Sunday April 20th 2014

How long does Xanax withdrawal last?

How long will Xanax withdrawal last?

Xanax (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine medication prescribed to treat anxiety, panic disorders, and sometimes depression. Keep in mind that withdrawing from Xanax can be dangerous process, so it’s recommended that you work with a physician to first taper and then stop taking Xanax for good.  Can I just stop taking Xanax?  Usually, NO. In fact, various health concerns need to be taken into consideration when considering Xanax withdrawal so ALWAYS WITHDRAW FROM XANAX UNDER MEDICAL SUPERVISION.

Here, we review how long it takes to withdraw from Xanax and what to expect for the first several weeks off Xanax.  We will also discuss the symptoms of Xanax withdrawal that you can expect and what does Xanax withdrawal feel like. We invite your questions about withdrawing from Xanax at the end.

How long until Xanax withdrawal starts?

Once you have decided to stop taking Xanax, withdrawal symptoms can start as early as a few hours after the effect of Xanax has worn off. These first few hours are critical, as several people have been said to experience seizures during this time. For this reason, it is recommended you work with a physician to taper your medication and then monitor withdrawal symptoms. Other common onset symptoms include: insomnia, anxiety, exacerbated anxiety, racing thoughts, and panic attacks. Violent symptoms of Xanax withdrawal include: tremors, paranoid psychosis, dizziness, and speech problems.

Xanax withdrawal timeline

Xanax withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person, as each individual is unique. Plus, other health factors contribute to the withdrawal symptoms. For the most part, however, withdrawal symptoms typically appear several hours after your last dose of Xanax. Then, Xanax withdrawal can last for months after you have stopped taking Xanax. Though we outline a 4 week withdrawal process below, it can take a good deal longer, especially if you are tapering your medication in order to ease the potential severity of the withdrawal symptoms.

24 – 72 hours Xanax withdrawal – During the first hours of Xanax withdrawal, you are at highest risk of seizures. Being monitored might be a good option if you have experience withdrawal seizures in the past or have a history of neurological disorders. In the first days of Xanax withdrawal, you may also experience an increase heart rate, mood swings, and an inability to sleep. You may also suffer nausea and vomiting during this initial phase.

Week 1 Xanax withdrawal – In the first week of Xanax withdrawal, you may notice that increased heart rate continues. Insomnia, racing thoughts, and irritability are also likely to be present. Use of Xanax over time can also exacerbate the anxiety you were being treated for, resulting in “rebound anxiety” issues. Depression and cravings for Xanax can also manifest during this time.

Week 2 Xanax withdrawal – Most of the same symptoms present during Week 1 will cross over into Week 2. Sleep may continue to be a problem. Your moods might still be erratic, but the risk of tremors, seizures and any other difficult situations will have passed.

Weeks 3-4 Xanax withdrawal – Your sleep patterns should be returning to normal in this time. And physical symptoms should begin to lesson. Minor symptoms of withdrawal can still be present, such as sensory sensitivity and agitation. However, psychological symptoms will continue to be a issue, more so for those who have developed an addiction to Xanax.

How long do Xanax withdrawal symptoms last?

Symptoms of Xanax withdrawal can last anywhere from several weeks to several months. But the major withdrawal symptoms present during Xanax detox should resolve within about a month. However, people have reported cases of insomnia, heighted anxiety, and cravings long after the initial 30 days of Xanax withdrawal. And some people have said it can take up to a year before they feel a level of overall normalcy. And keep in mind that previous conditions treated by Xanax are exacerbated by detoxification. This can make withdrawal even longer, adding to your frustration.

Xanax withdrawal: how long?

In general, Xanax withdrawal can last a couple of months. But Xanax affects each person differently, depending on the dosage amount and frequency you’ve been presribed AS WELL AS how long you’ve been taking Xanax. Each withdrawal period is unique to the person taking Xanax. In general, however, if you taking Xanax as prescribed for appropriate reasons, symptoms of withdrawal tend to be less intense than someone abusing the medication or taking higher doses than prescribed.

