home
RSS
October 4th, 2011
02:57 PM ET

Is there a wrong way to detox off Xanax?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Tuesdays, it's Dr. Charles Raison, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University, and an expert in the mind-body connection for health.

Question asked by D. Epps from Georgia:

Is there a wrong way to detox off Xanax?

Expert answer:

Sadly, there are probably more wrong ways to detox off Xanax than right ones. Lots of people have a very hard time getting off Xanax if they’ve been on it for awhile no matter what approach they take. This is one of the reasons Xanax has fallen from favor in the last decade.

Xanax was the hottest thing going in the late '80s and early '90s. It was considered the most potent and useful of the class of medications called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines, which include such well-known drugs as Valium, Klonopin and Ativan, promote relaxation and sleep by making it harder for brain cells to fire.

These medications can be spectacularly helpful when used appropriately. But their use comes at a price. When taken on a daily basis for more than a few weeks, the brain develops a dependency on them for normal functioning.

Xanax has a very short half-life, which is a fancy way of saying that it goes into and out of the body very quickly. This property appears to make Xanax even more likely to cause emotional and physical dependency than other benzodiazepines. The short half-life means people will often start withdrawing from Xanax between scheduled doses, which tends to powerfully reinforce their psychological dependency of the medication.

This property has, over time, made Xanax among the least popular of benzodiazepines among psychiatrists.

If you take Xanax long enough, you will become physiologically dependent on it. This does not mean that you are an addict or that you are abusing it. It only means that if you stop the medication suddenly you are at risk for a very dangerous withdrawal syndrome that can include delirium and seizures and can be lethal.

So the wrongest way to detox off Xanax is to just suddenly stop taking it. This can literally be a fatal mistake.

Another very common “wrong way” of trying to detox from Xanax is to attempt to get off the medication too quickly, which can cause such discomfort that people become afraid to continue the detox process.

It can take months to successfully come off Xanax, and often the last little bit is the hardest to get off.

So patience is of great importance for successfully weaning oneself from Xanax. Under the guidance of a physician, the detox can often be made easier by switching from Xanax to an equivalent dosage of a benzodiazepine with a long half-life such as Klonopin or Librium, and then gradually tapering off that agent.

Ask our doctors a question

Sometimes this works. But in my experience, this switch is so uncomfortable for some people that they can’t tolerate it.

Benzodiazepines get a bad rap because they do have abuse potential and they do cause dependency. But they can be wonder drugs for some people. Many year’s worth of long-term data suggest that they do not cause significant harm, even when taken for long periods.

I like benzodiazepines, but I would never start anyone on Xanax for the reasons I’ve outlined above. On the other hand, more than once I’ve seen people - especially older folks - who have literally ended up in the psychiatric hospital trying to get off Xanax. Most of the time they had been doing just fine for years and it was some new doctor who decided they had to get off the Xanax “no matter what.”

This seems crazy to me. Not being on Xanax is better than being on it. But living a reasonable life on Xanax is considerably better than making yourself sick trying to get off it.

A final important point. No matter what you do, make sure you work closely with a clinician with expertise in detoxing off benzodiazapines.

Follow @CNNHealth on Twitter.


soundoff (262 Responses)
  1. avana

    avanafil buy avanafil stendra dosage

    April 30, 2021 at 04:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. best ed pills

    erectile functioning https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ erectile after prostate surgery

    May 1, 2021 at 22:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. dysfunction

    erectile function trial offers in sarasota fl https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ erectile dysfunction natural remedies

    May 2, 2021 at 07:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. do you need prescription for canadian perscribition of cialis in usa

    canadian pharmacy tadalafil viagara cialis https://canadacialisstore.com/ buying canadian cialis

    May 2, 2021 at 18:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. chloroquine for malaria

    is chloroquine phosphate over the counter https://chloroquineorigin.com/ malaria drug chloroquine

    May 3, 2021 at 01:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. online accountability coach

