Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms | Timeline & Detox
Common withdrawal symptoms associated with Xanax addiction include anxiety, seizures, paranoia, tremors, and vomiting. The effects can be life-threatening, so treatment for Xanax addiction requires a medical detox using a drug taper.
Xanax works by slowing down the processes in the brain and central nervous system. But when it’s abused, it can be addictive. And, unfortunately, once you become addicted to the drug and/or build up a physical dependence on it, withdrawal symptoms are likely to occur.
Withdrawal can make the process uncomfortable and even potentially life-threatening. This is why quitting “cold turkey” is not recommended and going to a detox center instead can be beneficial.
Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms
When you abuse Xanax long enough that you build up a physical dependence on it, your body gets to a place where it no longer knows how to function properly without the drug.
When you stop use, you may experience moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms that are both physical and psychological.
The most common physical symptoms of Xanax withdrawal can include:
- increased heart rate
- nausea and vomiting
- muscle pain
- muscle spasms
- changes in weight
Some of the most common psychological symptoms of Xanax withdrawal can include:
- panic attacks
- heightened senses (noises seem louder or lights seem brighter)
- psychosis including hallucinations and delusions
- trouble concentrating
Xanax Withdrawal Timeline
While everyone’s withdrawal timeline will differ in one way or another, there are some general guidelines that can tell you what may happen during the different stages of benzodiazepine withdrawal.
6-12 Hours After The Last Dose
This is when you’ll likely begin to feel the beginnings of withdrawal. Typically, headaches, muscle aches, insomnia, and anxiety start to show up at this stage.
This is the most difficult stage of withdrawal where relapse is most common. This is also the time when you’re most likely to have a seizure.
The initial symptoms will likely continue and you may also experience rebound anxiety, panic attacks, cravings, hallucinations, fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, sweating, and tremors.
The severity of symptoms will likely have reduced but you may still be uncomfortable. Anxiety and irritability may still present and gastrointestinal issues may also be a problem. Any headaches and body aches you had should have subsided by this point.
Emotional withdrawal is one of the biggest issues during this stage. Psychological symptoms like anxiety, cravings, and depression can last for months.
When withdrawal lasts for a long period of time, it’s called protracted withdrawal or post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) and can include symptoms like insomnia, anxiety, poor concentration, and depression.
Factors Contributing To Xanax Withdrawal
There are quite a few factors that can determine how long your withdrawal symptoms will last and how intense they will be.
Some of the factors to take into consideration include:
- how long you’ve taken the medication
- amount taken
- if you’ve built up a tolerance to Xanax
- any polysubstance abuse (taking Xanax with alcohol or other drugs like opioids)
- age at first Xanax use
- how Xanax was taken (snorted or taken orally)
- medical history/what other health conditions you may have
- history of addiction or mental health issues
- intensity of anxiety before starting Xanax
Medical detox or detoxification programs address withdrawal symptoms and are the likely beginning of most addiction treatment plans.
Detox programs may include tapering the medication under medical supervision with a qualified healthcare provider.
With tapering, a medical professional decreases the dose of Xanax you take each day until the dose is low enough that you can quit entirely and not experience any (or very few) withdrawal symptoms. This typically takes place over a period of weeks.
Sometimes, the type of medication will be changed before tapering is begun. Because Xanax is a short-acting benzodiazepine, it’s not great for this type of treatment.
A longer-acting benzo like chlordiazepoxide, clonazepam, or diazepam (Valium) can help with stability and generally make the process a little bit easier. Once you’re on that long-acting medication, then the gradual reduction in dosage can begin.
Other Detox Services
If any withdrawal symptoms occur during a detox program, healthcare professionals may provide medication to treat those symptoms
Ideally, this type of detox will also be partnered with therapy or some type of counseling to ensure that the mind is treated along with the body. Xanax addiction treatment is likely to follow in an inpatient or outpatient setting.
Addiction Treatment In Ohio
If you or a loved one are looking for substance abuse treatment, Ohio Recovery Center offers a range of treatment options including detox, inpatient care, and aftercare services. To learn more, please contact us today
- Australian Prescriber https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4657308/
- Journal of Addiction Medicine https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5846112/
- National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder https://www.pbm.va.gov/PBM/AcademicDetailingService/Documents/Academic_Detailing_Educational_Material_Catalog/59_PTSD_NCPTSD_Provider_Helping_Patients_Taper_BZD.pdf
- National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a684001.html
- Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior https://www.semel.ucla.edu/dual-diagnosis-program/News_and_Resources/PAWS