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How is Xanax Withdrawal Treated?

Xanax is the most commonly prescribed and abused benzodiazepine medication in America.[1] While effective when used in the short-term treatment of anxiety disorders, Xanax can also be abused and is often diverted from medical use. People who abuse Xanax can develop a physical and psychological dependence on the drug rapidly, requiring professional treatment when they decide to get sober.

If you are currently struggling with Xanax addiction, you may be terrified to stop taking the drug. You may be afraid of facing your feelings again, giving up a coping mechanism, and having to go through symptoms of withdrawal. Fortunately, there is evidence-based treatment available for Xanax withdrawal and addiction to help people just like you get healthy.


Causes of Xanax Withdrawal

When consumed, Xanax increases the activity and reuptake of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA works to slow down the central nervous system and trigger feelings of relaxation and calmness. The first time you take Xanax or any other drug that increases GABA, you may feel strong, relaxing effects.[2] However, the longer and more often you take the drug, the higher dose you will have to take to feel the same effects. This is called tolerance.

As a result of tolerance, many drug users will increase their dose or take Xanax more frequently to feel the same effects. Continued Xanax abuse can lead to dependence. Dependence occurs once the brain and body grow accustomed to having increased GABA reuptake in the brain. The brain essentially requires excess GABA to function normally.

Someone who is dependent on Xanax will experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug. Xanax withdrawal can produce rebound symptoms of anxiety and panic as well as potentially life-threatening physical symptoms.[2] The standard treatment for Xanax withdrawal involves a benzodiazepine taper and medical monitoring.

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

While detoxing from Xanax, you can expect to experience a variety of unpleasant physical and psychological symptoms.[3]

physical symptoms of xanax withdrawal

psychological symptoms of xanax withdrawal

Physical symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Sore or stiff muscles
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Heart palpitations and/or tachycardia
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures

Psychological symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Panic
  • Sensitivity to noise and light
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness
  • Insomnia
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Paranoia

How serious these symptoms become and how long they last depend largely on how long you have been abusing Xanax and what dose your body is used to taking. While the acute phase of benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome can last 1-2 weeks, many people who are addicted to Xanax also experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). PAWS refers to long-lasting and lingering psychological symptoms of anxiety, depression, and irritability.

Can You Detox From Xanax At Home?

You may be tempted to try to detox “cold turkey” or at home without medical assistance for many reasons. You may be concerned about the cost of detox, spending time away from your family, or having to take time off work. However, cold turkey withdrawal is not safe when it comes to Xanax.

Xanax withdrawal can produce severe and life-threatening withdrawal symptoms that require medical intervention. Symptoms like convulsions, seizures, heart palpitations, and paranoia can be fatal if left untreated. It’s vital to seek treatment for Xanax withdrawal from a medical treatment facility or detox center. Staff at detox can administer medications, monitor your vitals, and provide emergency medical care in the event of a complication. Medical detox is the safest way to endure the earliest stages of Xanax addiction recovery.

If you do decide to detox from Xanax at home, be sure to inform those who are close to you, preferably those with a medical background. Ideally, someone should stay by your side during the entire Xanax withdrawal timeline to help you if a medical emergency occurs.

Treatment for Xanax Withdrawal

Medical detox centers usually recommend a benzodiazepine taper for Xanax withdrawal. You may be prescribed a long-acting benzodiazepine, like Valium. You will begin at a relatively high dose and gradually reduce the amount you take each day until your withdrawal symptoms are manageable.[3] Each day, your medications are administered by a nurse and supervised to ensure medication compliance.

In addition to a benzodiazepine taper, treatment for Xanax withdrawal involves medical monitoring, therapy, and treatment planning. Throughout detox, nurses and doctors provide 24/7 monitoring and supervision. They will be checking your vitals, monitoring your symptoms, and staying prepared to intervene if an emergency occurs.

Many detox centers also offer optional group therapy sessions. If you are feeling up to participating, you may join the group and begin diving into your addiction, exploring your emotions, and building bonds with other recovering individuals.

Towards the end of your benzodiazepine taper, you will meet with a counselor to discuss treatment plans. Detox is only the beginning of Xanax recovery, and some of your psychological symptoms may linger even after your taper ends. These symptoms are best managed at a comprehensive treatment center offering individualized care. Treatment such as this can help people develop the coping skills they need to stay sober after Xanax detox.

Find Treatment for Xanax Withdrawal in West Palm Beach

If you or someone you loved is addicted to Xanax, our drug and alcohol detox program in West Palm Beach can help. Our holistic approach combines traditional treatment methods with evidence-based care and detox medications so you can stay safe, get healthy, and live sober.

The longer you continue taking Xanax, the more complex treatment will become, and the more severe your withdrawal symptoms will be. Don’t wait another day. Call now to begin your recovery with Mandala Healing Center.