Furthermore, many people taking Xanax daily can experience Post-Acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), a set of symptoms unique tobenzodiazepine class medications. Thesepersistent symptoms occur after discontinued use of Xanax and can last several weeks and months after you last dose of Xanax. Insomnia, depression, anxiety and other mental instabilities are typical of benzodiazepine PAWS symptoms. Psychological effects of addiction and dependence may also still be present long after you are no longer taking Xanax. If this is the case, we encourage you to seek help from mental health specialists.

Questions about Xanax withdrawal

Do you still have questions about Xanax Withdrawal? Please share your questions and experiences with Xanax in the comments section below. And we’ll try to respond to your Xanax questions personally ASAP.

Reference Sources: Drug Enforcement Administration: Benzodiazepines
Pub Med: The Benzodiazepines Withdrawal Syndrome
PubMeb: Withdrawing Benzodiazepines in Primary Care
Discontinuation and Withdrawal Problems of Alprazolam 

Photo credit: Vinoth Chandar

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37 Responses to “How long does Xanax withdrawal last?
6:43 pm March 9th, 2013

I am having nuerological problems ever since I took xanax and zoloft. My speech is affected, my tongue feels swollen, numb and wants to project forward. There is consistent twitching or a feeling of a mild electrical impulse in my palette and tongue. My tongue also moves all the time, rolling or pushing forward. Again it wasn’t there before the meds, but has continued now since Dec. 18. I was on low dose and for less than 2 months due to the tremors, body vibrations, constant full body twitching, tongue trusting forward and spontaneous snapping of my jaw on my tongue. Ouch. My hands still twitch occasionally, but it’s my mouth that is my concerrn. Again none of this occurred prior to the meds but continues post meds. Thanks

2:17 pm March 11th, 2013

Hello Rhonda. Have you consulted with your prescribing doctor about these side effects? I’d suggest that you record day-by-day effects (with times and descriptions) and take them to a physician who can help you further.

11:02 am March 29th, 2013

I have taken xanax on and off for short periods of time (never in particularly high doses) mostly for sleep. Recently I was taking two .05 mg tabs at night for about a month straight. I decided to stop and suffer from insomnia and bad panic attacks at night. My common sense tells me that since I wasn’t on it very long and not taking high dosage (compared to some), that withdrawal shouldn’t be that long. It hasn’t been a whole week yet. Am I right? Could the withdrawal continue beyond say the first week given the dosage and relatively short period of time I took it?

4:43 am April 4th, 2013

this helped me so much thank you for posting it

6:55 am April 4th, 2013

Hello Ron. You might be best off consulting with a pharmacist on the withdrawal effects of Xanax. One month is long enough to develop dependency and experience withdrawal symptoms on discontinuation, but at such low doses of alprazolam, the effects may not be too bothersome. As every case if individual, seek advice and try to minimize the effects as much as possible. Good luck!

1:49 pm April 13th, 2013

Please advise if Zoloft can recover the Xanax withdrawal symptoms ??
i take Zoloft but i wanted to quit Xanax since i got addicted to it hence i don’t sleep without it ??
And how to sleep without Xenax ????

4:32 am April 14th, 2013

I was told to stop taking xanax cold turkey when I had elevated liver enzymes following a gallbladderattack 2 weeks ago. My liver ezymes were normal last week. I woke up this morning with no appetite and a funny taste in my mouth. Can xanax withdrawal cause these physical symptoms 2 weeks after discontinuing?

6:04 am April 14th, 2013

Hello Kevin. Given the severity of other possible symptoms of Xanax withdrawal, these symptoms don’t seem too difficult to cope with. I’d suggest that you speak with a pharmacist or your prescribing doctor for more information on how to treat loss of appetite.

