When a person who has an addiction to substances and they suddenly quit using after chronic use, they most likely will go through painful withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal is the combination of physical and mental effects that a person experiences after they stop using or reduce their intake of a substance such as alcohol and prescription or recreational drugs.
Withdrawal Symptoms and Drug Addiction
One of the biggest obstacles to recovery is the fear of the withdrawal process. Many drug and alcohol addicts will continue their addictive behavior long after they want to quit, simply to avoid the detox process and painful symptoms that accompany the withdrawal. Some even try to detox from their addictions at home, suffering through days of discomfort and violent withdrawal only to go back to abusing drugs and alcohol to relieve the pain.
Every substance has different withdrawal symptoms that feel different to different people.
When going through withdrawals, there is no real answer as to how long you will be withdrawing or how painful of bad it will be. There are many factors to determine your length of withdrawal and severity:
- Which drug was being used
- If a mix of different drugs where being used
- How often you use the drugs
- How much of the substance the user took
- The presence of underlying co-occurring mental health conditions
- The user’s medical history
- The user’s age
- The user’s gender
A couple of drugs that are commonly abused are heroin and Xanax. These are sometimes seen as abused together. Sometimes Xanax is used to lessen withdrawal symptoms in between heroin fixes or to heighten the effects of the heroin. If a user is abusing both and decides to quit, withdrawal effects will be felt from both drugs. Heroin and Xanax have two different sets of withdrawal symptoms.
Many think that because heroin is considered a “harder” drug that it would be more painful to withdrawal from compared to Xanax, but is that really the case? The truth is that Xanax is considered to be more painful to withdrawal from than heroin and that is because of something called the half-life or the time it takes to eliminate the drug from your system.
Heroin Half-Life vs. Xanax Half-Life
Half-life is what determines how painful the drug detox will be is usually how long it lasts. Half-life is basically how long it stays in your bloodstream. Drugs can be categorized either as Short Half-Life vs. Long Half-Life Drugs. Short half-life drugs tend to take action quickly, and their effects may wear off rapidly as well. Drugs with longer half-lives remain active for 12-24 hours.
Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms (Shorter Half-Life)
If you are lucky enough to have the means to get into detox that helps you through your withdrawal symptoms with medicine your symptoms are lessened and can be easier to endure. Never the less you will still experience withdrawal symptoms and this is when and what you can expect:
- First 24 hours – 2 days – Withdrawal depends on how fast-acting the opioid is. Heroin withdrawal may begin after a few hours and include muscle pain, anxiety, teary eyes, runny nose, sweating, insomnia, and frequent yawning.
- 3 – 5 days – Peak of symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, goosebumps, blurry vision, and rapid heart rate.
- The first week – Symptoms taper off but may still experience digestive issues, loss of appetite, dehydration, or seizures.
- After the first week – For severe addictions, insomnia, irritability, cravings, sweating, anxiety, and depression may persist for 6 or more months.
Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms (Longer Half-Life)
Xanax is a brand name for alprazolam. Xanax is a powerful benzodiazepine or benzo that is only recommended for use for up to six weeks. This drug usually is for those who suffer from anxiety and get relief when used as prescribed. It has also been reported from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) reported that close to 10% of all emergency department visits related to the abuse of pharmaceuticals involved the benzodiazepine, or benzo, alprazolam.
- The first 24 hours – 2 days – Irritability, nausea, headache, and muscle pain are early symptoms.
- 3 – 5 days – Depending on the strength of the dose, peak symptoms may include anxiety, irritability, shaking, restlessness, and palpitations.
- The first week – Insomnia or difficulty sleeping.
- After the first week – Severe withdrawal may last 10 to 14 days and include some weight loss, difficulty concentrating, and changes in perceptual abilities.
Get the Help You Need
At Allure Detox, we can help. Xanax addiction is a serious chemical dependency that requires clinical supervision to ensure that a person can safely detox. At Allure Detox, we have medically-assisted detox programs that provide replacement and comfort medication that will ease withdrawal symptoms.
Our Xanax detox in West Palm Beach, Florida is overseen by an experienced clinical staff that specializes in Xanax addiction recovery. Every person who is admitted into our comfortable Xanax detox unit will be under the care of state-licensed clinicians, psychiatrists, counselors, and therapists. Each staff member of our cross-disciplinary team works together to ensure that our clients are monitored around the clock. Call us and begin healing safely from addiction today.