As one of the most highly prescribed psychiatric medications in the United States, Xanax has exploded in popularity during the last 20 years. With wide availability and exceedingly addictive properties, Xanax has quickly become a nightmare for many of those struggling with drug and alcohol dependence. In this article, we hope to shed light on the dangers of misuse and the withdrawal symptoms of Xanax. Through this process, we will also explore options to free oneself from Xanax addiction. 

What is Xanax?

Xanax is a fast-acting tranquilizer, generally classified as a benzodiazepine. Generically named “Alprazolam,” the brand name Xanax has gained massive popularity in recent years as both medical and recreational misuse have become all too common. Originally patented in 1971, Xanax was approved for medical use in the United States in 1981. 

Listed as a Schedule IV controlled substance, it was the 41st most prescribed drug in America in 2019, with over 17 million total prescriptions filled. Being so readily available while at the same time remarkably potent, the potential for Xanax abuse is extremely high. 

What Type of Drug is Xanax?

Xanax falls into the classification of benzodiazepine. As a member of the benzodiazepine family of drugs, Xanax is a psychoactive drug. It is a depressant, which means it lowers brain activity in the user. As a result of its properties, benzodiazepines, including Xanax, treat conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. 

As a benzodiazepine, Xanax enhances the effect of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA. This results in sedative, anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, and muscle relaxant properties. Due to these effects, Xanax has become a highly sought-after drug with a high potential for abuse.

How Addictive is Xanax?

Typically prescribed to those suffering from anxiety disorders such as panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), Xanax has shown itself to be highly addictive both physically and psychologically. Many users who begin using Xanax develop a dependency even if their prescription is for a short duration. Because of this, Xanax should only be used if medically prescribed and only used as directed by one’s physician. 

Withdrawal Symptoms of Xanax

The process of withdrawal from Xanax can be intense, as even short durations of use can yield moderately severe withdrawal symptoms. The longer misuse occurs, the longer the withdrawal process will be. In general, physical Xanax withdrawal symptoms typically peak in severity within 1-4 days. Specifically, physical withdrawal symptoms of Xanax include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Heart palpitations
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tremors
  • Sweating
  • Muscle pain
  • Insomnia
  • Numb fingers

As a benzodiazepine, Xanax acts on the brain’s reward center, mood regulation, and motivational regions of the brain. Because of this, psychological withdrawal occurs in most individuals undergoing any form of benzodiazepine withdrawal. Psychological withdrawal symptoms of Xanax include but are not limited to:

  • Mood swings
  • Hypersensitivity (Light, sound, smell, taste, touch)
  • Jumpiness
  • Panic attacks
  • Hallucinations
  • Nightmares
  • Memory problems
  • Concentration issues
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety

Additionally, a proper support system can greatly increase the chances of a successful recovery from Xanax addiction, and make the withdrawal process infinitely more tolerable and safe. Specifically, medical professionals advise a tapering Xanax dose, supervised by a medical detox team, rather than attempting to quit cold turkey.

Xanax Withdrawal Symptom Timeline

As with many other drugs, the detoxification timeline and withdrawal process depends heavily on individual factors. Typically, users begin to feel the effects of withdrawal around 24 hours after the last use. Major withdrawal symptoms will take hold primarily during the first week after stopping Xanax use. In some cases, depending on factors such as frequency of use and dosage, this timeline can fluctuate between a few days, weeks, or even months. 

Quitting cold turkey is never advised unless under direct medical supervision and under the direction of medical professionals. Tapering off of Xanax is thought to be the best method in beginning the detoxification process. Finding the proper addiction treatment to help you through your recovery journey can mean the difference between a new lease on life and tragedy.

Xanax Detox in Memphis, TN

At Detox West Tennessee, we are waiting with open arms to welcome you into the first steps of reclaiming your freedom from Xanax dependency. Located in Memphis, TN, we pride ourselves on providing a comfortable, professional, and compassionate drug and alcohol rehabilitation and detoxification center. Additionally, we understand the complex nature of drug and alcohol addiction, as well as the hardships they can bring to one’s life. 

We dedicate ourselves to professional treatment that can help to reverse and heal much of the damage done by drug and alcohol dependency. Offering medically supervised, evidence-based detoxification programs, our methods are intended to maximize successful recovery, and help make it easier to maintain sobriety after treatment. There has never been a better time to regain control of your life. Give us a call or visit our admissions page today to take the first steps in your recovery journey.