Xanax, also known as alprazolam, is a prescription medication that belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, or “benzos” for short.
Although commonly prescribed for anxiety, Xanax can be habit-forming and addictive. Getting off Xanax after a period of chronic use or drug abuse will likely require detoxification (detox).
Xanax detox can be an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous process. Do not stop taking Xanax all at once without first seeking medical advice about detox options.
Who Needs Xanax Detox?
Xanax detox may be necessary for anyone who’s taken Xanax regularly for more than one month, as well as those who have frequently misused the drug for non-medical purposes.
Who may benefit from a Xanax detox program:
- people who are physically dependent on Xanax
- people who are addicted to Xanax
- people who’ve taken Xanax in ways other than prescribed
- people who’ve misused Xanax with other drugs (including alcohol)
Xanax is a habit-forming drug. This means you can develop a higher tolerance over time, and that your body can become physically dependent on it.
Stopping Xanax all at once after taking it regularly for more than one month may cause symptoms of withdrawal, also known as withdrawal syndrome.
Find the right detox program today.
Call to be connected with a treatment specialist. 100% Free and Confidential.(844) 616-3400
Xanax Detox Methods
Detoxing from Xanax cold-turkey or through a tapering process can be intense.
This can result in both physical and psychological symptoms of withdrawal that can, in severe cases, become life-threatening.
Due to potential dangers, finding a medical detox program through a detox center or addiction treatment center is highly recommended for people addicted to Xanax.
Medical Detox Programs For Xanax
Medical detox, or medically supervised detox, is the safest option for detoxing from Xanax and other addictive substances.
Medical detox programs can offer:
- 24-hour medical supervision and support
- medical treatment for Xanax withdrawal symptoms
- a drug-free place to safely detox
- a referral for follow-up substance abuse treatment
Medical detox is an acute detox program that provides around-the-clock care. Treatment in this program can help prevent and treat withdrawal during detox.
Outpatient Detox Programs For Xanax
Outpatient detox services may be suitable for people with Xanax dependence who do not have a substance abuse issue.
Outpatient detox may involve gradually weaning off Xanax through a tapering process, in which a doctor will help individuals reduce the amount of Xanax they’re taking.
Outpatient detox is not typically recommended for acute withdrawal from Xanax. This can be dangerous and can be best managed within an acute inpatient detox program.
Can You Detox From Xanax At Home?
Detoxing from benzodiazepines like Xanax, Ativan (lorazepam), and Valium (diazepam) at home, without medical support, is not recommended.
Acute withdrawal after stopping Xanax can be severe. Even a tapering process may cause side effects and physical symptoms that can be challenging to manage at home.
Before making adjustments to your Xanax use, talk to a doctor or consider calling our helpline to get advice on what type of detox method may be best suited to meet your needs.
Signs And Symptoms Of Xanax Detox
Withdrawal symptoms after stopping Xanax, or reducing your dose, can begin within as little as a few hours after taking your last dose.
Symptoms of Xanax detox and withdrawal may include:
- difficulty concentrating
- memory problems
- muscle tension
- dry mouth
- changes in appetite and weight
- difficulty urinating
- joint pain
Symptoms can be mild to severe in nature. The longer you’ve taken Xanax, the more likely you are to experience more intense symptoms.
Severe Side Effects Of Xanax Detox
Some symptoms of Xanax withdrawal can be severe and potentially dangerous. If these effects occur, call a doctor or 9-1-1 for medical advice and assistance.
Severe side effects of Xanax detox include:
- panic attacks
- thoughts of suicide
- shortness of breath
- difficulty speaking
- impaired balance or coordination
- yellowing of the eyes or skin (jaundice)
Some severe withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening if left untreated. They may also be a sign of organ damage or a severe psychological reaction to detoxification.
Dangers Of Xanax Detox
Getting off Xanax after taking it for a long time, or misusing it, can be risky. This can cause severe withdrawal that may last for weeks. Some symptoms may last months.
For this reason, Xanax detox should only be attempted with guidance from a medical professional. Ideally, the acute withdrawal process will take place in a detox program.
Severe physical and psychological reactions to Xanax detox after developing a physical dependence on the drug have been reported.
Xanax Detox And Withdrawal Timeline: How Long Does Xanax Withdrawal Last?
Withdrawal symptoms begin within one to two days of a person’s last dose, and may last two to four weeks or more for benzodiazepine drugs like Xanax.
The exact length of time it takes to detox from Xanax will depend on several factors:
It will take longer to detox if you are tapering off Xanax gradually versus undergoing acute detox in an inpatient detox facility.
Severity Of Dependence
Xanax may take longer to fully leave the body of people who are severely dependent on Xanax compared to those with mild dependence.
Higher doses of Xanax will take longer to wean off of and may stay in the body for longer.
Impaired liver function or liver disease can affect the metabolism of Xanax and its elimination from the body.
Overall Health Status
Poor overall health can influence how long it takes for the body to fully process and eliminate drugs from the body.
Additional factors such as age, duration of Xanax abuse, and the use of other drugs (including alcohol) may also influence how long it takes to detox from Xanax.
Protracted Withdrawal From Xanax
Acute withdrawal refers to the initial detoxification period, which can last two to four weeks with Xanax. However, benzo withdrawal can also have lasting symptoms.
People who have been taking Xanax for months or years may experience what’s known as protracted withdrawal, or post-acute withdrawal syndrome.
This condition can cause some withdrawal symptoms—such as depression, rebound anxiety, insomnia, and cognitive issues—to last up to 24 months after your last use of Xanax.
Treatment For Xanax Detox
Detoxing from Xanax is typically the first step in the process of overcoming Xanax dependence, drug abuse, or drug addiction.
Fully recovering from drug addiction, however, takes more than just detox. Healing from Xanax addiction may require counseling, mental health treatment, and other support services.
After detox, a doctor may recommend entering an inpatient or residential rehab program for intensive drug rehab. This can offer ongoing support, structure, and clinical care.
Xanax Detox FAQs
Find answers to frequently asked questions about Xanax detox.
❓ What Is Xanax Used For?
✔️ Xanax is a benzodiazepine drug that is FDA-approved as a short-term treatment for anxiety disorders and panic disorder, along with behavioral therapy.
❓ How Long Does It Take For Xanax To Leave Your System?
✔️ Xanax has a half-life of 11 hours. It takes about four to five half-lives for drugs to be fully eliminated from the system.
Thus, in a healthy adult, Xanax may be fully eliminated from the system in 44 to 55 hours. This may be longer for people with a long history of Xanax abuse and dependence.
❓ How Long Does Xanax Rebound Anxiety Last?
✔️ Rebound anxiety after stopping Xanax may last for months, or potentially up to two years after last use of Xanax.
How long this lasts will depend on factors such as how long you took Xanax, whether you have a co-occurring anxiety disorder, and other mental health or medical conditions.
Find A Xanax Detox Program Today
Benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome is notoriously difficult to manage, and can become serious without the support of a medical professional.
If you or a loved one is addicted to Xanax, you’re not alone.
Call our helpline today to learn more about treatment options for Xanax addiction and how to find the best Xanax detox program that fits your needs.
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.
- U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Types of Treatment Programs
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Alprazolam
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: NCBI Bookshelf — Half Life - StatPearls
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: NCBI Bookshelf — Withdrawal Management - Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings