Tips For Getting Off Anti-Anxiety Medication

One of the major complaints of those walking into doctors’ offices these days is anxiety and stress. With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, work, kids, circumstances, etc., it’s easy to allow stress to build up over time. That chronic stress build-up can certainly take its toll on the psyche and body.

To combat high amounts of anxiety, many people are getting prescribed tranquilizers (benzodiazepines) from their doctor. The medication is known for helping people calm down, as a tranquilizer tends to calm down the central nervous system.

The problem with this scenario is that it’s kind of easy to get addicted to benzodiazepines. In fact, many people are and fall into a prescription drug addiction. Sure, it may start off as taking the medicine as prescribed, but eventually you can come to rely on the drug and become addicted.

Minor And Major Tranquilizers

There are minor and major tranquilizers that treat various conditions.

Minor tranquilizers include:

  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Clonazepam (Rivotril, Klonopin)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Sleeping pills.

The major tranquilizer pills are reserved for those suffering from psychosis or paranoia, such as you may find in schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. They’re called anti-psychotic meds.

Common major tranquilizers are:

  • Clozapine
  • Haldol
  • Chlorpromazine

The Addiction Process

The addiction process may vary from person to person. For example, let’s say Susie is going through a divorce. As we all know, this can be a stressful circumstance. So, Susie goes to her doctor on the verge of an emotionally breakdown.

He prescribes Xanax, a minor tranquilizer, to help keep her nerves calm down. She takes them as prescribed for a week or so. Then, the emotional stress intensifies. She’s grieving so much and her nerves are still quite on edge.

So, she takes a stronger dose of her anti-anxiety medication. She figures more is better. She even uses them to help her get to sleep at night.

Several weeks later, she is feeling a bit better mentally and emotionally. She then tries to cut down on the Xanax, yet finds it difficult. She feels some withdrawal symptoms as she tries to reduce her dosage, which are uncomfortable. And, she starts the habit of reaching out for a pill whenever she feels stressed.

She’s come to rely on her medication heavily, and before she knows it, she has become dependent on them. A month or so later, she keeps trying to get off the pills, but comes to realize that she can’t. It’s just too hard on her nervous system and psyche.

So, she keeps taking them.

This sort of scenario happens all the time. Susie didn’t mean to get addicted to the benzodiazepine medication. She didn’t realize just how addictive they were, and she wasn’t open about how she was using the medication with her doctor.

Getting Off Tranquilizers

Good news is that you can get off tranquilizers, but it might require you reaching out for help. If you’ve tried quitting on your own and can’t, you can look into going to a drug treatment center or seeing a counselor in order to begin the process of coming off of them. If you cannot attend a rehab, there are intensive outpatient rehab centers where you can attend counseling sessions a certain number of days per week.

If you’ve been trying to stop using benzodiazepines on your own and just can’t do it, perhaps it’s time to reach out for professional help.

Medical experts state that you shouldn’t stop taking benzodiazepines cold turkey or abruptly. You should gradually reduce the dosage, as this will help reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms.

When you detox from the anti-anxiety medication, you’ll most likely experience some withdrawal symptoms like shaking, headaches, anxiety, and irritability. Keep in mind they will pass over time. It can be really helpful to have a solid support system, such as professionals at a treatment center, to surround yourself with to help you get through the symptoms. It’s also a great idea to get involved in a 12 Step recovery program like Narcotics Anonymous.

What About After Rehab?

If you opt to attend a treatment center to get free from benzodiazepine addiction, you may feel a bit hesitant or scared about going back home. After all, going back home and entering back into life as usual can evoke feelings of anxiety.

I have to face reality drug free and sober? Without my “go to” anxiety pills? I’m not so sure I can do it.

This is what many people are thinking.

Though they learn in treatment how they can live life without falling into addiction, some have a tough time imagining they can actually follow through with sobriety.

It’s like telling a tadpole what it is like to be a frog. The tadpole cannot fathom having legs, breathing, or hopping on some grass. It just can’t see it.

It’s like that with some on the recovery path. They’re told they can do it. Others have done it, living life free from the compulsion to use drugs. However, they just can’t imagine it to be true for them.

This is why having support after leaving treatment is highly recommended.

To help you cope, we have the second and third transitional programs.

It’s Different After Rehab

Your life does not have to be the same after rehab. It can be different than it was before. You have most likely come to terms with the fact that you got addicted to benzodiazepines. You’ve probably also learned a bit about addiction and recovery. You’ve been told what you should do to stay sober and clean, so this is what you should focus on.

Life can be different after treatment and this is a good thing!

You’ll have been taught how to prevent a relapse, contend with those nasty negative feelings in healthy ways, and get on with your life with hope and strength as your shield. As you live one day at a time employing the techniques learned, you’re manifesting what you may not have been able to dream up before – living life free from addiction.

Go For It

You can learn to live your life without relying on tranquilizers to get you through. You may wonder how you will be able to deal with anxiety and stress.

Good news is that there are counselors that will teach you alternative ways to reduce anxiety symptoms. There are hundreds of techniques, tips, and strategies to start handling anxiety in healthier, more natural ways.

If you’re struggling, know that today you can start your recovery journey and get free from benzodiazepine addiction.
If you need help, feel free to reach out. We’re  here to answer your questions and help you navigate your path to a life free from addiction.


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