Xanax–as common as it is to hear the name thrown around in discussion–is not its own drug or medication, but a brand name for the drug alprazolam. Alprazolam is a prescription medication that belongs to a group of drugs known as benzodiazepines.

Benzodiazepines like xanax are considered Schedule IV drugs for their lower potential risk for addiction and dependence compared to other drugs like heroin.

Xanax Withdrawal and Detox

Even though the potential risk to abuse xanax is lower than some other types of powerful drugs, benzodiazepines are still likely to inspire dependence and addiction, especially when used incorrectly. Addiction is a dangerous, chronic disease of the brain and as such, withdrawal and detox from xanax can be just as dangerous.

Xanax withdrawal can be extremely dangerous, and should never be undergone alone or at home. A xanax detox should in fact be performed in a medical setting, to ensure the greatest safety measures for the client, and the ability to have medical attention within seconds if something goes wrong. Xanax withdrawal occurs when someone who is dependent on the drug stops using it suddenly, or does not get another dose of the medication into their system quickly enough.

Xanax has a very short half-life, meaning that the drug pases through the metabolic systems of the body quickly. As a result, xanax withdrawal symptoms can onset quickly, occurring as early as 24 hours after the last dose or use of the drug. Luckily xanax detox–the first step in recovering from xanax misuse–can be undergone in a medical facility with professional attendants, following the normal rules and criteria for medical detox.

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Can You Withdraw From Xanax?

Xanax goes by a lot of names, alprazolam, benzodiazepine, etc. As such many people get confused about what they find on the internet, they’ll find an exact answer to one question and not another, and the search for answers soon becomes overwhelming and frustrating. As a result of all of these drug names and search frustrations, people begin to wonder “can you withdraw from xanax?”

Yes. You can experience xanax withdrawal. Even after only using xanax for a couple of weeks, if you or your loved one becomes dependent on the drug, you can begin to experience xanax withdrawal symptoms as early as 24 hours after your last use of the medication. Even though the abuse potential for xanax is lower than a drug like heroin, misuse, and thus withdrawal, are still very possible and occur quite commonly. The side effects of stopping xanax use include:

  • Sleep disturbances (nightmares)
  • Sweating
  • Hand tremors
  • Irritability
  • Panic attacks
  • Nausea
  • Dry wretching
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Weakness
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Muscle pain
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Seizures
  • Perception changes
  • Mood swings
  • Palpitations
  • Weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Muscle cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Hyperventilation
  • Depression
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations

Diagnosing Xanax Withdrawal

So, how can you tell if your symptoms are xanax withdrawal or some other kind of illness? First off, there are some symptoms clients experience that are more common of xanax. Symptoms can vary widely, and typically have a few different levels of severity–mild, medium, and severe. Any typically these symptoms will come and go in different stages of the withdrawal period, over a set amount of weeks or more. But just because a client is experiencing some xanax withdrawal symptoms, does not mean they will experience them all.

Xanax withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable to experience. They involve physical, mental, and emotional effects and can take a long period of time to work through–typically anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months. You cannot self-diagnose xanax withdrawal syndrome, but luckily your doctor can help.

In order to diagnose you with xanax dependence and withdrawal by using DSM-5 criteria and guidelines. From there, they will likely conduct a screening that could potentially involve asking you questions about your symptoms, and running tests on blood and urine samples. Once they have collected enough data, your doctor can both diagnose you with xanax withdrawal and begin working on a plan to detox you off the drug safely.

