Xanax is the brand name for a prescription medication also known as Alprazolam. While the drug is beneficial when used as prescribed, unfortunately, it is one of the most misused depressants. As such, it is understandable you want to learn more about the withdrawal symptoms of Xanax.
What is Xanax?
Xanax is a brand-name prescription drug that healthcare professionals prescribe to people with panic and anxiety disorders. Doctors also prescribe it to treat insomnia. Xanax is available in tablet form in one for different strengths:
- 0.25 milligrams
- 0.50 milligrams
- 1 milligram
- 2 milligrams
Xanax is considered a controlled substance by the FDA and is classified as a Schedule IV substance. Schedule IV substances are those that have the risk of being misused and drug dependence.
What Type of Drug Is Xanax?
Xanax is in a class of drugs called benzodiazepines – benzos – which are depressants. Xanax helps increase the production and release of GABA, a neurotransmitter that helps us feel relaxed and calm.
How Addictive is Xanax?
According to research analyzed from the 2015 and 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health data, 30.6 million adults, 18 and older reported using benzos, with 5.3 million reporting misuse. Out of the 17.2 percent of adults who misused benzos, 18 to 25-year-olds had the highest report misuse of 5.2 percent.
Continued use or misuse of Xanax can lead to physical and psychological dependence and eventual addiction. Besides increasing GABA production and release, Xanax also stimulates the brain to release dopamine, a “feel good” neurotransmitter found in the pleasure center of the brain.
The brain remembers this as a desirable behavior whenever dopamine is released, leading to a craving for Xanax to experience pleasure again. When someone is misusing Xanax, they will experience a euphoric state which can be very satisfying and rewarding.
As one becomes dependent on Xanax, the body begins to build a tolerance to the medication. As tolerance builds, the effects of the drug are not as noticeable, even though the drug is doing what is should.
Unfortunately, this can lead to people self-medicating and altering their prescribed dosage. Those who misuse Xanax without a prescription will also increase the amount taken to achieve the desired effects. Sadly, this can lead to taking an excessive amount of pills which could lead to accidental overdose or even death.
Withdrawal Symptoms from Xanax
It is easy to become dependent on Xanax in as little as three weeks. More severe withdrawal symptoms of Xanax gradually increase the longer the drug is taken. According to Medical News Today, research has shown that 40 percent of people who used or misused benzos for six months or longer experience moderate to severe benzo withdrawal symptoms.
Physical Withdrawal Symptoms of Xanax
- Body and Muscle Aches and Pains
- Muscle Spasms
- Reduced Appetite
- Weight Loss
- Excess Sweating
- High Blood Pressure
- Dry Mouth
- Slurred Speach
- Blurred Vision
Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms of Xanax
- Loss of Touch with Reality
- Panic Attacks
- Problems Concentrating and Focusing
- Being Hypersensitive
- Sensations of Bugs Crawling on the Skin
- Memory Loss
- Reduced Sex Drive
- Thoughts of Self-Harm
- Cravings for Xanax
The detox timeline and withdrawal symptoms of Xanax will vary based on various factors. These include how long Xanax was taken, the dosage amount and frequency, and whether it was used independently or misused with other substances.
In general, a person will go through three different stages of Xanax withdrawal. The first one, called immediate or early withdrawal, begins within a day of discontinuing Xanax. Initially, the symptoms will be mild but continue to become more intense and moderate.
In about two to four days, the person will transition into the acute withdrawal stage, where moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms are experienced. These tend to peak in about another five to ten days. However, some people can experience acute withdrawal for up to a month or two.
The last stage is PAWS or post-acute withdrawal syndrome. It is where people continue to experience cravings for Xanax and other withdrawal symptoms for several months or much longer.
Safely Stopping Xanax Use
The body develops a dependence on Xanax in as little as three weeks. As such, you should never quit Xanax “cold turkey” as the withdrawal symptoms can be very intense. Stopping Xanax requires medically supervised detox, where one can safely wean off the drug while reducing the risks of severe and dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
Xanax Detox and Addiction Treatment in Nashville, TN
When you want to regain control of your life and stop misusing Xanax, Detox Nashville is here to provide the support and guidance you need. We offer medically supervised Xanax detox and addiction treatment programs at our luxury treatment facility in Nashville.
Our goal is to help you set, focus, and achieve short-term and long-term recovery goals while providing you with the tools necessary for continued growth. For further information about our Xanax detox and addiction treatment programs, please feel free to contact us to speak with an addiction treatment specialist today.