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What Is Xanax Detox?
The first step to recovery, for any addiction, is accepting that one’s substance abuse has become a problem and that they cannot stop on their own. The second is going through the process of detox. However, detox is much harder than it sounds and, in many cases, can be dangerous.
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Xanax (and Benzodiazepines in general) is a popular prescription for thousands of Americans who suffer from anxiety and insomnia. However, Xanax is highly addictive and should never be used as a long-term treatment. Within only two weeks of regular use, the body can build a tolerance against its effects. That means that those taking the Benzo will have to take more to achieve the same effects. When that happens, they may feel the need to take more, with or without notifying their doctor.
After someone increases their dose, it is only a matter of time before they build a dependence on Xanax. Once a person has developed a dependence, they will experience highly uncomfortable and potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking Xanax or reduce their dose. This isn’t something that they can fight or have a choice of, it is just a natural reaction our bodies have to compensate for the introduction of the foreign substance. In fact, many people don’t realize that they’ve developed a dependence until their prescription ends and they feel the effects of withdrawal.
Symptoms Of Xanax Withdrawal
When someone quits Xanax, they will soon begin to feel the effects of withdrawal. Depending on the severity of the addiction, symptoms of withdrawal can appear within 11 to 24 hours after the last dose. That being said, Xanax leaves the body faster than other, longer-acting Benzodiazepines and can trigger acute withdrawal within a day of the final dose. There is a long list of potential side effects of the detox process, but most will manifest during acute withdrawal period, 1 to 7 days. These symptoms can include:
- Uncontrollable shaking or tremors
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light and/or noise
- Change in sense of smell
- Mild insomnia
- Difficulty concentrating
- Aggressive behavior
- Muscle twitching or cramps
- Pain, burning, or numbness in extremities
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
- Panic attacks
- Rebound symptoms
Depending on how high of a dose the addicted was taking, more serious, life-threatening symptoms can appear, like seizures or erratic, psychotic reactions. Those symptoms are one reason why professionals recommend going through a medically-assisted detox. If someone tries to quit on their own, cold-turkey, they are more likely to relapse and less likely to try again. Additionally, they are more likely to experience dangerous side effects such as psychosis and seizures. Having a medical professional help wean them off over time can be the difference between long-term sobriety and a life of addiction.
Rebound Symptoms From Xanax Detox
Rebound symptoms are an incredibly common thing, even among those who have never suffered from an addiction. The basic idea is that when someone stops taking a medication for some kind of physical or psychological pain management, the symptoms they were treating come back.
In the case of Xanax, people often use it as a way to treat anxiety and insomnia. That means that when they stop, they may begin to feel those symptoms come back. Rebound effects from Xanax typically last between 2-3 days. One of the biggest triggers for people whose Xanax prescriptions ends, is that they feel the disorders they were fighting return worse than before. Those symptoms can make the addicted feel like they need to medication to stay normal. However, they are better off talking to their doctor and letting them know that their problems have resurfaced. That way, they can be prescribed a weaker or lower dose to help maintain their symptoms until they pass.
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Stages Of Xanax Detox
People going through the process of Xanax detox will feel themselves going through distinct levels of discomfort, and even pain, through different periods of time. These can be broken down into the acute and protracted stages of withdrawal.
Acute withdrawal symptoms will appear in the first few days and will be the worst the afflicted has to deal with. This will be when their body is first adjusting to life without Xanax and has to rebalance itself. After that, the user will go into a stage of protracted withdrawal, or Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS). This usually starts 2 to 3 weeks after the last dose. This means the worst of the withdrawal will be behind them, and they’ll mostly be dealing with a resurfacing of anxiety and insomnia. While the protracted phase is difficult, and can last for up to two years, it is during the acute phase that someone is most likely to relapse. That is why it is crucial to seek help during that time, whether it is for yourself or a loved one.
The amount of time it takes to withdraw from Xanax is determined by a number of factors, including how long and how much Xanax was used, how Xanax was taken, the presence of any underlying medical or mental health issues, and whether other drugs were abused. This means that each individual’s withdrawal timeline will be different. However, there are some general similarities.
|Xanax Withdrawal Timeline|
11 – 24
|Xanax leaves the body at a faster rate than other Benzodiazepines. This means users can feel the symptoms of withdrawal within hours of taking their final dose. This can make it extra difficult.|
1 – 4
|The most difficult time of Xanax withdrawal comes only a couple days after the last dose. The user’s Rebound Symptoms will be in full effect, along with additional common symptoms. By day 4, patients’ symptoms will begin to feel less severe.|
7 – 14
|Within two weeks of the user’s final dose, a majority of their withdrawal symptoms will subside. They may still feel some anxiety from no longer taking the medication, but other, more severe symptoms will become mild or stop altogether.|
Get Help With Xanax Detox
The process of detox is never easy and can actually be dangerous. Someone who plans on doing it should never do so alone. Finding a medical facility that can help them through the stages of withdrawal can be the difference between a life of addiction and long-term recovery.
If you or a loved one have recently come to terms with their addiction, and you need help to get clean, please don’t go down that path alone. There are hundreds of facilities across the country that can help someone manage the symptoms of withdrawal. If you don’t know what that looks like, or where to start, try reaching out to a treatment provider. They are available to help you plan out your steps toward recovery and find treatment available to you.
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