19 Oct Primary Treatment Detox for Xanax: Why it Was Necessary
Why I needed to detox off of Xanax before treatment:
I discovered Xanax, a benzodiazepine-based medication, my freshman year in college and soon became addicted to the feeling produced by it. I started by taking Xanax as a way to relax before bed and then later during the day to relieve stress. Over the course of a few months, I was abusing the prescription pill as often as I could get my hands on it even though my physician had not prescribed it to me. My friends started to see that I was becoming withdrawn from school and my relationships, but they didn’t know why, so I kept my substance abuse to myself. A year later I went to my family physician to obtain a prescription to fuel my addiction because I had become dependent on the pill.
Now with constant supply, I figured I would take double my prescribed dose of one to two pills every four to six hours every day because I already developed a habit and tolerance to the pills. What I didn’t know was that as a result of abusing this drug for a year, I was training my body only to feel good when I had Xanax in my system and feel anxious and depressed when I did not. Fueling the symptoms that this pill counteracted but also causing my body to crave the chemicals and eventually become dependent on them to function.
The Danger of Tapering Off Benzodiazepines On My Own
I experienced my first seizure in February of 2015 after two weeks of constant Xanax consumption taking more than double what I was prescribed. The day before, my mom came to me worried that I was taking too much of my prescription and asked if I could hold off for one day and not take a single pill. I reluctantly agreed and later that night around ten-thirty, I was watching a movie and suddenly went into a full grand mal seizure sitting between my older brother and my mom on the couch. I lost consciousness for over ten minutes with violent muscle contractions and came to consciousness in the back of an ambulance. This shocked my family because they saw for the first time just how dangerous Xanax could be when misused and really that I was abusing this medication. My parents immediately took my prescription and forced me to taper off Xanax with the pills the Emergency Room had prescribed after my seizure.
After returning to college in the spring, I went back to abusing Xanax illegally as often as I could. I was unable to stay away from the relief produced by them and could not control the obsession to use them. At this point, my friends caught on and decided that I was unable to be around them if my addiction continued so I began spending the majority of my time alone in my apartment. My family knew that I was back on Xanax after going to jail a few times and when I ended up in the hospital after experiencing another seizure. But this time I was alone. I had been skating off campus downhill to a friend’s house when I woke up bloody and bruised, surrounded by Emergency Medical Technicians where I was taken to the hospital. My parents, unaware of the severity of my addiction, did not suggest or force me to go to treatment but hoped that I would stop from my experiences with the drug.
I Needed Medical Management for a Safe Withdrawal
I came home from my second year at the University of California Santa Cruz with the same habits and behavior. Terrified, my parents began researching and found that if I were going to stop taking Xanax I would need to detox off of the pills safely. Unfortunately, there were no beds available in a detox facility in San Diego at the time, so they enrolled me in an outpatient program three to four days a week. I slowly began decreasing the amount of Xanax I was taking to taper off the pills but was not ready to give up taking them. I went to the outpatient for three weeks with the notion that I would retake Xanax once I was done with the program, and I did.
Now outraged, my parents reserved a bed for me at a quality detox center and forced me to go if I was planning on going back to school in the fall. Still unwilling to give up my addiction, the day I was released I found more Xanax and proceeded to use them. After leaving the detox, I was transferred back to the outpatient program to be drug tested and attend groups. I was kicked out three days later for failing another drug test.
Eventually, I became tired of repeating the same behavior time after time and realized that I was unable to stop even if wanted to. The fear of having another seizure lingered as I continued to drown my miseries with this medication that only covered up my problems. This solution to medicate myself when depressed, anxious, alone, and scared became one of the driving forces for my depression, anxiety, loneliness, and fear.
The Benefits of Quality Primary Care
I’ve heard you hit rock bottom when you stop digging, and I was exhausted. I re-entered the same detox in San Diego and started the process of recovery, willingly for the first time. I had been continuously torturing my mind and body for the last two years and the idea of a quick fix for me was off the table. I needed to spend seven days tapering off Xanax for the last time until I went into an aftercare program. Because of the dangers associated with the taper, I had to undergo a medical detox at a trained facility in order to keep myself safe through the process. There is really no other safe alternative because detox from substances like Xanax and alcohol is extremely dangerous. I finally learned that alcohol and benzodiazepine withdrawal could be fatal. What started out as a stress reliever quickly became a fight between life and death. I got out of detox on September 19, 2015, and recently celebrated two years of sobriety, all thanks to the professional detox, the aftercare facility, my family, and the work that I was willing to put in to meet them all halfway.
- Written By Chris A. A New Life House Alumni