Finding Freedom: A Guide to Safely Getting Off Xanax

Learn how to get off Xanax in this comprehensive guide. We’ll share how to achieve lasting recovery.

How to Get Off Xanax: An Introduction

Addiction is a challenging, pervasive condition. It affects many lives and societies globally. When discussing addiction, many people think about illicit drugs like methamphetamines.

However, even prescription drugs play a significant part in this problem. One common prescription drug commonly linked with addiction and dependence is Xanax.

Many people need help with substance use disorders related to prescription drugs. Many people wonder how to get off Xanax. This comprehensive guide is for people and their families working to reclaim their lives from this drug.

how to get off xanax

What to Expect From This Article

In this article, we’ll talk about Xanax and why it is used. We will share the symptoms and side effects of Xanax. We will explore if Xanax is addictive and the withdrawal process.

The battle against benzodiazepine addiction, especially figuring out how to get off Xanax, is not one to face alone. In this guide, we will assist you in understanding the withdrawal process and overcoming the fear and anxiety it brings.

What Is Xanax?

People wondering how to get off Xanax might want to know more about the drug. Xanax is the trade name, or brand name, for alprazolam. It is a prescription medication belonging to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines.1

Why Do People Use Xanax?

Xanax is primarily used to treat panic and anxiety disorders. It acts on the brain and nerves, enhancing the effects of a specific natural chemical in the body (gamma-aminobutyric acid [GABA]). This, in turn, induces a calming effect.

Importance of Professional Guidance and Supervision With Xanax Use

Xanax, like other benzodiazepines, should only be used under the supervision of a healthcare professional. The healthcare professional helps manage the dosage and duration of treatment. This will, in turn, help to prevent or minimize dependence.

When it’s time to stop using prescribed Xanax, healthcare professionals can also help. They provide guidance on how to get off Xanax safely and comfortably.

Do People Use Xanax Recreationally?

Xanax is often used recreationally, leading people to wonder how to get off Xanax. It is often used with the intent of achieving a state of relaxation or a euphoric high. 

However, this is dangerous because of the drug’s potential for dependence. The drug carries a high risk of addiction.2

How Do People Misuse Xanax?

Recreational users often misuse Xanax in ways that greatly increase the risk of dangerous side effects, like respiratory distress or coma. 

These dangerous practices include:

  • Taking the drug in higher doses than prescribed
  • Combining the drug with other substances, like alcohol or opioids
  • Taking the drug via unconventional methods, like snorting or injecting

The recreational use of Xanax also accelerates the development of tolerance. 

This will, in turn, rapidly lead to physical dependence, where the body requires the drug to function normally. At this point, people begin to wonder how to get off Xanax.

Is Xanax Addictive?

Xanax is a drug with a high potential for addiction. This is why people struggle with how to get off Xanax. The drug is a benzodiazepine. A benzodiazepine works by slowing down the central nervous system, so it can be addictive.

To understand Xanax-related substance use disorders, it helps to understand the addiction process. It’s also essential to learn how Xanax works and its effects on the body. This provides insight on how to get off Xanax.

The Addiction Process

When a person takes Xanax, it increases the amount of GABA in the brain. This results in feelings of relaxation and calmness. This immediate relief can be enticing, causing individuals to use the drug more often or in higher doses than prescribed.

This then begins a potential pathway toward a substance use disorder. The addiction process generally follows several stages, ending with a person struggling with how to get off Xanax. These stages include the following:

Experimentation

In the first stage of Xanax addiction, an individual may start using Xanax recreationally or outside of their prescribed dosage. This is due to its calming effects. At this stage, people should be made aware of the importance of knowing how to get off Xanax safely.

Regular Use

In this stage, the individual begins using Xanax more regularly. This could be in response to stressful situations, for relaxation, or simply out of routine. 

As the frequency of use increases, so does the body’s tolerance to the drug, necessitating higher doses to achieve the same effects.

Dependence

At this stage, the question of how to get off Xanax becomes crucial. Dependence can be physical, psychological, or both.

