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Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms and Detoxification Process

Once a person has become addicted to Xanax, quitting it as well as decreasing the amount taken may result into withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms appear during the detoxification process and may prove to be extremely unpleasant. Even though the process of detoxification is quite painful, it is crucial for the recovery. A number of methods can be used to make withdrawal symptoms less severe and the process of detoxification relatively easy.

Xanax Detoxification Process

Table of Contents:

  • 1.Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms
  • 2.What are rebound symptoms?
  • 3.Timeline for Xanax Withdrawal
  • 4.Treatments Used to Ease Withdrawal Symptoms
  • 5.Detoxification Process

Xanax withdrawal symptoms:

Just like withdrawal of any other drug, unpleasant symptoms are associated with the withdrawal of Xanax as well. But the symptoms produced are not even nearly as severe as produced by the withdrawal of some other drugs such as heroin and cocaine so the process of recovery is comparatively easy. It is recommended to quit the drug slowly by gradually decreasing the amount taken. Quitting it all at once or going cold turkey is seriously damaging for mental health and may result into protracted withdrawal symptoms that may last for years, as described by National Institute on Drug Abuse. Seizures are associated with quitting the drug cold turkey that maybe highly painful and even fatal in some cases.

Even though it is rare, but it is quite possible to die from Xanax withdrawal. The chances increase if the drug is quit all at once. When the supply of drug is suddenly cut off, certain chemicals needed by the brain are not produced that may send the brain into a state of shock. It is advisable to seek professional advice before quitting the drug. Physicians recommend decreasing the intake of drug little by little. To avoid death due to Xanax withdrawal, it is highly recommended to taper off the medication under expert supervision. Multiple withdrawal symptoms are produced by Xanax such as:

  • Insomnia or low quality sleep
  • Excessive sweating
  • Muscle aches
  • Involuntary tremors
  • Fluctuations in weight
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased menstrual bleeding
  • Worsened Premenstrual Syndrome symptoms
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle twitches
  • Seizures
  • Convulsions
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness in extremities

Apart from these, a number of psychological symptoms are also associated with Xanax withdrawal such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic attack like symptoms (trembling, shortness of breath, fear)
  • Depression
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Feeling restless
  • Aggressiveness
  • Nightmares

Though less common, but these symptoms are also experienced by some users:

  • Confusion
  • Feeling like something is crawling under the skin
  • Hallucinations
  • Heightened senses (Increased sensitivity to light and sound)

Symptoms produced during the process of withdrawal are often referred to as benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. The severity of withdrawal symptoms may vary a great deal from patient to patient depending upon the amount and time drug was used for.

What are rebound symptoms?

Rebound means reappearance of symptoms of a pre-existing psychological disorder with greater intensity after quitting the drug used for its treatment. Those who have used Xanax for therapeutic purposes such as for the treatment of anxiety, panic disorder or insomnia may experience rebound symptoms. They experience heightened symptoms of anxiety, panic attack and insomnia after they stop using the drug. It may take a week for rebound symptoms to go away but the psychological disorder still needs to be treated.

Timeline for Xanax Withdrawal:

Xanax has a short half life that means it produces its effects pretty quickly and is removed from the system within a small period of time. Xanax withdrawal symptoms maybe more severe as compared to other drugs but they are short lived so they disappear as quickly as they appear. Usually, withdrawal symptoms appear within hours of quitting the drug and vanish within a week.

Here is a timeline for Xanax withdrawal:

  • First 6 to 12 hours:
    Within the 6 hours of last dosage, effects of Xanax on the body diminish and withdrawal symptoms start to appear. The initial symptoms may include anxiety and irritability that become even worse as the time passes.
  • Days 1 to 5:
    Withdrawal symptoms reach to their peak value and remain so for a few initial days. Rebound symptoms of anxiety and insomnia are also experienced by the patient. A number of other withdrawal symptoms such as body ache, excessive sweating, tremors etc start to kick in. These days can be most difficult during the withdrawal process. After the 5th day, symptoms start to disappear or become less severe.
  • Days 6 to 14:
    It may take two weeks for withdrawal symptoms to disappear completely even though they have now become less painful and pretty much bearable. Anxiety and insomnia may still exist.
  • Day 15 and onwards:
    Some symptoms may last even though initial extreme symptoms have gone. It may take as long as two years for some symptoms to disappear.

Treatments Used to Ease Withdrawal Symptoms:

There are a number of methods that can be used to make the process of withdrawal less difficult. Withdrawal symptoms can become so unbearable at times that the addict prefers to go back to the drug than to endure the pain. So using ways to ease down withdrawal symptoms can greatly reduce the chances of relapsing. The measures that can be taken include:

  • Staying hydrated:
    Patients are at a great risk of becoming dehydrated due to diarrhea and vomiting. It should be made sure to increase the intake of liquids to prevent dehydration.
  • Use of medications:
    A number of over-the-counter drugs can be used to treat withdrawal symptoms such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea and anti vomiting medications.

Simple changes in life style may also prove to be helpful such as:

  • Meditation: Meditation greatly helps to reduce anxiety and insomnia and to bring peace of mind.
  • Exercise: Exercise can be immensely helpful to reduce physical symptoms of Xanax abuse.
  • Therapy: A therapist can help to go through the pain of withdrawal and resist the desire to relapse successfully.

Detoxification Process:

Due to the pain and dangers associated with withdrawal process, it is highly recommended to get admitted to a rehabilitation center. People who go through withdrawal under professional supervision are more likely to recover and less likely to relapse. Rehabilitation centers encourage the patients to join self helps programs and maintain the life of sobriety. Detoxification process is not easy. The symptoms from it may last for years but if the patient is determined and proper medical attention is provided, nothing is impossible.


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