Xanax is a prescription central nervous system depressant that is widely used to treat anxiety. Xanax is considered safe when taken as directed and for short periods of time. However, the drug poses a high risk of addiction, leading to Xanax withdrawal symptoms that range from unpleasant to dangerous.
This article covers what you need to know about Xanax withdrawal.
Xanax Tolerance and Dependence
Xanax, generic name alprazolam, is in the class of drugs called benzodiazepines. Once you start using Xanax, your body adjusts to the presence of the benzodiazepine. This leads to tolerance, which is when you need more of a drug to achieve the desired effects.
Tolerance can develop from recreational use, taking too much at one time or taking it more frequently or for longer than intended. You can also experience Xanax withdrawal symptoms from taking it as prescribed.
Tolerance increases the likelihood of developing a dependency. Once dependency is present, you’ll experience Xanax withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the medication or try to taper down your dosage or frequency.
Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms
Xanax withdrawal symptoms can occur when you taper off or stop taking Xanax. Withdrawal can begin within 12 hours of the last dose and may last up to 14 days, and symptoms will decrease over time. Xanax withdrawal symptoms include:
- Anxiety, irritability
- Panic attacks
- Hand tremors
- Excessive sweating
- Difficulty concentrating
- Dry heaves and nausea
- Weight loss
- Heart palpitations
- Muscle pain and stiffness
Seizures During Xanax Withdrawal
If you’re taking Xanax at high doses, more serious Xanax withdrawal symptoms can develop. These can include psychotic episodes and seizures.
Research has found a link between Xanax withdrawal and grand mal seizures for those who have taken benzodiazepines for long periods of time or taken them at high doses. A grand mal seizure is characterized by loss of consciousness, muscle contractions and convulsions. Grand mal seizures can lead to coma and death.
While seizures and other withdrawal symptoms typically occur due to high doses or extended use of Xanax, some people have experienced symptoms and seizures after just 15 days of use at the prescribed dosage.
Xanax Withdrawal Treatment
To reduce and safely control Xanax withdrawal symptoms, it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions and to be monitored while you’re tapering down your dosage or stopping Xanax entirely.
If you think you’re addicted to Xanax, therapy is available to help you regain control of your life. Contact your doctor or a high-quality addiction treatment center for help and medical support.