Xanax Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment

xanax pills

Xanax Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment

Misusing Xanax can cause dependence and addiction, and once you’re addicted, it can be difficult to stop

Xanax is one of the most frequently prescribed medications in the U.S. However, just because it’s prescribed by doctors doesn’t mean it’s safe for recreational use. Like other prescription drugs, misusing Xanax can cause dependence and addiction, and once you’re addicted, it can be difficult to stop.

Xanax withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable and dangerous, especially if you’re trying to detox at home without medical assistance. If you’re wondering how to deal with Xanax withdrawal, the safest and most comfortable way to get through it is with Xanax withdrawal treatment at a detox center.

Briarwood Detox Center provides private, safe, and individualized Xanax detox withdrawal programs for people who are struggling with Xanax addiction. All it takes is a single call to start your life-changing treatment.

What Is Xanax?

Xanax is the brand name for the generic drug alprazolam. It’s used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Xanax is classified as a benzodiazepine, which is a type of drug that produces a calming effect on the brain and central nervous system. It works by enhancing the effects of a natural chemical found in the body called gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA).1

Xanax is only legally available with a prescription. It should always be taken as directed by a doctor. The ideal dosage will vary from person to person, depending on their medical condition, age, and overall response to treatment.

Alprazolam can cause some normal side effects, like:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Increased saliva production
  • Changes in sex drive

Other more serious Xanax side effects can include mood changes, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, yellowing eyes, or seizures, but those are rare. If you experience any severe Xanax side effects, you should tell your doctor right away.

If you have a prescription for Xanax and you suddenly stop taking it, you may experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Instead, the safest way to stop taking Xanax is to talk to your doctor about it. He or she will help you stop taking it by gradually lowering your dose over time. This will help prevent uncomfortable or severe withdrawal symptoms.

Is Xanax Addictive?

Yes. Although Xanax does have legitimate uses and is very helpful for many people, it is also highly addictive and is frequently abused.

Xanax is a fast-acting benzodiazepine, which means its strong effects can be felt very quickly after taking it. Not surprisingly, it’s considered one of the most highly addictive benzodiazepines on the market in the United States.2

People who abuse Xanax typically do it to feel happy or calm. It’s also frequently abused with other drugs like alcohol or cocaine. Once a person develops a physical tolerance to Xanax, they’ll need larger and larger doses to achieve the calming effects they want. Over time, they may need a dozen or more Xanax pills every day just to feel normal. This is where many people find themselves when they decide to seek help.

Anyone who abuses Xanax can easily become addicted to it, but people who take Xanax long-term may be more likely than others to develop a dependence or addiction.3 If you develop an addiction to Xanax and you are suddenly unable to get a dose or you decide to quit cold turkey, you’ll likely have withdrawal symptoms.

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

People who are addicted to Xanax may wonder, “What does Xanax withdrawal feel like?

There are a wide variety of Xanax withdrawal symptoms and the type of symptoms experienced, as well as their severity and intensity, often vary from person to person. However, it’s safe to say that you’ll probably feel sick during Xanax withdrawal. This is due to the uncomfortable physical symptoms of Xanax withdrawal, in addition to the psychological ones.

Here are some of the most common physical symptoms of Xanax withdrawal:4

  • Headaches 
  • Blurry vision
  • Tremors
  • Muscle pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting 
  • Tingling in arms or legs
  • Heart palpitations
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Cramps
  • Hypertension 
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Seizures 

Some of the most common psychological symptoms of Xanax withdrawal include:4

  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Nightmares
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Hallucinations  
  • Delirium 

How Long Do Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

If you’re addicted to Xanax and you want to get sober, you likely have a lot of questions about Xanax withdrawal, such as “When does Xanax withdrawal start?” “What does benzo withdrawal feel like?” or “Does benzo withdrawal ever end?” 

Understandably, the thought of going through Xanax withdrawal can be scary and concerning. But knowing what to expect and getting professional Xanax withdrawal treatment at a detox center can make the experience much more bearable.

So, how long is Xanax withdrawal? First, it’s important to know that the timeline can vary from person to person.5 Individual factors like age and metabolism can make a difference, as well as your substance abuse history. Other factors may also affect the duration of Xanax withdrawal, such as:

  • The severity of the person’s addiction
  • The dosage that’s regularly taken
  • Whether or not a person regularly uses Xanax with alcohol or other drugs
  • A person’s genetics
  • How long a person has abused Xanax
  • Whether a person has any mental health issues or underlying health complications

Generally though, here’s what you can expect during Xanax withdrawal.

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline
8 to 12 hours after the last doseAcute withdrawal symptoms typically begin.
2 days after the last doseGeneral withdrawal symptoms are typically at their worst and peak on day 2 of Xanax withdrawal.
4 to 5 days after the last doseXanax withdrawal symptoms typically improve and dissipate by day four or five. Some acute withdrawal symptoms may linger for weeks or months.

Some people may experience lingering Xanax withdrawal symptoms, known as protracted withdrawal, which can last for weeks or months after quitting Xanax. These symptoms typically include waves of psychiatric symptoms that come and go over several weeks or months. 

According to one study, about 10% to 25% of long-term benzodiazepine users experience protracted withdrawal.5

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    How Long Does Xanax Withdrawal Last If You Quit Cold Turkey? 

    If you quit Xanax cold turkey (meaning, you quit suddenly instead of gradually lowering your dosage), your Xanax withdrawal symptoms may be more severe or may last a lot longer. Quitting Xanax abruptly can be very dangerous and you have a higher risk of experiencing seizures if you quit cold turkey.

    Quitting Xanax cold turkey is never recommended. Instead, the safest way to stop using Xanax is with medical detox at a Xanax detox center.

    When Does Xanax Withdrawal Peak?

    Xanax withdrawal typically peaks two days after the last dose. During this time, Xanax withdrawal symptoms may be at their very worst and it can be difficult to stay sober. Many people who try to detox from Xanax on their own at home may give in and use Xanax again to get relief from the discomfort. This is one of the main benefits of completing a Xanax detox program at a specialized detox center.

    How to Deal With Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms?

    The best way to deal with Xanax withdrawal symptoms is to gradually reduce your dosage over time. This is best accomplished under the direct supervision of a doctor. 

    Seeking professional treatment for Xanax detox ensures that you have access to safe and effective treatment from doctors and nurses who know how to appropriately taper you off of Xanax. It also ensures the most comfortable Xanax detox experience possible, since medical professionals will also provide medication-assisted treatment for Xanax withdrawal symptoms.

    Can I Detox From Xanax at Home?

    You can, but it is not recommended. Home remedies for Xanax withdrawal are not guaranteed to be safe or effective and vitals like heart rate, temperature, and blood pressure need to be closely monitored during Xanax withdrawal. Grand mal seizures may also occur during benzodiazepine withdrawal and they can be fatal without medical assistance.

    Additionally, certain people may be at risk for serious complications during Xanax withdrawal, including:

    • People who were diagnosed with a serious mental illness in the past
    • People with underlying health problems
    • People with a history of complex withdrawal syndromes from drugs or alcohol
    • People with cognitive problems
    • Elderly people
    • Pregnant women

    In these instances, attempting to detox from Xanax at home could potentially be life-threatening and should be avoided.

    How to Stop Xanax Withdrawal

    Unfortunately, you can’t stop Xanax withdrawal if you are addicted to it. However, you can reduce the severity and duration of Xanax withdrawal by detoxing at a Xanax detox center.

    The type of treatment you’ll receive at a specialized Xanax detox center will reduce the severity of the Xanax withdrawal symptoms that you experience. Getting medical treatment for Xanax detox can also reduce the likelihood that your Xanax withdrawal symptoms will linger on for weeks or months.

