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Xanax Withdrawal

Xanax withdrawal is physical and psychological symptoms that individuals experience after abrupt cessation of use of the drug Xanax. Xanax is the trade name for the anti-anxiety medication Alprazolam, and is in the class of addictive prescription medications known as benzodiazepines. The drug is primarily used to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and nausea due to chemotherapy. Although Xanax is a prescription medication, it is also a controlled drug, which means it is illegal to take Xanax without a prescription.

Xanax is the most prescribed and the most misused benzodiazepine on the U.S. retail market. When individuals use the drug to treat anxiety, they can begin to feel calmer almost immediately. However, Xanax will make you feel calmer even without anxiety, which some people find pleasant and one of the reasons there is such a high rate of abuse of the drug. Xanax can also produce a feeling of euphoria or a "high", which is another reason the drug is attractive to individuals who illicitly use or misuse the drug.

Long-term use of Xanax, whether legitimate or illicit, causes the brain to adapt to the presence of the drug. Because the brain has adapted to the drug, when Xanax use is abruptly stopped the brain doesn't have enough time to readjust in the absence of the drug. This is called dependence, and the individual will begin to experience Xanax withdrawal if they suddenly stop using the drug. There is a higher chance Xanax withdrawal if the drug taken in higher doses than recommended.

A study of patients who had taken Xanax for more than 8 weeks showed that 43% of patients experienced significant Xanax withdrawal. Even forgetting a single dose of the drug can lead to Xanax withdrawal symptoms. Xanax withdrawal can be very dangerous, and anyone deciding to stop Xanax use should do so only under medical supervision. In some cases, Xanax withdrawal has been known to cause delirium and seizures, and grand mal seizures have occurred after abrupt withdrawal after only short-term use. Other common Xanax withdrawal symptoms include malaise, weakness, insomnia, tachycardia, lightheadedness, and dizziness.

The discontinuation of Xanax has also been known to cause "rebound anxiety", which is basically a recurrence of symptoms such as anxiety which return to pretreatment levels. A study of patients who has taken Ritalin for just 8 week showed that 35% of patients experienced significant rebound anxiety.This points to the fact that the underlying reasons the individual was experiencing anxiety was never addressed in the first place, and was just covered up with drugs.

Xanax has been found to produce more withdrawal reactions that other benzodiazepines such as Valium. Factors that may influence the severity of Xanax withdrawal include dosage used, length of use, frequency of dosing, personality characteristics of the individual, previous use of cross-dependent/cross-tolerant drugs, current use of cross-dependent/-tolerant drugs, and method of discontinuation.

Aside from the many risks involved with Xanax withdrawal, the drug has many side effects which individuals should consider before starting Xanax treatment or illicit use of the drug. These include:

  • confusion and forgetfulness
  • depression
  • difficulty sleeping
  • difficulty speaking
  • feeling faint or lightheaded, which increases the risk of falls
  • mood changes, including feeling overly excitable or aggressive
  • muscle cramps
  • trouble passing urine or changes in the amount of urine
  • feeling unusually weak or tired
  • changes in appetite
  • changes in sex drive

Individuals who take Xanax are also at risk for adverse interactions that may occur when the drug is used in combination with other drugs, medication or alcohol. Xanax can even interact with herbs, nicotine and dietary supplements, all of which can be potentially dangerous. Individuals who do use Xanax with alcohol are at risk of phsyical harm, as Xanax increases the effects of alcohol.

Women who are pregnant are putting their fetus at risk of Xanax withdrawal. Use of Xanax in the last trimester may cause fetal drug dependence and withdrawal symptoms in the post-natal period as well as diminished muscle tone and respiratory problems. However, if someone does become pregnant and are current users of any benzodiazepine, they should only stop use under the supervision of a medical doctor.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction to Xanax or simply wants to stop using the drug, help is available today at an in-patient drug rehabilitation facility in your area. A drug rehab will work with medical and drug treatment professionals to safely see individuals through Xanax withdrawal and help them overcome their dependence to the drug. Contact a professional drug treatment counselor today and get the help you need through Xanax withdrawal.


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