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