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xanax abuse facts

Withdrawal symptoms  |  Withdrawal timeline  |  Detox |  Back to top

Xanax (alprazolam) is widely used as an anti-anxiety medication. When abused, it produces intoxicating effects that are similar to those of alcohol intoxication. Users may feel relaxed, euphoric, and care-free. However, Xanax is also highly addictive and habit-forming, so long-term users may experience withdrawal when they stop taking the drug. 

Xanax withdrawal isn’t easy to endure, especially without professional help. Fortunately, drug and alcohol detox centers across the United States are able to help patients with Xanax detox. Let’s take a deeper look into what withdrawal symptoms Xanax produces and how medical detox works.

Xanax Abuse and Dependence

Xanax (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine medication that is prescribed to treat anxiety and panic disorders. As a benzodiazepine, it works to enhance the effects of GABA in the brain, producing a calming and relaxing effect. The medication is typically meant for short-term use because it can be habit-forming. 

People who abuse Xanax, either by taking it illegally or misusing their prescription, can develop a physical dependence on the drug in as little as two weeks. They may also experience painful withdrawal symptoms when they suddenly stop taking the medication. Unfortunately, like other benzodiazepines, detoxing from Xanax can be potentially fatal without the right medical care.

symptoms of xanax withdrawal

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When someone becomes physically addicted to Xanax, they will experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop using the drug cold turkey. Xanax is a short-acting medication, so people with severe addictions will begin experiencing symptoms just hours after their last dose wears off.

The most common Xanax withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Anxiety, depression, and irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Panic attacks
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Sweating
  • Heart palpitations and irregular heartbeat
  • Shaking/tremors
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle pain
  • Seizures

Seizures are one of the most concerning withdrawal symptoms because they can be life-threatening without medical care. Xanax detox centers can help monitor patients’ symptoms and prevent and treat seizures.

Another group of symptoms that can be difficult to deal with is rebound withdrawal symptoms. Rebound symptoms refer to symptoms that a person experienced before starting the medication and that may return once a person quits using a medication. When it comes to Xanax, rebound symptoms include anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia. This is because individuals who are prescribed Xanax take it due to a legitimate medical condition, and, as a result, they may need specialized treatment for their underlying condition.

xanax withdrawal timeline

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Even though Xanax is a short-acting benzodiazepine, withdrawal can last anywhere between a couple of weeks to more than a month. Some long-term Xanax users will experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms for years after taking their last dose.

Both the duration of withdrawal and the severity of a person’s symptoms depend on several factors. These include:

  • Age, weight, and metabolism
  • Frequency and length of drug use
  • Regular dose consumed
  • Physical health conditions
  • Mental health conditions

While each person will experience different symptoms during Xanax detox, a general Xanax withdrawal timeline is as follows:

  • 6 – 12 hours: symptoms will begin during this time and increase as time goes on. Individuals may feel anxious, restless, and have a headache.
  • 1 – 5 days: symptoms should begin to peak between 1 and 5 days after a person’s last dose. This is when rebound symptoms set in as well as flu-like symptoms and seizures. This is generally the most dangerous period of detox.
  • 5 – 14 days: after 5 days, peak withdrawal symptoms should begin to subside. Stomach ache, anxiety, insomnia, and depression are all common during this time, however, seizure risk is lower.
  • 2 weeks – 2 months: slowly, but surely, normal functioning will return after detoxing from Xanax. This can take a while though, but after two months most people’s symptoms will go away.

symptoms of xanax detox

Abuse facts  |  Withdrawal symptoms  |  Withdrawal timeline  |  Back to top

Quitting Xanax cold turkey is dangerous and never advised. People who have simply become dependent on their prescription may be able to work with their doctor to taper their dose and slowly stop taking it. People with an addiction to Xanax, on the other hand, will need medical detox and a substance abuse treatment program. 

The safest way to quit taking this drug is to attend a medical detox program. Xanax detox centers can provide medical and emotional support to make the withdrawal process as safe and comfortable as possible. Patients may do a Xanax taper involving decreasing doses until they are no longer dependent, while others will take a longer-acting benzodiazepine in place of Xanax and taper off of that.

In the event of a medical emergency, such as a seizure, detox centers can provide life-saving medical care. Whether a patient needs IV fluids, basic medication, or psychiatric support, detox center staff is there to help. With 24/7 care and support, inpatient detox centers make the withdrawal process a lot less scary and a lot safer.

Find a Xanax Detox Center Near You

If you or a loved one are addicted to Xanax and are looking for a reliable detox program to turn your life around, you’ve come to the right place. We can help you locate a Xanax detox center in your city or learn how you can help a loved one agree to treatment. Don’t wait any longer – pick up the phone and call today to speak with one of our dedicated addiction treatment providers.