Xanax is the kind of drug that is hard to quit. An individual who has only started taking it very recently will be able to quit cold turkey. However, Xanax has a very short dependence time. It takes only 1-2 weeks of regular use to form a physical dependence on the drug.
Stopping Xanax Intake
The best way to stop taking Xanax is by tapering off the dose over weeks or months. Consulting a medical professional is advisable, as a doctor can determine a suitable dosing schedule. This is the safest way to quit taking the drug.
Going to a clinical detox center is an option to consider when one wants to stop taking Xanax. As an outpatient the individual would be evaluated for withdrawal symptoms daily for the first week, and then as required. Here are some general tapering guidelines:
- A tapering schedule depends on whether there are any co-morbid medical or psychiatric conditions present;
- If the individual is hospitalized, Xanax can be tapered by 10% daily;
- If the individual is an outpatient, Xanax should be tapered only by 10% every 3-5 days.
While the safest way to stop taking Xanax is to consult a doctor, there are no known safe and effective medical treatments which can help ease the withdrawal symptoms currently.
Side Effects of Stopping Xanax
As mentioned previously, it is not easy to quit Xanax cold turkey, especially if one has been using it for more than a few weeks. Xanax falls into the benzodiazepine class of drugs which can cause strong withdrawal symptoms.
Over an extended period of time, the body, brain and central nervous system adapt to the depressant effects of the drug. Once the individual stops taking the drug, the body needs time to adjust and function without it. This is called withdrawal, and its effects usually manifest approximately 18 hours to 3 days after the last dose. Some common withdrawal symptoms are:
- Panic attacks
- Increased blood pressure
- Heightened pulse rate
It is obvious that stopping taking Xanax suddenly is risky. If Xanax withdrawal is left untreated, it can trigger hallucinations, agitation, seizures, changes in consciousness or even death. This is why tapering the dosage is the safest and best way to quit taking the drug, and why it is the course of action recommended by doctors. Tapering the dose helps the individual who wants to quit Xanax avoid distressing and potentially dangerous effects that come from withdrawal.
Are you battling with substance abuse and want to kick the habit? Hired Power can provide you with the right information and resources for recovery. Call us on 1-800-910-9299