Nearly 72% of people who fill prescriptions for Xanax are female.
Dependence and Tolerance
Unfortunately, some legal prescription drugs come with a risk of addiction much like that of illegal drugs. Although some people have used Xanax illegally to get “high,” most Xanax addiction starts with a legal prescription. The problem with Xanax as a regular, long-term treatment is that this drug causes dependence, especially in people who take it for insomnia. Many people who take Xanax as a sleep aid reach a point at which they can’t sleep at all without Xanax. Quitting Xanax after taking it for a long time may cause “rebound insomnia,” or insomnia that becomes even worse than it was before the individual started taking the medication.
Often, with dependence comes tolerance, or a sort of “numbing” to the drug’s effects. While the first dose may have been highly effective, the drug becomes less and less effective over time as the brain gets used to the medication.
33% of long-term Xanax users report that they experience an increase in their depression-like symptoms.
Detox and Withdrawal
When a person stops taking any drug, that person enters a phase called detox. During the detox phase, the drugs leave the person’s system. How long does detox take? It depends on the drug. Because Xanax is one of the short-acting benzodiazepines, the substance can leave a person’s body in as few as seven days.
If one stops taking Xanax immediately, he or she will likely experience symptoms of withdrawal. These symptoms might include any or all of the following:
- Rebound anxiety
- Rebound insomnia
- General unwellness
- Racing heartbeat
- Difficulty thinking
- Difficulty with memory
Withdrawal symptoms can cause an early relapse as addicted individuals seek relief from the pain and the discomfort.
Although Xanax detox can happen quickly, quitting Xanax “cold turkey” can be dangerous. Most doctors and rehab specialists recommend detoxing slowly. Abruptly quitting Xanax could cause a life-threatening seizure. The “tapering off” detox method can prevent this emergency. With this method, a doctor continues to prescribe Xanax. However, he or she prescribes it in decreasing doses. The patient gets used to the smaller doses and, eventually, he or she can function with no Xanax at all. While this method certainly prolongs the detox process, it also puts far less stress on the brain and body. Furthermore, it has the added benefit of easing much of the discomfort that comes from withdrawal symptoms.
If you’ve become addicted to Xanax and aren’t sure where to go from here
Medical Detox vs. Home Detox
A drug-addicted individual has two primary detox options: home detox or medical detox. It is possible to detox from Xanax at home. Those who have a strong support system at home may find this option especially appealing. However, while this option gives the patient all of the comforts of home, it also gives the patient all of home’s potential triggers. If a particular person, object, or situation at home might cause a person to crave Xanax, he or she should probably consider medical detox.
Medical detox happens in a dedicated drug detox facility. Medical staff provides care while the patient undergoes detox. If an emergency such as a seizure should occur, the staff will be able to handle it quickly. Some detox facilities exist as part of a full rehab program, so the patient can go straight from detox into rehab.
When a person becomes addicted to Xanax, that person’s doctor may suggest a drug rehabilitation program. Inpatient programs last for 30, 60, or 90 days. They provide structure and a wealth of therapy and recreational options. Outpatient programs last longer than inpatient programs. They provide less structure, but they still come with therapy options, and many former drug users find that the outpatient option works well for them. After (or during) the rehab program, a former Xanax user can also seek long-term therapy to deal with the root of the drug addiction. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, for example, can help with anxiety and insomnia.
Take the First Step to Getting Help
If you’re ready to detox from Xanax but aren’t sure how to start or where to get treatment, let Rehab Info help. We know that you have a lot of options and that those options can become overwhelming. We want to make those choices easier.