How Long Does It Take To Detox From Xanax
Xanax, originally called alprazolam, is a popular benzodiazepine commonly used to treat anxiety disorders and panic disorder. This medication binds to the GABA-A receptors in the brain, causing sedative, hypnotic, and anticonvulsant effects. Alprazolam was first released in 1981, and within a few years, Xanax became a blockbuster drug. In 2006, it was declared the most misused benzodiazepine on the market.
The high potency and fast-acting nature of Xanax give it a significant potential for dependence and addiction. With enough use, there is a high potential for an individual building up a tolerance to the drug as the brain adjusts to the constant presence of the substance. Once this has occurred, stopping intake of Xanax results in withdrawal symptoms as the body goes through the detoxification process.
How long these symptoms and their peak last depend on a number of factors, including:
- How long the medication was used
- How heavily it was abused
- Individual body type and chemistry
- Genetic factors
- Anxiety issues before the person started taking it
- Whether medications are used to assist in detox
Therapeutic Benefits Of Xanax
In these circumstances, it is understandable that your physician would prescribe Xanax. Xanax is a benzodiazepine medication that works very quickly and effectively to reduce anxiety and help with sleep. Physicians often prescribe these medications to help patients feel better when they are very distressed, and generally patients find them helpful in the short term.
Xanax can calm people quickly and effectively and can help promote relaxation and sleep when taken as prescribed. For those who only take the dose given by their doctor, and who only take the drug for a brief period until things settle down, these medications can be part of a coping strategy which includes emotional and practical support, as needed.
Why Experimentation Seems Reasonable
People who get a prescription for Xanax tend to take the medication as prescribed, according to an article published in The Mental Health Clinician. Less than 2 percent of people with prescriptions for benzodiazepines escalate to high doses of the drug or meet the definition for drug abuse or dependence, per research cited here.
Recreational use is different. As an article in the Huffington Post points out, people abuse Xanax because it provides a dreamy, relaxed high associated with prescription painkillers or heroin, but it is not associated with stigma or danger. You may have no idea how much to take, and you may not have someone who can tell you when you are taking too much.
When youre taking Xanax under the direction of a doctor, you have rules and regulations to follow. Those rules are designed to keep you safe.
For example, Xanax that comes from a doctor is wrapped in a pill bottle that has explicit instructions about how much of the drug to take and how often to take it. Those instructions are based on the severity and type of your symptoms as well as your size and age. If you take Xanax recreationally, you may buy it from dealers who have no idea how much you should take. Or, you might swipe a pill from a friend that has a different chemistry than you do, which could affect the size of the dose you should take.
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Is Xanax Addictive Xanax Faqs
Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam, a prescription benzodiazepine commonly used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Benzos are effective anti-anxiety medications. However, benzodiazepines are only meant for short-term use, leading many to question, is Xanax addictive? Learn more about the short and long-term effects of Xanax and why this medication is only recommended for temporary use.
Xanax Addiction Treatment Options You Should Know
Xanax, or alprazolam, is a common benzodiazepine medication used to treat anxiety. Because of its specific characteristics, Xanax can become very addictive. While your Xanax addiction treatment should be tailored to your medical specifics, there are some recognized methods that your doctor may recommend for you. Read on to find out more about three key options for Xanax detox.
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Xanax Overdose Symptoms Signs & Treatment
What is Xanax? Xanax, also known generically as alprazolam, is a benzodiazepine medication commonly prescribed for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorder 1 . More infrequent, off-label uses for Xanax include managing agoraphobia (fear of open …
How Many People Use And Abuse Xanax
Upjohn Laboratories introduced Xanax in the United States in 1981. Unlike Valium, the most popular anti-anxiety drug during the 1970s, Xanax was marketed as the first drug to reduce panic attacks.
Today, Xanax is one of the most popular psychiatric drugs and one of the most prescribed medications in the United States. As prescriptions increased, so did adverse events and overdose deaths associated with the drug.
Less than one out of every 200,000 adults died from a benzodiazepine overdose in 1996. More than six out of every 200,000 adults died from a benzo overdose in 2013, according to a 2016 study.
Xanax is misused because of its potency and price, Wilkinson said. There are reports of people purchasing a 30-day supply of Xanax from the pharmacy for less than $3. You cannot buy a six-pack of beer for that price.
In 2015, more than 17 million people used Xanax and generic alprazolam products. More than 4 million of those people misused the products, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Thats more than the combined number of people who misused lorazepam , clonazepam and diazepam products.
The majority of people who misuse Xanax are between the ages of 18 and 25. A small percent of those young adults are introduced to the drug in high school. Xanax is more than twice as popular among high school seniors as the next most popular benzo.
