Xanax is a powerful sedative, used to treat anxiety and insomnia, but is currently unavailable via NHS prescription. This is largely due to its high abuse risk and the dangers that come with Xanax addiction.
The body can quickly become dependent on Xanax, changing its chemistry so much that it will react adversely towards its sudden absence. Withdrawal symptoms can include paranoia and insomnia, and they can even kill if not handled correctly.
As a result, it is best for an individual to seek rehab treatment if they want to detox.
Rehab can take many forms, and it often includes a gradual withdrawal of the substance alongside a combination of medicinal treatments and therapies.
The structure and duration of an individual’s treatment will depend on the circumstances of their addiction and their rehab progress.
What is Xanax?
Xanax, the trade name for Alprazolam, is a sedative drug, commonly used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and panic attacks.
Part of the Benzodiazepine category of drug treatments, it has the effect of calming the body’s muscles and relaxing an individual’s mind, making it very effective for treating the conditions mentioned above.
Despite this use, Xanax is not available for prescription within the NHS. The drug is widely considered to have a very high abuse risk , and there has been contention regarding the fact that those who use it are susceptible to becoming addicted to it.
Why would you need rehab?
In a similar way to alcohol, Xanax can have a huge impact on the brain after frequent and sustained use. It can change the brain’s chemistry and force it to become dependent on Xanax in order to function .
This is known as a physical dependency, and the tolerance an individual develops can quickly lead to higher and higher doses being consumed.
Addiction to Xanax can have negative effects on an individual. They can become obsessive about consuming Xanax, drive under the influence of the substance, or see a breakdown in their close relationships as their addiction becomes all that they care about.
Rehab, therefore, provides addicted individuals with the opportunity to rid themselves of their addiction in a safe and monitored way. Trying to quit without medical assistance can be very dangerous.
Xanax Withdrawal symptoms
When an individual suddenly stops their use of Xanax, their body goes into shock. After becoming dependent on the substance in order to function, it cannot cope with the sudden imbalance in its chemistry, and so reacts adversely.
This response manifests in the form of withdrawal symptoms, which can last for a few weeks or even up to 12 months . These symptoms include:
- Decline in mood
- Aches and pains
- High blood pressure
In some circumstances, fatal symptoms could also occur. An individual may experience seizures or cardiac arrest, so it is vital than an individual wanting to detox themselves from Xanax does so within a proper rehab environment.
What does Xanax rehab involve?
In rehab, an individual’s chances of successfully detoxing from Xanax are greatly improved. While the process can take place in an individual’s home, the best results often occur within a confined environment where medical professionals can monitor progress.
While the exact structure of an individual’s rehab will depend upon the specific circumstances of their addiction – taking into consideration factors like the severity of their addiction and their history of substance abuse – the process can involve several of the following things.
1. Tapering down
The process of successfully detoxing usually involves the substance being slowly withdrawn. This is commonly referred to as ’tapering down’.
When an individual tries to detox by themselves, they tend to suddenly stop using Xanax altogether, otherwise known as going ‘cold turkey’. This method results in extreme withdrawal symptoms, which are not only dangerous but often times result in a relapse.
Within rehab, this is avoided by gradual removal of Xanax from the body’s system. An individual takes less and less of the substance over time, allowing the body to slowly adjust to it being removed from its system
Withdrawal symptoms will still occur, but the body’s reaction will be far less sudden and aggressive when its dependence on Xanax is not completely undermined in one go.
2. Medicinal substitutes
For the addicted individual, the biggest obstacle to quitting their addiction is withdrawal symptoms.
The discomfort and pain these symptoms cause often encourages them to continue using for the sake of sparing themselves from the trauma and therefore diminishes their progress.
Rehab offers an individual a way around this problem by providing medicinal substitutes to help them cope with the impact of withdrawal symptoms.
Drugs such as Diazepam or Chlordiazepoxide can be used to take the place of Xanax, keeping the body stable while protecting an individual from its negative effects. This substitute can then be gradually withdrawn.
The stability offered by this method not only protects an individual from their bodily reactions to rehab, but it can also grant them a greater capacity to engage in other recovery activities.
When an individual conducts self-detox, they may be able to cleanse their body of its dependence on Xanax, but they will not have treated the other important aspect of addiction – their behaviour.
Addiction often draws upon repetitive thoughts processes and behaviours to be sustained, and a huge part of detox is learning to recognise these negative ways of working and looking to change them.
In rehab, this can be directly helped through the use of therapies. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), for example, looks to help an individual identify what thoughts and feelings tend to lead them to abuse Xanax. These are then discussed, and healthier ways of responding are designed and practised.
Therapies like CBT are helpful for providing an individual with the skills to continue battling against their addiction once rehab is over.
How long does rehab last?
The length of an individual’s rehab will depend on the nature of their addiction and rehab progress. Factors that might be taken into consideration include:
- How well they are taking to detox
- What progress they have made with relevant therapies
- Whether any pre-existing physical or mental health conditions flare up during detox
- Whether they are abusing any other substances at the same time
Rehab can be carried out in blocks of 30, 60, or 90 days. Which duration is selected will be dependent on the required treatment for each individual case.