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Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms | Just Believe Detox Center

In This Article

Xanax (alprazolam) is a prescription anti-anxiety medication that belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines (benzos). It is commonly prescribed to treat anxiety, panic disorder, seizures, and insomnia, and can be very effective at relieving symptoms related to these disorders. Unfortunately, however, Xanax also has a high potential for dependency, meaning that discontinuation of use can induce the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Drowsiness and fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Memory loss
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Heart palpitations
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Sore or stiff muscles
  • Muscle spasms or twitches
  • Headache
  • Notable weight loss or gain
  • Insomnia or restless sleep

Dependency is the result of the brain’s propensity to adapt to the presence of certain drugs and become unable to function normally without them. Xanax’s depressive effects lend to its potential for dependency. When a user tries to quit or cut back, it results in an overreaction of the central nervous system (CNS), resulting in anxiety, nervousness, and insomnia.

How Does Xanax Work?

All benzos, including Xanax, work by increasing the effect of the brain neurochemical GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). GABA’s mechanism of action is to decrease activity in the CNS, which results in relaxation and reduced anxiety.

Like many prescription drugs, the use of Xanax can result in a host of unwanted effects, which include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Memory problems
  • Impaired coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Increased sweating
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Swelling in hands or feet
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dry mouth
  • Stuffy nose
  • Decrease in libido
  • Tolerance and dependence

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms | Just Believe Detox Center

What Is Tolerance?

Tolerance is a condition that develops over time following the repeated use of a substance. The brain has a tendency to reduce the response of a drug, simply described as “repeated exposure = diminished response.” When the response is decreased, the user feels compelled to use more of the drug in an attempt to achieve the desired effects he or she previously experienced.

Overdose

Benzos are not easy to lethally overdose on in of themselves, but can easily prove fatal when used in conjunction with other psychoactive substances, especially other depressant drugs or alcohol. This is also known as combined drug intoxication (CDI).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2016, there were over 63,000 drug overdose fatalities in the U.S., and more than 10,000 of these involved the use of a benzo. Most deaths related to benzos also included the use of an opioid, either prescription (e.g., oxycodone) or illicit (e.g., heroin).

Overdoses of Xanax can range anywhere from mild to severe, depending on the amount ingested and if other drugs are taken in conjunction. Overdose symptoms due to Xanax misuse or CDI may include the following:

  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Shallow breathing
  • Bluish fingernails and lips
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Muscle spasms
  • Impaired balance
  • Poor motor functions
  • Reduced reflexes
  • Noticeably altered mental status
  • Low blood pressure
  • Profound CNS depression
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Unconsciousness/unresponsiveness
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Coma and death

An overdose related to CDI, which may or may not include benzos, is a medical emergency. If you or someone you know is suffering from the symptoms mentioned above, please call 911 immediately.

Treatment for Addiction to Xanax

Treatment for Xanax abuse or addiction usually begins with medical detox, a process during which the patient is supervised around-the-clock for many days until withdrawal symptoms subside and the risk of serious complications has been reduced. In some instances, patients are placed on a tapering schedule that continues for weeks—a strategy used to minimize withdrawal effects and the risk of complications when cessation does occur.

Following detox, individuals are encouraged to participate in a comprehensive, long-term inpatient treatment program, such as that offered by Just Believe Recovery. During a residential program, persons are treated using evidence-based approaches such as individual and group therapy, family counseling, 12-step programs, and experiential activities such as music and art therapy.

After residential treatment, many people in recovery choose to participate in an intensive outpatient treatment program (IOP). IOP offers most of the same services and therapies as residential, but individuals are permitted to live off-site. At the same time, they continue to engage in therapy sessions several times a week. IOP aims to ensure that people receive ongoing treatment and support while they transition back to the real world.

Following intensive treatment, people in recovery can continue to benefit from aftercare planning services, receive referrals to sober living homes, and participate in alumni activities that foster long-term peer support throughout recovery.

If you are ready to reclaim your life free from the grips of drugs or alcohol, we urge you to contact us today and find out how we can help!