Xanax Addiction Treatment
Determining the best course of action for safely ending Xanax use depends on several factors. These include things like how long someone has been using Xanax, how much Xanax they are using, if they have any potential medical conditions that could be of concern, or if they are currently under medical care from a healthcare professional such as a psychiatrist.
Treatment options for Xanax addiction range from less restrictive methods, which would be completely outpatient, to completely restrictive, which would include hospital detoxification. The best option will often be decided by the current medical needs of the individual ending their Xanax use and what ensures the safest results.
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Managing Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms
The decision to end Xanax use is a serious one that requires some level of care from a healthcare professional and usually requires assistance from a detoxication program to ensure safety during withdrawal.
Xanax is considered a short to intermediate-acting Benzodiazepine, which can be beneficial during the detox process as the withdrawal time frame can be as short as a few days or potentially weeks, depending on the amount of Xanax being used. This short timeframe is because the half-life, which is the amount of time it takes for half of Xanax to be processed by the body is around 11 hours.
Where trouble in the detox and treatment process lies is in eliminating Xanax from the body too quickly. When Xanax is removed from the body too quickly, it commonly results in withdrawal symptoms. Xanax withdrawal generally occurs within 12-24 hours of use, with withdrawal symptoms ranging from uncomfortable to life-threatening.
There are a variety of treatment methods and combinations that are used to treat people with a Xanax addiction. Once making the brave decision to seek out help at a treatment center, a team of healthcare professionals at the rehab will begin an assessment process.
The assessment process reviews your medical and personal history to create a treatment plan that is individualized. This plan may include residential treatment, outpatient treatment, and ongoing therapy. To learn more about this process, contact a treatment provider today.
Keep an open mind. Trust that [treatment] can work.
Outpatient Treatment Options
One of the least restrictive levels of care for Xanax addiction is outpatient rehab. Outpatient care is treatment typically provided in a hospital or hospital-like setting while allowing that person to return home each day. A few standard outpatient treatment options for Xanax addiction include the following.
Healthcare Providers Office
Ideally, outpatient care usually begins with the medical provider who prescribed the Xanax in the first place. Xanax, like most Benzodiazepines, is meant to be prescribed for short periods (4-8 weeks) due to the high risk of physical dependency that can occur. Because of this, many healthcare professionals have a plan to help patients get off Xanax once their prescription has ended, which may include lowering the dosage down for a set period until there is no longer a risk of withdrawal symptoms.
Xanax addiction does happen, however, even when the medication is prescribed and attained legally. This is due, in part, to the fact that most Xanax prescriptions are written for people with anxiety, which means their anxiety may still be an issue after their prescription has run its course. This process leads to people trying to continue their Xanax dosages for much longer than is medically recommended or seeking the medication elsewhere outside of their medical provider’s office.
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Outpatient Ambulatory Detox
A step up from a provider’s office is an ambulatory detox program, commonly found in most Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP). This type of program is run by specialized medical professionals (typically psychiatrists) that assist in outpatient detoxification services for various substances and provides behavioral health services such as individual and group therapies simultaneously to aid in dual diagnosis management.
Outpatient ambulatory detox services will often ease into the detox process due to the lack of 24/7 medical care available and to reduce the risk of life-threatening conditions from occurring. In addition, this option can be helpful for working individuals who have difficulty finding time for traditional inpatient treatment programs while still receiving additional therapy to help manage underlying anxiety symptoms.
While outpatient programs like these can be helpful for some, they generally work best for individuals with mild to potentially moderate Xanax addiction. They should not be considered for individuals who struggle with overusing Xanax as little accountability is available.
Inpatient Treatment Options
Inpatient treatment programs require patients to admit themselves into a controlled environment to address their substance use disorders, co-occurring mental health conditions, or other behavioral health disorders. Inpatient treatment programs offer 24/7 medical and emotional support and are often hospital-like.
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Inpatient Hospital Detox
For those who have moderate to severe Xanax or other Benzodiazepine addiction, it is highly recommended that they seek care at a medically supervised detox program. These programs include 24/7 monitored care by physicians, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, nurses, and technicians. They also include behavioral health professionals such as psychologists and therapists to assist with symptom management. In addition, they will provide medical care that includes medical and psychiatric assessments and the proper medical plan to treat each aspect of a patient’s medical needs.