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

Xanax withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant to experience, and hard to nail down when trying to find a medical diagnosis, but it isn’t impossible to make it through the process. The effects of stopping xanax can be intense, onsetting around 24 hours after the last use of the drug or medication, and can last for several weeks. The effects of stopping xanax use can also vary widely, but not every client will experience every single symptom. The most common symptoms of detoxing from xanax include:

  • Sleep disturbances (nightmares)
  • Sweating
  • Hand tremors
  • Irritability
  • Panic attacks
  • Nausea
  • Dry wretching
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Weakness
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Muscle pain
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Seizures
  • Perception changes
  • Mood swings
  • Palpitations
  • Weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Muscle cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Hyperventilation
  • Depression
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations

Acute Withdrawal

Acute xanax withdrawal, which can also be referred to as acute benzo withdrawal or acute withdrawal, can be defined as the beginning phase of the withdrawal process. Generally acute xanax withdrawal symptoms will last anywhere from 5 to 28 days, with symptoms beginning to surface as early as 24 hours after the last use of the drug, depending on the dosage of the drug used, for how long it was taken, and whether or not it was a long or short acting version of the medication–as well as some other outside factors that depend on the user individually.

During this phase it is common for most of the acute xanax withdrawal symptoms to occur, and while this phase is in progress your doctor will pay the closest attention to your condition, and make proper adjustments and recommendations for your treatment. Typically the acute phase of withdrawal is viewed to be the most important, and most difficult stage of the withdrawal process, where many relapses tend to occur before clients can really stick to their recovery programs. Typically acute xanax withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle twitching
  • Insomnia
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Panic attacks
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble thinking
  • Drug cravings
  • Blurred vision
  • Diarrhea

Protracted Withdrawal

Even though most withdrawal symptoms subside after the acute withdrawal period ends, not all signs and symptoms fade away so easily. The term protracted withdrawal is used in reference to substance specific signs and symptoms of withdrawal that’s presence persists beyond the acute withdrawal phase. Nearly 10% to 25% or clients who abused or misused benzodiazepines like xanax are likely to experience protracted withdrawal effects. Typically protracted withdrawal syndrome stimulates the following types of symptoms in benzodiazepine cases:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Fatigue
  • Short-term memory problems
  • Substance cravings
  • Muscle aches or pains
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Negative emotional states
  • Mood swings
  • Heightened anxiety
  • Agitated depression
  • Schizophrenic episodes
  • Panic attacks
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Drug cravings
  • Difficulty thinking
  • Difficulty concentrating

Of course, these are not the only types of signs or symptoms for protracted withdrawal clients can experience, and not all symptoms are the same for all substances used that could result in protracted withdrawal. Xanax symptoms typically are very similar to most other symptoms associated with protracted withdrawal syndrome, with minor differences occurring due to the drug’s own nature. Protracted withdrawal symptoms typically mirror acute withdrawal symptoms, and tend to appear as counter signs against what the drug was originally intended to treat.

Not every client will experience protracted withdrawal. Some clients may experience minor symptoms after the acute withdrawal phase ends, some may experience no symptoms at all. For those that do experience protracted withdrawal, the symptoms can wax and wane in severity and intensity over a few weeks, or even months, but the symptoms can eventually wear off with continued abstinence from drug use. Protracted withdrawal syndrome is extremely difficult to diagnose in a client who has used benzodiazepines like xanax, as the symptoms may mirror other types of symptom occurrences like rebound or reemergence symptoms.

Physical Symptoms of Withdrawal

Anyone who is dependent on, or addicted to drugs will have to undergo physical symptoms of withdrawal from xanax when quitting / stopping use. Addiction can be a painful and frustrating process, filled with uncomfortable symptoms that can lead to life-threatening situations. On the other hand, the physical symptoms of xanax withdrawal are also very uncomfortable, frustrating, and can lead individuals to relapse before getting a firm grip on sticking to this first stage of recovery.

But, undergoing withdrawal is often rather short lived in comparison to addiction, there are medications to help ease the discomfort of withdrawal, and plenty of support in established recovery settings. Of course, it is never recommended that an individual attempts to undergo withdrawal on their own, as although withdrawal is typically not life-threatening itself, it can lead to much more complicated and dangerous situations, that could be life-threatening if an individual does not have the proper care. Typically, the physical symptoms of xanax withdrawal include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle pain
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hand tremors
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Palpitations
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Substance cravings
  • Reduced sex drive

