Sunday September 25th 2016

Trusted Helpline
Help Available 24/7
1-888-882-1456
PRIVACY
GUARANTEED

What are Xanax withdrawal symptoms?

Do you want to quit Xanax (alprazolam)?

Think you may be dependent on Xanax?  If you’ve developed a dependency on Xanax, you probably don’t want to quit taking Xanax suddenly. If you do, you can experience symptoms of severe alprazolam withdrawal. This is why it’s always best to talk to a doctor so they can slowly taper your dose of Xanax to minimize the full extent of withdrawal symptoms.

Keep reading here to learn what to expect during Xanax withdrawal. We review the symptoms of Xanax withdrawal and why they happen.  We also let you know what is withdrawal from Xanax like.  Finally, we invite your questions about Xanax withdrawal at the end.

Why do Xanax withdrawal symptoms occur?

Xanax, or alprazolam, is a benzodiazepine drug and is prescribed to treat anxiety, panic disorders, and in rare occasions, depression. Xanax has a depressant effect on the body which accounts for its calming effects on the nerves. The central nervous system depression allows people not to feel anxiety or suffer panic attacks. So when does Xanax use provoke withdrawal?

When people use Xanax for long periods of time, their bodies will develop a dependence to Xanax. The reason dependence occurs is because your body gets used to the depressant effect Xanax has on the body. In other words, Xanax becomes part of the normal functioning of the body. And dependence on Xanax is what accounts for the presence of Xanax withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking alprazolam. How?

When you are physically dependent on alprazolam and miss a dose of Xanax, the body reacts violently. This violent occurrence happens within the body system and is its way of regaining homeostasis. Though painful, Xanax withdrawal is the only way that the body can learn to function and regulate as it once was without the presence of alprazolam. Eventually, the swing of the pendulum will steady.

What are symptoms of Xanax withdrawal?

Withdrawal symptoms following the abrupt cessation of Xanax have been divided into “major” and “minor” sub types. The major withdrawal symptoms include delirium, psychosis, and seizures. However, Xanax withdrawal symptoms do vary from person to person. Various mental and physical health factors play a role in what withdrawal will look like and how severe they may become. Physical symptoms can be uncomfortable and mimic the flu. Other physical symptoms can consist of vomiting, chills and sweat. The minor withdrawal symptoms of Xanax withdrawal can include:

Trusted Helpline
Help Available 24/7
1-888-882-1456
PRIVACY GUARANTEED
  • agitation
  • confusion
  • dizziness
  • heart palpitations
  • insomnia
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle twitches
  • panic attacks
  • paranoia
  • parathesia
  • racing thoughts
  • rebound anxiety
  • seizures
  • severe depression
  • speech issues
  • tremulousness

Additionally, “rebound symptoms” are common to benzodiazepine types of medications. In other words, the symptoms that Xanax was originally treating (anxiety, depression) may not only come back, but can worsen during Xanax withdrawal. These exacerbated symptoms can make it even harder in your process to no longer use Xanax.

Xanax withdrawal symptoms: How long?

The onset of Xanax withdrawal symptoms usually occurs about 6-8 hours after the last dose of alprazolam has worn off. Because of the nature of benzodiazepine withdrawal, withdrawal from Xanax can take longer than other types of medications. Withdrawal can feel like a yo-yo. At first, you feel like you have withstood the worst of it only to find acute symptoms have shown up once again. However, Xanax withdrawal symptoms usually peak over the first 72 hours and even out after about a week. Still, it can take weeks to months to before you are totally free of Xanax withdrawal symptoms.

Xanax withdrawal symptoms treatment

Always seek medical supervision during Xanax withdrawal. There are several ways to treat Xanax withdrawal symptoms. One thing that is important to note is that the potential for severe depression and suicide increases when you stop taking Xanax suddenly or cold turkey. Seeking support to address issues of depression is extremely important. Other treatment that can help withdrawal include the following:

1. Tapering Xanax doses

Because people use Xanax for lengths of time, it is not always best to suddenly stop talking Xanax. In fact, the risks of serious adverse side effects are too great. However, if you talk to your doctor you can can come up with a plan and a timeline to slowly reduce your Xanax doses until they are so small the drug is practically no longer in the body. This method of tapering Xanax over the course of a four (4) to eight (8) weeks also takes care of the severity of certain withdrawal symptoms and can lessen the intensity of withdrawal.

