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Many people don’t realize just how prevalent Xanax misuse is, let alone how dangerous it can be. For example, Xanax use has interwoven itself into the opioid epidemic in a very stark and serious way. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “In 2021, nearly 14% of overdose deaths involving opioids also involved benzodiazepines, a type of prescription sedative commonly prescribed for anxiety or to help with insomnia.” Meanwhile, as it can also be very taxing and dangerous to wean off Xanax, it can be vital to know how to do so safely and effectively. 

Understanding Xanax

Xanax (the brand name for alprazolam) is one of the most commonly known and used benzodiazepines. According to the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), “Benzodiazepines are depressants that produce sedation and hypnosis, relieve anxiety and muscle spasms, and reduce seizures… Abuse is frequently associated with adolescents and young adults who take the drug orally or crush it up and snort it to get high.” Additionally, “Abuse is particularly high among heroin and cocaine users.”

Xanax is a prescription medication that is used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1981. When used properly, Xanax can be effective for those working through mental health struggles. Unfortunately, it is also heavily misused and has led many people into the realm of addiction.

The Signs and Symptoms of Xanax Addiction

Many universal signs and symptoms can indicate if someone may be struggling with a Xanax addiction. The following are just a few of those signs and symptoms:

  • “Doctor shopping” and seeking the substance from “alternative” sources online
  • Gastrointestinal issues (especially constipation)
  • Feeling withdrawals without Xanax
  • Being overly anxious or depressed
  • Isolating away from loved ones
  • Exhibiting negative sleep patterns such as sleeping too much or sleeping too little
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Becoming overly aggressive
  • Visible rashes or skin irritations
  • No longer caring about personal hygiene
  • Expressing feelings of self-harm or suicidal ideations
  • Expresses fears about weaning off Xanax

Understanding Xanax Withdrawals

Contrary to what some people may think, weaning off Xanax can be very dangerous. This is why it is recommended for those withdrawing or detoxing from Xanax to do so with the help and support of addiction professionals. 

One of the reasons why weaning off Xanax is dangerous is that it can lead to something called “withdrawal syndrome.” According to Addiction, “Physiological dependence on benzodiazepines is accompanied by a withdrawal syndrome which is typically characterized by sleep disturbance, irritability, increased tension and anxiety, panic attacks, hand tremor, sweating, difficulty in concentration, dry wrenching, and nausea, some weight loss, palpitations, headache, muscular pain and stiffness and a host of perceptual changes. Instances are also reported within the high-dosage category of more serious developments such as seizures and psychotic reactions.”

Meanwhile, it should be noted that while detoxing from any addictive substance can be difficult, detoxing from two substances specifically can be life-threatening. These substances are alcohol and benzodiazepines like Xanax.

How to Stop Taking Xanax

The best way to wean off Xanax is to do so by tapering down slowly. Doing so in the presence of mental health professionals can ensure that this process is as safe and comfortable as possible. Whether the addiction is severe enough that it requires an inpatient detox or not, it is still important to seek medical help when choosing to wean off Xanax.

It is also important to stay open and honest about the detox experience with both professionals and peers. This is the only way to gauge whether the weaning-off process is working appropriately or not. It is also the best way to determine if a professional medical detox is required.

The Benefits of a Professional Detox

If the side effects of withdrawal from Xanax become overwhelming, it probably means that a professional detox is required. A professional detox provides an individual with around-the-clock access to medical and psychological support, ensuring that they have the knowledge and tools that they need to successfully establish and sustain sobriety in early recovery.

Also, a professional detox setting can ensure that an individual gets the essential nutrient replenishment and hydration that they require. It can also help to keep an individual more focused on the process and thus avoid an early relapse. Lastly, detox is also an ideal setting to be in if one is going to transfer into the next stages of treatment, whether it be a residential recovery program, a partial hospitalization program (PHP), or an intensive outpatient program (IOP).

The Difference at The Phoenix Recovery Center

Here at The Phoenix Recovery Center, we know how difficult it can be to wean off any substance, especially one as addictive as Xanax. That is why we ensure that our clients have all the tools and treatments they need to fully recover from the detox phase to the transition back into everyday life.

The difference at The Phoenix Recovery Center is that we see our clients and then their diagnosis, never the other way around. As the ancient Greek philosopher and doctor, Hippocrates, once said, “It’s far more important to know what person the disease has than what disease the person has.” We see people first; then we see them through to the other side of recovery.Xanax withdrawal can be particularly intense. That is why having an arsenal of tools and information to better wean off of it can be so useful. If you feel like you or a loved one are struggling with issues of addiction, mental illness, or co-occurring disorders, we can help get you on the positive path toward long-term recovery right away. For more information about the signs and symptoms of Xanax withdrawal, some ways to wean off it, and why seeking a professional detox is the best option for both getting through withdrawal symptoms and recovering from Xanax addiction, please reach out to The Phoenix Recovery Center today at (801) 438-3185.

The Phoenix Recovery Center
489 W. South Jordan Pkwy
Suite 400
South Jordan, UT