Inpatient detox programs can either be attached to a larger hospital in the local area as a separate wing or be their own freestanding hospital specifically designed to treat substance use conditions. Many of these programs may be available locally and take many forms of insurance, just like any other hospital.
Medical treatments at these facilities are all approved by standard medical guidelines and offer excellent care to ensure the safest detox possible. These hospitals are designed for the detox phase of treatment, so stays within the facility can range between 1-2 weeks depending on symptom management and additional medical concerns.
Though these programs are shorter, they will frequently refer individuals to continued levels of care, either inpatient or outpatient, depending on what treatment providers believe will give the best chance of recovery. Detox is the first phase to treat the medical concerns; however, it does not treat the underlying problems that led to Xanax being abused in the first place.
Detox At Residential Treatment Centers
Residential treatment programs that include detox programming are often considered the gold standard for treating substance use disorders like Xanax addiction, as it combines the professional medical care in hospitals with the therapeutic care in residential treatment programs.
These programs frequently offer structured care plans starting at their admissions department and continuing into recovery programming that includes individual therapy, group therapy, case management, and long-term planning for when treatment has finished. Many programs also offer specialty treatments for conditions such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, mood regulation difficulties, and even for specific populations such as veterans, first responders, and LGBTQ+, to name a few.
Most residential programs offer minimum stays of around 30 days and can scale to 90 or more days when treatment professionals deem appropriate. Evidence has continuously demonstrated that longer lengths of stay in residential settings allow for more engagement in treatment and, with proper aftercare planning, greater opportunities for success in recovery.
In addition, residential treatment can be a beneficial option for individuals struggling with co-occurring mental health conditions, as both conditions can be treated simultaneously by the same team of professionals in one place.
Some of the most important steps to take in addition to treatment are the ones you make after you leave. Recovery can be a long process, and can be extremely difficult to manage on your own. That’s why many aftercare programs exist to help provide support after detox and residential treatment have been completed. Here are a few options to keep in mind when discussing aftercare options.
Peer support groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) are well known and have been helpful to millions of people for over a century. There are many other forms and types of 12-steps outside of NA and AA, many of which are geared toward specific substances or behavioral health conditions. This type of support can be critical. Having people around who are also in recovery can provide a form of relief few others can.
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Traditional talk therapy has repeatedly demonstrated it can help people with many conditions and concerns. Having a supportive professional to assist in the early stages of recovery can be instrumental and is almost always recommended for those just entering the recovery stage. Finding a therapist who makes you feel comfortable and safe is highly advised. It’s also essential to find a therapist with substance use disorder experience.
It may feel redundant, but having a safe support system is essential for an aftercare plan. Family, friends, and environments that limit cravings and provide full recovery support are necessary for long-term recovery. It may help to make a list of people, places, and things that cause stress or are not supportive of recovery so decisions can be made on what can stay and what needs to go during recovery.
Find Xanax Treatment And Rehab Today
Depending on where you or your loved one is in the detox or withdrawal stage, what makes the most medically-appropriate option for treatment will vary. If there are active withdrawal symptoms, it is highly encouraged that you seek medical attention with your local hospital, detox center, or residential treatment center.
If there are no significant withdrawal symptoms, you may find benefits in outpatient services to help you on the first step of the recovery journey. Regardless of your condition, the first step in recovery is to ask for help. If you’re ready to take that step for yourself or a loved one, contact a treatment provider today to get started.
Get professional help, you can’t do it alone…Stay away from people, places and things that trigger you. Attend meetings, get a good sponsor and give it 100 percent. Don’t get over confident and be patient—it doesn’t happen overnight.
Take the first step in finding help for Xanax addiction today. Contact a treatment provider today for help finding treatment.
Ashish Bhatt, MD, MRO
Doctor of Addiction Medicine
Learn about Dr. Ashish Bhatt
Dr. Bhatt has been Addiction Center's Medical Content Director for more than three years, providing his expertise to ensure quality and accuracy.
Doctor of Addiction Medicine
Expert in adult and child psychiatry
Over 20 years of professional experience