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Factors For Developing An Addiction
Not everyone becomes addicted to or dependent on Xanax who uses it. There are risk factors in individuals, and patterns of use which many increase the likelihood of developing an addiction. Risk factors for developing an addiction to alprazolam include:
- A family history of drug or alcohol abuse or addiction
- A family history of mental health disorders
- A personal history of mental health disorders
- Trauma and stress in life, especially early stages
- Lack of peer support
- The presence of stress
- Individual body chemistry and metabolism
Of course, there are many other factors which may make somebody more susceptible to developing an addiction, but these are a few big ones. For example, people who spend time with other individuals who are abusing drugs are more likely to consume drugs themselves. There are also patterns of use that may cause dependence. Whether taking Xanax as a doctor prescribed or abusing it, here are a few factors which may impact the development of dependence:
- Age of first use
- General dosage
- The abuse of other drugs, or polydrug use
Its relatively simple to understand that those who use more drugs for a longer period of time are more likely to become addicted than those who try the drug once. Regular use of Xanax, even if taken as prescribed, can result in physical and psychological dependence over time.
Medical Uses Of Xanax
Xanax is used to treat panic disorders, which are feelings of intense fright that occur suddenly and without warning. Xanax is a favoured treatment for panic attacks because it takes effect quickly.
Xanax is also used in the treatment of anxiety disorders, mostly generalised anxiety disorder . Sufferers of GAD experience extreme worry for a minimum of six months. Xanax is used during preliminary stages of GAD treatment, but it is not a favourable long-term medication because of its addictive properties.
Long-term anxiety medications can take six to eight weeks to show results, giving Xanax the advantage of being an immediate remedy. However, it is recommended that Xanax intake is stopped as soon as long-term medication starts.
In rare cases, Xanax is used for pre-operative anxiety. A large number of patients experience anxiety before surgery, which can make them difficult to sedate.
For cancer patients who have undergone chemotherapy, Xanax can be used to ease the pain they may suffer in the first few weeks after their treatment.
In all its medical uses, Xanax is only recommended as a short-term treatment due to the high likelihood that individuals may develop dependence. Medical professionals are recommended, and required by law in some jurisdictions, to continually evaluate whether or not a patient requires Xanax.
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Outpatient Treatment With Housing
Too often, individuals invest their time in treatment only to relapse when they leave. This is often due to a sudden transition from a structured environment to a normal lifestyle often filled with temptations and stressors.
This is where outpatient therapy and sober-living come into play. Much like diabetes and asthma, substance use disorders are a chronic disease that requires continual maintenance. Outpatient therapy and sober living allow individuals to slowly transition into everyday life giving people the tools needed for long-term success.
Reduce Or Eliminate Caffeine
There are many that may not realize that caffeine excites the nervous system and can activate our natural fight or flight response. Gradually reducing your intake of soft drinks and coffee and substituting those beverages for green tea or other non-caffeinated beverages can have a wondrous effect on anxiety. Within a week or two, you should feel a significant decrease in your anxiety levels.
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Why Do People Abuse Xanax
Xanax helps you feel more relaxed. The drug works within the brain and central nervous system to increase the production of gamma-aminobutyric acid . GABA is a chemical produced by the brain responsible for slowing nerve cell activity in the brain and other body areas. GABA helps you feel relaxed and at ease. Unfortunately, tolerance to the effects of Xanax often builds quickly, leading to abuse.
Xanax And Benzodiazepine Addiction
Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam, a member of the benzodiazepine class of drugs. It is a prescription and a controlled substance because of the potential for abuse. Doctors prescribe Xanax to manage anxiety disorders and panic attacks, and also for managing alcohol withdrawal. As a sedative, it works by reducing brain activity.
Benzodiazepines are not intended to be used for long periods of time. If you have an anxiety disorder or get panic attacks, your doctor may recommend it for temporary use and put you on an antidepressant to manage the condition for the long-term.
A major reason that you arent supposed to use Xanax for very long is that it is habit-forming. Misuse of benzodiazepines can lead to addiction or overdose, especially when combined with other central nervous system depressants, like opioids or alcohol.
Another big danger of benzodiazepines is withdrawal. If you become addicted to Xanax, youll struggle to stop using it because of the awful withdrawal symptoms:
Withdrawal from Xanax can begin with cessation of use in as little as three to four hours. Its a major reason people keep using and even escalate their use. If you, or someone you know, struggles with this, it is essential to seek professional, medical help for detox and then recovery. Trying to detox from benzodiazepines alone is dangerous.
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How To Wean Off Xanax
The first step in recovery from an addiction to Xanax is to admit that there is a problem. When the need for Xanax becomes so great that a person must continually increase dosage levels or cant function properly without the drug, its time to seek help.
From there, though, it can be difficult to figure out what to do next. Many people may be tempted to just stop the drug abruptly and try to deal with whatever withdrawal symptoms may arise afterward. However, the withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable enough and even dangerous enough to make it difficult or risky to stick to a cold turkey resolution. In this case, relapse is highly likely and can even result in higher risk of overdose or other complications. For this reason, tapering off Xanax is the recommended method of withdrawal, and medical detox is needed.
Worried about your Xanax use? Take our free and confidential addiction assessment today.
Use Of Other Medications
According to a 2018 article published by the Journal of Addiction Medicine, Xanax is a benzodiazepine that is rapidly absorbed by the body. While its effects start quickly, they also wear off quickly. Because of this, Xanax can cause severe withdrawal symptoms when you stop using it, even if you’ve only used it for a short period of time. This can cause drug dependency and lead to addiction.