    Can You Die From Xanax Withdrawal?

    Yes, Xanax withdrawal and benzo withdrawal, in general can be fatal. It’s especially dangerous if you quit cold turkey. The risk of seizures and psychological symptoms are the most dangerous aspects of Xanax withdrawal. This is especially true if psychiatric symptoms go unmonitored or are left untreated.

    To prevent any severe Xanax withdrawal symptoms or life-threatening medical emergencies during withdrawal, it’s best to detox at a specialized Xanax detox center. In this type of treatment facility, you’ll receive adequate medical treatment for Xanax withdrawal symptoms. Counselors and therapists will also help you cope with the psychological symptoms of Xanax withdrawal by providing individual and group counseling.

    Xanax Withdrawal Treatment: The Importance of Medical Detox

    If you are addicted to Xanax, it’s especially important to get professional detox treatment. Trying to quit Xanax cold turkey is very dangerous, difficult, and is just not worth the risk. 

    On the other hand, a Xanax detox program can help you get sober (and stay sober) by providing the following things:

    • Round-the-clock monitoring of vitals: The nurses at a Xanax detox center will provide 24/7 monitoring. This includes monitoring your vital signs and body functions like pulse rate, body temperature, respiration rate, and blood pressure to make sure you are responding well to treatment as your body undergoes withdrawal. This type of care reduces your risk for potential medical emergencies brought on by Xanax withdrawal.
    • Medical treatment for withdrawal symptoms: If you complete a Xanax detox program at a detox center, experienced addiction treatment professionals will provide effective and safe medication-assisted treatment that is tailored to your individual circumstances and treatment needs. Medical professionals will also have access to certain medications that can help reduce the severity of benzodiazepine withdrawal, such as using Valium or gabapentin for Xanax withdrawal symptoms.6,7,8 This is ideal compared to the alternative, which is attempting to self-medicate with illegally-obtained medications, someone else’s prescription drugs, or other home remedies. Doing so can be dangerous and may not even be effective.
    • Lack of access to Xanax and other addictive substances: Intense cravings and uncomfortable Xanax withdrawal symptoms can make it very difficult not to relapse. Fortunately, if you receive treatment at a detox center, you won’t have access to Xanax, other drugs, or alcohol, which makes staying sober easier. Of course, you can always leave if you choose to, but the lack of access can be extremely helpful for those first few difficult days in detox. For people who live with others who abuse Xanax or other addictive substances, detoxing at a specialized facility may be crucial.
    • Social support: Doctors, nurses, counselors, therapists, and sober peers all provide essential social support during the earliest stages of sobriety. In detox, these people all play a role in your ongoing sobriety and you’ll be much more likely to stay sober if you’re in a supportive and substance-free environment. 
    • Therapy and counseling: Individual therapy sessions and group sessions during detox can help you learn how to manage stress and start implementing effective relapse prevention strategies early on in your recovery.
    • Trustworthy referrals far rehab: Detox is just the first step of recovering from Xanax addiction. After detox, your treatment team can provide personalized recommendations for ongoing Xanax treatment programs in rehab. Since your treatment team will already be familiar with your substance abuse history, treatment needs, and personal circumstances, they will be able to provide valuable referrals for Xanax rehab programs that will be both effective and realistic for your lifestyle and financial abilities.

    Completing a Xanax detox program is the first step toward healing. If you’ve been misusing Xanax and you can’t stop, the caring professionals at Briarwood Detox Center are available to help you get sober now. Call (888) 857-0557 to get started today.


    1. https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-9824/xanax-oral/details
    2. https://www.healthline.com/health/addiction/addictive-prescription-drugs
    3. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/
    4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5846112/
    5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7841856/
    6. https://ispub.com/IJPHARM/4/2/3283
    7. https://www.ommegaonline.org/
    8. https://www.pbm.va.gov/

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