Xanax is the trade name for alprazolam, a benzodiazepine medication commonly used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. The drug is a mild tranquilizer that acts as a sedative on the central nervous system. While there are valid medical uses for Xanax, the medication is also frequently abused for non-medical reasons. Some users may feel the need to take higher doses than were prescribed by a doctor. Others may take medication that was prescribed for someone else, while still others may take it for recreational purposes to enjoy the sedative effect it causes.
Benzodiazepine drugs can become habit-forming. When used in any way other than was prescribed by a doctor, the risk of developing an addiction increases dramatically.
Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms
Xanax withdrawal symptoms can be potentially dangerous and even life-threatening, requiring emergency medical assistance. Some of the more common Xanax withdrawal symptoms include:
- Intense cravings to take Xanax
- Increased anxiety and panic attacks
- Tremors in the hands
- Sleep disturbances and insomnia
- Lightheadedness and dizziness
- Confusion and cognitive difficulty
- Heart palpitations
- Increased heart rate (tachycardia)
As Xanax is a short-acting benzodiazepine, the worst of any physical symptoms associated with withdrawal tend to subside within around 7 days. However, some of the psychological symptoms can extend for weeks or months in some cases.
Due to the potential risks, it’s advised that anyone wanting to stop using Xanax should avoid trying to quit ‘cold turkey’. Detox from Xanax should be only done under careful medical supervision.
Xanax Withdrawal Death
If a person tries to stop taking Xanax suddenly by quitting cold turkey, some of the symptoms can be so severe as to cause seizures. However, one of the most commonly underestimated Xanax withdrawal symptoms is the severity of cravings. Most people simply assume that cravings are an addict’s lack of willpower.
In reality, cravings are the brain’s inability to adapt to the sudden lack of the drug’s presence in the system. The brain may have undergone certain changes in chemistry during drug use.
When intake of the drug stops, the brain can’t adapt and enters into a hyper-excitable state. The user experiences the brain’s lack of adaptation as a range of withdrawal symptoms, including extremely fierce urges to take more Xanax.
If the user gives into the cravings and relapses back into a cycle of drug use, the risk of accidental overdose is significantly increased. Statistics show (1) that there has been a major increase in the number of cases where alprazolam overdose has contributed to death.
Many of the statistics for overdose death highlight that using more than one type of sedative substance, such as mixing alprazolam with any other sedative like alcohol or opiates can increase the risk of overdose dramatically.
Reports indicate (2) that Xanax withdrawal death can be delayed in some cases. The report details findings of an autopsy of a user who had been taking alprazolam over a period of time stopped taking the drug suddenly. Four days after usage stopped suddenly, the user experienced was admitted to hospital experiencing seizures died as a result of Xanax withdrawal.
Xanax withdrawal death statistics aren’t as dramatic as those from accidental overdose.
How to Detox from Xanax
If you or someone you know is struggling to break free from a cycle of benzodiazepine addiction, it’s important to understand how to detox from Xanax safely.
The key to stopping Xanax use is to taper the current dosage down slowly over a period of time under proper medical supervision. It’s important the user isn’t tapered down too quickly, or the risk of developing adverse withdrawal symptoms increases.
Understanding how to detox from Xanax safely is not the same thing as being safe during the withdrawal process. It’s important the user has medical supervision and monitoring in a specialized drug rehab facility. Medical staff can provide appropriate care and attention and ensure the dosage is administered correctly over time.
Aside from ensuring the recovering person gets through the worst of any physical Xanax withdrawal symptoms safely, drug rehab staff can also begin working to address the psychological triggers behind addictive substance use.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.