Xanax Withdrawal: Understanding Xanax Recovery

Anxiety is a major concern in Australia, as many Australians struggle with anxiety. While the emotion of anxiety itself is normal, it’s meant to be fleeting and rational. But for some people, anxiety is neither fleeting nor rational. For them, anxiety is almost their default emotional state, and this can have a major impact on their quality of life.

Anxiety disorders can be caused by a number of things. Genetics, trauma, and environment can all play a role in a person developing constant anxiety. Many people manage their anxiety disorders with a combination of therapy and medication, and a common medication to treat anxiety is alprazolam, better known as Xanax.

Xanax is a benzodiazepine medication, and it can relieve anxiety symptoms within an hour of ingestion. However, Xanax is a short-acting drug, and its use is not meant to be a long-term solution for anxiety. Many people can develop a physiological dependence on the medication. Xanax does carry a risk for substance abuse.

When a person’s Xanax misuse does become a problem, they may have to seek addiction treatment to live a life wherein they can manage their anxiety but also keep their substance use under control.

At Sivana Bali, our mission is to help people overcome their alcohol or drug use and address the underlying causes of the addiction.

What Is Xanax Withdrawal?

Xanax withdrawal is what happens when a person detoxes from Xanax. When a person becomes addicted and is dependent on Xanax use, one of the first steps of treatment is to purge their body of Xanax. People who experience withdrawal may struggle with several withdrawal symptoms.

There are two ways to go about with detox. For some people, they may detox over a period of weeks or months.

During this time, they will taper down their Xanax use until they get down to zero. While some people can do this on their own, it’s generally recommended to regularly check in with a medical professional to make sure that a person stays safe while they make the first step toward overcoming Xanax dependence.

This can help the body acclimate to not having any Xanax in it and can minimise withdrawal symptoms.

Another way to detox from Xanax is to go to a specialised treatment centre and go through detox there. The care team at the centre will be there to monitor a person, offer emotional support, and intervene in medical emergencies. 

In either case, medication may be prescribed or administered to address severe withdrawal symptoms.

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

Xanax (alprazolam) withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe and often occur when the medication is discontinued abruptly, particularly after prolonged use. Common symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal include heightened anxiety and panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, and mood swings. This is because with detox, withdrawal will often have the opposite effect of the drug.

Users may also experience depression, tremors, increased sweating, nausea, vomiting, and persistent headaches. Muscle pain, stiffness, fatigue, confusion, and cognitive impairments are common.

In severe cases, abruptly discontinuing Xanax can lead to seizures. These symptoms result from the body’s dependence on the drug to manage anxiety and stress, and the sudden absence of it disrupts its chemical balance.

Xanax Detox Timeline

Withdrawal symptoms do not appear all at once. Rather, there is a timeline that is generally observed. During the first 6 to 12 hours after the last dose, people begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. They can include insomnia and anxiety. This is the result of the last dose wearing off.

Around 1 to 4 days after the last use of Xanax, withdrawal symptoms intensify, and this window is often when they peak in severity. Common symptoms include heightened anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, tremors, sweating, nausea, vomiting, and headaches. This period is often the most challenging.

Between days 5 to 14, symptoms gradually start to decrease in intensity. Emotional symptoms such as mood swings, depression, and anxiety can persist, but physical symptoms such as nausea and tremors begin to subside.

Many acute withdrawal symptoms diminish after about 3 to 4 weeks, but some symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances, may linger.

1 to 3 months and beyond that after the last dose, a person may experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).

What is PAWS?

Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) is a condition which can occur after the initial withdrawal phase from substances. It can involve a set of persistent symptoms that can last for weeks, months, or even years after the acute withdrawal period has ended. 

PAWS for Xanax involves a prolonged set of withdrawal symptoms that persist after the initial acute withdrawal phase. These symptoms can last for weeks, months, or even longer and often fluctuate in intensity. 

PAWS symptoms for Xanax may include persistent anxiety, depression, mood swings, irritability, and difficulties with emotional regulation. Cognitive issues such as memory problems, trouble concentrating, and impaired executive function are also common. 

Physical symptoms of PAWS may include continued sleep disturbances, fatigue, and increased sensitivity to stress.

PAWS happens because it takes time to heal and rebalance the brain after being dependent on Xanax, which affects the central nervous system. Managing PAWS requires ongoing medical support, counselling, and therapy to help individuals cope with their lingering symptoms and encourage their long-term recovery.

The Importance of Medical Detox to Stop Taking Xanax

While the withdrawal symptoms and the prospect of PAWS can make some people wary of detox. Despite that, detoxification is still an important step in the treatment process. A person’s mind and body need to be clear when they begin treatment, and that is how it is achieved through detoxification.

It also can’t be ignored that detoxification is an incredibly difficult thing to get through. Getting through it can demonstrate to a person that they’re strong enough to get through other parts of treatment.

Alternatives to Xanax

There are several alternatives to Xanax for managing anxiety and panic disorders. Other benzodiazepines, such as clonazepam or diazepam, are options but carry similar risks of addiction. Antidepressant medication, such as SSRIs like sertraline or fluoxetine and SNRIs like venlafaxine, offer effective long-term treatment with lower dependence risk.

Buspirone, a medication for anxiety, is less addictive. Beta-blockers like propranolol can help manage physical anxiety symptoms, while antihistamines like hydroxyzine provide non-addictive relief.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and other psychotherapies are highly effective non-medication approaches. Lifestyle changes, including regular exercise, mindfulness meditation, and yoga, significantly reduce anxiety.

Herbal supplements such as valerian root, kava, or chamomile can also help manage anxiety, though they should taken with caution and under medical advice. It’s essential to consult a qualified medical professional to determine the best alternative based on individual needs.

Break Through Xanax Addiction With Us

Xanax addiction can be difficult to overcome. Apart from the normal psychological and physical dependence, there’s also the underlying anxiety to consider. Some people find that they need Xanax.

That’s why addiction treatment needs to integrate mental health into the treatment plan so that underlying mental health disorders can be addressed, as well as the addiction itself.

At Sivana Bali, we recognise that some prescription drug addiction can be difficult due to the underlying medical condition that requires the medication in the first place. We also know that people can overcome prescription drug addiction and manage their medical conditions with the right treatment plan. Contact us now to find out more about us, our services and how we can help you or a loved one to overcome Xanax addiction.

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