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Your Guide to a Xanax Withdrawal and Detox Program in Maine

Xanax is a prescription medication in the class of benzodiazepines, and it is the most misused of them. The abuse of Xanax is an increasing problem in Maine.

If you have a Xanax use disorder and are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, we have help available for you. Our resources can provide you with a program to help you manage your withdrawal symptoms, safely detox, and get on the road to recovery.

More Information on Xanax

Known by its generic name alprazolam, Xanax is used to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and serious mental health issues that prevent relaxation and sleep. It was the 41st most prescribed medication in the United States in 2019. Being in the same drug family as chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clorazepate (Tranxene), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), oxazepam (Serax), clonazepam (Klonopin), and flurazepam (Dalmane), it works by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain by blocking certain neurotransmitters.

The misuse of Xanax can lead to addiction, overdose, or death. Xanax can stop one’s breathing when taken with another opioid or with alcohol.

It is dangerous to use Xanax during pregnancy and breastfeeding or while driving or operating heavy machinery. People with glaucoma, asthma or other breathing issues, kidney or liver disease, depression, suicidal thoughts, or a pre-existing addiction should inform their doctor before being prescribed Xanax. People with narrow-angle glaucoma who are allergic to any benzodiazepines or are taking itraconazole (Sporanox) or ketoconazole (Nizoral) should not take it.

Xanax can affect a baby since it crosses the placenta. Doctors typically recommend not taking it, at least for the first trimester, to reduce the risk of birth defects.

It can also pass through breast milk. Although it is possible to use during breastfeeding, it is not recommended. Taking Xanax while breastfeeding could cause a baby to be more sedated and affect their breathing. As a baby withdraws from it, they could have a seizure. For these reasons, doctors don’t typically recommend taking Xanax while breastfeeding unless it is absolutely necessary. Instead, they prescribe medications that are shorter-acting or are less likely to affect a baby.

Serious adverse effects that can occur while you’re taking Xanax that require medical attention include:

• Being more active or talkative
• Unusual muscle movements
• Sudden, severe changes in mood or behavior
• Confusion
• Hallucinations
• Thoughts about suicide

The elderly may experience serious adverse effects such as:

• Cognitive impairment
• Mobility issues
• Impaired driving
• Renal dysfunction
• Slowed breathing
• Sleep-disordered breathing
Cardiovascular events in cases of hypertension

Xanax Use Disorder in Maine

The abuse of prescription drugs, including benzodiazepines, is a growing problem in Maine. Dependence increases criminal activity, cognitive deficits, motor vehicle accident rates, and the risk of falling, particularly in the elderly. Many people are not aware of the risks of Xanax at the time they obtain a prescription.

It is common to abuse Xanax in combination with other prescription drugs or substances such as alcohol. People with Xanax use disorder often obtain Xanax from someone sharing from their prescribed supply.

People with prescriptions for Xanax and other benzos who are developing a physical dependency are likely to go “doctor-shopping” or obtain prescriptions from multiple doctors. Alternately, they obtain it from illicit online pharmacies.

Also, people who have been prescribed Xanax may become addicted if they misuse it. Those who cannot obtain Xanax or whose doctors refuse to prescribe more of the medication resort to purchasing Xanax from drug dealers. Counterfeit Xanax is a major problem.

These pills contain a combination of alprazolam with fentanyl and other controlled substances, such as Adderall and hydrocodone. They vary in drug content and dosage because they are not pharmaceutical grade.

Some instead contain etizolam, which is extremely dangerous when multiple pills are taken at once or within a short period. Counterfeit Xanax can easily cause unintentional overdose.

As a federally controlled substance, doctors prescribing Xanax must abide regulations prior to prescribing or dispensing it. There is an increased effort by medical staff to provide sufficient information about Xanax to patients to reduce dependence. Obtaining Xanax online or from other countries is dangerous because of the risk of additives and not being dispensed by a licensed pharmacy.

Signs of Xanax use disorder include:

• Anxiety
• Tremors
• Insomnia
• Headaches
• Anorexia
• Memory problems
• Hostility
• Irritability

Behavioral signs of Xanax use disorder include:

• Becoming withdrawn and having a lack of interest in normal activities
• Being preoccupied with Xanax
• Having financial or legal troubles
• Experiencing withdrawal when trying to cut back on or stop taking Xanax
• Experiencing serious problems with relationships, work, and school
• Increasing risky behaviors, such as driving while on Xanax
• Going to more than one doctor at a time to get more prescriptions (“doctor-shopping”)

Psychological symptoms of Xanax use disorder include:

• Extreme mood swings
• Severe anxiety and panic attacks
• Experiencing a short or shorter attention span
• Insomnia and other sleep pattern changes
• Depression

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms are very difficult to deal with and make detoxing alone a challenge. Xanax withdrawal symptoms range from moderate to severe.

