- Is Xanax addictive?
Xanax is a brand name of alprazolam and belongs to a group of drugs called benzodiazepines. Xanax is an intermediate-acting benzodiazepine. Despite its effectiveness for certain clinical uses, it has dangerous and unpredictable withdrawal effects, sometimes even after low-dose or short-term use.
Xanax abuse is increasing in the United States. Xanax and other benzodiazepines are a part of the drug overdose death epidemic taking place throughout the country.
Xanax and other benzodiazepines are almost always abused in conjunction with other drugs of abuse, like opioids. Combining opioids with benzodiazepines is dangerous because benzodiazepines enhance the side effects of opioids, including their deadly respiratory depression effects. People who take Xanax and opioids can overdose and die from a much lower dose than they may anticipate.
Related Topic: Xanax Overdose
- How long does Xanax stay in your system?
Xanax is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and reaches its peak concentration one to two hours after intake. Xanax or alprazolam is primarily metabolized by the liver and eliminated through urine. Xanax has a plasma half-life of 11.5 hours which is the time required to reduce the amount of drug in the plasma to half.
Xanax has a shorter half-life than other benzodiazepines like diazepam and is categorized as a short-acting benzodiazepine. Due to its shorter half-life, Xanax tends to have more severe withdrawal symptoms that last for a shorter duration relative to long-acting benzodiazepines.
- Can Xanax withdrawal kill you?
A case report discussed the Xanax withdrawal death of a woman after having withdrawal seizures. However, she had been taking massive doses. She took 200 mg in six days and the maximum safe dose in six days is less than 24 mg. The woman stopped Xanax use after running out of her supply of the drug.
The danger of Xanax withdrawal death lies in the seizures if they occur. The type of seizures seen with Xanax withdrawal can be deadly, especially in individuals who are alone when a seizure happens.
- What medications are used in Xanax detox?
Tapering using benzodiazepines is the mainstay method for Xanax detox. The benzodiazepine flumazenil is the usual first choice for helping people detox from benzodiazepine abuse.
People who are addicted to substances tend to overestimate their ability to control their drug use and may try to taper themselves off the drug. However, experience has shown that this method seldom works. After all, one of the core characteristics of addiction is an inability to control substance use.
The medication clonidine is occasionally used to reduce withdrawal symptoms when detoxing from substance use. However, clonidine may not be especially useful for benzodiazepine detox, other than for reducing blood pressure.
The muscle relaxant baclofen may be helpful for short-term use in benzodiazepine detox.
The medication trazodone is periodically used for treating insomnia during Xanax withdrawal because it works differently than benzodiazepines do, so it is not affected by benzodiazepine tolerance.
Various non-benzodiazepine anti-seizure medications may be useful for preventing withdrawal seizures as well.
Beta-blocker medications, like propranolol, that are used to treat high blood pressure, heart rhythm abnormalities, heart attacks and other heart problems are occasionally used to reduce the physical withdrawal symptoms of Xanax withdrawal.
- What alternative treatments are available for Xanax withdrawal?
Alternative therapies for Xanax may be helpful, especially for treating the returning anxiety symptoms for those who were using Xanax to treat anxiety. For people with substance addictions, alternative therapies contribute to the holistic approach to treatment, which involves treating the whole person and not simply the disease.
When it comes to “natural” Xanax withdrawal treatment, in the form of drugs or chemicals that are marketed to help with withdrawal, it is always a good idea to check with a physician or pharmacist first.
- Can I quit Xanax cold-turkey?
The dangers of Xanax withdrawal are greatly increased if the drug is abruptly discontinued. This danger includes the risk of serious withdrawal effects, such as seizures, psychosis and delirium. Even people who are using Xanax without a prescription should consult with a doctor for help in tapering off the drug rather than putting themselves through a sudden withdrawal.
- How can I cope with Xanax withdrawal symptoms?
Xanax or alprazolam is a benzodiazepine with a short half-life and causes more severe withdrawal symptoms than observed with long-acting benzodiazepines. Abrupt cessation of Xanax use results in very severe withdrawal symptoms. Gradually reducing or tapering the dose of Xanax is considered to be the best method to deal with Xanax withdrawal. This reduces the intensity of withdrawal symptoms and decreases the chances of seizures.
Alternatively, individuals using Xanax may be switched to an equivalent dose of a long-acting benzodiazepine like diazepam. Diazepam, being a long-acting benzodiazepine is less potent and can help ease the withdrawal symptoms. Other remedies for Xanax withdrawal involve medications for specific symptoms such as muscle cramps, insomnia, nausea, etc. Physical exercise and relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation can help in coping with the symptoms of Xanax withdrawal.
- Can I detox from Xanax alone at home?
The symptoms of Xanax withdrawal are severe and can be life-threatening due to the possibility of seizures and psychotic episodes. These psychotic episodes may result in agitation and distress, leading individuals to cause harm to others or themselves. Hence, it is not recommended to undergo detoxification at home. However, in the case of undergoing detoxification at home, one must enlist the help of a family member or friend.
Quitting the use of Xanax cold-turkey, i.e. abrupt discontinuation of Xanax use, can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms. The dose of Xanax must be gradually tapered over several weeks. A doctor can help set up a taper schedule as well as provide advice regarding the use of medications to help the individual cope with the withdrawal symptoms. Detoxification must be undertaken in a calm and safe environment and one should immediately call 911 in case of seizures or other life-threatening symptoms.
- When does Xanax withdrawal start?
The onset of acute benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome usually starts one to two days after the last dose for short-acting benzodiazepines and two to four days for long-acting. Xanax is intermediate-acting, so withdrawal syndrome symptoms can be anticipated somewhere in between.
The Xanax withdrawal seizure timeline mirrors that of other acute withdrawal symptoms, with the risk of symptoms appearing one to two days after the last dose, peaking at five to seven days and lasting until about two weeks after the last dose.
Withdrawal symptoms peak at about five to seven days. Acute withdrawal symptoms usually begin tapering off after the peak, at about eight days, and resolve by 12 to 14 days after the last dose.
Prolonged withdrawal syndrome symptoms arise during the acute withdrawal period and can wax and wane. Sometimes they taper off and seem to have resolved and then re-emerge. They can last a year or more.