Xanax is a commonly prescribed benzodiazepine medication used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. It has a calming effect on the brain and body by increasing the effects of certain neurotransmitters, like GABA. Although it can be beneficial when taken as prescribed, Xanax can lead to physical dependence if abused or misused. Therefore, understanding the Xanax detox timeline for addiction is important to make an informed decision about treatment options.
What Is Xanax?
Xanax (generic name alprazolam) is a sedative-hypnotic drug known as a benzodiazepine that works on receptors in the brain responsible for controlling fear, anxiety, and stress responses. It helps reduce symptoms associated with these issues, such as tremors, sweating, high blood pressure, racing heartbeat, and insomnia.
The effects of Xanax are felt quickly because it passes through the bloodstream easily due to its fat solubility. However, this means it’s eliminated from the system relatively quickly as well, which can lead to tolerance if taken regularly. Over time higher doses or more frequent use results than prescribed initially as physical dependence develops.
Xanax Addiction Statistics
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in 2021, nearly 3.9 million people aged 12 years or older reported misusing benzodiazepines non-medically within the past 12 months. This demonstrates how common the misuse of Xanax is and its potential to be taken when it is not medically needed, often resulting in dependence and eventual addiction.
Signs And Symptoms Of Xanax Addiction
The signs and symptoms of addiction will vary depending on individual factors but generally speaking, someone who is addicted may display the following:
- Changes in sleeping patterns – either sleeping more often than usual or difficulty sleeping at all.
- Changes in appetite – loss of appetite could indicate reduced intake, while increased cravings for carbohydrates might point towards binging.
- Extreme mood swings – sudden shifts between feeling energetic and euphoric, followed by periods where one feels sluggish and down.
- Financial difficulties – spending money on attempting to obtain multiple prescriptions from different healthcare providers or getting Xanax illicitly on the street.
- Withdrawing from activities – losing interest in activities one used to enjoy.
- Withdrawing from family and friends – when family and friends question one’s Xanax use, it is common for them to deny any problems and withdrawal, further isolating themself.
- Neglecting responsibilities – missing work, family commitments, attending school, neglecting personal hygiene, and other obligations.
- Memory problems – short-term memory impairment, confusion, and problems focusing.
- Poor judgment – engaging in risk-taking behaviors, such as unprotected sex with multiple partners or making irrational decisions.
These behaviors should not be ignored since they could indicate an underlying problem that needs addressing before any further damage occurs physically, emotionally, or mentally.
Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms
When someone becomes physically dependent on Xanax, withdrawal symptoms can occur after missing even one dose due to the rapid elimination rate from one’s system. Commonly reported withdrawal symptoms include intense drug cravings, restlessness, agitation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness, muscle aches, fatigue, irritability, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
Medical assistance must be sought immediately when someone is experiencing any severe psychological, emotional, or behavioral side effects so that proper care and support can be provided.
Xanax Detox Timeline
Since every case is different, the length and duration of the detox process will depend largely upon the severity and level of addiction, the amount consumed, the time frame during which the person was taking Xanax, and other such factors. Generally, the Xanax detox timeline consists of three stages during the detox process as follows:
- 1st Day: Within the first 24 hours, minor withdrawal symptoms will start to appear. At this stage, they are tolerable and manageable for most people.
- Days 2 – 4: The withdrawal symptoms will continue to increase in intensity and can become life-threatening without medical supervision.
- Days 5 – 2 Weeks: The physical withdrawal symptoms should start to subside until they are no longer present. However, psychological withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, insomnia, and cravings, can continue to persist.
- 2 Weeks – 1 Month: Most people will have fully recovered from all physical withdrawal symptoms and most of the psychological withdrawal symptoms. However, some people may continue to experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).
It is essential to continue ongoing treatment for Xanax addiction to address PAWS and reduce the risk of relapse. PAWS symptoms do eventually subside, but their duration can and does vary from person to person. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and self-care routine is equally important, such as attending meetings, exercising regularly, and eating nutritious meals.
How Medical Detox Can Help
During the early stages of Xanax withdrawal, medical detox programs ensure the safety and comfort of the individual as they transition off Xanax. Medical detox provides supervision and other treatment methods, such as therapy, group counseling, and medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Those that receive medical detox improve their chances of successful outcomes and long-term sobriety.
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