2:02 am April 29th, 2013

Rhonda, your not alone I’ve been going crazy with twitching, loss of balence, headaches, stomach, tinnitus, tingling, fasciculations and more.

2:13 am April 29th, 2013

Oh , I forgot inner tremor. I was taking what the doctor told me .50 in the morning .50 evening. I actually hardly ever took the one in the evening because I heard it was addicting. That was my way of thinking I wouldn’t get addicted. I can’t believe after researching this drug that we are not supposed to be on this for more than 2 weeks. I was never told this . I was never told to take on a an as need basis, also. After discovering all this I might be suffering for years because of this. I thought doctor are supposed to help not hurt. Anyways you let me know if you need to talk . I do !

5:32 pm June 20th, 2013

I’ve been on xanax for 1 year of 10mg a day how long will me withdrawal last

Roger B.
9:19 pm July 20th, 2013

I’ve been prescribed Xanax since 1996….it 1mg then 90 a month….now I’m on Xanax bars….still 90….I admit I am addicted to them….without them, I cannot sleep….and have immediate withdrawls….i.e. a metallic taste in my mouth and muscle twitching….I crave them when I run out prematurely….I’m a 41-year-old male….I’m afraid what would happen if I taper off, even under a doctor’s supervision….

1:28 pm July 22nd, 2013

Hello Roger. Coming off any medication or drug that has been our “friend” can trigger fear. I wonder if you can talk with a licensed psychologist to talk out this fear, and develop a plan that can work for you. Where there is a will, there is a way. I wish you all the best!

1:31 pm July 23rd, 2013

My doctor put me on Xanex after my breast cancer diagnosis in December of 2011…0.5 mg….at one point, I was taking three tabs a day….then two times a day….then half a tablet during day and one tablet at night…then half a tablet during day and half a tablet at night…I am now at only half a tablet at night… doctor is telling me to stay on it (.25 mg in the AM and a whole tablet at night) …I’ve been experiencing a sensation of breathlessness that has affected the way I eat, which I have been dealing with for a long time….I’ve asked my doctor about this, and he thinks it’s anxiety….could this breathless feeling be attributed to tapering down on the Xanex? Am I tapering down in a safe manner?

12:01 pm July 24th, 2013

Hello Susan. Symptoms of anxiety can appear during withdrawal from Xanax. This is probably why your doctor still has you on some kind of Xanax. Have you seen a psychologist to work on the breathlessness. CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) can be beneficial in cases of anxiety.

2:30 pm September 8th, 2013

will i have withdraw symptoms after taking .05mg xanax for 10 days total of 30 tabs 3 times a day for anxiety. I do not want them no more This is the first time i have been on them?

11:25 am September 13th, 2013

Hi Cindy. I’m not sure…but you can ask a pharmacist about the likelihood of dependence after 10 days on Xanax. Pharmacists would have more stats or information about chemical dependence.

9:15 pm September 18th, 2013

Hello everyone,
I’m a Disabled Veteran. I was on Xanax for over 4 years. 3mg a day to 6mg a day then to 1.5 mg a day.
When I weened off with the advice of my Doc. It almost killed me.
I started in Feb 2013, and was done In March 2013.
I’m six months Xanax free and I still have bad withdrawals.. Also, I started to get abdominal pain on the right side and I still have it. It feels like theres a belt tighting around me.. Very aggravating. Been checked they can’t find anything wrong. any one else have this symptom?

2:31 am October 2nd, 2013

Hello. I have notice a difference in bowel movement after quitting xanax almost immediately. Any one else having the same issue.

3:06 pm October 8th, 2013

how long might facial tingling and mental fatigue last?

8:28 am October 22nd, 2013

i have been on Xanax .5 four times a day for 5 years and three days ago i was told my doctor had left the practice. The new doctor said she wasn’t going to give me anything anymore and told me to just deal with the withdrawls so what fresh hell am i in for? It’s been twenty four hours since i took my last .25mg this is cold turkey no chance for weaning this all happened in one day after five years of being treated.

