Handling Anxiety without Xanax – Getting off of Xanax

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People turn to the abuse of various harmful substances for a number of different reasons. For some, it’s due to using alcohol and drugs to socialize, which is why alcohol is often called a social lubricant. Similarly, many individuals will begin abusing a substance if their peers have been experimenting with the recreational use of alcohol or drugs. There have also been studies that showed many addicts were exposed to substance abuse at impressionable ages, likely due to their having loved ones who were dependent on dangerous substances.

It’s also not uncommon for individuals to merely be curious about alcohol or drugs and take it upon themselves to begin experimenting on their own volition. However, one of the most common reasons why a person begins using chemical substances regularly is as a form of self-medication for physical or psychological distress.

The word “medication” implies a substance that’s being used to alleviate an individual’s symptoms of a physical, mental, or emotional nature. Due to the countless number of diverse symptoms a person could potentially experience, it follows that there would similarly be many medications available to treat them. Alcohol and street drugs are used when individuals take it upon themselves to self-medicate for some form of distress. However, people can also become physically and even psychologically dependent on substances they receive via legitimate prescriptions from their primary care physicians.

One example of an addictive pharmaceutical is Xanax, which is familiar to most as a medication used to alleviate anxiety. For individuals who suffer from addiction or have become addicted to Xanax, the continued use of Xanax to treat one’s anxiety will surely be strongly discouraged or even prohibited. Therefore, the following will explain how individuals can handle anxiety without using Xanax in addition to giving a more comprehensive description of the drug and the process involved with overcoming Xanax dependency.

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What is Xanax & What Does Xanax Treat?

When it comes to pharmaceuticals, the purpose of each medication is to target very specific symptoms while having minimal to no effect, adverse or otherwise, on other areas of the both. In practice, it’s very rare for a medication to affect only one area or system of the body; when a medication has some level of effect that’s not intended or desired, they’re called side effects. Determining whether an individual should use a medication involves weighing the benefits and the side effects. This is important to know as Xanax is one of a group of medications called benzodiazepines, which are medications that tend to have very specific side effects, especially when taken in excess.

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Benzodiazepines are a class of psychoactive drugs that evoke a relaxing or tranquilizing effect on the body. Similar to depressants, benzodiazepines alter the levels and functioning of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, amplifying ones that cause stress and relaxation while inhibiting those that cause stress and anxiety. Benzodiazepines like Xanax are typically used to treat conditions that involve chronic anxiety as well as insomnia, panic attack, epileptic seizures, and severe alcohol withdrawal.

Due to their intensity and the short amount of time required for it to take effect, Xanax is a benzodiazepine that’s regarded as highly effective when used sparsely for a short period of time but becomes quite dangerous when used too much over an extended period of time. In short, habitual abuse of Xanax and its effects on the brain’s chemistry cause the brain to adapt to its effects, which can mean either amplifying certain functions while ceasing others. This has major implications for one’s mental and physical well-being and can lead to physical dependency.

How to Overcome Xanax Dependency

With continuous abuse of Xanax, an individual begins to suffer from the effects of Xanax dependency. Since the drug is psychoactive, it provides very specific effects to one’s psychology. In particular, individuals will come to rely on Xanax in order to not feel anxiety in stress; without Xanax, individuals will be unable to maintain the levels of neurochemicals that will prevent them from being anxious, which has an effect of amplifying their anxiety to an alarming degree. As such, individuals who have become dependent on Xanax will require detox treatment as an essential precursor to receiving recovery treatments.

This is an initial period during which the individual is cleansed of Xanax and other toxins while the body stabilizes itself, returning to its natural state and restoring much of its natural functioning. During Xanax detox treatment, individuals are monitored to ensure their safety since detoxing from benzodiazepines can be extremely dangerous in certain instances. Due to the intense effect benzodiazepines like Xanax have on the brain, abruptly ceasing one’s Xanax use can be nearly as dangerous as severe alcohol withdrawal, which is why Xanax detoxification much occur while under supervision and receiving professional medical care.

