What Are The Withdrawal Symptoms of Xanax?

Xanax, a commonly prescribed medication for anxiety and depressive disorders, can lead to withdrawal symptoms when discontinuing its use. Abruptly stopping or significantly reducing Xanax dosage can result in severe and dangerous withdrawal symptoms, including seizures and delirium. If you or someone you know is dependent on Xanax and is ready to stop using it, it is important to seek guidance from a healthcare professional or an experienced addiction treatment center like Achieve Wellness and Recovery Center. They can provide necessary support and help alleviate withdrawal symptoms during the process. Xanax withdrawal symptoms can vary in severity, making it crucial to work with professionals who can ensure your safety and well-being.

Xanax Drug Facts

Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam, a benzodiazepine drug. Benzodiazepines, commonly called Benzos, are a depressant substance or “downer.” Benzos are designed to decrease brain activity and nervous system stimulation. This effect results in feeling a sense of relaxation, calm, reduced anxiety, and sometimes sedation. 

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Xanax is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance that can only be obtained via prescription. This rating indicates the potential for abuse and physical dependence on Xanax is low.

Despite this rating, any substance taken long-term can result in some form of withdrawal if you stop taking the drug suddenly. However, the official FDA labels for Xanax also indicate that there is at least some potential for misuse, addiction, and withdrawal, as with any depressants.

What Can Xanax Treat?

Benzos, including Xanax, are prescribed to treat anxiety, depressive disorders, panic disorder, panic attacks, and a myriad of related mental health challenges due to their relaxing effects on the central nervous system (CNS). This makes the substance a highly-effective treatment for a number of mental health disorders, including: 

  • Anxiety symptoms
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Agoraphobia
  • Acute stress reactions
  • Convulsions
  • Depression
  • Sleep disorders
  • Seizures
  • Panic disorder, including panic attacks

Common Side Effects of Xanax Use

When taking Xanax as prescribed, there are several side effects associated with this medication, including:

  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Drowsiness
  • Changes in appetite
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Difficulting focusing

If you are under the care of a professional medication management program, be sure to inform your provider of any and all symptoms and side effects you experience while taking Xanax. 

Health Risks Of Long-Term Xanax Use

While it is possible to take Xanax long-term, it could lead to concerning health risks. Some general effects include an increase in erratic behavior, a decrease in natural reflexes, and Xanax abuse. Xanax abuse can lead to several concerning health risks and physical symptoms, including:

  • Impaired memory and judgment
  • Frequent falls
  • Feeling disoriented
  • Physical weakness
  • Lower sex drive
  • Itchiness
  • Menstrual problems
  • Greater risk of Alzheimer’s

What Do Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms Look Like?

Even if taken as prescribed, one may experience a variety of Xanax withdrawal symptoms that range from mildly unpleasant to severe and frightening. Withdrawal symptoms, including benzodiazepine withdrawal, and their severity may depend on a number of factors, including the amount taken, the frequency of use, the body’s rate of metabolism, and whether other substances are also present. The Xanax withdrawal timeline and benzodiazepine withdrawal timeline may look different for everyone. Some symptoms of Xanax withdrawal include:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Increased depression
  • Disassociation
  • Tremors
  • Sweating
  • Sleep disruption
  • Loss of appetite
  • Light sensitivity
  • Panic attacks
  • Muscle spasms
  • Seizures
  • Hyperventilation
  • Psychosis
  • Hallucinations

While these Xanax withdrawal symptoms are the most common, every individual’s experience will be unique. If you’re experiencing any or all of these withdrawal symptoms while detoxing from Xanax, reach out for professional support to ensure you’re receiving the treatment you need.

Xanax Withdrawal Symptom Timeline: Moderate to Severe Withdrawal Symptoms

As with any substance, prescribed or otherwise, it’s never recommended to quit cold turkey due to the severity of some of the withdrawal symptoms. Always consult a physician or an addiction treatment center to discuss a safe tapering schedule to help you navigate Xanax withdrawal without exacerbating symptoms.

Initial Withdrawal Phase

The initial phase of Xanax withdrawal occurs within the first 6 to 12 hours of the last dose. The severity of early withdrawal symptoms may vary depending on the amount taken and individual metabolism rates. These symptoms may include:

  • Sleep pattern disruption
  • Drop in appetite
  • Difficulty focusing

Secondary Withdrawal Phase

After approximately 1 to 4 days into detox and withdrawal, the symptoms reach peak levels. Here is where you or a loved one are at the highest risk of relapse. Ensure that you have a reliable and compassionate support circle in place to help you navigate this and all other phases. 

Symptoms experienced during this phase include: 

  • Increased anxiety
  • Body aches
  • Cold sweats
  • Tremors

Final Stages Of Xanax Withdrawal

The last and final stages of Xanax withdrawal occur between 5 days and two weeks after the last dose was taken. 

  • Increased anxiety
  • Insomnia

If you or a loved one is struggling with Xanax misuse or dependence, there is hope. Effective and evidence-based treatment is available to help you safely navigate the symptoms of detox and withdrawal while pursuing the healthiest version of yourself.

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What Is the Half-Life of Xanax?

The term half-life refers to the timeline for a drug to decrease in your system by half. This timeline depends on how quickly the body breaks down and eliminates the substance but will be consistent regardless of the dose amount or how long you have been taking it.

For some substances, a half-life is a number of hours, whereas, for others, it could be days or even weeks. While each person will differ in the amount of time it takes for the effects to wear off, how long the substance remains in your system can be estimated by measuring the half-life.

For most adults, the half-life of 1 mg of Xanax is approximately 11 hours. This means 11 hours after taking Xanax, half of the substance has already been eliminated from the body.

What Drugs or Substances Could Cause Adverse Interactions With Xanax?

Every substance, whether natural or prescribed, has the potential to create adverse interactions when taken with other substances or medications. Xanax is no exception and is especially susceptible to negative drug interactions due to its depressant effects on the central nervous system.

Primarily, recovery providers and addiction clinicians will be concerned about the drugs that present major adverse interactions that should be avoided at all costs. Some of these substances include opioid painkillers (Norco, hydrocode, oxycodone, tramadol), other antidepressants, and alcohol. 

Xanax Addiction Treatment Options

After completing a medical detox program, there are a number of options for treating a dependence or addiction to Xanax or other benzodiazepine prescriptions. One of the highest levels of care for the most effective outcome is inpatient treatment. At Achieve Recovery Center, the next step down from inpatient treatment is a partial hospitalization program (PHP). In a PHP, you will receive compassionate daily care and treatment to help you safely navigate withdrawal and recovery.

Once a partial hospitalization program has been completed, an intensive outpatient program or an outpatient program may be administered for ongoing support. As part of every level of care,  you will receive an individualized treatment plan that is matched to your unique needs. In any treatment program, you will have the opportunity to participate in individual therapy sessions, group counseling, medication management, and other forms of holistic treatment. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Xanax and Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

How Long Do The Effects of Xanax Last?

Xanax remains in the system anywhere from 11 hours to several days. However, the calming and sedative effects only last between 8 to 12 hours in most cases. This number will vary based on individual metabolism rate, how high of a dose was taken, and how often it’s taken.

Are Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms Permanent?

No, benzo and Xanax withdrawal is not a permanent condition. However, some long-term health risks of using Xanax can have lasting effects. 

Can Xanax Withdrawal Cause Brain Fog?

Yes, this is a common Xanax use and withdrawal symptom. Similar side effects include confusion, memory issues, hallucinations, and psychosis.

What Is Xanax Tapering?

Tapering is a gradual reduction in the dosage of a medication or substance. While each person’s tapering schedule will be unique to their individual needs, in most cases, the dose is reduced in increments over the course of a few weeks to avoid Xanax withdrawal.

What Is the Benzo Flu?

The Benzo flu refers to the symptoms of withdrawal that occur when someone abruptly stops or significantly reduces their use of benzodiazepines (BZDs), a class of psychoactive drugs. These symptoms can include anxiety, irritability, confusion, seizures, and sleep disorders.

What Is Considered Long-term Use of Benzodiazepines?

Long-term use of benzodiazepines is generally defined as six or more months of drug use. However, studies have used varying ranges that include one month to several years. The most common definition is the use of benzodiazepines for six months or longer during a year.

What Is The Closest Natural Thing to Xanax?

While there is no natural substance that is an exact equivalent of Xanax, there are certain natural remedies that may have calming effects similar to benzodiazepines. These include herbal remedies like chamomile or valerian root, as well as certain lifestyle practices such as deep meditation and regular physical activity. 

Safely Navigate Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms With Recovery Treatment

At Achieve Wellness, we know that Xanax addiction, withdrawal, and recovery can be a challenging time. We’re ready with a full team of highly trained, qualified, and compassionate providers who will equip you with the treatment and coping skills you need to safely navigate this process, overcome substance abuse, and create a healthier future. Contact us today by calling (833) 680-0142.