What is Alcohol Withdrawal?

As with any major lifestyle shift, eliminating alcohol from daily life can invoke high levels of stress and anxiety. While the body is transitioning to a chemically “new normal,” you may also be adjusting to a different rhythm of life now that alcohol is no longer in the picture. 

Alcohol withdrawal is often characterized by adverse physical and psychological symptoms as a result of the changes occurring in your body and overall lifestyle. These symptoms include but are not limited to: 

  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Delirium tremens (DT) 
  • Seizures
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can range from mild to severe, and can be a large stumbling block on the road to recovery. Treatment programs play an important role in accompanying people through this trying time and can make a vast difference in the realization of long-term sobriety.

Use of Xanax for Alcohol Withdrawal

Xanax is a prescription drug commonly used to help people manage anxiety levels, mitigate panic disorder, and reduce depression. It is classified as a benzodiazepine, which is a depressant that produces a sedative effect in users to help treat anxiety, muscle spasms and seizures. It can also be helpful to those in recovery from alcohol addiction who may be experiencing withdrawal symptoms. 

Alcohol is a depressant, which means that it dulls the nervous system and lowers inhibition for those under the influence. Without this calming effect on the nervous system, anxiety may emerge. Xanax use for anxiety treatment is commonplace, however it can be effective in helping to ease the symptoms of withdrawal, as it mimics the effects of alcohol in the system. 

Benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Ativan, Halcion, Valium, and Klonopin are generally the top choice of healthcare providers seeking to alleviate the impact of potentially hazardous symptoms such as anxiety and seizures in those experiencing withdrawal. These prescriptions are usually administered in an in-patient treatment program in the first weeks of rehabilitation, as this is generally when the effects of withdrawal are the most intense. Frequent monitoring is necessary to ensure the recovering person’s safety, as withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening in some cases.

Some benefits of Xanax use for alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Acute anxiety relief: For anyone struggling with anxiety as a result of alcohol withdrawal, Xanax can help to alleviate symptoms to aid in normal daily function during rehabilitation
  • Muscle relaxation: Muscle spasms, seizures and overall physical tension can all result from alcohol withdrawal. Xanax helps to relax the central nervous system and release tension in the body to provide relief from these physical side effects
  • Sedation. Xanax acts as a sedative to help combat insomnia, panic attacks and hyperactivity of the mind and body that may hinder your recovery

Risks of Xanax Use For Alcohol Withdrawal

If you are battling anxiety in your recovery from alcohol abuse, Xanax could be effective in helping to minimize or eliminate these unwanted symptoms. However, they are not without their risks. Xanax users can become addicted to its calming effects, and this risk increases when the user has a history of substance abuse. It is important to consider the risks and potential adverse effects to make an informed decision to best aid your recovery journey. 

Side effects of Xanax include but are not limited to: 

  • Low blood pressure
  • Increased libido
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Impaired coordination
  • Trouble speaking
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion

Long-term Xanax users are also at risk of developing a dependence, as well as an increased tolerance leading to a higher dosage need. For this reason, Xanax use is only recommended for a short period, especially in the case of those with past drug and alcohol addiction. Xanax is most successfully implemented under the supervision of a qualified medical staff.

Unfortunately, Xanax dependence does form in some cases, presenting another set of withdrawal symptoms to contend with. These symptoms may include: 

  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Insomnia
  • Depression

Consult Your Healthcare Provider

Xanax abuse is no small concern, and this drug should not be used to self-medicate. Be sure to notify your doctor of any past addiction history, and be honest with them if you feel any dependence forming as a result of prescription medication. When provided with current information regarding your well-being, your healthcare provider will be able to adjust your prescription according to your needs or change your treatment plan altogether. 

Find Support for Your Recovery Journey 

If you or a loved one are battling withdrawal symptoms on your road to healing from alcohol addiction, Silver Ridge Recovery is here to help. Contact us online today, or call 855-945-7788 to find quality support on your path to a healthier life.