Physical withdrawal symptoms include:

• Cognitive impairment and difficulty concentrating
• Mobility issues
• Shaking, body tremors, muscle pain, spasms, or stiffness
• Depression
• Dizziness
• Headaches
• Excessive sweating
• Vomiting
• High blood pressure
• Heart palpitations
• Seizures

Psychological withdrawal symptoms include:

• Feeling agitated and restless
• Suicidal ideation
• Feelings of unreality and dissociation
• Hallucinations (auditory and visual)
• Delirium
• Anxiety
• Panic attack symptoms (shortness of breath, hyperventilation, racing heart, trembling, chest pain, and excessive fear)
• Insomnia or nightmares
• Worsening of PTSD and related symptoms such as depersonalization
• Worsening of depression
• Hypersensitivity to sensory stimuli
• Weight and appetite changes

Xanax is a short-acting medication. Although most people who take it by prescription do not develop an addiction, those who take high enough dosages or higher dosages than prescribed over a sufficient period can.

People who suddenly stop taking it and experience a rebound effect and withdrawal symptoms may end up taking more to decrease their symptoms. Taking higher dosages or taking it more often increases the risk of addiction.

As Xanax wears off, many people stop feeling the relaxed, calm, lethargic sensations it is associated with. Symptoms of anxiety may start to return once the drug leaves your system.

The typical half-life of Xanax in the average person is 11.2 hours, according to the prescribing information. However, it can take days to fully eliminate it from your body.

Several factors can affect how long Xanax works and how long it takes to leave the body. Xanax is slower acting than midazolam (Nayzilam) and faster acting than clonazepam (Klonopin), meaning it is in the middle.

Xanax peaks or reaches its maximum concentration in your body in about one to two hours. It is at this point that people start to feel less anxious. After that, the body starts breaking it down. It acts as a depressant on the central nervous system.

People who regularly take Xanax can maintain its concentrations in the blood so that they feel the effects for longer. There are also extended-release versions. Many people have about half the dosage of Xanax in their blood after almost 24 hours.

These circumstances make Xanax last longer, or 10 hours more, than an average person:

• Alcoholic liver disease, which gives a half-life of 19.7 hours.
• Elderly people, for whom Xanax has an average half-life of 16.3 hours.
• Obesity, which gives an average half-life of 21.8 hours.

On the other hand, these medications or substances speed up the elimination of Xanax from the body. Doctors call them inducers, and they include:

• Seizure medications: carbamazepine, fosphenytoin, phenytoin, and topiramate (Topamax)
• St. John’s Wort, used to alleviate depression
• Rifampin (Rifan), for infections

Xanax Withdrawal Detox

Going through withdrawal is a natural part of the process of detox for any substance use disorder, and Xanax is no different. For people who use Xanax for long periods, psychological and physical dependence can develop. Quitting “cold turkey” is risky and can lead to serious withdrawal symptoms or death.

For this reason, it may be necessary to go through a Xanax withdrawal detox. Without a detox program, people who are struggling with Xanax use disorder may relapse and find it difficult to reach or stay in recovery.

Factors that affect the severity of withdrawal symptoms are how long the client took Xanax, the dosage of Xanax they took, how often it was taken, pre-existing anxiety, genetics, and whether any medications are used for the detox process.

It is especially important to go through Xanax withdrawal detox after experiencing the following symptoms of toxicity from misusing and overdosing on it:

• Having a higher tolerance
• Drowsiness, fatigue, or sleeping more than usual
• Slurred speech and a lack of coordination
• Chronic dry mouth
• Nausea and vomiting
• Chronic constipation
• Lightheadedness and dizziness
• Headaches

People experience a rebound effect when they try to stop Xanax suddenly and completely. It involves the body attempting to return to its previous state before ever taking Xanax. People who experience a rebound effect experience anxiety as a result, which often appears within 24 hours of their last dose. However, it can last from a few days to several months or more.

It’s much better for people to slowly and gradually wean themselves off of Xanax. They benefit the most when tapering Xanax under medical supervision. A doctor typically reduces the dosage by 25% every week or two.

Tapering reduces the risk of rebound anxiety and withdrawal symptoms. It may take several months, depending on the client’s background with Xanax. Doctors recommend tapering over abrupt quitting for people who have regularly taken Xanax for eight weeks or longer.

Alternately, a doctor may replace Xanax with a longer-acting benzodiazepine, such as diazepam, or another anti-anxiety medication, like buspirone (BuSpar). They may also prescribe certain anticonvulsant and antidepressant medications. The tapering process remains the same.

For help in dealing with rebound anxiety, several forms of therapy are available. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness practices, exposure therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy are a few examples.

Why Choose Xanax Withdrawal Detox?

A program for Xanax withdrawal detox helps clients manage their existing withdrawal symptoms to stay as high-functioning as possible. It also helps them safely detox from Xanax and keep rebound anxiety to a minimum.

Medical supervision for Xanax withdrawal detox is both medical and psychiatric. To manage pain, a doctor may prescribe non-narcotic pain relievers. Any anti-anxiety medication would likely be for the short term while the client undergoes therapy to better manage their anxiety.

There are also recreational activities and several different possible therapies for clients. Because no two clients are the same, there is no one-program-fits-all approach.

Xanax Withdrawal Detox in Maine

The Xanax withdrawal detox programs we offer at Liberty Bay Recovery Center are safe and effective. They provide excellent environments for clients to make lasting recoveries and quit Xanax for good.

Maine is considered one of the most beautiful states in the U.S., with plenty of natural scenery, so it’s even easier for clients to detox. If you or someone you know is ready to go through Xanax withdrawal detox, contact us today.