Psychological Symptoms of Withdrawal

Xanax, or alprazolam, is a drug typically used to help relieve severe anxiety and panic disorders. The drug works by reducing hyperactivity in the brain, and helping it to remain calm so that the individual can think through situations and circumstances more rationally. When someone becomes addicted to xanax, they are becoming dependent on the feelings of relaxed ease and relief that the drug onsets. But when an individual begins the withdrawal process this drug induced feeling of well-being dissipates, and symptoms that counteract the drug’s effects begin. As a result, the psychological symptoms of xanax withdrawal include:

  • Panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Heightened anxiety
  • Sleep disturbances (nightmares)
  • Seizures
  • Mood swings
  • Heightened irritability
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty thinking
  • Short-term memory issues
  • Schizophrenic episodes
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) episodes
  • Negative emotional states
  • Irritability
  • Perception changes

Xanax Withdrawal Timeline

The xanax withdrawal timeline begins the moment an individual who has been misusing the drug stops using suddenly, and does not use again. The withdrawal from xanax timeline begins as early as 24 hours after the individual’s last dose. But, how long does xanax withdrawal last after the initial onset? The xanax withdrawal timeline begins 24 hours after an individual’s last dose, and can last anywhere from a few days or weeks to a few months. Withdrawal symptoms may vary in type and severity, but typically come in waves. A typical xanax withdrawal timeline will look something like this:

  • Withdrawal onset: Begins 24 hours after last use of xanax.
  • Acute of early withdrawal symptoms occur: 24 hours after last use, lasting anywhere from 5 to 28 days.
  • Intermediate withdrawal: Occurs around day 5 and tapers symptoms off to around day 28.
  • Protracted withdrawal: Is very rare in its occurrence, but when it does happen it can make varying withdrawal symptoms of varying intensities last anywhere from 6 to 12 months after an individual’s last use.

It is important to note that although many xanax withdrawal symptoms are known, their varying intensities and time of appearance vary largely on a person to person record. Some clients who undergo xanax withdrawal will experience every single symptom at a high intensity, some will only experience a few, and some may experience symptoms at a much lighter severity than others. Ultimately xanax withdrawal symptoms often subside within a few weeks, but can last up to a year in some cases, due to individual biological and use factors for every client. Factors that may influence the xanax withdrawal timeline include:

  • Genetics
  • Duration of xanax use (from start to finish)
  • Dosage amount(s)
  • Taking other drugs at the same time as xanax
  • Prescription misuse
  • Using xanax without a prescription
  • Having a underlying health condition
  • Height
  • Weight
  • General health
  • Diet
  • Self care
  • Gender

How Long Does Xanax Withdrawal Insomnia Last?

In xanax withdrawal, symptoms that disturb or influence the sleep cycle are quite common. But with a plethora of withdrawal symptoms, and sleep disruptions among them, some individuals may be curious about specific sleep effects and how long they may last. For instance, how long does xanax withdrawal insomnia last?

Xanax withdrawal induced insomnia, like other xanax withdrawal symptoms, is unpredictable in nature. Typically xanax withdrawal symptoms can begin as early as 24 hours after a clients last dose, with the most severe effects following closely behind. These severe effects normally last anywhere from 5 to 28 days, but can wax and wane in their appearance and severity over a few months.

So, no one knows for sure how long xanax withdrawal induced insomnia on its own, but depending on the individual, the sleep disturbance can last anywhere from a few days to a few months before dissipating.

Xanax Withdrawal Seizure Timeline

Xanax withdrawal has been associated with many different withdrawal effects. While some have used xanax to help manage their epilepsy, those who misuse the drug and then must undergo withdrawal may find themselves experiencing seizures as a result. But seizures are new to the xanax withdrawal symptom lineup.

In earlier years seizures were not associated with xanax withdrawal in the slightest, but a study conducted in 1979 to 1985 showed that the occurrence of seemingly “random” epeleptic episodes could be traced back to the use and abuse of benzodiazepines. Upon further study, no direct correlation could be made between long-term use of xanax and seizures, or even the dosage of xanax in relation to epilepsy. Researchers did find that use of several different types of benzodiazepine were used in cases where seizures were reported. Otherwise, the xanax withdrawal length of time associated with the xanax withdrawal seizure timeline reported that seizures could occur shortly after the last dose of xanax.

