Xanax Detox Essentials

Anxiety can help people remain alert in the face of danger, able to respond quickly to information they receive from the outside world and spring away from danger that might be headed in their direction. This useful attribute can go haywire, unfortunately, and some people can feel symptoms of stress and anxiety almost all the time. According to an article in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, most medical experts consider anxiety disorders like this to be chronic in nature, requiring people to spend time in therapy to learn how to keep their thoughts under control, but in the past, physicians often used benzodiazepines like Xanax to help.

Xanax works a bit like brakes on a car, slowing down rapid activity and keeping cells firing at a mild and even rate. For people with anxiety, this medication seems to provide a sense of calm, but even people without chronic anxiety might enjoy the soothing sensation the medication delivers. Unfortunately, the drug also tends to cause a spike in pleasurable signals in the brain, and this can cause some people to compulsively use and abuse the drug. When these people want to leave the abuse behind, the first mandatory step is Xanax detox. Here, people will allow their bodies to adjust to a lack of the drug.

xanax detoxDetermining the Damage

According to manufacturer information released on Drugs.com, a typical dose of Xanax for adults with anxiety is about 4 mg per day, while people with panic disorders might take up to 10 mg per day. Patients who use the drug are strongly cautioned to take dosages of the drug exactly as they are prescribed without ever taking more than their doctors recommend. However, people who are addicted may find that they need to take higher and higher dosages of the drug in order to bring about the effect that once was so easy to find with just one little pill or one little hit.

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The drug tends to build up in the body, however, and people who take the drug at very high dosages may have an extreme backlog of drugs to work through before they can be considered sober. Similarly, the longer the person uses and abuses Xanax, the more the body becomes accustomed to the presence of drugs and the more the body might react when those drugs are removed. People who have been taking very high dosages of Xanax for a long time could develop life-threatening complications when they try to stop taking the drugs all at once.

Some people who become addicted to Xanax are accustomed to taking that drug alone in an abusive pattern. There are some people, however, who abuse multiple drugs at the same time. A report in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs suggests that this behavior is particularly common in younger drug users, with about 6.9 percent of college students reporting this type of poly-drug abuse. People who blend their Xanax with other drugs may develop multiple types of addictions, and each type might require its own specific medication or therapy in order for the person to truly heal.

At the beginning of a Xanax detox program, specialists will ask questions and run urine tests to determine what drugs the person has been taking, and what levels of drugs the person is accustomed to taking at any given time. Being honest about drug abuse can be difficult, and some people may be uncomfortable with the idea of speaking up about their abuse and sharing intimate details about the way they have lived their lives up to this point, but it is important for people to be as honest as possible about their addictions. The information used can help experts to develop the right kind of treatment program to help the person in need.

Beginning the Process

When experts know how much Xanax a person is accustomed to taking, they can develop tapering programs to help the person stop taking the drug. In an outline of the process, published in the British Medical Journal, researchers report dropping dosages by about 1 mg per day and using other medications to soothe the withdrawal process. In this protocol, someone who took Xanax addictively might be provided with lorazepam instead, and that drug might be slowly tapered until the person needs no medications at all. The process usually takes weeks to complete, although some people might need months to completely adjust and complete the process.

As the process moves forward, experts will look for common symptoms of withdrawal, such as:
  • Pain
  • Shaking

Mild symptoms might best be soothed with over-the-counter medications, a calm environment or comforting talk. People might be reassured to hear that their symptoms will pass in time and that the discomfort they’re feeling is part of the healing process. Learning how to use the power of the mind to handle the discomfort of the body is an important part of the rehab process, and this is something people can begin to understand during detox.

Significant Symptoms

People who attempt to taper too quickly may develop seizures as their once-sleepy minds begin to open up and function at a normal level once more. This is the main reason that a cold-turkey approach to Xanax detox is such a bad idea. Without the benefit of medications and monitoring, people can die as they attempt to heal from their addictions.In a structured program, on the other hand, experts watch their patients closely for any sign of a tremor. If that symptom appears, staff adjusts medication levels to ensure that the tremor disappears and doesn’t progress into a full-blown seizure.
People who attempt to detox from Xanax may also develop symptoms of anxiety. Once again, this is a symptom that tends to be most prevalent in people who attempt to stop taking the drug quite quickly. In a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry, for example, researchers found that 16 people who withdrew from benzodiazepines quickly had worse anxiety scores than the 14 who withdrew slowly. In fact, none of the people who used a slow taper had high anxiety scores. Tapering may be able to mitigate feelings of nervousness and anxiety, as this study demonstrates, but people who do have these sensations during a taper may need to up their drug dosages in order to keep from feeling overwhelmed and returning to drug use as a result.

Moving Forward

Detoxification is an important part of the healing process, and people who complete detox are well on their way to a recovery. Detoxification alone isn’t considered a cure for addiction, however. For example, a study in the journal Addiction found that 48 percent of people who had been through a supervised benzodiazepine withdrawal process were considered fully recovered in the months that followed. That’s a little less than half, and it seems to prove just how difficult it can be to completely stop abusing a drug like Xanax. Without help, slipping back into drug use is remarkably easy.

In a structured program for Xanax addiction, clients have access to a variety of tools, including:
  • Support group meetings
  • Relapse prevention therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Individual therapy

As detox moves forward and people begin to feel their minds clearing and their senses restoring, therapists may begin reminding their clients of the benefits of therapy and pushing them to enroll in the next stage of care. It’s the best way to ensure that real healing takes place.

When you’re ready to stop abusing Xanax, please contact us. We can help you learn more about why abusing Xanax is so very dangerous, and we can pull together a program that can help you to stop abusing the drug without experiencing catastrophic side effects. Please call our toll-free line to speak to a counselor.

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