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Cold turkey Xanax

Xanax (alprazolam) has a depressant effect on the body which accounts for its calming effects on the central nerves system. This allows for people who experience extreme anxiety or who suffer panic attacks to experience relief. However, when people use Xanax for weeks at a time, they can expect to develop a dependence to Xanax and withdraw from Xanax upon cessation of use.

What happens when you abruptly stop taking Xanax? Should you ever stop taking Xanax cold turkey? And how do you treat Xanax addiction if addiction is present?  We review here and invite your questions about Xanax use, withdrawal from Xanax and helping Xanax addiction at the end.

Going cold turkey Xanax?

You may want to think again. In general, it’s best not to quit Xanax cold turkey. You can trigger withdrawal when you miss a dose or when you decide to stop taking Xanax. But, when you stop cold turkey the severity of symptoms increases depending on the level of built up dependency in the body. It’s for these reasons that it’s never recommended to decease Xanax dose by 50% at any given time. Here we look at what stopping Xanax cold turkey is like, what you can expect to experience, and what doctors recommended instead.

Cold turkey off Xanax

Why does going cold turkey off Xanax shock the system? When you stop Xanax cold turkey instead of a slow taper, you become vulnerable to the wide spectrum of alprazolam withdrawal symptoms and their severity. There is no way the body can regulate the sudden change to the chemicals in the central nervous system and the body goes into hyper drive trying to set your body back to its original setting. You can expect Xanax withdrawal to be uncomfortable and intense. But, it can be done if you hang in there and have the support necessary to help you.

Cold turkey Xanax withdrawal

When you stop Xanax, withdrawal symptoms manifest after the drug has worn off in your body. The onset of withdrawal symptoms should occurs 6-8 hours after the last dose has worn off maybe sooner if you have decided to suddenly stop taking Xanax . Because of the nature of Xanax withdrawal, withdrawal can take longer than withdrawal from opiate type medications. Withdrawal can fluctuate between severe and mild symptoms. At first, you feel like you have gone through the worst of it only to find acute symptoms returning. These kinds of “rebound symptoms” take longer to fully resolve. Withdrawal from Xanax usually peaks in intensity over the first 72 hours and should even out in about two weeks. Xanax withdrawal symptoms may include:

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  • convulsions
  • cramps
  • depression
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • high blood pressure
  • mania
  • mood swings
  • psychosis
  • restlessness
  • seizures
  • spasms
  • vomiting

Quitting Xanax cold turkey

Stopping Xanax cold turkey isn’t for everyone. In fact, cold turkey Xanax withdrawal can be an unncessarilygrueling process and it’s best to be in best optimal health. Other health concerns needs to be addressed and have a plan if you plan to stop Xanax cold turkey. Make sure that withdrawal won’t put your health in a compromising position. For those who are addicted and abusing Xanax, help may be necessary in order to make a cold turkey successful. Because Xanax works to treat anxiety, make sure that you have addressed other co-occurring mental health concerns. What makes withdrawal from Xanax difficult in the end is not the physical pain but the difficulty controlling mood swings.

Stopping Xanax cold turkey risks

When you stop taking Xanax cold turkey you increase the risk of negative withdrawal symptoms that can negatively impact your health. Not only can you experience extreme cold and flu-like symptoms, you will can also run the risk of going into a coma, seizures, and high blood pressure. These ricks can damage your body and land you in the hospital if you’re not careful.

Additionally, Xanax works on the chemistry in your brain that controls mood functioning. You may also experience rebound anxiety and with greater intensity. You can also become depressed and have suicidal thoughts which can further lead you to accidents of self-harm. When you stop Xanax cold turkey you also increase instances of relapse in order to control the severity of withdrawal.

Get off Xanax cold turkey

Instead of getting off Xanax cold turkey, it is recommended that you work with a doctor to slowly taper your dose of the Xanax and then continue to decreases it over time. This allows your body time to compensate for the decreasing amount of Xanax in the body. If tapering your doses is not an option the next recommendation would to seek out a detox or treatment facility. At these facilities, you will be supervised by professional medical help. Doctors, nurses, and clinicians can assist you in the withdrawal process and help with any complications as they arise. A medical Xanax detox also decreases the chances for relapse into Xanax use and keeps you safe if any psychological upset occur.

Can I quit Xanax cold turkey?

In general, it’s best not to quit Xanax cold turkey. You need to know that the process of xanax withdrawal is going to be uncomfortable and difficult. It will take time and support to withdraw successfully. Always talk to a doctor so you can find solution to help you to effectively quit Xanax.