2. Medication for Xanax withdrawal

Because Xanax treats anxiety, doctors often recommend that you transfer to another anti-anxiety medicine to help treat original symptoms. Alternative anti-anxiety medications or diazepam therapy can be used during Xanax detoxification. Short term anti-depressants may also help. Otherwise, speak with your doctor about other medications to help treat pain, discomfort and insomnia during Xanax withdrawal.

Xanax Withdrawal symptoms Questions

Still wondering about how bad Xanax withdrawal might be? Have anything to share about how you got through Xanax withdrawal? Please ask your Xanax questions below. We are happy to respond to you personally, and will try to answer your questions ASAP. And if we don’t know the answer, we will refer you to someone who does.

Reference Sources: PubMed: Discontinuation and Withdrawal Problems of Alprazolam
NCBI: A case of suicidal thoughts with Alprazolam
DHS: Medication Xanax (alprazolam)
Daily Med: Xanax

Photo credit: Dean812

Leave a Reply

42 Responses to “What are Xanax withdrawal symptoms?
Frank Lavario
12:11 am January 14th, 2013

Drugs like Xanax shouldn’t be used for too long. It is much more sustainable to treat addictions with cognitive behavioral therapy and psychoanalyis. Drugs are prescribed too often, unfortunately.

8:00 am January 14th, 2013

Hi Frank. We are in total agreement with you. Unfortunately, doctors are given the liberty to write prescriptions at their own discretion, despite best practices and recommendations. In this way, Xanax use can go from a few days and weeks to months or years, which does not serve the patients who experience anxiety! Thanks for sharing this perspective.

Steve
6:34 pm September 8th, 2013

Hello folks! I’m through all comments now. I was on 3 mg per day regular (not SR or XR) Xanax for 2.5 years. Started tapering down several times, but no succes. Now I’m on day 10 of my cold turkey and want to share my status with you: 1st day was OK. 2nd day: couldn’t sleep at all. Shaky fingers, cold and hot flushes, a bit zizzy. Still OK. 3rd day: couldn’t get out of bed. My blood preasure went down to 96/70 Pulse: 52!!! Hot flushes, dumbness everywhere. Very dizzy. Living in hell… cant remember day 4, 5 and 6 anymore clearly these days were the worst! Have somebody with you. Friends or family members, stay in bed, try not to focus on your withdr. sympthoms. My friends say that I was OK, was half awake half up. They gave me one 0.25mg dose to slow down the turkey on day 4. 7 th day a little bit better. Weired dreams with wonderful feelings from early times when I was a child. ALL ABOVE MENTIONED SIDE EFFECTS ARE STILL PRESENT BUT MUCH LOWER INTENSITY + I had to cry once for no reason. Well, I felt my old own coming back… On day 7 in advance I began to hear some tones and voices different. I had audial hallucinations. This was the worst. Day 8: Finally a little bit better. Took a 15 min. shower. Ugly to say, I had my last shower on day 2, six days earlier!!! I began to spot strange smells. I had to put on ear protctors to calm the disorted ambience sounds. At this point I wanted to give up. My friends didn’t let me. I was like a crazy. My friend (a doctor) checked my status every day, myfriend called him several times every day. Again dreams from my childhood. One pleasant feeling amond hundreds of bad ones Day 9 was just like day 8. I love these dreams. Probabpy hallucinations mixed with old reality and feelings but it’s beautifuly. Today (day 10.) Dreams are gone. I feel very well according to the last days. I had finally a good sleep (I could sleep at least 4 hours without getting up) Withdraw. sympthoms are decreasing. I would say I have the worst behind me. Hope it will not get worse this evening. I will be back tomorrow or on day 12… Hope not bothering you with this long message. Yours, Steve

11:24 am September 13th, 2013

Hello Steve. Thanks for sharing about your Xanax withdrawal experience! We do advise that ALL XANAX WITHDRAWAL occurs after a tapering, under medical supervision. We look forward to hearing more about how you’re doing in the next couple of weeks.

Rafael
11:06 pm December 13th, 2013

It’s been 4 days since I’ve gotten off of xanax and have had a number of withdrawls symptoms but the that has freaked me out Is the palpitations .it feels like my heart is going to stop or something , it happens more when I exert myself a little I stop in my track’s cuz I don’t know what else to do.I compose myself and then try to keep going when I can but sometimes it takes awhile and I don’t know what to do about it. Anybody know when that will go away or does it go away?