Other medications can be used to help ease symptoms of Xanax withdrawal. âMany patients suffer from something called PAWS that leaves them feeling anxiousâcreating sleep problems and altering their cognitive function for months after full detox,â Adi Jaffe, PhD, author of The Abstinence Myth and founder of IGNTD, a virtual addiction recovery program, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
âMedications like gabapentin and other similar lower-level neuro-depressants can sometimes be used during this process,” Jaffe explains.
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The Importance Of Medical Detox
Unfortunately, some individuals dont choose medical detox. They may start to decrease their dose on their own and then fail to complete the process. Those who experience the most difficulty are usually battling mental health disorders that the Xanax was originally intended to medicate. For example, someone with panic disorder may have been prescribed the drug as a form of treatment. After a period of long-term use or misuse, the person become hooked on the drug. Tapering off it not only brings with it the discomfort of withdrawal, but also a strong resurgence of panic disorder symptoms.
Tapering in a controlled manner, under medical supervision, is the best way to avoid negative outcomes of withdrawal like psychosis and seizures. When undergoing medical detox, the treatment team will ensure the patient remains safe and supported.
Hydration is important, as dehydration can seriously exacerbate withdrawal symptoms. Mild stimulants like caffeine should be avoided as they can boost withdrawal activity. Alcohol should, of course, be avoided. Oftentimes, a diet of small, bland meals is easier on a nauseated stomach during detox. High protein foods can help to keep strength up.
Indications For Use And Efficacy
Alprazolam is a high-potency triazolobenzodiazepine that is US Food and Drug Administration -approved for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders. Alprazolam is biotransformed by hepatic microsomal oxidation, yielding 4 and -hydroxyalprazolam as its principal metabolites, and is metabolized by cytochrome P450 3A4 .
The US FDAs approval for alprazolam came after 2 large, randomized, clinical trials that demonstrated short-term efficacy and clinically acceptable tolerability versus placebo . A plasma concentration range between 20 and 40 ng/mL has been suggested for targeting symptoms of panic disorder, with higher concentrations being associated with more significant central nervous system depressant effects. The side effects of alprazolam tablets are likely to be an extension of its pharmacological activity, and most commonly include drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue, dysarthria, headache, memory impairment, and depression.
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Rehab For Xanax Addiction
Once someone has a Xanax addiction, they shouldnt stop taking the drug cold turkey. Licensed treatment professionals recommend the user be placed on a medically supervised tapering program to slowly wean them off the drug. Quitting the drug abruptly can lead to serious health effects, including seizures. As such, it is always recommended for those overcoming a Xanax addiction to start with a medical detox.
Those with a moderate to severe Xanax addiction will benefit from the high level of care provided in inpatient treatment centers. An outpatient program may be a suitable option for those with mild Xanax addictions.
Jeffrey Juergens earned his Bachelors and Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. Jeffreys desire to help others led him to focus on economic and social development and policy making. After graduation, he decided to pursue his passion of writing and editing. Jeffreys mission is to educate and inform the public on addiction issues and help those in need of treatment find the best option for them.
- Pdr.net. Alprazolam-Drug Summary. Retrieved on September 28, 2015 from
- CardioSmart.org. Alprazolam. Retrieved on September 28, 2015 from
- HealthLine.com. Diazepam, Oral Tablet. Retrieved on September 28, 2015 from
Addiction Is About Relationship
Addiction is also related to your relationship with the drug. Do you rely on the drug to get through the day? How does thinking about quitting make you feel? How has your attitude toward Xanax changed over the course of using it? Addiction develops faster when Xanax feels like an important or necessary part of your life.
If you rely on it to feel good or simply not feel bad, you are dependent on the drug.
Dependence is an early sign of addiction. It is a chemical response to the drug and isnt an indicator of personal failure or weakness. In fact, recognizing that you are losing control to Xanax displays awareness and concern. It indicates that you are ready to make a positive change in your life. With the right tools and resources, you can turn addiction into an opportunity for healing, growth, and forward movement.
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The Pharmacology Of Xanax
Xanax achieves its short-acting properties through its effect on the gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor. The receptor Xanax targets is the type A receptor. GABA receptors are inhibitory their function is to limit the activity of neurotransmitters.
In addition, Xanax allows receptor channels to open, letting more chloride enter cells. This is what gives it its muscle relaxant and anti-convulsant characteristics.
Xanax is given further potency as an antidepressant due to the fact that it elicits increases in dopamine concentrations in the striatum, a part of the brain. The particular dopamine concentrations that Xanax increases are the D1 and D2 types.
Xanaxs effects on dopamine concentrations are what give it its euphoria-inducing abilities. These are particularly pronounced in alprazolam and amplified when a tablet is chewed, making the euphoric feelings stronger but overdose likelier.
With particular regard to its effects on reducing anxiety, Xanax does this by binding with GABA receptors, creating a depressant effect that is mainly focused synaptic transmission.