Xanax Withdrawal & What You Should Do

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If you or a loved are struggling with a Xanax addiction, it’s important to  understand Xanax withdrawal symptoms and what to do about them.

Xanax, also called alprazolam, is a benzodiazepine that is used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. When an individual takes Xanax for a long period of time, both mental and physical dependence normally develops. Dependency can begin in just a few days to weeks, even if the medication is being taken as prescribed. Stopping the consumption of Xanax abruptly can be extremely dangerous due to the withdrawal symptoms. This article outlines what Xanax withdrawal symptoms are and how to treat Xanax addiction.

General Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

It is important to understand that there isn’t a specific timeline or dosage that indicates a Xanax dependency or addiction is present. Generally, the risk increases as the dose and duration of consumption increases. Xanax withdrawal symptoms can develop even just after a few weeks. These symptoms can include:

  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Nightmares
  • Restlessness while sleeping
  • Feeling tension

When someone uses Xanax on a more chronic basis, withdrawal symptoms tend to be worse. The most dangerous symptom is seizures. Other serious Xanax withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Depression
  • Loss of interest in normal activities
  • Suicidal ideations

Withdrawal symptoms normally include the symptoms that made the individual take Xanax in the first place. The brain adapts to the presence of the drug and then withdraws from the drug when it is no longer present. Once someone is in Xanax withdrawal, they may experience rebound anxiety, lethargy, flu-like symptoms, and long-term withdrawal effects.

What Is Xanax Rebound Anxiety?

Suddenly stopping Xanax comes with another risk besides the normal withdrawal symptoms — rebound anxiety.  Rebound anxiety happens when the anxiety symptoms return worse than what they were when initially being treated with Xanax. Rebound anxiety symptoms can be both psychological and physical. 

Benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, bind to gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors in the brain and boost the activity of GABA. GABA is a type of neurotransmitter that slows activity in the brain and central nervous system. If someone is feeling anxious and they take a Xanax, then it boosts GABA. Thus the brain activity is slowed down and the individual feels calm. It may also make someone sleepy and act as a muscle relaxant.

The brain can rapidly learn to tolerate the effects of Xanax. This can lead to dependency. When an individual stops taking Xanax, the GABA receptors will have difficulty doing their job without the assistance of the medication. This leads to rebound anxiety.

Rebound anxiety can start quickly, often within 24 hours of stopping your medication. Treatment for rebound anxiety includes:

  • Following a taper schedule from your physician 
  • Switching to a medication, such as diazepam, that has a longer half life
  • Therapy in order to learn coping skills
  • Drug rehab if you feel as though you need 24/7 supervision while you taper

Xanax Withdrawal Symptom-Fatigue

Another common Xanax withdrawal symptom is fatigue. Xanax withdrawal fatigue can begin as soon as a few hours or days following the discontinuation of use. Sometimes, Xanax is prescribed to treat insomnia. Thus, sleep issues and fatigue may rebound if someone was taking the medication for these issues. This is a similar concept to rebound anxiety. Unfortunately fatigue can last much longer than other Xanax withdrawal symptoms, such as rebound anxiety.

Treatment for Xanax withdrawal fatigue can include:

  • Getting enough rest
  • Reducing daily activity
  • Avoiding caffeine
  • Holistic treatments such as yoga or massage
  • Alternative sleep medications if necessary, such as melatonin

Benzo Flu-Like Symptoms

Flu like symptoms may arise when someone is detoxing from Xanax. This is commonly referred to as the “benzo flu”. These symptoms include headaches, body aches, sweating, fatigue, trouble sleeping, upset stomach, and tremors. Flu-like symptoms normally last about 1 to 5 days. Overall, withdrawal symptoms in general subside within three weeks. After that people may experience something called post-acute withdrawal. Post-acute withdrawal is when someone feels less severe withdrawal symptoms in waves for months following the initial detox. Drug rehab programs can provide medications and therapies that help individuals cope with post acute and acute Xanax withdrawal.

Benzodiazepine withdrawal is dangerous. Therefore, it is important to talk to your prescribing physician prior to stopping your medication or reducing the dose on your own. If you are experiencing the benzo flu than you can try the following in order to help:

  • Rest your body as much as possible
  • Stay hydrated 
  • Eat a mild but nutritious diet
  • Avoid caffeine
  • Holistic meditation techniques to help anxiety
  • Counseling or group therapy

Treatment For Xanax Withdrawal In Cherry Hill, NJ

It is important to understand that detoxing from Xanax is dangerous, therefore you should seek professional help prior to trying to detox yourself at home. The Healing Center provides a drug rehab in Cherry Hill, NJ that can address the underlying causes of your Xanax addiction, while also keeping you comfortable through the withdrawal process. Don’t wait. Get the help you need today from our team of addiction specialists in New Jersey. Call our admissions department in order to begin your healing journey and find freedom from addiction.