4:19 am December 23rd, 2013

Hello Rafael. Cold turkey Xanax withdrawal can provoke adverse side effects. Consider tapering down your dose, but definitely consult with your prescribing doctor about the cause and treatment of these symptoms.

lavina carson
1:02 am May 23rd, 2014

my dad has been on xanax most of his life because of mental illness .The Doctor wein him off in two weeks he is in the hospital with all the system you note on hear , could this be the reason he is having a rough time in and out of it screaming , paranoids he is 95 years old and is suffering terrible please get back to me about this

10:09 am May 23rd, 2014

Hello Lavina. A 2 week taper and withdrawal may be too fast for a lifelong Xanax user. I’d suggest that you consult with another doctor and a pharmacist for a second opinion. Then, bring up your concerns with the hospital patient advocate, or to the prescribing doctor directly. Best to you and your father.

lavina carson
11:18 am May 23rd, 2014

thank you i will look into it for sure . i knew that it was wrong to take him off the xanax . now the doctors are saying he may never come out of it .

Lore
6:09 pm June 28th, 2014

I take Xanax every now and then at night after work to relax. It is not prescribed by a doctor, I get it from a friend. Is that bad?

9:44 am June 30th, 2014

Hello Lore. By healthcare professionals, taking any drug if it’s not prescribed to you, or taking a drug other than prescribed is considered to be abuse. You are not taking Xanax to treat a condition, and taking it recreationally, every now and then, even though it doesn’t seem that way now, may lead to dependence in the future. So, it’s not a safe way to relax.

lavina
8:48 pm June 30th, 2014

My dad passed away July 14. I believe it was the fault of the Doctor that took him off his Xanax and that they really didn’t care because of his age he was 95. My dad had longevity in is family and could’ve lived a few more years was healthily…until the Doctor took his Xanax away. I want to make a complaint about this Doctor that was very young and I believe did not have the experience that an older Doctor would have. So, that being said-Where do you go to make a complaint so this doesn’t happen to another person? My dad had all the signs of withdraw and they just cover it up…

Jennifer
1:21 am August 7th, 2014

I have been on xanax for ten years my doctor moved to another state I’m having a hard time finding a doctor in my town my xanax level is way off i take four 1 mg a day and have missed several doses took 2 1mg today and I’m still dizzy no appetite bad thoughts and more what should i do

Susan P
2:43 pm October 8th, 2014

My doctor prescribed .5 of Xanax and I have been on it for 2 and a half years. I started weaning myself off of it by cutting the amount in half. Last night I halved it again, and feel like I’m starting at the beginning of the first half again.

The doctor was retired, and without warming told me when I went for my check-up that he was no longer writing prescriptions and that was that. I looked for another doctor, but they all wanted my medical records and the retired doctor only kept very minimal notes and refused to send them. So, I tried the clinic, but the cost was beyond what I can afford, so I just started weaning myself off. I was not expecting the way it hit me. So I am stuck. I wonder if it would be just better to stop altogether than go through this in stages.

ray
11:43 am November 15th, 2014

Ive been on xanax on and off my whole life until the past year where I would take up to 15mg every other day nit prescribed id go to north Philly to get what I needed I recently had littke money and went 4 days without anything on the 5th day I had a seizure went to the ER they aenr me home in a hour had another seizer went back to the hospital and had one more absolutely horrible experience I tried getting into a rehab but they all had a couple week ro month waiting list which didnt help mentally cause I was looking forward to getting better I also fo to a methadone clinic I been off Heroin for 5 years they started droppinf me drastically off the methadone which did not helo

bob
1:45 am December 6th, 2014

This is the WORST DRUG ON THE MARKET BY FAR I have been on every drug including Crack Angeldust Alcohol Heroin Methadone name it.. XANAX worst longest, most uncomfortable, grueling, irritable, mind racing, suicidal torturing device of the 20th century the withdraw can last months and you feel symptoms to up to a year depending on your body, I took up to 18mgs every 3 days and it took me 2 months of everyday going crazy withdrawing out of my mind trying not to relapse because I had multiple seizures in one day and I knew that I couldn’t go back or gi thru this painfully difficult and long process of getting off the damn things and you better be in a rehab or somewhere where someone is watching over you or you will relapse must have medical supervision I was disnfortunate they had a month long waiting list for rehab and no other places would take me so I did it Cold Turkey at home Somehow.. it is possible but I had some serious strength come my way somehow from somebody maybe myself maybe God maybe everything but I was a sorry excuse for a human being then weak as can be mentally and physically I just wanted to roll over and die. Now I have more anxiety then before and am stressed a lot but wilk never go back to any kind of antidepressant for especially Benzo never going to happen lol so uf you can and I recommend you do say No to a Xanax Valium Klonopin prescription and think about us it really that bad right now and do you realky want an addiction problem for the rest of your life because yiu panicked a little im telling you this is a life altering decision and could eventually be deadly if your not extemely careful, if you Really need them take as prescribed and Do Not take more than 2 weeks whatever they tell you if a Dr. Wants you to be on longer say no he is most likely actually trying to get you hooked and come back every month for their 100 bucks for visiting 5 minutes and writing a Rx..

