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How Will I Treat My Anxiety Without Xanax?

Xanax is a fast acting drug that calms you down in about an hour, which makes it an effective drug for occasional panic and anxiety attacks. Unfortunately, Xanax is also extremely addictive and physical dependence can form in as little as two weeks of regular use. You form a tolerance quickly and need a higher dose to achieve the same effect. If you try to quit Xanax abruptly, it can cause fatal seizures.

Using Xanax to treat anxiety ultimately leads to more anxiety, but the prospect of quitting may be daunting too. After all, if your anxiety was bad enough that you sought a prescription for Xanax, it’s clearly a serious issue, and the thought of living with that anxiety may make you reluctant to detox. Fortunately, there are other, more sustainable ways to treat anxiety than highly addictive benzodiazepines.

It’s usually primary care doctors who prescribe Xanax for anxiety. Psychiatrists tend to be more circumspect about treating long-term anxiety with Xanax. Xanax is really a quick fix–more expedient than sustainable.

If you have ongoing anxiety issues, the best treatment is psychotherapy, typically Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT. The central concept of CBT is that events themselves don’t cause anxiety–or depression, or anger, or whatever else–but your thoughts about those events do. In CBT you learn new habits of thinking that allow you to control and minimize anxiety. The major advantages of the CBT approach over medication are that it keeps working, even after treatment ends, and the side effects are all good because CBT offers a framework for dealing with many different kinds of problems besides anxiety.

It’s possible that you may need medication even with CBT. There are several non-addictive medications available to treat anxiety, but the most common are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, best known for treating depression. These can be used long-term with minimal side effects. They apparently work by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain, creating a greater sense of wellbeing. They are best used in conjunction with therapy, whereas benzodiazepines can actually impede therapy because of the cognitive impairments.

In addition to therapy, possibly aided by medication, healthy lifestyle changes can greatly reduce anxiety. The most important things are adequate sleep, healthy diet, and regular exercise. You may also want to reduce your caffeine intake and start taking regular hot baths or meditating. You may have to consider changing jobs or reducing your commitments if you regularly feel overwhelmed by your responsibilities.

Xanax is not a sustainable way to control your anxiety, but you can control your anxiety with a little help. If you or someone you love is struggling with benzodiazepine addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox safely and decide on a treatment strategy. Call us today at 844-828-1050 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.