Detoxing From Xanax

Withdrawal from Xanax (alprazolam) can cause dangerous and life-threatening symptoms. Medical supervision during Xanax detox can save your life.1

This article will go over the symptoms associated with Xanax withdrawal, the dangers of an unsupervised benzodiazepine detox, and how to get help for Xanax dependence and addiction.

What Happens When You Stop Taking Xanax?

When a person reduces their dosage or abruptly stops taking Xanax, they may experience withdrawal symptoms.2 The type and severity of Xanax withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on several factors, including:3

  • Frequency of use.
  • Dosage.
  • Length of use.
  • Concurrent use of other substances (e.g., alcohol, opioids, other prescription medications).
  • Individual physical and mental health.

Xanax Dependence and Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

Xanax is a type of benzodiazepine, a class of CNS depressants known as sedative hypnotics as they are prescribed to help treat specific anxiety disorders, sleep disorders and seizure disorders. Withdrawal is linked to dependence; when a person is dependent on Xanax or another medicine, they are at high risk of withdrawal when they reduce their dosage or abruptly stop taking the medication.

Withdrawal symptoms can be very severe and may include:5

  • Sweating.
  • Rapid pulse.
  • Hand tremors.
  • Insomnia.
  • Anxiety.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Restlessness.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Seizures.

How Long Does Xanax Withdrawal Last?

Xanax has a relatively short half-life, which means it is quickly absorbed and filtered out of the body; withdrawal symptoms may begin within the first 24 hours – usually within 6 to 8 hours5 —  after having taken the last dose.

 The Xanax withdrawal timeline can vary depending on individual factors and whether the person is following a medically supervised tapering schedule.9 Acute withdrawal symptoms may peak by the second day after use has ceased and improve by the fifth day.5 Symptoms may continue for 1-4 weeks.

Is Xanax Withdrawal Dangerous?

Xanax withdrawal without medical supervision can be dangerous and even life-threatening.Seizures can occur during withdrawal and may result in bodily harm. Other withdrawal side effects may cause health issues (e.g., dehydration from diarrhea or vomiting). Additional complications can occur and may include heart palpitations, increased blood pressure and delusions.It is recommended that individuals who are withdrawing from Xanax do so under the supervision of healthcare professionals.

Can You Quit Xanax Cold Turkey?

Because of the potential for life-threatening side effects from abrupt cessation of Xanax, attempt to detox cold turkey can be very risky. One of the largest physical risks of suddenly stopping Xanax is grand mal seizures.4 During a seizure, a person’s brain cannot control normal functions, such as breathing.10 There is no way to know how long a seizure might last without intervention, but even a few minutes without oxygen can lead to serious long-term brain damage or death.10

In addition to the direct risk of seizures, the psychological withdrawal symptoms can cause a person to undertake dangerous or unusual activities to find relief from the symptoms. Extreme physical discomfort is not uncommon during withdrawal and can be uncomfortable enough that a person may start using Xanax again (or different substances) to avoid the feelings.

Xanax Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

After cessation of Xanax use, a person may begin to experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), which refers to when a person experiences persistent symptoms, a change in symptoms, or a reemergence of symptoms after the person in which acute withdrawal typically resolves. 9

Individuals may experience PAWS for months, and symptoms may come and go. 9 Symptoms include: 4

  • Cravings for Xanax.
  • Anxiety.
  • Panic.
  • Insomnia.
  • Restlessness.
  • Hypersensitivity to sight, sound, or touch.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Headaches.
  • Agitation.
  • Changes in appetite.

Continued treatment and abstinence from Xanax will help to manage and, eventually, resolve PAWS symptoms.9

Medically Assisted Xanax Detox

Medically assisted detox allows individuals who need to detox from Xanax to do so under the supervision and guidance of healthcare professionals. 1(pg. 75, top para on right In a medically supervised Xanax detox program, individuals are provided with medical and psychological support to help manage symptoms and make the process as comfortable and safe as possible.

During medically assisted detox at our inpatient rehab in Oxford, MS, individuals are monitored 24/7 to ensure their health safety. This enables staff to respond to any potential complications or emergencies quickly.

Xanax Detox Program at Oxford

If you or a loved one is struggling with dependence on or addiction to Xanax, there are effective and safe options to help get you on the road to recovery. At Oxford Treatment Center, our team of addiction treatment specialists provide evidence-based addiction-focused healthcare to get you through detox and beyond.

Contact our helpful and knowledgeable admissions navigators at 24/7 to learn more about our different levels of addiction treatment and how we can help you find meaningful recovery from addiction. Our navigators can also answer your questions about what to expect in rehab, starting rehab admissions, and give you information about ways to pay for rehab – including paying for rehab with health insurance.

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