Xanax Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline, & Treatment

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Xanax, a type of benzodiazepine, is commonly prescribed to treat conditions like panic disorders, anxiety disorders, or sleep disorders. It works by slowing down brain activity, resulting in a calmer and more sedated feeling. This effect makes Xanax popular for recreational use, often in combination with stimulant drugs. That said, taking Xanax can lead to challenges in stopping its use, as it can cause dependence and addiction, with withdrawal symptoms occurring if the drug is discontinued.

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

When someone becomes physically dependent on a benzo like Xanax, their body adapts to its presence to function normally. Stopping the drug leads to withdrawal symptoms, which vary but often follow a similar timeline in terms of presentation and duration. Higher doses or longer-term use of Xanax typically result in stronger dependence, making it harder to stop and triggering more intense withdrawal symptoms. Continuing Xanax use despite adverse effects can lead to addiction.

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Xanax withdrawals begin as the medication is metabolized and eliminated from the body. The drug’s concentration peaks in the blood about one to two hours after taking it, and its average half-life in healthy adults is around 11 hours. Withdrawal from Xanax begins as the drug level decreases, with extended-release forms delaying the onset. The duration of withdrawal varies but usually spans a few weeks.

Physical symptoms of Xanax withdrawal can include:

  • Digestive issues
  • Headaches
  • Menstrual changes in women
  • Heart palpitations
  • Muscle spasms
  • Muscle soreness
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Nausea
  • Weight changes

In some cases, life-threatening Xanax withdrawal seizure may occur.

Psychological symptoms are also common, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Heightened sensory perception
  • Nervousness
  • Paranoia
A man looks off to the distance, representing Xanax withdrawal symptoms

Xanax Withdrawal Timeline

How long is Xanax withdrawal, then? Although everyone experiences benzo withdrawal differently, it normallyl follows a similar pattern.

  • Within the first 6 to 12 hours: Initially, Xanax withdrawal symptoms are physical in presentation as the short-acting benzo, is eliminated from the body. Symptoms manifest quickly due to the short-acting nature of the medication.
  • During the first four days: Further symptoms present in the following 48 hours. Common withdrawal effects can mimic flu symptoms – sweating, muscle aches, and loss of appetite, for instance. Other symptoms may include blurred vision, headaches, shaking, and gastrointestinal issues. Seizures are a particularly serious risk during the first three days of detox, and they can occur in those tapering off the drug or stopping suddenly, regardless of dosage.
  • From day 5 to 14: This period typically involves the continuation of acute withdrawal symptoms, including both physical and mental effects such as sensitivity to sensory input, sleep disturbances, concentration difficulties, irritability, depression, anxiety, and depression. The risk of seizures decreases during this phase, and the intensity and frequency of symptoms often start to diminish.
  • Up to a month: The withdrawal symptoms usually last two to four weeks, with physical symptoms subsiding first. However, mood disturbances and sleep issues may persist longer.
  • Beyond one month: Particularly in those prescribed Xanax for panic disorder or insomnia, there can be a resurgence of the original symptoms, sometimes more intensely. Panic attacks might become more frequent or severe. These ongoing rebound symptoms may linger for months.

Treatment for Xanax Withdrawal

Attempting to detox from Xanax on your own, often known as cold turkey, can be unsafe. A safer approach is to detox at home under a doctor’s supervision or undergo medical detox in a rehab facility.

Home detox is more typical for those who have been prescribed Xanax and need to stop the medication for some reason. Dependence on Xanax doesn’t necessarily mean addiction, and these individuals can benefit from a doctor gradually reducing their dosage without needing full addiction treatment.

For those with a substance use disorder, medical detox in a rehab facility is the safest choice. This option not only supports a safe withdrawal process but also offers a pathway into addiction treatment if needed.

Medications may be used during Xanax withdrawal to ease symptoms, including those for nausea, mood disturbances, seizures, tremors, and nightmares. The specific medications and duration of treatment will depend on individual needs, and those with co-occurring mental health issues may require additional care.

To help with withdrawal, staying hydrated is essential, especially as symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration. Other helpful strategies include meditation to reduce anxiety and depression, counseling to navigate emotions, exercise to combat lethargy and release endorphins, and seeking dark, quiet spaces to manage hypersensitivity to light and sound. These methods are preferred before resorting to medications, which should be taken only as prescribed.

Xanax detoxification is a fundamental step in the recovery process but can be dangerous without medical oversight. Rehabilitation centers offer care beyond that which family and friends can provide. Detox is just the beginning of recovery, though. Sobriety involves learning new skills, which can be acquired through individual and family counseling, group therapy, support groups, and other treatments in rehab facilities. These skills are essential for maintaining long-term sobriety and a drug-free life. Call Gratitude Lodge at 949.694.8305 for immediate assistance.

luxury bedroom at california detox representing Xanax withdrawal seizure

Get Treatment for Xanax Withdrawal at California Detox

Although prescription medications are legal, they can also be highly addictive – especially in the case of benzos. If you need help quitting Xanax we can guide you with this at California Detox.

Withdrawal benzos can be aggravating and disruptive. When you engage with our supervised detox program, your withdrawal experience will be streamlined. After addressing dependence on prescription stimulants, you will move into ongoing inpatient treatment at our luxury facility in Laguna Beach, CA.

During residential rehab at California Detox, you will access treatments that may include:

  • Holistic therapies
  • Talk therapies
  • Group therapy
  • Individual counseling
  • Family therapy
  • MAT (medication-assisted treatment)
  • Aftercare and support

Call 949.694.8305 and begin your recovery from Benzo addiction tomorrow.


Xanax withdrawal can include symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, muscle tension, and irritability. The severity of withdrawal is contingent on factors that include dosage and duration of use.
During Xanax withdrawal, people may experience physical and psychological symptoms that can range from mild discomfort to severe pain, including potential seizures in some cases. Xanax withdrawal can be effectively managed with a supervised and tapered reduction in dosage.


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