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Xanax Withdrawal And Detox

Xanax withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, irritability, trouble sleeping, and difficultly focusing. A medical detox at a treatment center is advised for those who are dependent on Xanax.

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

Xanax, the brand name for alprazolam, is a type of benzodiazepine. It is widely prescribed to treat anxiety and panic disorders and is recommended for short-term use. It is a known addictive substance and can cause both physical and psychological dependence, and can result in severe withdrawal symptoms if use is abruptly discontinued. 

Xanax withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sweating
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Hand tremors
  • Sweating
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss

Withdrawal symptoms can vary and depend on what other substances are present in a person’s system. More severe withdrawal is seen with withdrawal from high doses and short-acting Xanax.

It is recommended to have medical professionals assist you through detox to minimize unpleasant effects and serious side effects, like seizures.

What Is Xanax Withdrawal Syndrome?

Xanax withdrawal syndrome describes a set of consistent symptoms that occur when someone is experiencing withdrawal from Xanax. Xanax withdrawal syndrome can be grouped into three categories of symptoms.


  • Tremors
  • Panic attacks
  • Sleep disorders
  • Visual disturbances
  • Sweating
  • Weight loss

Perceptual distortions:

  • Abnormal body sensations
  • Hypersensitivity to very loud noises

Major events:

  • Seizures
  • Psychotic Symptoms

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How Much Xanax Causes Withdrawal?

Continuous or consistent use of Xanax, regardless of dose, can lead to dependence and withdrawal. Higher doses may lead to more severe withdrawal, but any amount of consistent use can contribute to withdrawal symptoms. The exact onset of withdrawal can vary from person to person; however, it is widely understood that Xanax can produce dependence quickly with consistent use, as early as two weeks.

How Long Does Xanax Stay In The Body?

Xanax has many characteristics that increase the odds of misuse and dependence. It is rapidly absorbed and has a short half-life, leading to a shorter effect time in its regular release form. The short duration of action is a risk for abuse, as it leads users to repeat dosing.

The peak Xanax concentration in the body is approximately one to two hours after taking it orally. Most users report feeling its effects within 30 minutes, generally lasting for about six hours.  

There is a long-acting version of Xanax that can be taken once daily. This version of Xanax has an average half-life of approximately eleven hours, meaning it can still be active in the body for up to six days after ingestion.

Why Does Xanax Cause Dependence?

As with all benzodiazepines, continued use of Xanax may cause dependence. One theory is that it causes an increase in dopamine and serotonin levels, leading to pleasurable feelings and a desire to revisit the actions that led to those feelings. This cycle of intake and reward often contributes to substance misuse.

What Medications Can Treat Xanax Withdrawal?

At times, a longer-acting benzodiazepine such as diazepam (Valium) or clonazepam has been successful in the treatment of Xanax withdrawal symptoms. This allows for a smoother stabilization of plasma levels and can assist in decreasing the risks of rebound effects.

Xanax withdrawal can produce rebound anxiety, leading to the use of other agents like Valium to treat it. Other medications that have been used include carbamazepine and gabapentin. The exact mechanisms of this are unknown, but they may work by improving sleep cycles and decreasing stress levels.

What Factors Impact Xanax Withdrawal?

The risk of dependence and withdrawal can increase for those who have taken Xanax for a longer duration and in higher doses. Gradually reducing the amount of Xanax over time is the safest method of decreasing use while minimizing the potential for harmful withdrawal effects. This is called tapering and is the most highly recommended method to reduce Xanax after developing dependency.

Studies have suggested that using Xanax may feel more rewarding to individuals with a history of opioid or alcohol use. This can complicate the development of dependence and withdrawal.

Stages Of Xanax Detox

Xanax detox can involve different phases of symptoms and withdrawal effects. People may experience the effects in varying levels of intensity:

First few days: Within 1-4 days of discontinuation, many Xanax users report rebound anxiety and sleep changes, sometimes feelings of insomnia.

Within the first two weeks: Xanax withdrawal symptoms can develop within two weeks of the last dose of Xanax. These can include hypersensitivity to sounds, out-of-body experiences, psychosis, tremors, and panic attacks, as well as other symptoms.

After two weeks: After two weeks without Xanax, someone who was physically dependent on Xanax can feel rising levels of anxiety that can remain consistent. Other treatments may be needed to decrease these feelings.

Due to the roller coaster of symptoms and feelings of anxiety, it is during this withdrawal phase that users may be tempted to restart Xanax usage. It is critical to get support, medical advice, and guidance during this phase to have the most successful detox.

The amount of time it takes to withdraw from Xanax is determined by a number of factors, including how long and how much Xanax was used, how Xanax was taken, the presence of any underlying medical or mental health issues, and whether other drugs were abused. This means that each individual’s withdrawal timeline will be different. However, there are some general similarities.

Rebound Symptoms From Xanax Detox

Xanax usage can produce withdrawal and rebound symptoms at times, even when tapered off correctly.

A reported symptom after quitting Xanax is rebound anxiety, which can happen in almost 25% of people. Rebound symptoms can feel like anxiety that is worse than ever experienced, including panic attacks. In some users, new symptoms can occur, such as nightmares, sleep disturbances, and irritability.

Get Help With Xanax Detox

Remember that a successful detox from Xanax is possible. If you or someone you know needs assistance to break free from Xanax addiction, help is available to start the process.

Contact a treatment provider today to explore your treatment options and get started on the road to recovery.

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