Xanax withdrawal is one of the many consequences of becoming addicted to this medication. Xanax is a prescription tranquilizer which depresses the nervous system in a way similar to alcohol. It is manufactured by Pharmacia/UpJohn and is also distributed under the generic name of alprazolam.
The 1990 to 1998 National Institute of Drug Abuse statistics show that the number of Americans who began to misuse sedatives nearly doubled, while abuse of pain relievers rose 180% during this time period. Xanax addiction is a serious problem among those who abuse their prescriptions as well as those who purchase the drug illegally on the street.
The tranquilizer, which was introduced in 1973, can become psychologically and physically addictive if taken in high doses for longer than eight weeks. Therefore, the medication should be, and usually is, prescribed as a temporary solution for people with stress and anxiety disorders. But while Xanax addiction is a very real risk while taking the drug, there's another breed of abuser out there.
Like other pharmaceuticals such as OxyContin and Ritalin, Xanax has found its way from pharmacies to drug dealers, and is being abused by young, healthy people who want to get high. These club-hopping, twenty something, casual "Xannie poppers" are using the drug in combination with other stimulants, from booze to cocaine.
What has become clinically apparent with Xanax withdrawal which appears to be somewhat different than the other benzodiazepines is that the person's ability to self-detox or be able to be gradually tapered off of the medication is markedly more difficult. Thusly, once the physiological dependence has occurred with Xanax, the ability of the person to discontinue use successfully on their own is quite low, and medical assistance becomes of significant necessity in the majority of cases.
Xanax withdrawal symptoms can include, but are not limited to:
Those who abuse Xanax find pleasure in the drowsy feeling that it causes. Xanax electrifies the brain's pleasure centers with an initial euphoric feeling that is rarely recaptured. The chase is on to recreate that feeling and a Xanax addiction is born. Upon taking Xanax, one may experience drowsiness, loss of concentration, loss of motor skills or slurred speech. Generally, these symptoms dissipate after several days. Unfortunately, after experiencing the calming effect this medication can produce, many people continue to seek an even a greater feeling of calm and will begin to increase the amount of medication they take.
With an increase in Xanax use and an ever-increasing tolerance, a Xanax addiction soon emerges. As with other prescription medications such as, OxyContin, Vicodin or Codeine, when tolerance increases and prescriptions run out prematurely, the person must find additional Xanax and will do whatever is necessary to avoid running out of the drug and experiencing the symptoms associated with Xanax withdrawal.
At some point in their Xanax addiction, the addict might be taking between 20 - 30 pills a day. Even before this point, it is extremely dangerous to discontinue Xanax use on your own. Discontinuing this drug without medical supervision can produce Xanax withdrawal symptoms including seizures and convulsions, which can be life threatening.
Xanax withdrawal is extremely uncomfortable, but manageable. Always keep in mind that it is dangerous to abruptly discontinue Xanax without medical supervision and the right kind of Xanax abuse treatment. As stated above, seizures, convulsions, even death can occur if Xanax use is not decreased slowly.
One of the major difficulties with Xanax withdrawal is that it increases the initial symptoms the addict was trying to suppress. The brain, which was sedated by the Xanax, begins to race, creating even more anxiety. This coupled with the anxiety produced by Xanax withdrawal can be extremely intense and difficult to cope with. It is well documented that the brain can actually go into seizure as it transitions from a period of medicated calm to one of hyperactivity, when the abuse Xanax is discontinued.