Over 1 million adults in Arizona are managing a mental illness. This can vary anywhere from depression and anxiety, to PTSD or Bipolar Disorder. There are many ways to manage a mental illness, and one of the common ones is to utilize tools like prescription medications in order to manage symptoms.
Benzodiazepines are a common medication used to manage anxiety. You might not have heard of benzodiazepines (benzos) before, but you’ve probably heard of specific benzo brand names – like Xanax. But did you know that Xanax can come with the potential for withdrawal? What are Xanax withdrawals, and is it something you can avoid?
Education is an important tool when it comes to substance use recovery and mental health care. There’s still a lot of stigma surrounding rehab facilities, and even therapy at times. There’s no shame in needing medical help, and that’s what we here at Pinnacle Peak Recovery are prepared to offer. We want to offer easy-to-access information about substance use and its side effects in order to help you when you need it most. So let’s look at Xanax and its withdrawal symptoms.
Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms
Xanax is a short-acting benzodiazepine. It’s primarily used to help those managing anxiety or panic attacks, seizure disorders, and sleep disorders. Short-acting refers to how quickly it enters and takes effect within your body, as well as how quickly it wears off and exits your body. This speed is useful for those who need instant relief, like in the case of panic attacks and seizures. This speed, however, can come with some drawbacks, even for those who use Xanax as medically directed.
Our bodies can adjust to the presence of substances in our system, especially when they alter or impact it in a big way. Xanax is a depressant that primarily impacts our central nervous system. It slows the messages being sent around the body. The body can adjust to this alteration of the central nervous system so that it can tolerate the substance in your body. When the substance is removed without giving the body time to adjust to its absence, you can start to experience withdrawal symptoms. Due to its short-acting nature, many doctors prescribe it on an “as needed” basis in order to ensure patients are less likely to experience withdrawal when they no longer use the medication.
For those who regularly partake in Xanax outside of medical advice, the potential to experience withdrawal symptoms increases. The more often a substance is in your system, the more your body adjusts to it being there, leading to a higher chance of withdrawal.
The symptoms you experience during withdrawal can vary from person to person. Even though it might seem like most substances only impact one part of your body when you take them, this isn’t true. Xanax, for example, mainly focuses on the central nervous system. This is connected to the brain, which is connected to the rest of your body, meaning you can experience Xanax side effects that affect more than just your central nervous system. Here are just some of the symptoms you might experience during withdrawal:
- Blurry vision
- Nausea and vomiting
- Tingling or burning sensations on your skin
- Memory loss
- Hearing ringing sounds
- Panic attacks
How Long Does Xanax Withdrawal Last?
Withdrawal is the period of time when your body is adjusting to the lack of a substance in your system and reacting accordingly.
How long does Xanax withdrawal last, though? While there are factors that can impact the exact timeline of a person’s withdrawal experience, we can still give a rough estimate of the timeline you might experience.
Xanax Withdrawal Timeline
In the case of Xanax, your first withdrawal symptoms will usually start showing up within several hours of your last dose. This exact window can be impacted by the half-life of your specific form of Xanax. The half-life of a substance is a way to measure how long it takes to both enter and exit the body. There is a form of extended-release tablet for Xanax, meaning the medication takes longer to fully dissolve and enter the bloodstream. If you took those instead of the regular form of Xanax, this could elongate the time before you start feeling withdrawal symptoms.
Days 1 – 3: Early Withdrawal
The first four days of withdrawal from Xanax are the most intense. This is when you have the highest risk for more intense side effects such as seizures. The cravings, mood swings, insomia, and nausea are at their peak. This period is the reason it can be difficult to stop Xanax consumption cold turkey.
Day 4 – 9: Middle Stage Withdrawal
After the first 72 hours, symptoms will persist but not be as intense. It’s common to still have difficulty sleeping, increased irritability, and your heart rate might be higher than normal. It’s during this middle stage that symptoms of depression could start appearing, and your cravings will still persist.
Day 10 – 18: Late Withdrawal
The late stages of Xanax withdrawal are primarily mental. Depression and mood changes still persist during this time, but most of the intense symptoms have ceased. You might still experience trouble with insomnia, and things like anxiety might increase as well. These mental side effects can be alleviated with proper treatment and care.
How Much Xanax Causes Withdrawal?
Everyone’s experience with substances and medication is different. There isn’t a set amount of Xanax consumption that will cause withdrawal. There are factors, however, that can impact how you experience withdrawal.
Factors That Affect Xanax Withdrawal
The way our bodies handle substances can vary depending on many factors. These factors can impact not only how effective a medication or substance is within our system, but also how (and if) we experience withdrawal.
While not all factors are specific, here are a few key components that could alter your withdrawal timeline, symptoms, and more:
- Metabolism – The way our bodies metabolize and process substances directly correlates with how we experience them and how we adjust to them.
- Age – Your age can alter your metabolism and the processing of substances in the body. Generally, the older you are the more vulnerable your body is to withdrawal.
- Other substances or medications – Other things within your body can alter how it processes substances like Xanax.
- How often/long you’ve been taking the substance – Your history of substance use or how long you’ve been taking medication can affect your withdrawal experience. The longer you’ve been taking a substance, the more adjusted your body is to its presence, which can lead to a potentially more intense withdrawal experience.
Getting Treatment For Xanax Withdrawal
Getting treatment for benzodiazepine use disorder or withdrawal is possible here at Pinnacle Peak Recovery. Whether it started as a prescription or not, we can assist you on your recovery journey. Not only do we offer services like detox and inpatient treatment, but we also firmly believe in treating the whole person and not just a singular concern. This means if you’re also managing mental health, we can help you with that, too.
If you’d like to find out more about our programs, don’t hesitate to give us a call today at 866-377-4761. We’d be happy to help and answer any questions you may have.
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FAQs About Xanax Withdrawal
How long do Xanax withdrawal symptoms last?
On average, the majority of symptoms from Xanax withdrawal last up to 14 days.
What does Xanax rebound mean?
Xanax rebound is when someone starts to experience withdrawal and chooses to partake in more Xanax to alleviate their symptoms.
What are the first signs of Xanax withdrawal?
Some of the common symptoms of Xanax withdrawal include headaches, sore eyes or tongue, nausea and vomiting, cramps, blurred vision, depression, memory loss, ringing in your ears, or even panic attacks and seizures.