Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

Xanax is a benzodiazepine. It’s commonly prescribed for the treatment of anxiety disorders. In fact, Xanax was the second most prescribed psychiatric drug in 2016. However, it is frequently abused, as well. Some people begin using Xanax as a way to self-medicate their anxiety and stress. Others enjoy the high that can come from misusing it. When you use Xanax frequently, quitting will bring about Xanax withdrawal symptoms.

Xanax can cause physical and psychological dependence. Physical dependence is a result of your body becoming used to the drug. Stopping the drug abruptly without medical supervision can be dangerous. Psychological dependence results from your mind being used to how you feel on the drug. Both can cause serious Xanax withdrawal symptoms.

xanax withdrawal symptoms, woman on couch holding her head and stomach

How Xanax Works

Xanax is a sedative medication. It causes your body to increase GABA, which is responsible for the relaxation and calming of the central nervous system. Eventually, your brain’s production of GABA slows down because the body is accustomed to receiving it from the drug. You’ll also find that it takes more of the drug to get the same feeling as you did when you began taking it. This is because your body is constantly seeking a state of balance. Your brain seeks to minimize the effects of Xanax, so it remains in balance.

Physical Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

The physical Xanax withdrawal symptoms can be attributed to lower levels of GABA in the brain. It is no longer receiving the high levels of GABA that it has grown accustomed to from Xanax, and its production is diminished. The excitatory transmitters responsible for your body’s fight or flight response. They are thrown into high gear because there’s not enough GABA to slow down their effects.

Seizures are the most concerning physical effect of Xanax. They can be life-threatening.

However, most people will experience:

  • Insomnia
  • Heart racing or palpitations
  • Muscle aches or cramps
  • Headaches
  • Shaking or tremors
  • Weight loss

Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms

Also, there are many psychological Xanax withdrawal symptoms partially attributable to psychological dependence. However, the lower amounts of GABA in the brain can cause them as well. Physical and psychological dependence likely plays a role in psychological withdrawal symptoms.

Imagine a pendulum effect. Xanax causes the pendulum to swing towards relaxation. When the pendulum begins to swing the other way, it will swing to agitation and anxiety.

You may experience:

  • Panic attacks
  • Irritability
  •  Mood swings
  • Forgetfulness
  • Restlessness
  • Poor memory
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Timeframe for Symptoms

Xanax is a fast-acting benzodiazepine with a short half-life. This means that withdrawal symptoms can come on quickly after stopping use, but usually end relatively quickly. However, some symptoms can last for months or years after you stop taking Xanax.

Early Withdrawal

The early withdrawal phase begins about 12-24 hours after your last dose. Those who are more physically dependent on Xanax can experience it in as little as 6 hours. If you use Xanax, you have likely experienced this phase of withdrawal, along with cravings. You may experience mood swings, irritability, insomnia, restlessness, and anxiety in this phase.

Full Withdrawal Phase

The symptoms during this phase are the most intense. The good news is, once you survive your first week, withdrawal gets much easier. Symptoms can include tremors, nausea, muscle aches and cramps, panic attacks and anxiety, hostility, and hypertension.

In severe cases, you may experience seizures, hallucinations, and depersonalization. Professionals must monitor you during this phase of withdrawal. Xanax symptoms can gain severity very quickly, as well. You may feel fine one day and have serious complications the next.

Late Withdrawal Phase

Late withdrawal occurs after your first week of stopping Xanax. Although symptoms will still be present, they’ll be more manageable. However, suicidal thoughts can occur during this phase, along with intense cravings. Also, you may begin to experience the effects of psychological withdrawal as your body begins to adjust. Anxiety, depression, and irritability can occur long after the second week of withdrawal when the worst of the physical effects should be over.

Help at Lakeview Health

Lakeview Health can help you manage the physical and psychological symptoms of withdrawal and help you to do so safely. Xanax can easily take over your life, making you feel as if you have to have it to function. However, you can take control back with guidance, proper medical care, and a strong support system. Contact us at 866.704.7692 today, and begin your road to recovery.