Xanax (alprazolam) is a highly addictive benzodiazepine drug. People who immediately stop using Xanax after prolonged use may experience uncomfortable or dangerous withdrawal symptoms. People who are deeply entrenched in a Xanax habit may experience great difficulty when they decide to quit using benzodiazepines.
Xanax is considered a remarkably difficult drug to detox from, even for people who have relatively weak cases of addiction, as the process can take weeks to complete, and there are serious medical complications that can begin as the adjustment period moves forward.
“I was always a troubled child. I began numbing myself by smoking pot when I was 13 years old. By the time I was 19, I had a baby, and then I met Xanax. I had found a utopia in the form of a pill– I would take one and it would give me an escape from reality. Nothing really mattered when I was on that drug. (…) Today, in recovery, I’m the director of a program in Kentucky. We help people get a spiritual foundation and get their foot in the door to recovery. We provide meetings and help getting into detox or rehab.”
—Franci M., HeroesInRecovery.com
Mild to Moderate Symptoms of Xanax Withdrawal
As detox begins, brain cells that have remained sleepy and sedated for months or even years are allowed to awaken and trade electrical activity at a normal level. Sometimes, electrical signals spin out of control, and people develop signs of psychosis.
Some of the uncomfortable symptoms of Xanax withdrawal include:
- Interrupted sleep or insomnia
- Intrusive thoughts
- Homicidal thoughts1
These symptoms can be managed in a safe and structured detox program through therapy, adjusted medications, and support. It can become difficult or even dangerous to go through these symptoms at home as many people lack training to handle these unusual reactions, and they might even harm themselves or others as they attempt to heal.
Is Xanax Withdrawal Life Threatening?
While the symptoms listed above might sound serious, Xanax withdrawal has also been associated with problems that could prove life-threatening. Sometimes, the electrical activity in the brain becomes so intense and so pervasive that the brain’s typical regulatory patterns are interrupted and seizures develop.
These sorts of seizures could quickly develop in someone attempting to detox at home, as a person like this might not have access to a tapering schedule or replacement medications that could help, but a case report in the journal Texas Medicine demonstrates that even people who are going through formal detox can be subject to seizures and death.2
Help for Xanax Addiction
Since Xanax is associated with serious and even life-threatening withdrawal complications, it’s vital for people who have an addiction or abuse history to get help from a formal treatment program. Once there, they also need to be honest about the symptoms they feel as the healing unfolds. Describing their symptoms clearly and honestly can allow providers to catch symptoms of serious withdrawal and provide appropriate medications to stop the progression before the symptoms become life-threatening.
If you’d like to find out more about how detox from Xanax can be controlled in a formal treatment program, please call us at Black Bear Lodge. We provide a medically supervised detox program that can help, and we’re happy to answer any questions you have and soothe your mind so you can get started.
Please call us at 706-914-2327 to find out more. We can even schedule an intake appointment for you right over the phone.
1 Mayo Clinic Alprazolam Precautions. 2017. Retrieved 28 Jul 2017.
2 Haque W., Watson D., Bryant S. Death Following suspected Alprazolam Withdrawal Seizures. Tex Med. 1990 Jan;86(1):44-7. Retrieved 28 Jul 2017.