Overcoming Anxiety Without Xanax

The purpose of taking Xanax is because of the relief it offers those who experience higher-than-average levels of anxiety. For such individuals, Xanax helps them to return to a more manageable stress level. Unfortunately, being an individual in recovery from addiction, whether to Xanax or any other substance, typically means that he or she is unable to use any mind-altering substances like Xanax. Although there are surely exceptions in instances when an individual is virtually unable to maintain a certain quality of life without the aid of drugs, recovering addicts will have to learn ways to manage their anxiety without the use of Xanax and other medications. In fact, overcoming stress without resorting to substance abuse is a very important component of most evidence-based treatment programs.

Individuals learn a variety of techniques that help them achieve a state of calm and relaxation, such as meditation and finding ways to distract themselves from whatever it is that’s causing them stress. Taking walks or a bubble bath, finding opportunities to volunteer, reading, and pursuing one’s hobbies and interests are often suggested as ways of coping with stress without medication. Exercise has also proven to be effective for managing stress and anxiety as it causes a release of endorphins and natural opiates in the brain, causing feelings of happiness and fulfillment.

It’s also important for individuals to have a well-balanced diet, ensuring that one is receiving all the necessary nutrients and vitamins. In particular, magnesium has been found to be lacking in individuals who experience more-than-average anxiety as the body uses or depletes its magnesium during times of high stress and anxiety.

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The Palm Beach Institute Can Help You Find Freedom from Addiction

Recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction is a journey with many different, interconnecting parts, much like the cogs of a clock. Each component is important in fortifying the overall goal, which is to achieve long-lasting sobriety. If you or someone you know would like a free consultation or assessment, the Palm Beach Institute is here to help. Call us at 855-960-5456 or contact us online to speak with one of our experienced and caring recovery specialists. A better life and healthier you is just a phone call away, so don’t wait any longer to begin the healing journey.

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Staff Writer

The Palm Beach Institute employs a diverse staff of writers that share a common passion for helping those who are struggling with substance abuse find the care they need. With years of experience in the substance abuse treatment industry and decades of experience in writing and research, our team of writers constantly strive to present accurate and helpful information that is easily digestible and encourages people to seek help.

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  • i am on 8-10mgs of xanax a day for panic attacks and agoraphobia, but i want off of them. i tried to taper and had awful withdraws.

  • Amanda, taper more slowly. Work with your physician to establish a comfortable taper plan. I stick to the “the only change is down” philosophy – it’s OK to stay on a dose for a while, but the only change in your dosage should be reduction and it should be a reduction that isn’t terribly uncomfortable. Remember every time you reduce your dose your body has to compensate – it’s forgotten how to do it’s job because the drugs have been doing all the work. As you reduce your meds, your body slowly “remembers” how to calm itself down. This process might last a couple of weeks after the last of the meds are out of you – plan on taking a couple weeks off.


  • I have been on low dosages of xanax for 25 years. .50 to.25 which I am on now. The doctor wants me to get off and I am down to .25 once a day but am not sleeping. How long does this last? When should I just jump off? I am 67 and this is not fun. Advise please.

    1. Xanax is one of the most dangerous drugs to detox from, and it should not be stopped if you are not under medical supervision. A Medical Detox is suggested.

  • I been on Xanax for 20 years 2 mgs a day I tried to tapper didn’t work I won’t off of them is medical detox easier

  • I have been 9 years and tried cold turkey because my doctors an idiot and I was in ER just this week-I never had anxiety but I DO NOW! I want to sue him!

  • I kicked xanax recently, there was constant whispering in my ears, visual hallucinations, I was convinced someone was on the roof of my house and black cats running all over my house (I have no cats). There was absolutely no sleep for a couple weeks, this in itself was enough to make me use again. It was horrible

    I’ve kicked opiates so many times I can’t count. I find ibogaine the most useful for that, but it doesn’t work for benzos.