Erica
5:48 pm December 19th, 2014

I alternate between Xanax (.5mg) and Valium (5mg), taking one or the other each night. I’ve done this for six years. Last night I missed a dose and this morning I feel strange, very out of it, shaky breathing, occasional flushing, but no tremors. Could this be due to missing a dose? My doses of each are low so I’m surprised, but also really uncomfortable and concerned. I would SO appreciate a response, thank you.

2:01 pm December 29th, 2014

Hello Eirca. It’s only normal when you are taking medications for a long time that your brain and body become accustomed to the presence of the substances. What you are experiencing is because your organism is reacting to the lack of Xanax or Valium it’s used to. The withdrawal symptoms are common upon discontinuing the habitual use of these prescription medications.

Joseph
7:44 pm January 10th, 2015

Hello, thanks for offering this blog. My Psychiatrist prescribed Xanax .50 4x daily for panic attacks and anxiety for the last two years. I never took more than 1.25 mg total daily. I have slowly tapered down the dose to .25 total daily.I usually take it in the morning before work as that is when my anxiety/ withdrawal peaks. So I wake up and really feel fear and anxiety about everything until I take it. Today I have gone almost 28 hours since yesterday and feel totally incapacitated-fear, anxiety, muscle twiching and aches. I’m about to break down and take slightly less than .25 just to calm down. I recently was diagnosed with cancer and will have surgery next month. This has added to my anxiey, fear and depression. Dont want to take the xanax but cant stand this withdrawal. Thanks for everyones support.

edwardcejka
10:51 am January 13th, 2015

Teatment are not easy as what we think. It has a process. It consume time, effort and money. Drug rehab or alcohol rehab undergo into a systematic process for recovery.

3:20 pm January 16th, 2015

Hi Joseph. You will experience at least some withdrawal symptoms when you do the “jump” to no Xanax at all. It’s only a normal bodily reaction. But you can use medicine to treat the withdrawal symptoms and make them much more bearable. You’ve come so far, you can go a step further and give up the Xanax completely. Good luck to you!

Joseph
10:37 pm January 16th, 2015

Thank you for responding! What are some of the medications I can take to ease the withdrawal symptoms? My Psychiatrist does not support me trying to stop Xanax. Thanks. Joseph

2:23 pm January 20th, 2015

Hi again Joseph. Fist of all, make sure you are keeping yourself well hydrated and eating well. Also, try to get good night rest and even take a nap during the day, it’s important to help your body recover faster. Also, have a look at the Ashton Manual on hot to replace Xanax with Valium in order to avoid the bigger risks of withdrawal. Also, keep a doctor’s number on speed dial in case you need medical assistance fast.

Patty
2:06 pm January 28th, 2015

I agree with Bob’s post of December 6th. Xanax is the worst drug imaginable and is from the pit of hell. That benzo, along with ambien wrecked by body and my brain in less than 6 months. I never had anxiety or sleep problems until after the docs prescribed this crap to me. Once they get you hooked on it, you are a goner. Docs will try to prescribe more drugs, probably anti-depressants to counter the side effects, and may even try to convince you are bi-polar. The drugs are what cause the anxiety, but the docs don’t get it…. they should take their own medicine before they can be allowed to prescribe it like candy.

Robin
12:44 am April 15th, 2015

I’ve been off of Xanax since Easter Sunday (A family member took my medication)…I did do it cold turkey and its been hell, I finally reached out to my doc today because its not getting any better at all. In fact I feel worse again today, he wants me in tomorrow because he said I should be over it by now and he thinks something else might be going on. But everything I read here said its normal?? Please help!!!

