims to remove the drug from the body safely and rapidly. On the other hand, withdrawal refers to the uncomfortable symptoms that might occur when stopping or reducing drug use. 

Xanax Detox

What happens in Xanax detox?

Xanax detox is the first step of addiction treatment, and during detox, our team of trained health professionals examines your physical and mental health and the severity of the addiction. Treatment centers may also recommend some screening tests to see if you use other drugs. Information from the assessment helps them design a tailored detox program. 

Inpatient settings (rehab centers) usually perform Xanax detox because inpatient programs provide round-the-clock medical care for a person undergoing withdrawal. They are ideal for someone with severe addiction or other co-occurring mental health conditions. Outpatient programs, which do not require a person to stay at the facility, can be an option if you have mild withdrawal. These programs include intensive outpatient treatment and partial hospitalization. 

Xanax detox can last a few weeks to several weeks. Studies show that reducing the dose (tapering) over four months may be necessary for some users. 

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms & Side Effects

Among all benzodiazepines, abusing Xanax bars is likely to cause more severe withdrawal. Xanax withdrawal may occur with short-term use at the recommended doses.

The following factors can affect the occurrence and severity of withdrawal symptoms:

  • Dose
  • Frequency and duration of Xanax use
  • Use of other drugs (prescription and non-prescription) or alcohol
  • Co-occurring mental illness
  • Aches and pains
  • Vision problems
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Muscle contractions
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep (insomnia)
  • Irritability
  • Hostility
  • Mood swings
  • Pins and needles 
  • Nightmares
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Confusion

These side effects may be life threatening but do not always require medical attention. However, call your doctor immediately if they persist or become worse. 

  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Low energy level
  • Irritability
  • Talkativeness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased salivation
  • Increased or decreased sex drive
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Changes in weight and appetite
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Joint pain

Call your doctor immediately if you have:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Seizures
  • Severe skin rash
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Confusion
  • Speech problems 
  • Unsteadiness

Xanax Withdrawal Timeline

Immediate withdrawal or rebound

Immediate withdrawal occurs 12 to 72 hours after you stop taking Xanax. During this phase, the symptoms of the condition being treated with Xanax may return. Thus, it is also called the rebound phase. 

You may start experiencing the symptoms of anxiety and sleep problems. Other problems can include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.  

Acute withdrawal

Acute withdrawal begins within a few days after the rebound symptoms go away. It can last five days to 4 weeks, or longer in some people. The symptoms are most intense and often require medical supervision or medications. Besides, users have the highest seizure risk during this phase.

Post-acute withdrawal

Up to one-fourth of chronic users experience post-acute withdrawal that can last a year or longer. Also called protracted withdrawal, it can cause:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Poor concentration
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Depression
  • Mood swings

Treatment Options for Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

You may consider self-detox or quitting cold turkey if you are using prescription Xanax. But they are not recommended if you abuse the drug, as it carries the risk of complications, such as seizures. The most effective and safest Xanax withdrawal treatment is a combination of psychotherapy and medications. 

Psychotherapy (talk therapy)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is used during the post-acute withdrawal period. It helps a user overcome lingering psychological problems associated with Xanax use. During a CBT session, you work with a therapist to learn techniques to identify problematic thoughts and triggers. Then, you will learn coping strategies and self-monitoring techniques. 

Other therapies can include cue exposure, individual or family counseling, and support groups. 

Medications

Medications help relieve distressing symptoms, such as mood swings, depression, cravings, and anxiety. Besides, you may use certain over-the-counter (OTC) drugs to control nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

Antidepressants. These drugs help improve symptoms of depression. The most widely used antidepressants for Xanax withdrawal are fluoxetine (Prozac) and paroxetine (Paxil).

Anti-anxiety medications. Buspirone, an anti-anxiety drug, is used to relieve anxiety, stress, and nervousness. 

Clonazepam (Klonopin). Your doctor may prescribe clonazepam when tapering Xanax. Clonazepam is also a benzodiazepine that helps reduce rebound anxiety. 

Carbamazepine (Tegretol). It is an anti-seizure drug that improves sleep issues, anxiety, and mood swings.

Gabapentin (Gabapentin). This anti-seizure agent helps reduce cravings.

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Opus Health is different than other drug & alcohol treatment centers in Orange County, California. 

We believe in the full-integrated recovery of each individual. We specialize in Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), psychological & psychiatric care, daily doctor’s visits, and ongoing support from staff. 

We ensure each patient in our care has the chance to see a full recovery from beginning to long-term sobriety. Our Costa Mesa Rehab Center can help you recover from addiction.

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