More questions about xanax cold turkey

Do you still have questions about stopping Xanax cold turkey? Please provide your questions in the comments section below. We would also like to hear from people who have tried stopping Xanax cold turkey. Your experience is important to us and we try to respond to all comments personally and promptly.

Reference Sources:  DPHHS: Montana Chemical Dependency Center
Court of Appeals: Carol Corley
Daily Med: Alprazolam

Photo credit: National Library of Medicine

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22 Responses to “Cold turkey Xanax
robin
8:06 pm October 25th, 2013

I know I need to stop xanax Ive been on it for 10 years. Usually taking 1 mg 3xs a day. I was working with a doctor. Im not sure if he (well his PA) will want to anymore. Her first cut was doable. It was 75 of the 1 mg. The next appt was awful. She cut me to 60 of the .50 More than a 50 percent cut. Now Im almost out. I told her it was too much of a decrease she had an oh well attitude. What can I say to her to make her understand I want off this but have been on this too long to do such a severe taper. I see her on Monday about this but dont see getting her to understand. The one time I went off for a day my bp shot up to 160/103 and breathing was hard. I cant afford a treatment place right now and cant lose the job it took me months to find. Any help would be appreciated.

5:02 pm October 26th, 2013

Hello Robin. I’d suggest that you do a search for tapering doses for Xanax site:.gov or site:.edu. Find some studies and reference guides and bring them with you to your doctor’s appointment.

A
9:26 am October 27th, 2014

If I quit taking my xanax cold turkey, and have a seizure, how long between when I stop the med and when I seize? I also take klonopin, cymbalta and gabapentin-same question.

9:29 pm November 1st, 2014

Hello A. There is no timeline that can tell how much time it takes for a seizure after quitting Xanax. Some people don’t get a single seizure. You need doctor’s doctors assistance in quitting your meds without causing much damage to your body. Otherwise, you put yourself in a difficult situation.

LEAH
1:55 am December 3rd, 2014

IN DECEMBER OF 1992, I QUIT XANAX COLD TURCKY. PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS! I HAD FIVE SEIZURES. IT TOOK EIGHT MONTS TOTALTO COME OFF OF THIS DRUG COLD TURKEY. IT IS THE WORSE THING I HAVE EVER BEEN THROUGH. IT IS FAR BEETER TO LEARN TO LIVE WITH THE REASONS YOU WERE TAKING THE XANAX FOR THEN TO TAKE THIS DRUG. I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT BENZOS SHOULD BE ON THE MARKET. I COULD NOT DRIVE OR READ FOR EIGHT LONG MONTHS. I CRIED COULD NOT SLEEP AND GAINE 35 POUNDS. I LOST MY JOB OF 18 YEARS. LOST MY APARTMENT AND FRIENDS. FAMILY LABLED ME AS CRAZY. IF YOU TAKE THIS DRUG GO OFF SLOWLY, ABOUT 10 PERCENT EVERY 21 DAYS. I WISH EVERYOE LOL111 PS. I HAD SEIZERES ON THIS DRUG ALSO!

beverly
9:42 pm August 25th, 2015

my daughter has been abusing Xanax for about a year it started when she was given a prescription for a nerve pill for panic attacks I don’t know her exact dose she takes but I know they are a bar and its 2 or 3 of them a day she recently decided she has had enough of being a “functional addict” and looked into getting help from a rehab facility, they told her they should have a bed for her on Monday so she quit taking the Xanax on Saturday well Monday came and they don’t have a bed for her yet so she is in the middle of withdrawals and I am unsure how to help she hasn’t eaten since sat. she throws everything up that hits her stomach which has only been Gatorade and water she is having hallucinations and nervousness w/ insomnia she doesn’t have any kind of insurance so she is waiting for a state funded facility bed so I do not know what I can do to help her through this should I try home remedies ? call a hospital? I read where zinc and potassium are good and melatonin will help with the insomnia but I have also read some pretty nasty stories about comas and seizures and I don’t want to add to that to make things reach that level of severity I am a mother who wants to help her daughter but don’t know how! any suggestions would be so appreciated

Leslie
10:59 pm August 30th, 2015

I’ve been taking 1mg Xanax for about 3 weeks now, as prescribed for my anxiety. I decided that I wanted to stop taking it because I can tell my tolerance is getting up and I can’t stand being dependent on a med. Anyway, is it too late to quit cold turkey? I’ve been tapering and I’ve gone from 2-3mgs a day to 1.5mg for the past 3 days. I haven’t taken one today and I can definitely already feel the withdrawal symptoms. They’re not pleasant, but seem manageable for now. I know it’s only day 1 of not taking one, but can I just stop taking the med now, or should I keep tapering and take .5 or 1mg today?

