Some people with a Xanax addiction issue haven’t been taking the drug for very long, but it’s not at all uncommon for people with this particular addiction to spend weeks, months, or even years under the thumb of Xanax.
In fact, in a study of the issue in the Iranian Journal of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, researchers found that the average person with this addiction had been abusing the drug for about five years.
Long addiction timespans like this are terribly hard on brain cells. They become accustomed to the ongoing presence of Xanax, and they don’t function properly when the drug is gone. The withdrawal symptoms that appear when people try to quit are tied to the damage long-term Xanax abuse can cause.
Xanax works by quieting electrical activity in the cells of the brain. When the drug is gone and the cells fire at a normal pace, people may feel anxious or agitated. They may feel more awake and alert than they have in decades. Sometimes, that’s the only symptom a person will feel during withdrawal.
But some people do have more serious withdrawal symptoms. For these people, the awakened electrical signals continue to grow and spread and spiral until seizures develop. People like this may begin to hallucinate or tremor before the seizures begin, so they’ll have time to get help before the problem spirals.
Treatment teams assist with Xanax withdrawal symptoms by applying a different benzodiazepine medication, and tapering the dose of that medication over time.
This approach provides brain cells with the opportunity to adjust to the lack of drugs, so they can come up to a normal speed of functioning at a slower, safer pace.
In a study from 1991, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, researchers suggest that a tapering schedule that moves very slowly is best for recovery. Here, they outline a protocol that might take about a month to complete. While some people might appreciate a recovery that moves that slowly, it isn’t at all unusual for modern practitioners to take things at a faster clip. As long as people don’t feel incredibly ill or face life-threatening complications, the process of withdrawal can move a bit faster, and that’s beneficial, as it allows people to move on to rehab just a bit sooner.
A Full Recovery?
Detox is designed to help people to adjust to the lack of Xanax in their bodies. At the end of that process, people are sober, but they might still have Xanax aftermath to deal with. For example, research from the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society suggests that some people feel memory and cognitive difficulties for years after abusing drugs like Xanax.
Research like this highlights how important rehab really is. Here, people learn:
- How Xanax may have changed them
- Why it’s important to stay sober
- How to develop a life that’s satisfying, even when there’s no Xanax
- Skills that can help to prevent a Xanax relapse
If you’re ready to start your own path toward Xanax recovery, we’re here to help. Just call us at The Oaks at La Paloma, and we’ll tell you more about our treatment programs and how you can enroll.