Alprazolam, known commercially as Xanax, is a drug from the Central Nervous System
(CNS) Depressants class of substances. Used to treat various psychiatric disorders and sleep disorders, it’s a very addictive substance that is intended for short-term use.
What is Xanax?
Xanax is part of the benzodiazepine class of medications — being one of the most prescribed psychiatric medications in the U.S. Like other benzodiazepines, it’s primarily used to treat anxiety disorders and insomnia since it’s a depressant that causes a swift sedating effect.
Some of the side effects from Xanax use include deep relaxation, slurred speech, loss of coordination, disorientation, and decreased heart rate and blood pressure, and can last for 3–4 hours.
What is Xanax withdrawal like?
As with other addictive substances, Xanax withdrawal can be a difficult and unpleasant experience. Around 40 percent of patients will suffer severe symptoms, with 60 percent suffering milder symptoms. These can include:
- panic attacks
- hand tremors
- unintentional movements
- muscle spasms
- heart palpitations
- nausea or vomiting
- muscle pain
- unintentional weight loss
In addition to these symptoms, there’s the risk of developing post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). PAWS is a condition that can cause mood and behavior changes for weeks or months after completing the detox program. The signs of PAWS are:
- irritable mood
- cravings for drugs
- difficulties with memory
- difficulty learning new information
- difficulty interacting with others
- high sensitivity to stress
- obsessive-compulsive behaviors
- loss of interest in surroundings
While Xanax withdrawal can seem daunting, there are experts that can help guide you or your loved one through the process, navigating the symptoms and providing support and care during and after the detox period.