The forms of dependence include:

  • Physical dependence: The body adapts to the presence of Xanax. The individual experiences withdrawal symptoms when usage is abruptly stopped.
  • Psychological dependence: The individual feels a need to use Xanax to function normally or to cope with stress.

Addiction

Addiction, a disease affecting brain function and behavior, is the final stage. It is characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite the negative consequences. An individual at this stage will require professional help to understand how to get off Xanax safely and effectively.

Does Everyone Who Uses Xanax Become Addicted?

It’s crucial to note that not everyone who uses Xanax will develop a substance use disorder. Several factors can determine or influence whether or not a person experiences addiction to the drug.

Some of these factors include:

  • Genetics
  • Environment
  • Mental health
  • Amount and frequency of use

Are There Side Effects of Xanax Abuse?

Xanax is an effective medication when used correctly to treat anxiety and panic disorders. However, when it is improperly used, it leads to various short- and long-term side effects.

Understanding these side effects is crucial to recognizing the potential dangers of Xanax abuse. It highlights the importance of understanding how to get off Xanax safely if misuse or dependency occurs.

Short-Term Effects Of Xanax Abuse

Short-term side effects of Xanax abuse include the following:

  • Drowsiness: Xanax, being a central nervous system depressant, can cause significant drowsiness. This may interfere with everyday activities, like driving or operating machinery. Thus it poses a safety risk.3
  • Slurred speech: Xanax can affect cognitive and motor skills, leading to slurred speech. This is a common sign of benzodiazepine intoxication.
  • Memory problems: Xanax can cause short-term problems with memory. This may interfere with normal daily activities and obligations.
  • Lack of coordination: Motor control can be severely affected by Xanax use. This leads to a lack of coordination and increases the risk of accidents or injuries.
  • Reduced inhibitions: Xanax can lead to changes in behavior. This includes reduced inhibitions, which can result in risky or out-of-character actions.
  • Dizziness: Feeling lightheaded or dizzy is a common side effect of Xanax misuse. This can potentially lead to falls and related injuries.

Long-Term Effects Of Xanax Abuse

Xanax abuse has also been known to cause several long-term effects. These long-term effects are usually more severe than their short-term counterparts. That’s why “how to get off Xanax” is a fundamental, common question.

Here are some of the side effects associated with long-term Xanax misuse:

  • Physical dependence: People’s bodies become dependent on the drug. At this stage, learning how to get off Xanax safely under medical supervision is paramount.
  • Cognitive impairment: People may experience persistent cognitive deficits. They may have trouble remembering, concentrating, or making decisions.
  • Depression and mood disorders: Chronic Xanax misuse can exacerbate or lead to the development of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.
  • Increased risk of overdose: As people build a tolerance to the drug, they may consume higher doses to achieve the desired effect. This leads to an increased risk of overdose.
  • Withdrawal symptoms: Once physical dependence has set in, any attempts to stop or reduce the use of Xanax can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms. Knowing how to get off Xanax safely at this stage is critical to prevent potentially life-threatening complications.

How to Get Off Xanax: Detox and Withdrawal

People wondering how to get off Xanax may also wonder whether they will have withdrawal symptoms. There are several potential physical, psychological, and emotional withdrawal symptoms.

Given the potential severity and consequences of these symptoms, it’s important to talk to a healthcare provider about how to get off Xanax. Here are some possible symptoms when a person detoxes or stops using the drug.

Physical Symptoms

Addiction is a disease that affects both body and mind. Here are some of the more physical symptoms of Xanax withdrawal:

  • Seizures: In severe cases, especially when Xanax use is stopped abruptly without medical supervision, seizures can occur. This is a medical emergency and can be life-threatening.
  • Insomnia: Withdrawal can lead to disturbances in sleep patterns. This includes difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Physical Tremors: Individuals may experience tremors or shakes, particularly in the hands.
  • Restlessness: A sense of restlessness or agitation is common during Xanax withdrawal. It becomes difficult to relax or sit still.
  • Increased Heart Rate: The person may experience heart palpitations or a fast heart rate.
  • Sweating: Excessive perspiration, even in cool conditions, can occur during withdrawal.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: The person may have gastrointestinal upset, including nausea and vomiting.
  • Muscle Pain or Stiffness: Musculoskeletal discomfort is a common symptom during Xanax withdrawal.

