Xanax, the brand name for alprazolam, is a popularly prescribed benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety, panic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and insomnia.

Xanax acts as a central nervous system depressant, binding to your brain’s GABA receptors and enhancing the neurotransmitters’ sedative effects.

This causes feelings of drowsiness, calmness, and relaxation.

Why Is Xanax So Addictive?

Despite its benefits for people suffering from anxiety and panic disorders, Xanax is not recommended for prolonged use.

Even if taken as prescribed, your body can quickly become dependent on the drug. Other reasons for Xanax use include1:

  • Taking large doses for a sedative high
  • Easing the symptoms of a stimulant (cocaine or meth) crash
  • To self-medicate the symptoms of a mental illness

Quitting Xanax cold turkey or significantly reducing your dose could send your body into withdrawal.

What Is Xanax Withdrawal?

Xanax withdrawal occurs once your body has become tolerant to or dependent on the drug. In most cases, GABA neurotransmitters no longer affect your body without the enhancing action of the drug, and you find yourself unable to function normally without a regular dose.

Addiction or dependence on Xanax can cause a variety of negative effects on your mental health and relationships, including:

  • Job loss
  • Lying to or stealing from loved ones
  • Possible memory loss

The effects of Xanax withdrawal are intensely uncomfortable.

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

Woman Withdrawaling from Xanax

Xanax withdrawal typically begins around six hours after your last dose. The intensity of these symptoms should peak after two days and gradually taper down and dissipate around the fifth day.

The most common Xanax withdrawal symptoms include2:

  • Anxiety
  • Cravings for the drug
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Muscle pain
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Blurred vision
  • Light and sound sensitivity

Although most of the symptoms will dissipate around day five, the psychological effects may still impact your body and mind up to two weeks after your last dose.

Xanax Treatment Options and Procedures

Xanax is a short-acting drug with a half-life of 11 hours. This makes quitting cold turkey or tapering your use on your own challenging and dangerous as you’re going over a rapid repetition of lows and highs.

Xanax is also a significant overdose risk, especially when used alongside other substances like opioids or alcohol.

Why Experts Recommend Medical Withdrawal

Due to the complex nature of Xanax withdrawal, your doctor or healthcare advisor will most likely recommend you undergo a medically supervised detox at a Xanax rehab.

Detoxing from Xanax under medical care can improve your recovery chances, help you simultaneously detox from drugs other than Xanax, and provide you with the best chance at entering long-term treatment programs and maintaining your sobriety.

If your withdrawal symptoms become severe during your Xanax detox, staff at the rehab may prescribe you Xanax withdrawal drugs like the long-working Xanax alternative, diazepam, which alleviates withdrawal symptoms and makes the tapering process easier.3  

Are you or a loved one suffering from withdrawal? Our team can help. Call our helpline today at (833) 489-5577 to get the assistance you need.


  1. https://www.withdrawal.net/benzodiazepine/xanax/
  2. https://americanaddictioncenters.org/withdrawal-timelines-treatments/xanax
  3. https://www.verywellmind.com/xanax-withdrawal-4685921

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