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Xanax Withdrawal and Treatment

What Is Xanax?

Xanax is the brand name for the alprazolam, a prescription benzodiazepine (or “benzo”) used to treat anxiety and panic disorders.1 It is the most widely prescribed benzo.12 Alprazolam and other benzodiazepines can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal, even when used as directed.1 Dependence is when your body gets used to a substance so that you will have withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly reduce or stop your dose.10 Dependence isn’t the same thing as addiction, but it often goes along with it.10

Clinical trials have shown benzodiazepines to be very effective for about 2 to 4 weeks.13 But many doctors prescribe them more often and for much longer periods.13 This long-term use further increases your risk of dependence and addiction, even when you take the benzos how your doctor told you.13

Benzodiazepines are also the most widely used in unhealthy ways.12 It’s common for people to misuse alprazolam with other drugs of abuse.14 Opioids and alcohol are most often the main drugs of choice—around 1 in 5 people who abuse alcohol also misuse benzos.14 Combining Xanax with alcohol, opioids, or other benzos is dangerous and increases your risk of overdose, as these substances work together to enhance sedation (drowsiness) and respiratory depression (slowed breathing).14

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

Acute withdrawal symptoms of Xanax and other benzos may include:1,5,11

  • Nausea.
  • Headache.
  • Hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that aren’t there).
  • Sweating.
  • Sleep troubles (insomnia).
  • Feeling irritable.
  • Tremors (shakiness).
  • Fast heart rate.
  • Seizures.

Stressed woman getting help from doctorWhen you stop using Xanax, the symptoms you originally took the drug for may also return.4 For example, if you took Xanax for insomnia, you may have insomnia again, and if you took it for anxiety, you may have anxiety again. These are called rebound symptoms.4 Rebound symptoms may be worse than your original symptoms and can last up to a few weeks.4

Xanax Withdrawal Timeline

In general, Xanax withdrawal symptoms can begin 6 to 8 hours after your last dose and may last for about a week.11 But this can vary depending on:9,11

  • How much you take.
  • How long you’ve been taking it.
  • If you have other physical or mental health problems.
  • If you use other substances.

Using benzos like Xanax with other substances, especially other benzos, opioids, or alcohol, can be very dangerous and even fatal without the right medical care.9

Can you Die from Xanax Withdrawal?

While death from the withdrawal of Xanax and other benzos is rare, some withdrawal symptoms can be serious and need prompt medical care.9 Alprazolam also tends to have more severe withdrawal symptoms than other benzodiazepines.7 Possibly dangerous withdrawal symptoms include:7

  • Fast heart rate (tachycardia).
  • Delirium (sudden, severe confusion).
  • Psychosis (not being able to tell what is and isn’t real).
  • Suicidal thoughts.
  • Seizures.

How to Quit Xanax Safely

Before trying to quit Xanax on your own, talk to your doctor. Your doctor can assess your withdrawal risks, help decide the right level of care to fit your recovery needs, and create a tapering plan. Tapering means taking smaller doses of a drug over time before stopping for good. Tapering can help reduce your risk of having withdrawal symptoms.7

As mentioned, Xanax withdrawal can be dangerous, especially if you take high doses or use other substances.9 Seizures and other severe symptoms can happen with no warning and need prompt medical care.9

Treatment for Xanax Addiction

Inpatient medical detox can help you manage withdrawal symptoms while keeping you as comfortable and safe as possible.9 During detox, clinic staff check your progress and may give you prescription medicines to help ease symptoms. They will also create a tapering plan for you, which may include switching to a longer-acting benzo with a lower risk of misuse.9,10

Other treatment options include:9,10

No matter which treatment setting you choose, your treatment will likely include some combination of behavioral therapy, peer support groups, and prescription treatment medicines.

How to Find Xanax Detox Near Me

You don’t have to go through alprazolam withdrawal alone. Professional medical detox can help you manage symptoms and keep you safe and comfortable. American Addiction Centers (AAC) is one of the leading providers of addiction treatment providing treatment at detox centers across the nation. If you or someone you know is addicted to Xanax or other benzodiazepines, call our confidential detox hotline at to learn more about your treatment options. You can also sign up for text support available 24/7 for free.

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