    There's certainly a great deal to know about this issue. I like all of the points you made.

    https://map.google.no/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=https://menmastermind.com

    May 4, 2021 at 15:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. aralen where to buy

    choloquine https://chloroquineorigin.com/ is chloroquine a sulfa drug

    May 4, 2021 at 18:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Oakley Rx Sunglasses

    This page certainly has all of the information I wanted about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

    http://unaten.com/link.php?url=arizonasvision.com

    May 5, 2021 at 02:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Vision Centers Near Me

    Good post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon everyday. It's always helpful to read content from other authors and use a little something from other sites.

    https://partnerpage.google.com/url?q=j&sa=t&url=https://arizonasvision.com

    May 5, 2021 at 05:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. RV Center Orange County

    Pretty! This was a really wonderful post. Thanks for supplying this info.

    https://image.google.cm/url?q=https3A2F2Frvcollisionrepairpaintshop.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 5, 2021 at 06:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. avanafil

    buy avana canada avana drug

    May 5, 2021 at 07:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Color Blind Glasses

    https://google.com.om/url?q=j&source=web&rct=j&url=https://arizonasvision.com

    May 5, 2021 at 09:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. aitan arena aika private server

    https://maps.google.tk/url?sa=i&source=web&rct=j&url=https3A2F2Faikareborn.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 5, 2021 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. online business training

    It’s hard to come by experienced people on this topic, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

    http://www.rageware.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.mastermindofmen.com

    May 5, 2021 at 21:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. mercedes 2500 sprinter van

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this article! It's the little changes that will make the most significant changes. Many thanks for sharing!

    https://google.co.zm/url?sa=t&rct=j&url=https3A2F2Ffleetautorepairshop.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 5, 2021 at 21:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. online goal group

    http://www.mzhk1.su/ext.php?url=https://menmastermind.com

    May 6, 2021 at 01:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. priligy

    priligy tablets dapoxetine tablets price

    May 6, 2021 at 06:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. truck & trailer repair

    https://map.google.com.kh/url?sa=t&rct=j&url=https3A2F2Fsprintervanrepairshop.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 6, 2021 at 10:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. ford truck repair shop near me

    You've made some really good points there. I checked on the web to learn more about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this site.

    http://images.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://fleetservicesorangecounty.com

    May 6, 2021 at 11:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. check cashing near me

    http://3d.skr.jp/cgi-bin/lo/refsweep.cgi?url=http://ppcpostfalls.com

    May 6, 2021 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. mailbox near me

    When I originally left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the exact same comment. There has to be a way you are able to remove me from that service? Thanks a lot!

    http://www.arch.iped.pl/artykuly.php?id=1&cookie=1&url=http://www.ocrvexperts.com

    May 6, 2021 at 17:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. bucket truck services

    Spot on with this write-up, I absolutely feel this web site needs far more attention. I’ll probably be returning to see more, thanks for the info!

    http://uk.youtuberepeater.com/watch?v=RC7hsawrG14

    May 6, 2021 at 17:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Party Kegs

    There is certainly a lot to learn about this topic. I like all the points you have made.

    https://www.nauchgrad.ru/bitrix/rk.php?goto=https://allbrewsupplies.com

    May 6, 2021 at 18:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. gas station near me

    http://vidoz.com.ua/go/?url=http://www.ocrv.pro

    May 7, 2021 at 04:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. priligy

    dapoxetine pills for sale dapoxetine hydrochloride 60

    May 7, 2021 at 04:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. truck repair around me

    http://www.tunesbaby.com/yt/?x=CBG7FYNAfAs

    May 7, 2021 at 06:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Local Liquor Stores

    I really like it when individuals get together and share views. Great site, stick with it!

    https://google.gp/url?q=j&rct=j&url=https://howtobrews.com

    May 7, 2021 at 08:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Used Forklift Rental California

    I enjoy reading through an article that will make people think. Also, many thanks for permitting me to comment!

