Guide to Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

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By: Renaissance Recovery

Medically Reviewed by: Diana Vo, LMFT

Last Updated: 7/1/2021

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Authored By: Joe Gilmore

Table of Contents

Xanax is a brand name for a sedative medication, alprazolam. Doctors prescribe this medication to manage anxiety and panic disorders associated with depression. For patients struggling with intense anxiety and high levels of panic, this drug can be helpful, but it can also be highly addictive. As a result, if you have been on the medication and quit taking it, you may experience some Xanax withdrawal symptoms.

The good news is that you can eliminate or avoid the withdrawal symptoms by enrolling in a proven-effective Xanax detox program in California. Contact Renaissance Recovery at [Direct] to learn about your drug detox treatment options today.

Phases of Xanax Withdrawal

When you stop taking Xanax, withdrawal occurs over three possible phases. While most people will experience the first two of these phases, not everyone suffers from protracted Xanax withdrawal.

These phases are as follows:

  1. Immediate withdrawal
  2. Acute withdrawal
  3. Protracted withdrawal

1) Immediate withdrawal

The immediate Xanax withdrawal symptoms are often called rebound symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms are named for the way they mirror the same symptoms the drug was treating, anxiety for instance.

Early withdrawal symptoms begin within hours of the last Xanax dose. Withdrawal occurs so quickly because Xanax is a short-acting benzodiazepine.

The employment of drug substitution or drug tapering can help soothe some of the more aggressive early Xanax withdrawal symptoms.

2) Acute withdrawal

Acute Xanax withdrawal begins immediately following the above phase, with symptoms lasting from a few days to a week.

In some cases, acute withdrawal lingers for months.

Close medical monitoring is advisable during this challenging phase of benzo withdrawal.

3) Protracted withdrawal

In most cases, symptoms will fade once acute withdrawal is complete.

The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology estimates that between 10% and 25% of those using benzos will experience withdrawal lasting for a year or more.

The symptoms of protracted benzo withdrawal include:

  • Depression
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Acute anxiety
  • Lowered libido
  • Impaired focus

These post-acute Xanax withdrawal symptoms can seriously disrupt your overall quality of life and become quite distressing.

An image of a person experiencing xanax withdrawal symptoms

Xanax Withdrawal Timeline

The timeline of Xanax withdrawal symptoms, as well as the severity of those symptoms, depends on the following variables:

  • How long you have using Xanax
  • Your Xanax dosage
  • Whether or not you have been misusing a prescription
  • Whether you have been using Xanax without a prescription, or using someone else’s prescription
  • If you are abusing alcohol or any other substances
  • Any underlying health conditions

6 to 12 hours after last use

The short half-life of Xanax means the effects wear off and withdrawal can commence after as little as 6 hours.

With Xanax leaving your body, you can expect to experience irritability and anxiety that often becomes more pronounced throughout the withdrawal process.

Days 1 to 4 of Xanax withdrawal

Xanax withdrawal symptoms are most intense during the first few days.

During this phase of withdrawal, insomnia and rebound symptoms of anxiety peak. You can also expect to encounter common side effects like sweating, shaking, and muscle pain.

After the fourth day, most symptoms start subsiding.

Days 7 to 14 of Xanax withdrawal

Although Xanax withdrawal symptoms can last for up to two weeks – sometimes more as outlined above – in most cases, symptoms fade after a week.

The worst phase of withdrawal is complete, and the severity of any lingering symptoms should reduce in intensity.

Day 15 of Xanax withdrawal onwards

If you have any persistent symptoms by this stage of Xanax withdrawal, they should be mild and manageable.

How Long Does Xanax Withdrawal Last?

While rapid benzo detox is possible, Xanax withdrawal normally unfolds over the time frame above.

Withdrawal should always take place with close medical liaison. You should not underestimate the ability of Xanax to trigger serious adverse outcomes, potentially even fatal.

The usual approach to Xanax withdrawal is to initiate a gradual tapering of dosage. As you very slowly reduce the amount of Xanax you’re taking, sometimes taking a non-benzo substitute, you should find most of the more uncomfortable symptoms of Xanax withdrawal are to some extent alleviated.

Why do People Experience Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms?

At Renaissance Recovery, we provide a structured and supportive environment to go through Xanax detox safely. Visit our prescription drug abuse and addiction center in Orange County, CA for individualized treatment and therapy.

While Xanax is an FDA approved drug, it is not intended for long term use, and in the event of prescription drug abuse, patients can quickly develop dependence and addiction. When it comes to Xanax addiction, quitting the drug may have undesirable effects in the shape of withdrawal symptoms. The dependent person can no longer function or feel normal without the prescription, which causes physiological and psychological pain.

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

Some of the common Xanax withdrawal symptoms you might experience include:

  • Emotional outbursts and irritability
  • Mental fog and inability to carry out simple tasks
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Seizures and suicidal thoughts
  • Sleep disorders
  • Body and muscle soreness/ pains

Let’s delve into the symptoms in detail:

Emotional Outbursts and Irritability

Xanax is a depressant, so it ‘dulls’ the brain’s chemical receptors, slowing down the body functions. After long term use, the brain becomes incapable of calming by itself, thus relying on the drug. Resultantly, you may develop Xanax addiction, and in the absence of the drug, you will deal with a range of difficult emotions as you cannot calm yourself without it. As a result, you may experience irrational rage, hysteria, or awkward responses to social cues.

Mental Fog and Inability to Carry Out Simple Tasks

Xanax creates a state of calm, even when the environment stimulates a fight response. This condition means that you are less present or aware of the environment around you. When there is not enough stimulation from the brain, the body may fail to work correctly. An individual may start experiencing memory loss or inability to perform simple tasks such as writing, walking, or even speaking.

Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Since doctors prescribe the drug to calm anxiety, the absence of it may cause the underlying anxiety to increase overwhelmingly. This condition may then cause the patient to experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, cold sweat, paranoia, impending sense of doom, and rapid heart rate.

Sleep Disorders

When under Xanax medication, you sleep a lot. Unfortunately, it is not a healthy sleep as you will not be able to enter the Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Cycle(REM). During REM sleep, your brain consolidates memories, physical recovery occurs, immunity is rejuvenated, and blood sugars are balanced out. For these functions to occur, the brain needs to spend at least 20% of total sleep during the REM cycle every day.

In the initial stages of quitting the drug, the brain adjusts to the normal sleep cycles. Individuals may experience insomnia or experience intense dreams.

Seizures and Suicidal Thoughts

One of the severe Xanax withdrawal symptoms is experiencing suicidal thoughts. An individual may experience the preoccupation of the thoughts alongside hallucination, seizures, and sometimes even death. If you or someone you know experiencing these symptoms, make sure to consult with your doctor or call the national suicide hotline for immediate assistance.

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Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms and Treatment

Xanax withdrawal can be painful and challenging to face alone, we can help here at Renaissance Recovery. These symptoms may vary in severity, and the symptoms can start a few hours after stopping and may last for a few weeks or months on end. Therefore, it is imperative that you seek medical assistance from a healthcare professional in Orange County, CA, before getting off the drugs.

Ease or avoid the Xanax withdrawal symptoms by seeking professional treatment at Renaissance Recovery. Beyond the Xanax detox program, we offer a wealth of treatment therapies such as:

Don’t let Xanax withdrawal symptoms harm you another day. Call our team today at 866.330.9449 to walk with you or your loved one on the road to Xanax detox.

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