Alprazolam is a widely used anti-anxiety medication better known by the brand name Xanax. It is a short-acting drug, which means the effects are only felt for a short amount of time. This can lead to misuse and overuse, requiring the support of a prescription drug addiction treatment program.
Xanax is a highly addictive drug. Physical dependence can begin to develop in as little as four weeks. Lower doses or stopping all use can cause painful and even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
If you or a loved one needs help stopping Xanax or other prescription drug misuse, call the compassionate professionals at A Better State at 781.412.1488.
Xanax Withdrawal Timeline: What to Expect
It’s estimated that at least one-third of those who use Xanax experience withdrawal symptoms when they reduce or stop dosage. Symptoms can be mild to severe. In rare cases, withdrawal from Xanax can cause fatal seizures. For that reason, it is never recommended to quit “cold turkey,”, especially without medical supervision.
Because the drug is short-acting, withdrawal symptoms can begin in as little as a few hours after the last dose. The desire to avoid the discomfort of withdrawal drives many people to continue use for a longer time, ultimately making their physical dependence worse.
How Long Does Xanax Withdrawal Last and What Are the Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms?
The Xanax withdrawal symptoms are numerous and include:
- Flu-like symptoms (sweating, body aches, fatigue, and chills)
- Tingling in the arms and legs
- Loss of appetite
- Inability to focus
- Nausea and vomiting
- Mental fog
- Increased heart rate
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Weight loss
- Altered sense of smell
- Mood swings
- Auditory and visual hallucinations
- Suicidal thoughts
How long does Xanax withdrawal last? There is no definitive answer because the process is different for everyone.
Several factors affect an individual’s withdrawal experience. The severity and length of dependence, general health, and how many times the person has attempted detox in the past are all contributors. However, you can expect the most serious symptoms to occur within the first few days after the last dose.
Phases of the Xanax Withdrawal Timeline
The process of Xanax withdrawal is typically viewed as having two phases: acute and protracted.
The acute phase can begin within 24 hours after the last dose and last a few days or weeks. For the majority of patients, physical symptoms peak around day three. Cravings, anxiety, and other psychological symptoms may continue for up to four weeks.
Symptoms can continue to flare in wavelike intervals for several months after detox. Episodes of cravings, depression, and foggy thinking are common. During the protracted withdrawal stage, symptoms resolve and reappear and may be triggered by stress or certain activities.
Treatment for Xanax Withdrawal
Deciding to seek treatment for Xanax dependence takes courage. It shouldn’t also require physical or mental suffering. A medically supervised detox program helps people through the detox period safely and comfortably.
When you’re ready to stop taking Xanax, your doctor may recommend a tapering schedule to help you wean off the drug over several weeks or months. Tapering off may not completely prevent symptoms, but it will reduce their severity and prevent life-threatening symptoms.
Turn to A Better State for Safe Xanax Withdrawal
At A Better State, we understand that your concerns about withdrawal are real. It can be a physically and emotionally draining experience.
We support our patients through every phase of addiction recovery. Our goal is to make withdrawal as comfortable as possible so you can focus on the treatments that will help you recover from addiction for the long term. For more information about our Xanax withdrawal program and other services, call A Better State at 781.412.1488.