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Xanax Withdrawal Timeline

If you or a loved one have been using Xanax to treat an anxiety disorder, or for any other ailment as recommended by a doctor, and want to stop, then it is best if you talked to a medical professional about it. Abruptly stopping the use Xanax can cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. The Xanax withdrawal timeline can give you an idea of how long it can take before considering your body to be free of the toxins from this drug. The first step to think about of course, is medically assisted detox.

It is also important to follow-up with drug-prevention treatment and a counseling/therapy program. Drug dependence can have an impact on your psychological health; psycho-therapy should be part of a treatment plan initiated after detoxing off any type of addictive drug. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction can be difficult to treat, because even if you clear the drug from the body, there are long-lasting changes in brain architecture.

To learn more about the Xanax withdrawal timeline, contact us now!

Symptoms of Xanax Withdrawal

In order to understand just how Xanax withdrawal will impact you, it’s important to understand the various symptoms of withdrawal that can arise both early on and late in the recovery process. As most people take alprazolam to help with anxiety or to promote sleep, one of the most profound withdrawal symptoms to arise if the drug is abruptly quit is ANXIETY and sleep deprivation. Benzodiazepines like Xanax are also often responsible for causing seizures during withdrawal which is why you MUST seek professional help if you plan to quit taking this drug after prolonged use.

Common symptoms of alprazolam or Xanax withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension
  • Sweating
  • Migraines
  • Appetite loss
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Numbness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Pain
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Diarrhea
  • Blurred Vision
  • Hypertension

How Long is Xanax in Your System?

The amount of time that alprazolam remains in your system is dependent on its half-life which is around 12 hours. This means that most users will excrete Xanax from their system within 4 days from the time they take the last dose. Different drug screens can detect the drug for different periods of time. For instance, a urine screen will detect Xanax for up to one week following the last dose. Hair follicle tests can detect the drug for up to 90 days while blood tests may only detect the drug for 24-48 hours.

Why does this matter?

It’s important to understand the half-life of a drug in order to help you better understand the role that the leftover drug particles will play in your early recovery. Once a drug is FULLY eliminated from the body, real recovery can begin. Likewise, this is when the withdrawal symptoms generally peak for the user. So for xanax, which takes about 4 days to be fully eliminated from the body, the heaviest symptoms of withdrawal are generally detected at days 3 and 4. They taper off gradually after that point.

Understanding the Xanax Withdrawal Timeline?

Xanax Withdrawal Timeline

Some Xanax withdrawal symptoms linger for several weeks after stopping use of the substance.

The withdrawal timeline for Xanax can start a few hours after the last dose, and symptoms can last several weeks or longer depending on the length of time using the drug, and the amount taken during that time. The process in which the drug is used is another factor that can affect the time it takes to rid the body of the toxins from Xanax. Some taper off from the drug slowly, while others choose medical detox. Xanax can cause psychological upset also, and therapy following detox should be considered.

For some, symptoms on average can last for about two months. Again, it all depends on the severity of the use of Xanax. The longer the time and the higher the doses taken, the more dangerous and uncomfortable the symptoms can be. A general idea of the Xanax withdrawal timeline and symptoms to expect include:

12 to 72 hours:

The withdrawal symptoms during this time can be quite uncomfortable and dangerous.  The symptoms will peak during 3-4 days. There is a possibility of seizures during these early hours and days of withdrawal. For this reason, treatment under the supervision of a doctor is recommended. Taking precautions and ensuring around-the-clock medical care can help you avoid medical complications, especially if you have been taking alprazolam for a long time.

In the first 12-72 hours, expect the following symptoms of withdrawal:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Problems sleeping
  • Mood swings
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea and/or vomiting

Up to 4 Weeks

Symptoms listed above can continue for up to four weeks or longer depending on the severity of your addiction and other factors.  Additional symptoms of alprazolam withdrawal may also be experienced at this time. You should begin to feel better after about 30 days without Xanax but underlying anxiety or panic disorder may remain present. Talk with your healthcare provider if you continue to struggle with panic attacks or anxiety after a month or more without alprazolam.

Symptoms that you may experience for 4 weeks or more include:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Panic
  • Depression
  • Cravings for Xanax
  • Irritability

As the symptoms wear off during this time the mental effects that Xanax may have caused can linger on for months. Following a plan for therapy can help a person deal with these psychological symptoms. Especially for those that had a serious addiction to Xanax, the mental effects can be hard to manage.

Xanax Withdrawal Seizure Timeline

Untreated withdrawal from alprazolam can lead to seizures and death. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO QUIT COLD TURKEY.

To prevent seizures during withdrawal from Xanax or any benzo, consider a slow-taper detox that includes medical monitoring for your safety and comfort. Slow tapers involve a gradual reduction in dose at a rate of around 10% every 10-15 days. Even with a taper, the risk of withdrawal seizures is very real. Withdrawal seizures generally occur in patients who have been taking benzos for a very long time at high doses. However, the Journal of the Oklahoma State Medical Association reports seizures possible after as little as 15 days of a therapeutic dose of this drug.

Studies have proven that short, medium and long-acting benzos have the potential to cause seizures during withdrawal. The greatest risk for seizures occurs during the first 24-48 hours following a dose reduction but dangerous episodes of seizure may occur up to 7 days later depending on several factors. The severity of seizures resulting from Xanax withdrawal range from a single episode to multiple seizure episodes that can lead to come or death.

Protracted Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

Protracted Withdrawal Syndrome, or PAWS, is a condition that impacts recovering addicts and often impedes the recovery process. Symptoms of PAWS are common in those overcoming addiction to opiates, benzodiazepines, barbiturates and alcohol. They often mimic depression and include:

  • Extreme drug cravings
  • Insomnia
  • Inability to feel pleasure from anything outside of drug use
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Panic attacks

Getting Treatment to Get Off Of Xanax

If the symptoms from the Xanax withdrawal timeline listed here concern you, or a loved one planning to stop using this drug, then the safest way to do it is through medical detox. Under the supervision of trained medical professionals, a person can safely detox and avoid life-threatening complications that may arise if done alone. Talk to a substance abuse specialist about detox and soon you or your loved one can be recovering from the dangers of continued Xanax use.

Find Xanax detox centers near you by searching our directory, or call our helpline at 800-483-2193 to speak with a treatment specialist. 

Sources

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2012). Well-Known Mechanism Underlies Benzodiazepines’ Addictive Properties.
  2. The Journal of the Oklahoma State Medical Association. (2011). Benzodiazepine withdrawal seizures and management.