12:49 am November 16th, 2013

My fiance was taking upwards of 4mg of Xanax per day for about 3 weeks. She has decided to stop cold turkey. Today is day two, she is in really bad shape, has the shakes, can’t sleep, hot cold flashes, vomiting. She was not prescribed the meds so tapering was not an option. I have been trying to get her to sleep it off with Unisom, but they don’t seem to be working. Anyone have any suggestions?

3:15 pm December 1st, 2013

I have been on Xanax for years, low dose.50 at bedtime for sleep and anxiety, off for 4 weeks, terrible stomach cramping and gas, mostly nighttime, what to do???

9:52 am December 22nd, 2013

Been on 0.25mg Xaxax for 2 weeks. Just quit cold turkey 2 days ago and now can’t sleep at night (can’t stay asleep for long) and still get hot/cold flashes in arm and upper body. When will these symptoms subside?

5:39 pm December 27th, 2013

Have been taking .25 to .50 mill of xanex for 3 months should I taper off it is hard to take less than .25 mil

7:56 pm January 30th, 2014

Ok, I’m just going to be honest because now I’m scared. I had a prescription of Xanax to take as needed…this past weekend, I “needed” it, and wound up taking about 15 0.5mg pills over the course of Friday-Sunday. I had one beer on Saturday night, as well as a couple Melatonin pills during the weekend. I haven’t taken anything since Sunday (it’s Thursday now), and I feel “off”…somewhat dizzy, insomnia, if I do fall asleep, WEIRD dreams…am I ok? Is the “dangerous” part over, and am I even “detoxing” from just a weekend??

4:50 pm February 4th, 2014

I have been off xanax now for almost three weeks, still wake up at night. Have burning legs and feet. How long is this going to go on? (I need to get back to work but no way with the way I feel. It even burns in my chest. Been taking Bupropion sr 150 mg twice daily, Gabapentin 300mg three times a day and clonidine 0.2mg at bed time once daily. It all helps like 50% better but restless leg is really bad when I wake up. Gets better with meds but not enough. This really sucks let me tell you. Why did the doctor get me hooked on that crap?

Mark Glaspie
12:56 am March 1st, 2014

I took 1 one mg xanax a day for about 3 years. Then, over the last year, I have taken two 1 mg xanaxs just before bed time. Im wondering what my withdrawals will be like, and for how long? I have been cold turkey for 4 days and am experiencing insomnia, severe anxiety, and high heart rate..

6:35 am March 20th, 2014

I had a doctor prescribe Zanax 0.5 to me last July for no known reason. She said that it would help me relax. It was for 3 times a day. She did not explain anything about it and I trusted her. I only took one pill a day until January of this year (6 mos). I ask another doctor (internist) if this medication was safe to take and if I could get addicted and he told me no that it was too small dosage. In January I got concerned and cut the pill down to 1/2 which was 0.25 and took it 1 time per day. I went to the doctor (Internist) today (March) and said that I want off of this and needed his help. I had been taking it for 8 mos. I told him that I had been getting headaches and chills/sweats lately. He said that there was no way that I was addicted. To just stop taking it. He said that the pill only lasted 4 hours a day and that I would have been climbing the walls if I was addicted for the other 20 hours per day. It said that it was probably sleep apnea. I did not take a pill all day but started to have chills, sweat and headaches. I called the pharmacy and she said to cut the 0.25 half in half and take it for a week and then take it every other day for the 2nd week then I should be ok. Then to quit. Am I having with withdrawals from this medication. Is this the right way to get off of it. I cannot get any help from my doctor.

