Discontinuing Xanax: What to Consider
It is true that discontinuing using benzodiazepines comes with experiencing withdrawal symptoms for many people. Some of them include: insomnia, nausea, muscle spasms, migraine, memory loss, fever, depression, panic, anxiety, etc. If you want to discontinue anti-anxiety drug, you should consider the circumstances under which you will do that. This means that your dosage and how long you have been taking the drug matters when you are coming off Xanax.
With benzodiazepine drugs you unavoidably build tolerance to them and many people develop dependence. Your usual dose can become less effective and it has to be increased to see desired results. Many patients notice that over the time their treatment stop helping them, that’s why they have to continually increase the dosage. Here there are factors that influence the severity of withdrawal symptoms when discontinuing Xanax:
Length of Treatment
Never stop taking your drug “cold turkey”! It can result in a very unpleasant experience that can even be dangerous for your health. Hallucinations and depression as well as other serious problems can appear. Remember to stop Xanax by gradually taking it less and less over time. You may need to do it very slowly so probably it will take a long time, especially if the dosage has been continuously increased and have become high. If you have been taking the drug for a relatively long period of time, your body has become used to it. Length of treatment directly affects your tolerance to the medication and withdrawal. That’s why some symptoms such as panic and anxiety can be very heavy. In practice, discontinuing Xanax in a safe manner can take around 1 year or even more.
This may sound scary, but also keep in mind that you will definitely need to stop taking the drug someday because you can’t take it forever so it’s better to be prepared.
High doses can make withdrawal symptoms stronger. Usually patients have migraines, mood changes and seizures.
Frequency of Dosing
Some doctors say that dosage frequency can also affect the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. The more often a patient takes pill, the more symptoms he can potentially have. However, there has been no clinical testing to prove this hypothesis.
How to Discontinue Xanax Treatment
All benzodiazepine drugs must be taken for a limited time period only; they are not intended for long-term use. This means that discontinuing the treatment is inevitable. But of course you can do it right and it won’t necessary be a terrible experience for you. Just follow these two simple advices.
- Before completely stopping using Xanax you need gradually reduce your dosage. You can reduce it every three days at a rate of 0,5mg but make sure not to exceed the amount reduced – this is not recommended. Consult your doctor about how you should reduce your dosage in your particular case.
- Use other medications to prevent withdrawal or make it less intense. One way to do it is to take an equivalent amount up to 2 mg of Klonopin (or other drugs, such as Tegretol) for every mg of Xanax.