Xanax Detox Symptoms, Timeline, Medications and Treatment
What is Xanax Detoxification?Xanax detoxification or Xanax detox refers to the period of medically supervised Xanax withdrawal. During the process of Xanax detox, one is taken off Xanax (following a period of regular use) in a safe and medically appropriate manner.
Detoxification is an essential initial step in helping someone quit Xanax. Prolonged and regular use of Xanax can lead to addiction. Consequently, any attempt at quitting Xanax results in withdrawal symptoms that tend to be distressing and even life threatening.
Is Detox from Xanax dangerous?
Following a period of regular and prolonged use, especially in excessive quantities, an abrupt cessation or a significant reduction of Xanax being consumed (going cold turkey) can lead to the appearance of withdrawals symptoms. They include:
- Repetitive worrisome thoughts.
- Poor concentration.
- Disturbance of sleep in form of insomnia, altered sleep-wake cycle, nightmares and daytime drowsiness.
- Increased heart rate.
- Elevated blood pressure.
- Muscle tension.
- Motor restlessness.
- Sudden and abrupt twitching in muscles.
- Body ache.
- Increased sweating.
- Blurry vision.
- Flu-like symptoms.
- Excessive sweating.
- Inability to maintain the gait and balance.
Additionally, one can experience grand mal seizures, psychosis and hyperpyrexia (severe fever). These major withdrawal symptoms can be life threatening and warrant appropriate medical care.
Why Detoxification at Home can be Harmful
An attempt at self-detoxification from Xanax at home is not recommended. Self- detox can be dangerous because of lack of appropriate and adequate understanding of the Xanax withdrawal symptoms and their management.
Withdrawals from Xanax are discomforting and can even be life-threatening.Also, it is not advisable to self-medicate to tide over the initial phase of Xanax withdrawal. Withdrawals from Xanax are discomforting. Some can go on to experience the more severe and even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms such as grand mal seizures.
Choice of appropriate medication--it's timing, dose and duration--all require an in-depth understanding of the issue and relevant experience. Moreover, effective medical treatment is available, and one is advised to avail it.
Medically Assisted Xanax Detox and Withdrawal
There are reports of rapid Xanax detox using benzodiazepine antagonist flumazenil. Use of flumazenil accelerates the detoxification process and has been reported to cut short the duration of detox to about a week or so. However, there is limited scientific literature on this method of rapid detoxing from Xanax, and its effectiveness and safety remains debatable.
What to Expect During Xanax Detox?
Xanax detoxing involves a gradual reduction of Xanax over successive days. Alternatively, Xanax is abruptly stopped, and one is shifted to an equivalent dose of longer acting benzodiazepine, like diazepam (Valium), followed by a gradual reduction in its dose.
After the initial reduction by around 30% on day 2 or 3, the dose is usually reduced by approximately 10-25% at a time for those taking supra-therapeutic doses of Xanax. For those who experience difficulty with this rate, dose reduction is carried out at a slower rate of 5-10%.
Monitoring and Adjustments
One is monitored for the emergence of clinical features of Xanax withdrawals and dose of medication is adjusted accordingly. For individuals using therapeutic doses of Xanax, the dose is reduced by 10-25% and most patients can expect an uncomplicated discontinuation.
Adjunctive medicines such as carbamazepine, gabapentin, ss-adrenergic receptor antagonists, and divalproex can be used, if indicated. Pharmacotherapy coupled with general nursing care and support.
How Long Does Xanax Detox Last?
The rate of taper is influenced by:
- The dose of Xanax being used.
- Duration of its use.
- Severity of anxiety.
A reduction rate of 10-25% allows the detox to be complete over a period of around 2 weeks. However, many individuals, including those using therapeutic doses, may find it difficult to completely stop the medicines over this period and may require a longer detoxification stretched over a period of few weeks or even longer.
Xanax Detox Treatment
It is recommended to undergo Xanax detox at an approved medical center under the direct supervision of qualified health professionals. Detoxification from Xanax involves a comprehensive assessment of the individual, including the severity of their Xanax addiction.
Evaluation is done for concomitant medical and psychiatric conditions. A management plan is formulated for Xanax taper.
Alternatively, Xanax is substituted by an equivalent dose of a longer acting benzodiazepine that is gradually tapered off subsequently. A periodic examination is carried out to assess the emergence of withdrawal symptoms.
The rate of tapering is adjusted according to the level of comfort of the individual.
Adjunct medication can be of help to take care of withdrawals and help reduce the requirement of a benzodiazepine. Non-pharmacological approaches in the form of cognitive restructuring and cognitive-behavioral strategies can foster a sense of control over withdrawals and help manage anxiety.
Choosing the Best Xanax Detox Center
One should make a well-informed choice before choosing a Xanax detox program. It will be helpful to gather information about the following:
- Medical protocols being followed at the center
- Duration of the treatment
- The experience of the treatment team
- Availability of non-pharmacological interventions
- Provisions for long-term phase management
- Cost of treatment
- Insurance coverage