Xanax is an anti-anxiety drug in the benzodiazepine category. It is the brand name for alprazolam. It is the most commonly prescribed psychiatric drug in the U.S.

Benzodiazepines, or benzos for short, act on the central nervous system and brain to produce calm. They slow down the movement of brain chemicals that are unbalanced, which results in reducing nervous tension and anxiety. It boosts the

effects of the natural chemical made in the brain called gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it for use in 1981.

Drugs.com states that one dose of Xanax can last anywhere from 31 hours to more than five and-a-half days in the body, depending on specific individual factors.

These factors are:

  • Age: The drugs last longer in older people than younger people. The half-life in an older person is 16.3 hours on average. For a younger person, the half-life is 11.2 hours.
  • Weight: Xanax lasts longer in heavier people because obesity makes it harder for your body to break down the drug.
  • Ethnicity: The average half-life for a Caucasian person is about 11 hours. It lasts longer in Asian people.
  • Metabolism: Someone who exercises a lot will have a faster metabolism and will process Xanax out of the body faster.
  • Liver function: A healthier liver can process Xanax faster than a diseased one.
  • Dosage: The larger the dose taken, the longer it will take to clear the body.
  • Amount of time taking Xanax: The longer someone is on Xanax, the higher concentration of the drug is in their system.
  • Medications taken with Xanax: Xanax takes longer to clear the body when other medications are taken with it. Oral contraceptives are one. On the other hand, some medications, including herbal supplements, might decrease the half-life.
  • Smoking: Smoking can decrease the half-life of Xanax up to 50 percent.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol not only dangerously increases the effects of Xanax, but
    increases its half-life.


How is Xanax Detected on Drug Tests?

It is natural to want to know how long Xanax will show up on drug tests.  Below are general timelines to be aware of:

  • Urine: Up to four days and for some people up to a week
  • Blood: Up to 24 hours
  • Saliva: Up to 2.5 days
  • Hair: Starting in two to three weeks after a dose and up to 90 days

It is always smart to include Xanax and any other medications you are taking on patient forms before you take any medical tests. Doing so can lessen any unfavorable outcomes from drug interactions, possible employers, or current employers.

Withdrawal Effects From Xanax

Never stop taking Xanax abruptly. The safest way to stop taking it is slowly tapering down the dose. Quitting suddenly can result in experiencing withdrawal symptoms, some of which are dangerous.As reported to Medical News Today, stopping the use of Xanax can produce the following symptoms:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Depression
  • Abnormal involuntary movement
  • Sweating
  • Blurred vision
  • Racing heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • Decreased appetite
  • Irritability
  • Weakness
  • Decreased salivation
  • Cognitive disorder
  • Memory impairment
  • Confusion
  • Muscle tone disorders
  • Muscular twitching
  • Iimpaired coordination

Xanax Abuse Stats

Xanax is often abused for its fast-acting “high” and the relaxed feeling it produces by people using it without a prescription.

As noted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration(SAMHSA) in 2011, more than 1 million emergency room visits were related to the nonmedical use of prescription drugs; Xanax counted as 10 percent of those. From 2005-2010, the number of Xanax-related emergency room visits doubled from more than 57,000 to more almost 125,000.

If you or someone you know is using Xanax without a prescription regularly, this constitutes substance abuse. This can progress to one having an addiction to Xanax. Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain characterized by “compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences.

People with addiction (severe substance use disorder) have an intense focus on using a certain substance(s), such as alcohol or drugs, to the point where it takes over their lives. Find help for Xanax addiction as soon as possible, and start anew living a drug-free life.

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