  • I’ve been taking at least 10 Xanax a day for a little over a month can anyone give me input on how I can stop or how bad my withdrawals will be

    1. John,

      Please check the email you provided when leaving this comment or give us a call at 1-855-960-5456 for assistance.

  • I have been taking zanax for 13 years now. I have had 4 seizures in my life because of trying to stop cold turkey. I have been clean for a month now and it’s very hard. I think I might need zanax prescribed.

    1. Aaliyah,

      You already have a month clean, keep going. Don’t let your addiction win. Tell yourself that you don’t need it and believe it. If you find yourself relapsing, give us a call and we can help you! 1-855-960-5456

  • I’m a very heavy user up to 32 1mgs a day. I’m scared to start the detox. I think the first comment will be best for me. Just take 3-4 a day on all of pills them start a v very slow taper. Jeeze its going to take forev forver! Please any suggestions out there. Ik afraid of hallucinating. I’m 57 yo and been on and drugs most my life

    1. Sarah,

      Please check the email you provided when leaving this comment, or give us a call at 1-855-960-5456 – we’d like to assist you!

    1. Gip,

      Please check the email you provided when leaving this comment so that we can talk to you privately, or give us a call at 1-855-960-5456.

  • I have AFIB xanax helps, I have wet macular degeneration and need shots in the eye, I am an entertainer with stage fright and I am 76 years old. Xanax helps me, do I really have to get off of them? I will try GABA with B-6 ( at my age so what if its habit forming?)

  • I have been on xanax for 6 years 1m 3 times a day im entering rehab tommorrow. Im going to do outpatient because i work. I got into some legal stuff and my kids are with thier aunt i was prescribed xanax by my doctor im doing this on my own because i dont want to be addicted to this hell pill but im going to classes to get my kids back im just wondering is this going to look bad to dss even though drugs had nothing to do with the legal stuff-i just want to not be addicted anymore the withdrawls are hell

  • I have been taking Xanax for about 5 weeks. Usually I take half of a .25 daily, sometimes I take a total of one .25 a day. It was for anxiety pre-surgery, and a bit after the surgery. Do I need to cut down over a short period of time? I have been in this position 2 times before and 2 doctors that I talked to about it said just stop, you don’t take enough of it to worry about it. Any thoughts?

  • I need help please I had some health issues which caused me to worry and develop anxiety. My Dr. Put me in Xanax 1mg 3x daily I don’t take them 3x daily but I do take 2 mg and once in the morning and once at night. I have recently found my self taking Another .5 or .75 additional for the past 3 days. Please help I want off this drug but I don’t know what to do.

    1. Marilyn,

      Could you please give us a call at 1-855-960-5456? One of our admission reps can talk with you and discuss your options.

  • I’ve been on Xanax, 6mg per day, 2mg 3 times a day for almost 4years if not longer, now my doctor wants to take me off of them, I’m not looking for a workaround to make him change is mind, but maybe another drug that will help me step off of my xanax, I’ll still get atleast 4mg per day for the next 3 months from seeing him next due to him being afriend of a lawsuit of oversubribing me, I just want to be normal and not deal with withdrawels really, the xanax works for me, Klonopin, Lexapro…none worked…they finally got me to xanax Years ago and it worked, now they say they are getting in trouble for allowing me so much, so whats my lesser evil here? and no Im not going to go through detox, I’ve been working fine under my current prescription, now he wants to change it
    So, what would you suggest for anxiety/panicattacks/ and depression, which xanax has been working for me for?

  • I started taking Xanax on June 28 due to anxiety attacks after my mother’s death. I have never had them before. The hardest part is the shortness of breath. I’ve been taking 1 mg in the morning and 1 mg at night but would like to stop. Since it’s been such a short time, is it safe to just stop taking them and try to deal with any anxiety differently? Would melatonin help me sleep at night as that is the worst time if I’m going to get anxious? I don’t take any other medications

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