Josh Chandler | November 22, 2023

Xanax Addiction and Withdrawal: What You Need to Know

Medical providers treat various health conditions with benzodiazepines like Xanax, but Xanax addiction and withdrawal are major concerns for clinicians and patients alike when it comes to benzodiazepine medications. Xanax is a prescription drug that is employed to treat anxiety disorders, and some sleep conditions like insomnia, muscle spasms, seizures, and alcohol withdrawal. It may also be prescribed for its sedative properties. Unfortunately, the potential for dependence is great when it comes to Xanax use and abuse. 

Muse treats Xanax addiction at our welcoming rehab center. We feature addiction treatment programs such as clinically supervised detox, medication-assisted treatment, dual diagnosis treatment as well as inpatient and outpatient treatment plans. Out therapies are based on evidence-based therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy and holistic treatments designed to enhance overall health and well-being. Our clinicians are highly trained and experienced; they prioritize individualized treatment to make sure that each client gets support that’s tailored to their needs. 

Xanax addiction and withdrawal can be treated. If you have developed an addiction to Xanax or another benzodiazepine drug, you can rely on Muse for help. Prescription drug addiction is every bit as dangerous as an illicit drug addiction. However, it can be treated. Let Muse help you overcome your dependence or addiction on prescription drugs like Xanax. A substance use disorder is a chronic condition, but with treatment and abstinence, you can achieve your recovery goals. 


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Introduction to Xanax: What Is Alprazolam?

Xanax is the brand name of the generic drug alprazolam. Xanax is prescribed by clinicians primarily to treat anxiety disorders, but it can also be prescribed to treat seizure disorders and sleep disorders as well as some other conditions. Xanax is extremely effective for treating mental health conditions like anxiety disorders in the short term. The drug targets certain neurotransmitters in the brain, calming them and reducing symptoms of anxiety. 

Unfortunately, long-term use of Xanax and other benzodiazepines is associated with an increased risk of dependence and addiction. People can quickly develop a tolerance to Xanax; in order to achieve the same symptom relief as before, they must increase their dose. The development of a tolerance and subsequence drug increase is linked to dependence formation. Addiction can be diagnosed once the person develops a physical and psychological dependence on the drug. Many clinicians, as a result, will only prescribe Xanax in the short term. 

There are other medications that are safer and more effective. Some antidepressants like SSRIs are effective for treating anxiety, but they take time to build up in a person’s system–usually at least two weeks. Often, doctors will prescribe Xanax until the antidepressants have a chance to work. 

Understanding the Neuroscience: Xanax and Neurotransmitters

Xanax targets neurotransmitters in the brain known as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). The medication calms neurotransmitter activity. The result is that symptoms of anxiety such as intense worry are reduced or even eliminated for a period of time. The medication actually enhances GABA inhibitory effects, leading to anxiety relief. The medication can also reduce muscle spasms and promote a sedative effect. The neuronal effects of Xanax lead to powerful feelings of relaxation and a release from the symptoms of anxiety–at least temporarily. Xanax can also reduce seizures with its anticonvulsant effects. 

duration for xanax

The Dangers of Misuse: Recognizing Xanax Addiction 

Xanax is an addictive drug, so even though it is prescribed to treat medical conditions, it comes with some risks. Generally, Xanax is safe for use when prescribed by a doctor to treat a legitimate medical condition and used as directed by the prescription. However, long-term use increases the risk of Xanax dependence and Xanax misuse increases the risk of Xanax addiction. 

Prescription duration for Xanax use, therefore, is often carefully monitored by clinicians. Many doctors will curtain Xanax prescriptions for patients with chronic mental health conditions like anxiety and opt for other medications that are not addictive but also effective. 

Recreational use of Xanax is a form of misuse or, put frankly, substance abuse. Some people use this drug because of its sedative effects. Some people self-medicate or use the drug to cope with stress but without a prescription. Such use is associated with a high risk of addiction development. 

Caution Ahead: Medications Not to Stop Abruptly

Xanax is a drug that is associated with withdrawal when stopped abruptly. Patients who are prescribed Xanax should taper off their use of the drug over time rather than quitting cold turkey. Clinicians will usually monitor Xanax use closely and discuss the tapering-off process with patients to reduce the risk of withdrawal symptoms. In fact, doctors will usually advise patients to gradually reduce the use of any benzodiazepines over time rather than to stop using them abruptly. 


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The Withdrawal Process: Duration and Challenges

Withdrawal from Xanax can be mild but can also prove severe if the individual stops using the drug abruptly. Abrupt disuse of Xanax or other benzodiazepines can trigger withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, panic, headache, nausea, vomiting, sweating, agitation, mood swings, increased blood pressure, and insomnia. Generally, withdrawal from Xanax peaks within 72 hours of the person’s last use of the drug; however, some withdrawal symptoms may persist for much longer. 

When a client undergoes medical detox at Resurgence, they can expect to receive treatment for withdrawal symptoms. Our clinicians can prescribe medications that reduce or even eliminate Xanax withdrawal symptoms. It’s important to remember that Xanax withdrawal varies from one individual to another. The dose that the individual was used to taking and their own unique chemistry can impact the withdrawal process. 

Treatment and Recovery at Resurgence Behavioral Health 

A person who is addicted to Xanax or any other type of drug can get help at Resurgence. We offer a comprehensive range of treatment programs at our top-rated rehab center. Clients who are dependent on Xanax may need to undergo clinically supervised detox. Our clinicians can monitor the detox process to ensure clients are as comfortable as possible and that their withdrawal symptoms are being managed. Medical detox lasts for about a week; however, some people may need longer in detox depending on their needs. 

After detox is completed, clients can continue treatment on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Inpatient treatment is ideal in many cases because it allows clients to focus on their recovery without distractions. However, clients who must continue working or who want to maintain their family responsibilities may opt for outpatient treatment, which offers more flexible treatment sessions. 

The treatment process for prescription drug addiction may last anywhere from 30-90 days generally. After completing formal rehab treatment, clients should attend aftercare support to ensure their long-term recovery journey runs as smoothly as possible. 

Navigating Xanax Use with Informed Care

If you have developed a Xanax dependence, seek out help at Resurgence. Xanax and serotonin effects should be managed by an informed care team like the clinicians at Resurgence. If you or a loved one is addicted to Xanax, contact our addiction treatment center to discuss our treatment options. You can overcome your Xanax prescription drug addiction with quality treatment. Get to know Muse and our comprehensive addiction treatment offerings. We look forward to helping you navigate your freedom from Xanax addiction. 

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Josh Chandler
Josh Chandler
After growing up in Chicago and North Carolina, Josh chose to get help with substance use disorder and mental health in California because of the state's reputation for top-tier treatment. There, he found the treatment he needed to achieve more than five years of recovery. He's been in the drug and alcohol addiction rehab industry for four years and now serves as the Director of Admissions for Resurgence Behavioral Health. Josh remains passionate about the field because he understands that one phone call can alter the course of a person's life.

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