How Long Does Xanax Withdrawal Last?

Xanax is a potent and habit-forming prescription medication, most commonly used to treat anxiety disorders. When trying to get off Xanax, users often experience painful withdrawal symptoms.

Xanax is the most frequently prescribed of all prescription-only medications, inevitably resulting in many addiction cases. This specific prescription drug is a benzodiazepine, and it is estimated that in 2020 alone, there were over 12,000 overdose deaths in the US that directly involved benzodiazepines. It was reported that emergency room visits involving Xanax misuse escalated significantly from 57,419 in 2005 to 124,902 in 2010.

The drug is widely abused, and severe withdrawal is likely when an individual attempts to quit without slowly tapering off. Xanax withdrawal is extremely dangerous and has been known to lead to various serious health-related complications, including seizures. Those abusing this drug for any period will need to be slowly weaned off – in the presence of a team of medical professionals – to prevent serious, life-threatening complications.

How Long Does Xanax Withdrawal Last

Symptoms of Xanax Withdrawal

Cold-turkey withdrawal can be extremely dangerous when Xanax is concerned. It is most effective and safe to slowly taper the Xanax dose under the care of a team of medical professionals. Xanax withdrawal occurs quickly, usually within several hours of the last dose. They consistently worsen over time and usually peak in severity within the first three days. Once they peak, symptoms can last up to two weeks – with treatment. They will eventually resolve. Without treatment, they can be life-threatening. Common symptoms of Xanax withdrawal include:

  • Headaches
  • Intense muscle pain and cramping
  • Heart palpitations
  • Stomach issues, such as loss of appetite, nausea, and diarrhea
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Numbness in the appendages
  • Profuse sweating
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Insomnia/an inability to sleep

The post-acute withdrawal symptoms of some benzodiazepines can indeed last longer than two weeks. Some symptoms might even last for several months, depending on the dosage and the regularity with which it was taken. More severe Xanax addictions can lead to serious symptoms of withdrawal that seriously compromise the overall quality of life for years to come. It is estimated that roughly 10 to 25 percent of individuals who use benzodiazepines will experience withdrawal symptoms for years after they discontinue the potent drug.

Absolute Awakenings and Xanax Addiction

Xanax has a specific half-life, affecting how long the drug will leave the bloodstream entirely. This will affect how long withdrawal symptoms last. Xanax is short-acting, meaning that withdrawal symptoms will begin within 10-12 hours of the last dose. For this reason, professional medical detox services must be sought before a person attempts to quit cold turkey.

Absolute Awakenings offers comprehensive addiction treatment services to those struggling with Xanax abuse and addiction. Our team of experienced medical professionals works tirelessly to provide quality care.

At Absolute Awakenings, we will help you through every step of early recovery. We know that early recovery can be difficult to navigate, and we offer the support and guidance you need to start your recovery journey today. Give us a call with any questions you may have regarding our integrated Xanax recovery program or Xanax withdrawal. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

References

  1. Xanax: Uses, Dosage, Side Effects & Warnings. Drugs.com. Accessed January 21, 2023. https://www.drugs.com/xanax.html
  2. Abuse NI on D. Overdose Death Rates. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Published January 20, 2022. Accessed January 21, 2023. https://nida.nih.gov/research-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates
  3. Bush DM. Emergency Department Visits Involving Nonmedical Use of the Anti-anxiety Medication Alprazolam. In: The CBHSQ Report. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2013. Accessed January 21, 2023. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK384675/
  4. Osburn CO. How Long Does Withdrawal From Xanax Last? Verywell Mind. Published October 29, 2022. Accessed January 21, 2023. https://www.verywellmind.com/xanax-withdrawal-4685921
Amanda Stevens, BS

Amanda Stevens, BS

Amanda is a prolific medical content writer specializing in eating disorders and addiction treatment. She graduated Magnum Cum Laude from Purdue University with a B.S. in Social Work. As a person in recovery from disordered eating, she is passionate about seeing people heal and transform. She writes for popular treatment centers such as Ocean Recovery, Ascendant NY, The Heights Treatment, Infinite Recovery, New Waters Recovery, Recovery Unplugged and adolescent mental health treatment center BasePoint Academy. In her spare time she loves learning about health, nutrition, meditation, spiritual practices, and enjoys being the a mother of a beautiful daughter.

Last medically reviewed January 20, 2023