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Medically Reviewed

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, and Detox

- 5 sections

Medically Reviewed: April 14, 2020

Medical Reviewer

Sahil Talwar, PA-C, MBA


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Xanax, the brand name for alprazolam, is a popular benzodiazepine that is prescribed to treat anxiety disorders. It is a central nervous system depressant that some people abuse for its relaxing effects. In addition to the drug’s sedative effects, it increases GABA and dopamine in the brain which controls the reward pathways.[1] As a result, Xanax is highly addictive when abused. Once someone becomes addicted to this drug, they will experience Xanax withdrawal and can benefit from going to detox.

Xanax withdrawal is particularly difficult due to the rebound effect. Since the drug suppresses the central nervous system, it slows down blood pressure and heart rate while reducing panic, stress, and anxiety. However, when someone is physically addicted and they stop taking the drug, all of these symptoms increase and are difficult to cope with. Xanax detox centers can help ease the physical withdrawal symptoms, making getting sober a lot easier.


Xanax Addiction and Dependence

When taken in high doses, a person can develop a physical dependence on Xanax in as little as one month. While Xanax increases the amount of GABA in the brain, studies found that over time, the brain actually stops producing GABA on its own. When this happens a person is dependent on Xanax and may experience withdrawal symptoms when he or she stops taking it. Unfortunately, dependence may occur even in cases where a patient takes the medication as prescribed, which is why it’s important to taper off of the drug under the supervision of a medical professional.[2]

Although it’s possible to be dependent on Xanax when taking it for medical purposes, it’s far more likely to experience withdrawals if you are addicted to the drug. If you’re addicted, you may take higher doses than prescribed, go doctor shopping, buy the drug illegally, and compulsively seek more and more Xanax. These individuals are more likely to experience severe Xanax withdrawal symptoms and should seek help from a drug detox near them.

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms and Timeline

Xanax withdrawal is different for everyone and this depends on several different factors. For example, a person who takes a higher dose and has been taking the drug for two years will have more severe withdrawal symptoms than someone who takes a lower dose and has been taking the drug for six months. The dose, method of ingestion, age, genetics, length of addiction, health status, and the use of other substances all play a role in how severe and how long a person’s Xanax detox lasts.

Withdrawal Timeline

Xanax is a short-acting benzodiazepine and withdrawal symptoms typically begin 6-8 hours after the last dose wears off. You can expect to experience the most severe symptoms 36-48 hours after your last dose and these typically subside after 4-6 days. Unfortunately, benzodiazepines have some of the longest withdrawal timelines, as post-acute withdrawals can last for weeks or even months. Even though post-acute withdrawals aren’t severe, they can provoke psychological cravings that drive people back to the drug.[3] It takes a while for the brain to bounce back and reach stability after getting sober from benzodiazepines. As a result, it’s equally important to learn how to manage your symptoms during detox and continue addressing them in a treatment program.

xanax withdrawal timeline

xanax withdrawal symptoms


How Xanax Detox Can Help

Instead of trying to stop on your own, you should seek help from a Xanax detox. Nobody should ever stop taking this drug suddenly if they have been taking it for an extended period of time. In fact, stopping “cold turkey” or without professional help increases the possibility of dangerous side effects and life-threatening complications. Consequently, benzodiazepine withdrawal is best treated at a professional Xanax detox facility.

Detox centers provide counseling, support, monitoring, and supervision in a controlled and trusted environment. Medical personnel not only help patients manage their Xanax withdrawal symptoms but are ready to intervene in the event of a serious complication.

When it comes to Xanax detox, the best approach is to slowly taper patients off of benzodiazepines over time. This prevents the more severe withdrawal symptoms from occurring. In some cases, doctors prescribe a longer-acting benzodiazepine, such as Valium, instead of Xanax. This allows a small concentration of benzos to remain in the bloodstream, helping control withdrawal symptoms and cravings until the individual is weaned off of substances completely. Other medications that may be used during Xanax detox include beta-blockers and antidepressants.

Find a Xanax Detox in North Carolina

The safest and best way to detox from Xanax is to find a Xanax detox in North Carolina that offers dose tapering and psychological support. Our family-owned and operated drug and alcohol detox offer just that. Our leading clinical team and addiction specialists provide top-notch addiction treatment and detoxification services. If you’re ready to get sober and stay sober, contact us for the help you deserve.