Xanax is a trade name for generic drug called Alprazolam. It is manufactured by Pfizer, Inc. It is a potent prescription drug used for treating anxiety, depression and panic disorders. Xanax (Alprazolam) belongs to the group of drugs called benzodiazepines. Other drugs belonging to benzodiazepine group include diazepam, clonazepam, lorazepam, nitrazepam, and oxazepam.
Benzodiazepine group of drugs including Xanax when consumed, reduces anxiety, induces sleep, relaxes muscles and stops seizures. Xanax reduces anxiety and panic disorder by increasing the secretion of brain chemical called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). GABA has natural calming and soothing effect on the excited and anxious mind. GABA can slow down the nerve signals in the brain. It is for this reason, Xanax and other benzodiazepine drugs are also called tranquilizer or sedatives.
The medicine is available in tablet form. It has to be taken orally as per the prescribed dosage by the doctor. After taking Xanax, patient has a feel good sensation, there is a chance of this drug getting abused, for this reason it is placed under schedule 4 medications.
Withdrawal Symptoms From Xanax
Xanax is known to have very good effect in treating anxiety and panic disorders, but its prolonged use can produce physical and psychological dependence. Besides, abrupt cessation of Xanax can give rise to unwanted and disturbing withdrawal symptoms. Below is given the list of Xanax withdrawal symptoms.
The action of Xanax in the body is quick. It has relatively short half life. This means after ceasing the drug, the withdrawal symptoms are experienced within a day and may last for 3 to 4 days. Some of the symptoms of Xanax withdrawal may linger for months.
- Panic attacks.
- Depression and anxiety.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Memory impairment.
- Irritability and restlessness.
- Mental confusion.
Most of the symptoms of Xanax withdrawal are unpleasant and psychological. But, though rare, convulsion is the serious withdrawal symptom observed in patients who abruptly stop this medicine. Since Xanax is indicated in mental disorders, sudden withdrawal of this drug may worsen the mental disorder.
Alprazolam Withdrawal Time Course
Tapering the dose of Xanax, instead of sudden cessation of the drug is the best way to avoid unpleasant Xanax withdrawal symptoms. Gradual reduction of Xanax dosage is monitored by the health care provider. It may takes some time, in some cases months or one year for resolving xanax withdrawal symptoms, however it is far safer than experiencing unwanted withdrawal with abrupt stoppage of the drug.
The pace of withdrawal time will depend on how long you are taking the medicines. It will also depend on the dose. If you are depending on the drug since long, the tapering of dose may be slow. The advantage of tapering slowly allows the brain to adjust GABA production. Slowly and surely the brain starts to compensate the tapering dose and fill up the gap with increasing secretion of GABA. Many physicians prefer to taper the dosage by 0.25 mg every two weeks. In this way the brain adjusts to the lower dose without causing any drastic withdrawal.
Xanax Withdrawal Remedies
There are certain natural herbs that can provide relief from Xanax withdrawal symptoms. However, before taking any herbs, you should consult your doctor. Herbal remedies may act at several levels in the body.
Some herbs may act on the nerves. Herbs also have carminative action on stomach and digestion and may help in relieving nausea and vomiting. Certain herbs may prevent loss of memory resulting from withdrawal of Xanax.
- The herb passiflora incranata is effective in treating insomnia and nervousness. This action is because Passiflora contains maltol and ethylmaltol, they both act upon the nervous system.
- Chamomile is another herb that relieves irritability at mental and physical level caused due to Xanax withdrawal. It relieves cramps, diarrhea, vomiting resulting from anxiety and tension.
- Bacopa, popularly known as Brahmi in India can treat memory loss and anxiety caused as a withdrawal effect of Xanax.