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3 Xanax Addiction Treatment Options You Should Know

By Kristen Gasnick
Quitting an addiction to Xanax can be challenging due to unpleasant withdrawal side effects. Find out how different Xanax addiction treatments can help.

Xanax, or alprazolam, is a common benzodiazepine medication used to treat anxiety. Because of its specific characteristics, Xanax can become very addictive. While your Xanax addiction treatment should be tailored to your medical specifics, there are some recognized methods that your doctor may recommend for you. Read on to find out more about three key options for Xanax detox. 

Use of Other Medications

According to a 2018 article published by the Journal of Addiction Medicine, Xanax is a benzodiazepine that is rapidly absorbed by the body. While its effects start quickly, they also wear off quickly. Because of this, Xanax can cause severe withdrawal symptoms when you stop using it, even if you've only used it for a short period of time. This can cause drug dependency and lead to addiction. 

Other medications can be used to help ease symptoms of Xanax withdrawal. “Many patients suffer from something called PAWS (post acute withdrawal syndrome) that leaves them feeling anxiouscreating sleep problems and altering their cognitive function for months after full detox,” Adi Jaffe, PhD, author of The Abstinence Myth and founder of IGNTD, a virtual addiction recovery program, tells WebMD Connect to Care. 

“Medications like gabapentin and other similar lower-level neuro-depressants can sometimes be used during this process," Jaffe explains.

Medication Tapering

Another treatment option for Xanax addiction is tapering your Xanax dose. Tapering means gradually reducing dosage over time—in contrast to withdrawing from drug use entirely and all at once, also known as quitting “cold turkey”. 

“The long-action of a medication like Xanax (alprazolam) creates tolerance that is very difficult to overcome and can take months of careful titration to fully eliminate,” Jaffe says. With titration tapering, your doctor will dilute the medication to stretch out the tapering process and decrease your dosage by very small degrees over time. 

Tapering the medication gradually can help decrease unpleasant withdrawal symptoms and ease the process of ending Xanax abuse.

Therapy and Support Groups

Overcoming Xanax addiction can be challenging when proceeding through it alone. Having support from a therapist or others going through similar challenges can help make the process of eliminating the drug from your life smoother and easier. 

“Therapy support and potentially even peer-group support can be important to help prevent relapse to the medication and the potential transfer of the dependency to other depressants like alcohol,” Jaffe says.

Don’t Wait. Get Help Now.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, WebMD Connect to Care Advisors are standing by to help.