Like any other substance, people can develop an addiction and dependence to Xanax (Alprazolam). Withdrawal symptoms occur when an individual who has developed a dependency suddenly stops taking Xanax. Without having the drug in their system, they may feel as if they are unable to function normally and begin to have withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can include pain and psychological issues caused from the physical dependence.
Signs and Symptoms of Xanax Withdrawal
Xanax is a benzodiazepine that is a short-acting medication. Short-acting medications only affect a person for a short time; whereas long-acting medications such as Valium (diazepam) stay in the system longer. This also means that short-acting medication withdrawal symptoms typically begin within two days and can last up to a month. Whereas, long-acting medications can take up to a week to arise and can last for a few months.
Xanax withdrawal signs and symptoms are typically felt by the user rather than outsiders being able to tell. Xanax withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Agitation or irritation
- Anxiety disorder
- Muscle pain or tension
- Trouble remembering things
- Trouble sleeping
- Difficulty staying focused or paying attention
Timeline of Withdrawal
Xanax withdrawal tends to be more extreme than other benzo medications. However, the effects of Xanax withdrawal do not last as long. Withdrawal typically begins as soon as the individual stops using the drug. Some addicts can still experience benzo withdrawal symptoms a year after they have stopped using the drug. This is known as Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) or protracted withdrawal.
Below is a common Xanax withdrawal timeline
6-12 Hours – Inside the 6 – 12 hours, the effects of Xanax begin to wear off and then withdrawal symptoms start. The body starts to feel as if it is being starved of this drug; the user may begin experiencing anxiety and/or irritability that can increase within the withdrawal process.
1 – 4 Days – As the benzo withdrawal symptoms intensify, trouble sleeping and anxiety is at its highest. Other symptoms such as muscle pain, sweating, and shaking may also begin. After the fourth day, many patients will notice their withdrawal symptoms are not as severe as they were in the first few days.
7 – 14 Days – Typically, the withdrawal symptoms last for about two weeks after the user has stopped taking the drug. During this stage, the worst of their symptoms are over or at least seem to be less severe. However, they may still experience anxiety and trouble sleeping.
Over 15 Days – Any symptoms that seem to stick around after the two-week mark should not be severe, only mild. Some patients will begin experiencing protracted withdrawal symptoms that come on quickly. Protracted withdrawal symptoms can vary, and even last for up to two years.
Detox from Xanax
During the withdrawal process, patients typically go through a detox which can be a long process. Since Xanax causes withdrawal symptoms that can be hard to deal with, users quitting “cold turkey” is not recommended. Instead, patients should slowly wean themselves from the drug and be overseen by a medical professional. Medical professionals can help reduce the severity of Xanax withdrawal symptoms.
Weaning off Xanax, or tapering consists of the patient slowly reducing the dosage of Xanax over time. For some patients, a doctor may suggest that they try switching to a different benzodiazepine that is not as strong and has a short half-life, such as Klonopin. A medical professional should oversee Xanax detox at either a hospital or a drug addiction treatment rehab center such as Serenity Acres.
Treatment for Xanax Withdrawal
When taking Xanax in high doses or more than prescribed to feel the same effects, it is likely you will have Xanax withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the drug. Suddenly stopping the use of Xanax often brings on severe and intense symptoms and should be overseen in a medical detox facility.
Serenity Acres offers both inpatient and outpatient programs for addiction treatment along with detox to begin treatment. Inpatient and outpatient treatment programs can provide help and solutions to overcome Xanax dependency as well as focus on the psychological effects that come from addiction. Seeking treatment for Xanax addiction will provide users with the best chance at overcoming addiction and following the path to a successful long-term recovery. Contact Serenity Acres today to begin your treatment program.