Safe and Effective Xanax Detox

Xanax is a short-acting benzodiazepine drug prescribed to treat anxiety. Xanax is also generically sold as Alprazolam and works by enhancing the effects of the GABA chemical in the brain to create a calming reaction.

  1. Withdrawing from Xanax can involve a variety of unpleasant symptoms, including: 1
    • Anxiety
    • Difficulty sleeping
    • Irritability
    • Muscle soreness
    • Agitation
    • Restlessness
    • Difficulties with memory and concentration

Furthermore, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has cautioned that withdrawal from nervous system depressants such as Xanax can cause brain activity that results in seizures. 2 A drug detox program can help manage these potentially dangerous symptoms of Xanax withdrawal and allow for safe detox from this prescription drug.

The Importance of Medical Detox for Xanax Addiction

As addiction experts have reported, Xanax withdrawal can produce unwelcome and even hazardous side effects, making a medically supervised detox important. With a medical detox program, access to medical supervision is provided to ensure that withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures, do not become life-threatening. A medical team supervises detox in treatment settings and can administer medications and monitor symptoms.

In cases of significant dependence upon Xanax, an inpatient drug detox program is recommended. As the World Health Organization has reported, withdrawal symptoms associated with Xanax can fluctuate rapidly, and supervision may be needed as often as every three hours for symptoms. 1 This makes detox programs essential during the early stages of Xanax withdrawal.

How Xanax Detox Occurs

According to the World Health Organization, detox from benzodiazepines such as Xanax involves weaning off of the drug with decreasing doses, and Valium, another type of benzodiazepine drug, is useful for weaning.

Clients in detox for Xanax addiction begin with a stabilization period during which they take a dose of Valium three times per day, maintaining the initial dosage for anywhere from four days to a week. Those who experience significant withdrawal symptoms can also receive medications to relieve these symptoms, such as drugs to treat nausea, insomnia, or headaches.1

After stabilizing, the World Health Organization recommends a dose reduction schedule, decreasing the dose of Valium weekly or slightly less often.

This method of dose reduction lessens the severity of withdrawal symptoms and makes Xanax detox safer. In fact, a study in a 1984 edition of Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics found that giving gradually smaller doses of Valium was a safe and effective way to detox from benzodiazepines. 3

Drug Detox as a Necessary First Step

A medically-supervised drug detox program that involves gradual tapering of benzodiazepine doses can safely treat Xanax withdrawal, and such a program is a necessary first step in the recovery process from Xanax addiction.

As the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has advised, detox involves stabilization during the intoxication and withdrawal stages and helping with achieving a drug-free state.

Detox not only prevents life-threatening withdrawal symptoms but also provides symptom relief to provide the opportunity to move beyond detox and into a long-term treatment program.4

According to the World Health Organization, clients who complete detox should then transition to ongoing psychosocial treatment for addiction, as detox alone is not sufficient to promote lasting sobriety from benzodiazepines.1 A drug detox program is the beginning of recovery from Xanax addiction.