What is Xanax?
Xanax belongs to a group of drugs called benzodiazepines. (Other common benzodiazepines include Valium and Klonopin.) Legally, one can only obtain Xanax or another benzodiazepine with a prescription. Doctors prescribe Xanax for anxiety and panic disorders when other medications such as antidepressants haven’t worked. Xanax is also commonly prescribed for sleep disorders.
Xanax and similar medications work because of a brain chemical called gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is a substance that the human brain produces naturally, although a person with anxiety may have lower levels of GABA than the average person. GABA slows down the central nervous system and produces feelings of calmness and relaxation. Xanax helps the brain produce more GABA, aiding in sleep and reducing anxiety.
Dependence and Tolerance
125,000 people are admitted to the hospital every year due to complications from Xanax.
In spite of its positive effects, Xanax does come with many risks. Doctors recommend only taking Xanax for a short period of time to avoid developing dependence. A person who has developed dependence will feel that he or she cannot function without the medication. Furthermore, many people who use Xanax develop a tolerance to the drug, meaning that they’ve become less sensitive to its effects. People who develop a drug tolerance might increase their doses to achieve the same impact that the original dosage gave them at the beginning of treatment.
If you’ve developed an addiction to Xanax, Rehab Info can help.
Xanax withdrawal comes with a mix of physical and psychological symptoms. These symptoms include, but are not limited to, the following list:
- Rebound insomnia
- Rebound anxiety
- Memory loss
- General “unwell” feeling
- Increased heart rate
These symptoms can make an addicted individual feel like quitting is impossible. Without the right options and support, many Xanax users give up on the idea of recovery and continue taking the drugs to get relief from the withdrawal symptoms.
Benzodiazepines may be short-acting, intermediate-acting, or long-acting. The length of withdrawal symptoms depends on which type of benzodiazepine the person has been using. Xanax, which falls into the short-acting category, has a fairly short withdrawal stage. Those who quit Xanax usually see their withdrawal symptoms come to an end after a week.
However, most resources don’t recommend quitting Xanax “cold turkey.” A person who uses Xanax regularly and then tries to quit all at once may experience life-threatening seizures. Instead, most doctors and rehab specialists recommend the “tapering off” method when quitting Xanax. With this method, a doctor prescribes smaller and smaller doses of Xanax until the patient no longer needs the medication at all. The gradual impact is far less traumatizing to the brain and body than a sudden impact would have been. This process can take place either at home or in a medical detox facility. In a medical facility, the patient is surrounded by medical staff who can provide comfort and immediate care in case of an emergency.
90% of patients who take Xanax alternatives for their anxiety symptoms are doing well with the less addictive products.
After detox, the individual’s doctor may recommend a drug rehab program. These include inpatient programs, which house addicted individuals for 30 or more days, and outpatient programs, which don’t require the patient to live at the facility while he or she seeks treatment. Inpatient programs usually provide more structure, but the outpatient programs tend to last longer. Some of these programs are free and government-run while others are privately-owned. If you’re seeking a rehab program, there’s no right or wrong choice. Your choice will depend on your needs, temperament, and financial situation.
Where to Start?
If fear of withdrawal has kept you for recovering from a Xanax addiction, know that there are people who are willing to help you get through this stage and beyond. If you’re not sure where you should start or how to find the right treatment options, call Rehab Info first. At Rehab Info, we offer information and advice about all sorts of different treatment programs. If you don’t know which kind of program may be right for you, allow us to help.