6:49 am March 20th, 2014

I went to the doctor last July for a different reason and was given a prescription for Xanax 0.5 3 times per day. I only took one pill per day. I ask my Internist if I could get addicted and he said too small dose and I could take it every day and it would be ok. In January of this year (6 mos. later) I got concerned and cut it in half 0.25 1x per day. This month (8 mos) I started getting headaches, sweats, nausea and chills. I went back to the Internist today and he said that I was not addicted as the dose was too small. If I was then I would have been climbing the walls for the other 20 hours per day as the pill only lasts 4 hours per day. He said to just stop taking it. Ihave had the chills, headaches, sweats and nervousness all day. So I called the pharmacy and she said to cut the halfs down into halfs and take it for one week and then every other day for the next week and then stop. The Internist said that I probably had sleep apnea and not addicted. Do you think that I am having withdraws and is the pharmacist right? I have had sleep apnea for years and did not have this type of problem.

7:07 am March 20th, 2014

I went to this doctor for a referral to my cardiologist and she gave me a RX for Zanax 0.5 for 3 times per day. She said that it would help with my blood pressure. I did not have anxiety or panic disorders This was last July. I only took 1 pill per day. In January I cut it back to 1/2 pill per day 0.25. An internist told me that the dosage was not addicting. This month (8 mos later) I started getting headaches, chills, sweats, short term memory loss and nausea. I just had an EEG and MRI of my head and no problems.. I went to him today and said that I want to get off of this drug. He said that I was not addicted as it only lasted 4 hours per day and if I was only taking the small dosage and was addicted that I would be climbing the walls the other 20 hours. I did not take the pill all day. I started having the same problems so I called my pharmacist and she said to cut the half into half and take for a week and then every other day for another week and then quit. Is she right and am I addicted to this drug? I don’t trust mydoctor.

12:02 pm March 20th, 2014

Hello Darlene. There is a difference between addiction and physical dependence. It is likely that you are dependent on Xanax….and after a period of withdrawal, you will know whether or not you are addicted to it. Check in with your prescribing doctor and ask for an individualized tapering schedule for this benzodiazepine. And record your symptoms of withdrawal, including timing, severity, and type…as well as dosing details in order to track your progress. Little steps are required during withdrawal from Xanax.

7:17 pm March 27th, 2014

I was abusing my xanax prescription for almost 3.years. I manipulated a doctor into prescribing me 8mgs per day and most days I would take more than 8mgs and some days I’d take less. I know I’m a drug addict and lucky to be alive, but I’ve been clean for 2 1/2 months but am still having withdrawal symptoms such as sweating and very moody. I’m wondering if I should see a doctor for these symptoms or if I should continue to wait it out? And if so how long?

11:05 am March 28th, 2014

Hello Tracy. Good for you! Congratulations on being clean. Follow your gut; while we cannot offer direct medical advice, it seems wise to seek medical help for anything that is causing you discomfort. In general, mood disorders can last for months after getting off Xanax. As in, 6 months or longer. They are called PAWS, post-acute/protracted withdrawal symptoms. However, there may not be a need to wait in suffering, especially if the symptoms are caused by something that is treatable.

5:52 pm March 28th, 2014

I stopped taking xanex 3 days ago and now I’m having bad anxiety and my mouth and parts of my body are numb. I know that the anxiety is normal coming off of them, but should I be worried about the numbness?

1:57 am April 4th, 2014

Xanac is a bad drug. Why is it still on the market? I was on it 7 years, taking 3mgs a day. I have only been off of it 6 weeks. Although I am improving, I still ha strong side effects: numbness in head and neck, everything taste funny, restless leg syndrome, I cannot concentrate, and insomnia. I glad I didn’t know all this before hand. I don’t think I would have had the courage to continue. I WAS

4:38 pm April 18th, 2014

Have been taking Xanax fo 5 years…prescribed during and following husbands liver transplant. Only way to keep it together.
I am trying to wean off. Dosage was 2mg per day. Not having issues with drug per say but felt I should see if I could stop….
Reduced dosage dramatically , felt fine for a week, feeling quite cocky and then the nausea , loss of appetite and panic attacks returned,
What should I do? Husband did survive but is not doing well, icannot be sick…he is very supportive.

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