Xanax Withdrawal

Typically prescribed as a psychiatric medication in the United States to treat anxiety and panic disorders, Xanax is a brain-altering drug that affects the behavior and lifestyle of the person abusing it. It is one of the most abused sedatives because people can easily get addicted. People abuse Xanax to get high or for conditions that were never diagnosed.

It is classified as a benzodiazepine which calms the user and suppresses the central nervous system. Doctors do not prescribe it as a long-term treatment option since it is commonly associated with abuse and addiction potential.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Xanax is one of the most abused prescription sedatives among people ages 12 and older and the eleventh most prescribed drug in the United States.



The possibilities of getting addicted to Xanax are much higher once one has developed a tolerance to it. Regular, long-term abuse of Xanax can cause serious damage to the lungs and heart and can cause mental confusion.

As a sedative, Xanax increases the amount of a neurotransmitter called GABA in the brain which results in a calming effect on brain activity, which makes an individual feel relaxed, drowsy or sedated. Over time, this abuse creates a reward cycle. One may be dependent on the drug to create increased feelings of calmness and tranquility even though there is no prescribed need for it.

What Are the Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms?

Xanax withdrawal differs from that of many other drugs because the withdrawal symptoms are both physical and psychological and affect one’s mental health.

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sleep disturbances and insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Problems with concentration and paying attention
  • Problems with memory
  • Muscle aches and muscle tension
  • Tremors
  • Seizures

The severity and length of these symptoms depend on how long someone has been abusing Xanax, how much of it is taken, and if the drug is being taken with any other drugs or alcohol.

What Are the Stages in the Xanax Withdrawal Timeline?

Over a period of time, removing the drug from the body can cause severe withdrawal symptoms. Below is a general idea of the Xanax withdrawal timeline and symptoms one can expect:

First Four Days

Withdrawal symptoms can cause a great deal of discomfort and are even dangerous. These symptoms will usually peak between three to four days. There is a possibility of developing seizures during this tenuous period, and it is highly recommended to stay under the supervision of a physician. Twenty-four-hour medical care is crucial if one has taken Xanax for a prolonged period of time.


Expect the possibility of the following withdrawal symptoms:

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


After the last dose, symptoms can last several weeks or longer depending on any of the following:

  • The frequency in which someone had been abusing Xanax
  • The dosage a person regularly used
  • Whether any other substances were being used simultaneously
  • Other mental or physical health conditions

Up to Four Weeks

Depending on the severity of one’s addiction, these symptoms listed above can continue for up to four weeks and possibly longer. One may experience the following symptoms for four weeks or more including the following including additional symptoms of Xanax:

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

Typically, after thirty days when there are no more remaining traces of Xanax in the system, one should begin feeling better. However, there may be tendencies for anxiety and panic disorder.

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms – Post Four Week Period

While symptoms have most likely worn off during the four-week period,  the psychological symptoms of Xanax may have lingered and can continue lingering for months. Someone with a strong addiction to Xanax will need a plan for therapy to work through the recovery process. The first part of any recovery from prescription drugs, such as Xanax, is medical detox.

Why Should I Detox?

Quitting Xanax cold turkey can be quite deadly. Some patients may enter a coma from Xanax withdrawal when they suddenly stop taking it. Medical detox will help restabilize the neurochemical levels in one’s central nervous system. A medical team oversees the tapering off of the drug to ensure a safer detox than going it alone. The first step toward recovery is the most powerful and life-changing step a Xanax abuser can take. It optimizes the recovery and rehabilitation process by helping the user increase his chances of remaining abstinent from Xanax.

What Is the Next Treatment Step?

Ongoing addiction treatment after the Xanax detox period is crucial to one’s recovery. A professional detox program offered at Arete Recovery is also part of the treatment offered at inpatient treatment centers, partial hospitalization programs, and outpatient programs. A recovery program that includes group and individual therapy can reduce the risk of relapse and help individuals better manage their drug cravings for the long-term.  Any treatment program will be tailored to maximize one’s chances for a full recovery. All of these steps are essential for long-term recovery from Xanax.

Additional treatments for recovery support to help an individual manage the symptoms that can potentially lead to relapse include:

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  • Individual or group Cognitive Behavioral Therapy sessions
  • Family or interpersonal therapy
  • Peer support groups like the 12 Step Program
  • Exercise and nutritional support

Start Your Journey to Recovery Today

If you or a loved one is struggling to stay hopeful while dealing with a Xanax addiction, know that you are not alone. We want to give you that hope! The caring, trained medical staff at Arete Recovery, your medical detox, and residential treatment center, want to help you get through successfully every stage of your recovery journey from detox all the way to our outpatient program.

Call (855) 781-9939 now to speak with one of our addiction specialists for more information.