2:15 pm September 8th, 2015

Hi Beverly. If she had enough pills to taper doses down gradually over a course of several weeks or months she should have done that. Now that she’s experiencing horrible withdrawal symptoms, I’d advise you to take her to the hospital where she can get the needed medical care and at least get several IV’s to prevent dehydration.

2:56 pm September 8th, 2015

Hi Leslie. Tapering doses down gradually is generally more recommended. If you have enough pills to last you through a full taper, you have no need to rush.

ANGELA
6:21 pm September 27th, 2015

THE DOCTOR PUT ME ON ALAPRAZOLAM 0.25MG FOR NINE DAYS. I STOPPED TAKING IT LAST NIGHT BUT COULD NOT SLEEP..WHAT OTHER SIDE EFECTS SHOULD I EXPECT.? DO YOU THINK I COULD HAVE DEVELOPED DEPENDECY ON THE DRUG FOR SUCH A SHORT WHILE,?

David
7:16 pm October 13th, 2015

Angela.
I’m no Dr, But With past experience you should be OK to Quit Now.

Robert
6:19 am December 3rd, 2015

ok for the last 9 months. I have been taking a quarter suboxone everyday and two 2mg footballs xanax. when I get up around seven or eight in the morning.
then I would say around four or five o’clock in the evening I would pop two more blue footbalIs would love to have someone tell me what to do.because if I go a couple days without mine xannies the suboxin I can’t even get out of bed I can’t even eat can’t even sleep can’t even get contable in bed don’t want to get around anybody and my body is all sore and aching and I feel weak and I get a little dizzy and lightheaded

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
5:54 pm December 3rd, 2015

Hi, Robert. It’s not recommended to go cold turkey, because you can shock your body, and trigger very severe withdrawal symptoms. I suggest you consult your doctor to make you a tapering schedule to slowly wean off Xanax. Also, have on hand some home remedies and over-the-counter medication. They could really be lifesavers in easing withdrawal symptoms. Hope you will be okay soon! Please, update us with your future experiences.

David
11:19 pm December 14th, 2015

ROBERT
2 1mg Footballs?…….So 4 mg a day , Taper as best you can (you have to want this.
Ill bet a few days No suboxin is Worse ill bet . 9 months is a pretty long time @ 4 mg a day IMO, but could be worse.
Good luck

David
11:39 pm December 14th, 2015

Beverly
I don’t know of any e
“Ethical” Dr, that would prescribe 2-3 …2 mg bars right off the Bat.
Usually .25 1-3 times a day.

IMO the Dr;s a “Quack” or she is Lying about what or where she gets them.
She could have been taking them for a few years off & on & Just got her Legit script a Year or so ago.
IMO She Def, need to TRY to quit now, as things will only likely get worse.

Heck I take methadone Everyday & 4 mg of Xanax (could take up to 6 mg’s but don;t want to)
Been on the Done for 13 years now & Xanax or K-pin off & on for 22+ years

I’m likely a Lifer but can function at these dose levels, P.S. Out of the MANY people I know that take Benzos with methadone Me & 1 other person does not ABUSE the Combo.
Besides I don;t want to Nod & sleep all day.
Praying for your family.

dee
2:43 pm December 18th, 2015

I use Xanax for about 6 or 7 days I was only using it to help me sleep at night but found out this is a dangerous drug I was taking two 0.5 mg a night for those 6 or 7 days will it harm me in anyway I’ve now been off it for two weeks and I only experience just a Lil nervousness

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
4:42 pm December 18th, 2015

Hi, Dee. There’s nothing to worry about, because you’ve been using Xanax very shortly. All the best!

Pat
10:34 pm April 7th, 2016

4 mg. a day of Alprazolam and Ambien at night to sleep. I want off this crap. It’s been at least 8 years. Help.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
1:23 pm April 8th, 2016

Hi Pat. I suggest you speak with your doctor to help you create an individualized tapering schedule. Moreover, you may check out the Ashton Manual: http://www.benzo.org.uk/manual/ , a manual that can help you with dealing benzodiazepine dependence and withdrawal.

mike
3:27 pm August 4th, 2016

Been taking Xanax/ Alprazolam .5 at 1 per day, take 1/2 morning and 1/2 night, could i quit cold turkey or should i taper off. Been taking the .5 a day for about 2 yrs.
Advise as i want to quit this stuff, having foot cramps.
thanks
mike

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
12:33 pm August 10th, 2016

Hi Mike. Experts claim that gradually lowering the drug dose is a safer way to stop taking it. So, I suggest you speak with your doctor to help you create an individualized tapering schedule.

ian
7:25 am October 20th, 2016

i been taking about 8mg xanax a day for about 10days stoped on monday been 3days will i be ok

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