Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, and Detox

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Xanax is the brand name for a prescription benzodiazepine medication called alprazolam. Doctors prescribe it to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and seizures. Xanax slows down activity in the central nervous system and can be effective in managing anxiety symptoms like panic attacks.

While Xanax has legitimate medical uses, it is also known to be habit-forming and addictive. You might abuse it to experience euphoria, drowsiness, and relaxation. Recreational Xanax abuse can be incredibly dangerous, especially if you are taking it in high doses. Approximately 22% of alprazolam overdoses are admitted to the intensive care unit.[1]

People who abuse Xanax regularly may become physically dependent on it. When you have a dependency on Xanax, your brain and body rely on it to function properly. As a result, you will experience withdrawal once you stop taking it. Xanax withdrawal can be life-threatening, causing severe symptoms like seizures.

Typically, withdrawal begins within 12 hours of your last dose and can continue causing symptoms for up to two weeks.

In this article, you will learn:

  • What withdrawal symptoms Xanax causes
  • How long Xanax withdrawal lasts
  • How Xanax withdrawal is treated in a detox program

What are the Symptoms of Xanax Withdrawal?

Benzodiazepine withdrawal can range from mild to life-threatening, often depending on how severe your addiction is. If you have been abusing high doses of Xanax for a long time, you are at a higher risk of developing severe symptoms. However, even if you only abused Xanax for a short time, you should never attempt to quit cold turkey.

The common symptoms of withdrawal include:[2]

  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Shaking or tremors
  • Hyperventilation
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle pains and spasms
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sweating and dehydration
  • General feelings of discomfort
  • Cravings for Xanax
  • Hypersensitivity to light, sound, and touch
  • Psychosis
  • Seizures

The only safe way to detox from Xanax is under medical supervision. Medical detox centers provide access to nurses, doctors, and mental health professionals on a 24/7 basis, ensuring you remain safe and stable throughout the process.

Understanding the Xanax Withdrawal Timeline

The Xanax withdrawal timeline may vary from person to person. Factors like how much Xanax you use, how often, and your overall physical health can play a role in how long you experience symptoms of withdrawal. Most people follow a general timeline.

6 to 12 Hours

Xanax is a short-acting benzodiazepine. Withdrawal symptoms may begin as little as six hours after your last dose. For some, it might take 12 hours to notice the initial symptoms of withdrawal.

During this period, the side effects you experience might be mild. You might notice symptoms like general discomfort, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, and cravings for Xanax.

24 to 72 Hours

Within 24 hours to 72 hours, your withdrawal symptoms will begin to peak and the side effects you are dealing with will be at their most severe. You must be under the medical care of a detox center at this time, as seizures and psychosis could occur.

In addition to life-threatening symptoms like seizures, you could experience muscle spasms, uncontrollable cravings to consume Xanax, severe anxiety, hyperventilation, and more. Thankfully, medical detox programs will administer medications to lessen these symptoms and keep you stable.

1 to 2 Weeks

Around one to two weeks after your last dose of Xanax, your symptoms will subside. If you are still experiencing any symptoms, they are most likely psychological. Side effects like anxiety, depression, or insomnia might linger longer than physical symptoms.

One of the perks of being in a detox program is that your doctor will prescribe medications for any lingering symptoms. For example, if you are still dealing with anxiety, you will be given a non-narcotic anxiety medication to help you cope.

How Does Xanax Detox Work?

When you arrive at a detox center for Xanax withdrawal, you will undergo an in-depth assessment. The medical staff will gather the personal information needed to create an individualized detox plan.

Once your detox plan is created, you will be given medication to control your withdrawal symptoms. Typically, medical detox centers slowly taper you off of benzodiazepines like Xanax. You may be given a long-acting benzodiazepine like diazepam (Valium) and your doctor will slowly reduce the dose over a couple of weeks.

Throughout detox, medical staff will monitor your vital signs to ensure you are stable and healthy. If any problems arise, you will be treated promptly. For example, if you are struggling with dehydration, you will be given IV fluids to keep your body hydrated.

Additionally, you will have constant access to mental health professionals. Whether you struggle with a mental health disorder or simply have psychological withdrawal symptoms to cope with, this can be extremely helpful.

Once you overcome withdrawal, you will transition into an inpatient or outpatient rehab program. During these programs, you will learn how to manage your substance use disorder long-term.

Get Connected to a Highly-Rated Xanax Detox Center

If you or a loved one suffers from Xanax addiction, it’s time to seek help. Medical detox is the first step in recovering from a substance use disorder. At New Jersey Interventions, we can connect you with a top-rated medical detox center that specializes in treating Xanax withdrawal.

Contact us today to get connected with a Xanax detox center near you.


  1. The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Alprazolam is relatively more toxic than other benzodiazepines in overdose
  2. The National Library of Medicine (NLM): The benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome

Medically Reviewed: May 23, 2024

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

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