Altogether, in order for seizures to occur within the xanax withdrawal timeline, several factors must occur to onset this symptom, with each set of factors varying from one client to the next. Individuals who use several types of benzodiazepine and use the medication / drug to help alleviate seizures are at higher risk than others, but it is not impossible for other users to also experience seizures as a result of their withdrawal. Epeleptic episodes can occur at any time within the xanax withdrawal seizure timeline, but are more likely to occur within the first few days of acute withdrawal.

Factors Affecting Duration of Withdrawal

There are many factors that can contribute to xanax withdrawal and xanax withdrawal duration. Just like addiction can be traced back to genetics and a person’s physical make up as a chronic disease that affects the brain, xanax withdrawal can also have influence factors that affect its timeline and the severity of its effects.

The xanax withdrawal timeline is very dependent on individual cases, one person may have an easier time with the process, and another may be experiencing symptoms up to a year after their last dose. Just like drug addiction, xanax withdrawal can be influenced greatly by individual factors. Common factors that can influence the xanax withdrawal timeline and duration include:

  • Length of xanax use
  • Dosage (however big or small)
  • Gender
  • Weight
  • Height
  • History of withdrawal
  • History of drug use
  • Whether or not xanax is used in combination with another drug
  • Misuse of prescription
  • Use of xanax without a prescription
  • Any underlying health condition
  • General health
  • Diet
  • Exercise / lifestyle
  • Genetics
  • History of misuse or use in the family tree

How To Detox From Xanax

It is never too late to try and restart your life by quitting misuse of drugs or medications. Addiction recovery is hard, but not impossible and although it may seem unlikely, you can quit drug use at any time. But in order for you to begin your journey towards recovery, you must first admit to yourself, and then others, that you have a problem with substance use, and then seek the help of a medical professional in order to plan your next steps. Once you have completed these initial steps for quitting use / misuse of xanax, detox is your next goal to complete. But, it should be noted that detoxing off xanax should never be done in a non-medical setting.

The risk of experiencing withdrawal symptoms even when tapering off of xanax use is very high. So, it is never recommended for clients to try detoxing off xanax on their own, as severe withdrawal complications can occur that may be life-threatening. If you want to know how to detox from xanax safely, it is in your best interest to contact your doctor before you even begin the withdrawal process. This way, your doctor can help arrange a place or find a facility for you, where you can undergo a medical detox safely, where your xanax detox is monitored closely in order to ensure your safety and comfort. Once you complete detoxing off xanax, then it is time to move into treatment.

Treatment for Xanax Withdrawal

There are many methods of treatment for xanax withdrawal, all of which can be customized to fit an individual and their specific needs throughout the treatment process. Make no mistake, the xanax withdrawal process should be undergone with professional help, and never undertaken alone, but it does not have to mean remaining in a hospital bed until the greatest withdrawal risks have passed. Treatment for xanax withdrawal has many facets and factors, and many faces and phases through which it can be completed, including the following.

Medical Detox

After a clinical assessment has been completed that diagnosis you–or your loved one–with a xanax use disorder, it is time to start treatment. During your clinical assessment, your doctor and medical staff will work hard to determine which treatment avenue is best for you. A medical detox is a very traditional method of undergoing withdrawal and detoxification, where you will likely spend about 2 weeks in a hospital setting, under strict observation, undergoing some form of counselling and medication assisted detox services.

A medically supervised withdrawal often uses both medication and counselling to help individuals with severe drug or alcohol addictions to wean off the substance(s). This kind of detox normally does require you to stay in the hospital for the duration of your treatment, in a specialized detoxification wing, in order for medical staff to observe you, your medication use, symptoms and any reactions you may have to treatment closely.

Normally this type of hospitalized detoxification process is reserved for those who are experiencing severe addiction symptoms, and thus may experience severe withdrawal symptoms as well, in order to better help them in case of an emergency.