Emotional and Psychological Symptoms

Here are some of the Xanax withdrawal symptoms associated with a person’s emotional and psychological health:

  • Anxiety: Xanax is often prescribed for anxiety. Withdrawal can result in a resurgence or worsening of anxiety symptoms. This rebound anxiety can sometimes be more intense than before starting the medication.
  • Hallucinations: Some individuals withdrawing from Xanax may experience hallucinations or other perceptual disturbances.
  • Changes in Perception of Reality: Individuals may experience feelings of unreality or depersonalization. This may include feelings of detachment from oneself.
  • Mood Swings: Emotional instability or rapid mood changes can occur. People may cycle between feeling anxious, irritable, depressed, or euphoric.

How To Get Off Xanax Safely: Key Strategies

Successfully and safely discontinuing Xanax requires careful planning and medical supervision. This is due to the potential for withdrawal symptoms and the risk of complications.

Here are several strategies that have been effective in guiding individuals on how to get off Xanax:

Medical Supervision

Medical supervision is how to get off Xanax safely. People should stop using the drug under the supervision of a healthcare provider.

Abruptly discontinuing Xanax can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms. A healthcare provider can devise a personalized plan to gradually taper the drug’s usage, helping to mitigate these risks.

Tapering

Tapering, a common and effective strategy, means reducing the dosage of Xanax over time. This allows the body to adapt to lower levels of the drug gradually. A healthcare provider supervises and adjusts the tapering plan as needed.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

In some cases, other medications may be used to manage withdrawal symptoms or to substitute for Xanax during the tapering process. This method can help individuals learn how to get off Xanax while minimizing discomfort.

Therapy and Counseling

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other forms of counseling can be effective tools in teaching individuals how to get off Xanax. These tools help manage stress and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

Therapy and counseling are also important for people with mental health conditions and substance use disorders. They can address underlying mental health conditions that may have contributed to Xanax misuse.

Support Groups

Peer support can play a valuable role in learning how to get off Xanax. People might attend groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or specific support groups for benzodiazepine withdrawal.

The groups provide a sense of community and shared experience. This facilitates recovery. Attendees can learn from their peers how to get off Xanax effectively.

Holistic Approaches

This includes techniques like mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and regular physical exercise. They can aid in managing stress and anxiety while learning how to get off Xanax. A balanced diet can also play a role in maintaining overall health during this period.4

Aftercare Planning

Once an individual has learned how to get off Xanax, maintaining their success is crucial. 

Aftercare plans, which might involve ongoing therapy, support group meetings, or regular check-ins with a healthcare provider, can help prevent relapse and support long-term recovery.

Relevant Considerations

Remember, while these strategies can be effective, each individual’s journey on how to get off Xanax is unique. Therefore, what works best will depend on personal circumstances and several factors.

Some of these include the following:

  • The length and intensity of Xanax use
  • The presence of co-occurring mental health conditions
  • Individual health status

Always consult with a healthcare provider or addiction specialist to develop the safest and most effective plan for how to get off Xanax.

how to get off xanax

How Can Choice House Help?

Have you or a loved one been using Xanax for some time? You or a loved one may have experienced withdrawal symptoms or challenges stopping the drug. Many people have walked this path before.

Choice House

At Choice House, we understand how difficult it can be to take the first step. We are ready to support you or your loved one on the path back to a fulfilling, meaningful, and limitless life. We offer long-term support to achieve your goals while enjoying lasting sobriety and community.

The Choice House community is close-knit and supportive. We are a team of “brothers” that supports one another in personal growth. Our comprehensive programs provide the best environment for healing, learning, and connecting.

We offer individualized, evidence-based therapies to help you get off Xanax safely and effectively. Your treatment is handled by treatment specialists with the experience and skill to help you detox safely and enter effective recovery.

Contact Us

We’re ready to help and look forward to learning more about you. If you or a loved one are ready to begin sustainable healing in Boulder, Colorado, contact us today.

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