When it comes to abuse of prescription meds, Xanax is a drug that’s particularly dangerous to take too much of. Xanax is an anti-anxiety medication, and it’s meant to be taken only for short periods of time. If a person takes Xanax for more than a few weeks, they’ll almost certainly develop a physical and psychological addiction that’s difficult - and potentially deadly - to break.
Effects of Xanax
Xanax is a benzodiazepine, and there are many other types of “benzos” that have the same effects, withdrawal, and recommended treatment as described here. Benzos are central nervous system depressants, and they’re used to treat anxiety disorders and panic disorders. They essentially relax a person’s body and calm their mind, so they’re used when someone is experiencing an anxiety or panic attack. The most common side effect of Xanax is sleepiness. When a person takes too much Xanax, they may have trouble concentrating, sexual difficulties, headaches, slurred speech, dizziness, and disorientation. It is also possible to overdose on Xanax. When a person on Xanax drinks alcohol, which is also a depressant, the side effects can be intensified and lead to sedation or even death.
When a person tries to quit Xanax, it can be quite a challenge. You should never quit Xanax abruptly. As your brain becomes addicted to Xanax, it begins to require the drug to function normally and actually changes your brain chemistry. Stopping abruptly can cause seizures, heart arrhythmias, and death. Benzos are particularly dangerous, because they’re the only type of commonly-abused prescription pill for which the act of quitting itself can cause death. If you quit Xanax in a safe manner, you will still experience withdrawal symptoms. They include insomnia, sensitivity to light and sound, sweating or chills, muscle spasms, nightmares, and headaches.
The most intense withdrawal symptoms for people who quit Xanax are anxiety and depression. This can be a huge difficulty for people who became addicted to Xanax when taking it to ease their anxiety. The anxiety they feel while quitting is called “rebound anxiety,” and it causes many people to relapse. When they begin to feel the way they did before they took Xanax, they take it again to stop those symptoms. Rebound anxiety represents a big rough patch, because the anxiety felt during withdrawal is usually greater than a person’s normal level of anxiety.
How to Quit Xanax
The only way a person should quit Xanax is with medical supervision.
The best place for a person to quit Xanax is in a detox facility. Because Xanax cannot be stopped abruptly, you must gradually reduce your dosage over a period of time, under the guidance of a doctor. In detox, you can safely quit Xanax, and you may also be given medicine to help ease withdrawal symptoms. Again, it is not recommended to quit Xanax on your own. At the very least, you should consult your doctor before stopping or reducing your dosage. After you quit Xanax, you should get some kind of treatment to help you learn to cope without Xanax and hopefully prevent a relapse. A stay at an inpatient rehab center is recommended. Counseling, group therapy, support groups, and outpatient treatment can also help. You will need to learn new behaviors and ways of thinking so that you can deal with your anxiety or your cravings in a healthy way.