Are You Experiencing Xanax Withdrawal?
Xanax, the trademark name for Alprazolam, is a medication prescribed to provide temporary relief from panic and anxiety disorders. It increases a neurotransmitter called GABA, which soothes the brain when it becomes overexcited. Some individuals may begin to self-medicate, however, which leads to increased use over a short period of time and physical dependence. When the drug is no longer available, or available in smaller doses, Xanax withdrawal can occur.
Xanax Withdrawal Defined
Xanax withdrawal can manifest in both physical and psychological symptoms. Even individuals taking the drug as prescribed can feel the effects of withdrawal if their body has become dependent:
“I ran out of Xanax for about five days; it was a nightmare. My chest felt like it was going to explode all the time. I was overwhelmed. I was crying. I forgot things. I was angry and had mood swings, but the 24/7 anxiety that doesn’t go away is the most horrible feeling. I remember laying in bed trying to read while shaking as if I was having a seizure.” – Mel R.
Withdrawal from Xanax can include these, as well as other symptoms, like:
- Panic attacks
- Mood disorders
Since Xanax is used for the treatment of mental health disorders, which means any withdrawal from it should be monitored. The original symptoms often come back when the drug is gone from the body, often more severe than when it was first prescribed.
Why Does it Happen?
Like any type of drug, Xanax changes the way the brain works. In this case, it increases GABA activity. As the drug increases the amount of GABA in the brain, the brain adjusts by decreasing the amount of GABA it produces. The brain realizes it doesn’t have to work so hard- the drug is doing the work for it when it comes to GABA production.
As time goes on, a person taking Xanax will feel the need to take more and more in order to continue to feel normal and calm. When Xanax is taken away, or the even the dosage is lowered, withdrawal symptoms occur because there isn’t enough of the drug available to produce the same amount of GABA necessary to feel calm.
Preventing Xanax Withdrawal
If you’re taking Xanax and want to prevent withdrawal symptoms, the best ways to do so is to avoid prolonged use and avoid increasing the dosage. This takes diligence and preplanning. Instead, look for other ways to reduce your anxiety, like:
- Prayer & Spiritual Connection
- Incorporating Music
- Proper Nutrition
If you are going through Xanax withdrawals right now, there are several ways to manage your symptoms. First, though, you need to contact your doctor or an addiction recovery facility like Gracious Care. Medical supervision is important during this time, as there is a good chance you’ll experience panic and anxiety attacks during withdrawal. You may even suffer from seizures or hallucinations.
One of the safest methods for detoxing safely from Xanax is tapering the dosage gradually under the supervision of a doctor. Partial hospitalization is another option if tapering doesn’t work.
Getting Help for Xanax Addiction
Xanax withdrawal can be scary and serious, so don’t do it on your own. If you’re ready for medical detox, let Gracious Care Recovery Solutions help. Our addiction recovery specialists will start you on the path to recovery. Click to call now.