Outpatient Detox

Outpatient detox is very similar to a medical detox, where medication assistance and counselling are provided to a client while undergoing the initial stages of withdrawal for addiction recovery. The only big difference between outpatient detox and a medical detox, is that patients do not have to remain on hospital or facility grounds for the duration of their initial withdrawal.

Clients who undergo detox in an outpatient setting must still complete a clinical assessment to begin treatment, but they do not have to spend the 2 weeks in a hospital room once their treatment has begun. Clients who enroll in outpatient detox have the option to travel to the hospital either every day, or every few days (depending on their medical and counselling needs) to participate in treatment sessions and be monitored by their clinical staff, but go home once the appointment is complete and they are given the okay to leave to a medical professional.

Clients who engage in outpatient detox usually have less severe abuse histories, experience less severe withdrawal effects, or have larger support systems and responsibilities at home. As a result, these clients are able to have a more flexible treatment schedule, with sessions–normally 15 min to 2 hours long-offered sporadically throughout the work week, and even sometimes on weekends.

Detoxing At Home

Attempting a xanax detox at home without professional medical help is never advised, due to the nature of the drug, and the withdrawal symptoms and complications that can occur. Typically individuals who are detoxing off xanax are required to taper off the drug slowly over time, whether they are addicted to the substance, or used it only for a short time for medical purposes.

Detoxing off xanax at home is possible under an outpatient detox setting though, where a client can remain at home and come into a hospital or facility setting to receive treatment, and then return home again after their session has been completed.

Dangers of Quitting Cold Turkey

There are many dangers that can be associated with xanax withdrawal. Many of the dangers associated with xanax withdrawal relate back to the symptoms that the withdrawal process can onset. Proper medical management and supervision can highly reduce the risks involved with quitting use of xanax, by tapering off of the drug slowly over time. Withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable, but with the proper management, they can be survived successfully, and lived through with as little discomfort as possible.

But, there are dangers of xanax withdrawal that relate directly to quitting the drug cold turkey. Quitting drug use cold turkey means that a client ceases use of the substance altogether at once, without attempting to taper off the drug over time with lowering dose adjustments. Quitting xanax cold turkey can result in sudden onset of severe withdrawal symptoms, including intense seizures that can result in life-threatening situations and circumstances.

Xanax withdrawal should be undergone with the presence of medical professionals in the case of an emergency. Individuals who attempt to quit the drug cold turkey, often do so without the knowledge of others, further putting themselves at risk for potentially life-threatening situations to arise. Often individuals who attempt to quit xanax cold turkey do so without knowing the dangers of xanax withdrawal, and as a result will neglect to let anyone else know what they are doing, when they are doing it, and thus may not be able to receive help quickly enough in the event a life-threatening circumstance occurring.

Can Xanax Withdrawal Kill You?

So, can xanax withdrawal kill you itself? How bad is xanax withdrawal really? A benzodiazepine withdrawal death is rare, but not impossible. Typically, a medically assisted xanax withdrawal is safe for a client to work through, even in an outpatient setting, if their use of the drug was mild enough, and their withdrawal symptoms are not severe. But, it is possible to die from a xanax withdrawal if you are not cared for in the correct manner, attempt to undergo withdrawal on your own, or quit the drug cold turkey.

Xanax withdrawal can also be extremely dangerous to undergo if it is mixed with other drugs–especially medications that have similar effects to it. The most dangerous xanax withdrawal symptoms that can have life-threatening potential, are the seizures and respiratory distress / sedation that the drugs withdrawal can onset. Again, typically xanax withdrawal–when undergone with the help of a licensed medical professional–is not too dangerous to work through or life-threatening. But, if you choose to try and treat yourself, quit the drug cold turkey, or not listen to the advice of your doctors, there is real potential to onset life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

Our Nearest Xanax Detox Center

St. John’s Recovery Place

1125 N. Summit St.
Crescent City, FL 32112

St. John’s Recovery Place (SJRP) in Crescent City is our Central Florida drug and alcohol rehab center location that provides inpatient services including several medical detox, residential treatment, and aftercare through our Alumni program.