Should You Quit Xanax Cold Turkey?
By The Orlando Recovery Center
Last Updated: September 22, 2023
Xanax is the brand name of a prescription drug in the benzodiazepine family. It has alprazolam as its active ingredient and is a medication used to treat certain panic and anxiety disorders.
Though the medication is recommended for short-term treatment, some take it for longer periods and others misuse it. When a person uses more than prescribed or takes the drug without a prescription, Xanax use can quickly lead to addiction.
There are risks associated with stopping Xanax abruptly. It is dangerous to quit Xanax cold turkey if you are addicted to this medication.
The Dangers of Quitting Xanax
It only takes a few short weeks of repeated Xanax use for the drug to alter your brain chemistry and create a risk of addiction. Once this happens, it will become difficult to break free without medical assistance. Not only is detoxing from Xanax difficult, but it is also dangerous.
Some of the side effects of Xanax withdrawal include:
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Sleep disturbances
- Muscle pain and stiffness
- Inability to concentrate
- Heart palpitations
These symptoms are likely to occur in these instances, and there are other, more dangerous ones, as well. These might include seizures, hallucinations, psychosis and a return to using the drug. Without medical supervision, these side effects can lead to hospitalization and even death.
The British Journal of Pharmacology released a study suggesting that Xanax is one of the most toxic drugs in the benzodiazepine family. People who overdosed on the drug had hospital stays that were 1.27 times longer than those that involved other benzos. Among those who overdose on Xanax, 22 percent ended up in intensive care units.
How to Quit Xanax Safely
If you find that Xanax misuse has become your reality, it is vital that you seek out addiction treatment programs that can provide a medically-supervised detox. Since your body and brain have become accustomed to the drug’s effects, you can go into shock due to the loss of GABA activity when the drug is taken away abruptly.
The only recommended method for safely coming off of Xanax is to taper your dose under medical supervision. This might take a bit longer than a traditional form of detox, but it considered to be a safe form of Xanax treatment.
Addiction Treatment Programs for Xanax
Whether you were taking small doses of Xanax for a longer period or larger doses, it is strongly advised that you seek medical supervision for detox. However, this is just the first step in recovery from a substance use disorder.
Following a supervised detox, it is advisable to seek continuing care through an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. Since 29 percent of people impacted by mental health disorders also misuse alcohol or drugs, co-occurring disorders treatment is also available.
If you or someone you care about misuses Xanax and wants to stop, contact Orlando Recovery Center now to speak with an addiction specialist about your situation and your options for admission.