Is there any way to help Xanax withdrawal symptoms? Yes, of course there is. But, not on your own. Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam, a benzodiazepine tranquilizer belonging to the large Valium family that includes triazolam, oxazepam, lorazepam, flurazepam, clonazepam and clorazepate. Benzodiazepines were created in the late 1950s and introduced shortly thereafter with the first non-barbiturate benzodiazepine tranquilizer called Librium. Diazepam or Valium was next, debuting in the early 1960s. These new drugs were hailed as a miracle, even more effective and specific than the dangerous barbiturates used before them. No one realized then just how addictive they could be, but it didn’t take long for the medical and pharmaceutical community to understand the dangers.
The First Benzodiazepines
By 1966, there was little doubt. The Rolling Stones even sang about diazepam in their euphemistic song, “Mother’s Little Helper.” “Doctor, please… some more of these! And though she’s not really ill, there’s this little yellow pill…” Valium’s 5 milligram dose is supplied as a small yellow pill.
However, the medical community wasn’t singing. They were concerned about addiction, but Valium was widely prescribed anyway. From 1968 to 1982, Valium held the number one spot for the most profits of any prescription drug on the market! Manufacturer Hoffman LaRoche lost these immense profits to generics when its patent expired in 1985.
Benzodiazepines are prescribed mainly for anxiety, certain psychiatric problems, muscle spasms and back pain from those spasms and seizures. Only Xanax is approved for the additional purpose of treating and preventing panic attacks. Xanax hit the American market running in 1981. It was faster-acting than diazepam and had a far shorter half-life. This means it’s metabolized by the body faster and has a lower risk of lingering effects like grogginess and daytime drowsiness left over from a diazepam dose the day before. It appeared to be highly effective for panic attack syndrome.
Among the benzodiazepines, Xanax produces more of a buzz than the others in some individuals. It can give feelings of well-being and even euphoria. Some people like the gentle calming effect. It’s effective for insomnia, but other longer-acting benzos like triazolam are a better choice. Xanax definitely has important medical uses, but it’s also widely abused. It’s sold on the streets under names like barz, ladders and footballs. These terms refer to the bar and football shape of the 1 and 2 milligram tablets. The 2 milligram tablets come in a long bar shape with scored markings making the tablet somewhat resemble a ladder.
Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal from Xanax and all benzos is dangerous and can be life-threatening. Withdrawal from these drugs poses a special danger of serious grand-mal seizures. These seizures can cause unconsciousness. If you vomit stomach contents while unconscious, you can aspirate or suck those contents into your lungs, which can be fatal. You could also hit your head or other body part as you fall, incurring a fatal injury that way. Benzo withdrawal is never safe to do at home without medical supervision. Don’t ever try it. Unlike opioid withdrawal, benzo withdrawal can kill. In fact, Xanax withdrawal can be far more dangerous than overdose.
In addition to seizures, symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Muscle pain
- Blurry vision
- Muscle tremors
- Heart palpitations
- Light and sound sensitivity
It’s pretty bad and very risky. If you’ve become addicted to Xanax or any other benzo, the only safe way out is with medical help. Detox units are accustomed to dealing with this type of drug withdrawal syndrome. A professional drug treatment staff member will evaluate your level of addiction and create a safe withdrawal plan just for you. This can often be done at home.
The only safe way to withdraw from Xanax is very slowly. Xanax itself won’t be used because it’s too short-acting. The treatment plan involves stabilizing benzodiazepine blood levels as much as possible and then slowly reducing them over time. This is why a long-acting benzo is chosen. Usually, this will be diazepam or Valium. It has an approximate half-life of a whopping 48 hours. This means it takes your body two full days just to break down one-half of a Valium dose. It’s entirely possible for a single dose of Valium to still be detectable on a urine drug screen some two weeks later! It’s this steady effect that protects you from a serious seizure reaction.
Do you Need Help?
We understand the dangers of benzodiazepine withdrawal. Our professional drug counselors will take your call and refer you to a detox facility where you can get expert treatment. We want you to be safe. Just call us anytime at 833-820-2922 for the hope and help you need during this time.