The Dangers of Drug and Alcohol Detox

Health & FitnessMedicine

  • Author Chris Giesen
  • Published February 18, 2024
  • Word count 778

Author note: This subject hits close to home for me. As a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, Xanax withdrawal is one of my worst memories. The anxiety alone was on a level I had never experienced. Then came the skin crawling. Then seemingly never ending insomnia. The timeline of Xanax withdrawal (the more acute symptoms) usually last around 10 days but it felt like 10 years. Other benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms I experienced were: extreme restless leg syndrome, fever and chills, continuous sweating, pounding heart, etc. The worst came during one particularly brutal Xanax and Klonopin withdrawal. I woke up in the hospital and was informed I had a grand mal seizure caused by Xanax withdrawal. I had no memory of the past 6 hours or so. My body felt as if I had been in a car wreck. After that first Xanax withdrawal seizure, it was like the floodgates had opened. I began having grand mal seizures (the recent medical nomenclature for these are “clonic tonic” seizures) every time I stopped using Xanax. At one point a ER doctor informed me my next seizure would likely be my last. He said it’s a miracle I hadn’t died from Xanax withdrawal but my luck would come to end soon.

Xanax withdrawal can kill you reddit

Xanax withdrawal can be lethal

Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be a complex and challenging process, which should be managed under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional. The duration and severity of withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on several factors, including the specific benzodiazepine used (examples being Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, etc.),duration of use, dosage, and individual factors such as overall health and metabolism. However, below is a general day-by-day breakdown of what to expect during benzodiazepine withdrawal.

Days 1-3: During the initial days of benzodiazepine withdrawal, you may experience rebound symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, irritability, and increased heart rate. These symptoms can be quite intense, and it is essential to have medical support to manage them effectively. The first seven days of Xanax withdrawal pose the highest risk for benzodiazepine related seizures.

Days 4-7: The severity of withdrawal symptoms typically peaks during this period. Symptoms may include increased severe anxiety, depression, mood swings, cravings for the drug, muscle tension, and gastrointestinal disturbances. Insomnia and difficulty concentrating may persist, making it challenging to carry out daily activities. These first seven days of benzo withdrawal have the highest risk of potentially fatal seizures.

Week 2: By the second week, many physical symptoms may start to improve. However, psychological symptoms such as mood swings, anxiety, and depression may still persist. Sleep disturbances and fatigue will likely continue to be a challenge.

Weeks 3-4: During this period, physical symptoms generally subside, but psychological symptoms often will still be present. Symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and mood swings may gradually improve, although some individuals may experience protracted withdrawal symptoms that can last for months or even longer. Depending on the length and severity of an individual’s Xanax abuse, normal mental cognition may be slow to return.

Beyond week 4: Protracted withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, depression, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, and cravings, may persist for an extended period in some individuals. It's important to note that everyone's experience with benzodiazepine withdrawal is unique, and the duration and severity of symptoms can vary significantly.

Xanax withdrawal

Xanax withdrawal

Throughout the entire withdrawal process, it is crucial to have professional medical support. Medically supervised Xanax detox is recommended for the first ten days to minimize risks. Abruptly stopping benzodiazepines can be dangerous and sometimes lethal. A tapering schedule is typically recommended to gradually reduce the benzo dosage and minimize withdrawal symptoms. Your healthcare provider can develop a personalized plan tailored to your specific needs, monitor your progress, and provide appropriate support and guidance.

As with many articles posted on the Beehive Recovery Blog, we want to mention the prevalence of counterfeit pressed pills containing fentanyl. Xanax bars bought on the street have become more and more likely to contain fentanyl. Xanax addiction and the fear of withdrawal will often cause people to turn to buying Xanax or other benzodiazepines illegally. In 2021 the US Drug Enforcement Agency reported that 4 out of 10 counterfeit pills they seized contained a potentially lethal amount of fentanyl. In 2022 that number jumped to 6 out of 10 pills. Please be careful out there. Too many good people are dying far too young before they even have the chance to get sober.

Remember, this breakdown serves as a general guide, and it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide personalized advice and support throughout the benzodiazepine withdrawal process. Be safe, don’t do this alone, it can be fatal.

The author has worked in the addiction recovery field for five years. He fought his own battle with addiction and dedicated his life to helping others fight their battle. He works with Tennessee Detox Center to do just that.

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