    https://www.topsheetmusic.eu/sysmusic/templates/youtube.php?v=NRTettsBsZQ

    May 7, 2021 at 08:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. New Forklift Extensions California

    You're so cool! I do not think I've truly read through a single thing like that before. So great to discover another person with a few original thoughts on this subject matter. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This site is one thing that's needed on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!

    https://www.my-desires.com/cgi-bin/toplist/out.cgi?id=albatube&url=https://forkliftrentalorangecounty.com

    May 7, 2021 at 13:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. bitcoin atm near me

    Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular article! It is the little changes which will make the largest changes. Thanks for sharing!

    https://www.usdf.org/e-trak/asp/forward.asp?id=354&FPath=http://orangecountyrvrepair.com

    May 7, 2021 at 15:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. box truck repairs

    When I originally commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time a comment is added I get four emails with the exact same comment. There has to be a means you are able to remove me from that service? Kudos!

    https://mp3prof.com/video/_18k43b-kMU

    May 7, 2021 at 20:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Internet Marketing Clinic

    I truly love your blog.. Great colors & theme. Did you make this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as I’m attempting to create my own site and would love to learn where you got this from or just what the theme is called. Thank you!

    https://www.mystrasbourg.com/lw.php?web=https://affordableranking.com

    May 7, 2021 at 23:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. all rv repair

    http://daryman.us/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvcenter.com

    May 7, 2021 at 23:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Content Marketing Job

    https://www.morgeneyer.de/ahnen/login/default.aspx?returnurl=https://www.affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 02:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Content Marketing Job

    Good article! We are linking to this particularly great content on our website. Keep up the great writing.

    http://www.fineframes.org/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 07:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Digital Marketing Agencies

    I’m amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is an issue that not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very happy that I found this in my search for something relating to this.

    http://www.brookfieldcareers.ca/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 13:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. box truck repair near me

    An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment. I do believe that you should publish more on this subject matter, it might not be a taboo matter but generally folks don't speak about such topics. To the next! Kind regards!!

    http://zoenivens.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvcenter.com

    May 8, 2021 at 14:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Local Marketing Association

    https://sodomy.gs/bin/out.cgi?id=downl&url=https://affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 15:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. chloroquine generic

    sulfur effects on body https://chloroquineorigin.com/ chloroquine tab

    May 8, 2021 at 18:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Digital Marketing Companies Near Me

    You're so interesting! I do not believe I have read through anything like this before. So nice to discover someone with a few unique thoughts on this issue. Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This website is something that is needed on the web, someone with some originality!

    http://75thrangerregiment.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 18:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. priligy

    dapoxetine hydrochloride 60 priligy price

    May 8, 2021 at 20:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Digital Marketing Event

    I was able to find good info from your blog articles.

    https://www.zuya.pxl.su/go?https://affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 23:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. RV Cabinet Riverside

    https://iir.ai/QzvVN3m

    May 8, 2021 at 23:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Internet Marketing Experts Near Me

    I needed to thank you for this great read!! I certainly enjoyed every little bit of it. I have got you saved as a favorite to check out new stuff you post…

    http://www.reactionengine.com/analyse?uri=www.affordableranking.com&keyphrase=search

    May 9, 2021 at 03:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Seo Marketing Quotes

    Very good write-up. I absolutely love this website. Thanks!

    http://www.guerrillainvestor.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 08:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Digital Marketing Business

    Excellent article! We will be linking to this particularly great article on our site. Keep up the great writing.

    https://www.mainknittingusa.biz/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Seo Marketing California

    That is a really good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise information… Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!

    http://www.riad-monceau.com/?wptouch_switch=mobile&redirect=http://www.affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 14:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Internet Marketing Clinic

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up and the rest of the site is also very good.

    http://ssdaisuki.y.ribbon.to/imas/re.php?URL=http://affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 16:07 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5

Leave a Reply to Stuart Schoo


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.