11:31 am April 15th, 2015

Hi Robin. Yes, all the terrible withdrawal effects are common when quitting cold turkey. Still, it’s good to see your doctor since s/he may help you by prescribing medications and providing general advise on which OTC medications or herbal remedies can lower the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms.

Robin
2:24 am April 21st, 2015

Its been a day over two wks and I’m still feeling out of it…My Doc doesn’t seem to think its important enough to schedule me in to see him so I’m feeling totally alone not knowing if something else is going on….I’m actually kinda scared…I feel totally alone in this.

12:24 pm April 21st, 2015

Hi Robin. Do you have any friends or family that can be there to support you? If you need medical help with the withdrawal symptoms you can ask the pharmacists at your local pharmacy for over-the-counter medications that can help treat and lower the intensity of the withdrawals.

Robin
6:39 am April 22nd, 2015

I will ask my pharmacist, we recently moved far away from everyone we know (husbands job) so I’m in unfamiliar territory going thru hell (with a husband and daughter) thankfully my husband was home for the first cpl wks of it and now is back to work…i tried getting into the doc before we moved but it didn’t happen…Now I’m feeling totally alone not knowing who to turn too. Thank you for writing back, ill ask the pharmacist hopefully he will have some ideas because sometimes this gets kinda scary. I never knew what this med was capable of, its sad our doctors do not care at all. At least mine didn’t act like it

john
8:21 pm May 18th, 2015

Hey, I went out of town on Frida and left the bag with my meds I’m the hotel..so needless to say I was without my xanax Fri sat sunday..I don’t take them recreational just as needed for amxiety…well I believe I started to withdrawl over the weekend..and finally got my script today…I took a pill because the symptoms were unbearable..im not trying to get off of them as of now but just wondering if it’s ok to miss for three days and start back up taking it again..thanks for your time

4:36 pm May 19th, 2015

Hi John. Yes, no problem.

Love my.girls
9:12 pm July 6th, 2015

Ok so I.was takin.mayb a half of bar a day nd.I.haven’t had any in two days nd all of.a sudden I.got cold chills headache

Jessica
12:36 am August 24th, 2015

I was on xanax fot 4 months I quit cold turkey. Could I still be going through withdrawal. I wake up every morning with anxiety could this still be from stopping xanax

emilie
7:48 pm September 24th, 2015

Does skipping doses cause headaches?

David
6:51 pm November 20th, 2015

Withdrawal is hell no question. Thanks for writing. The symptoms of withdrawal are all well described and very familiar to me as I’ve tried to quit twice — to no avail. My problem is – I have uncontrolled anxiety without the drug. The only way I can even things out is to dose very six hours. I don’t like the idea of being dependent but without it – I don’t like being alive.

Alicia
3:52 am January 4th, 2016

I was taking xanax 2mg once a day since 2009 and my doctor told me he wanted me off because of the addiction I could have to them and I do have. He put me on .5mg kolopin 2 times a day and today is my 3rd day with out a xanax and it has been hard today. Is this the worst day and how long will this last. I am anxious and nervous and it is going on and off my anxiety and it feels like the kolopin isn’t helping and I am worried about having a seizure cause at 2 am will be 72 hours tonight… I am so scared I’m going to die

Lisa Isham
7:57 pm February 17th, 2016

I was prescribed .25 Zanax on hospital 6 days ago for anxiety. I cut them in half and took 2 to 3 a day. Yesterday I only took a very small dose in the morning but none last night or today. I’m feeling weak and my heart rate suddenly shot up to 113 for no reason. Is this a symptom of coming off the Zanax?

Julie
5:35 am March 18th, 2016

(English is not my first language, so I apologise in advance for any errors) I am on 0.5mg of xanax for up to 3 years now. I took 2 to 3 pills a week, mostly to avoid anxiety in social situations. I had no idea that the withdrawal is so severe, until a week ago I decided to quit. I thought I was on such a low and sporadic dose that I could just stop anytime. Now, I’m not sure if I’m right – maybe I’ve got a very strange stomach flu or sometring? – but I have severe digestive problems and adrenaline overflows, abdominal and muscle pain, headaches, I feel thirsty, my head feels something like swollen… Is it possible that such a low dose caused a withdrawal response this big? I took 0.25mg to check if it would help and I feel 50% better – but not sure if it isn’t a “placebo” kind of thinking. I’m seriously scared right now. Any information will help.

Crusty
6:55 pm May 17th, 2016

Julie, not enough information. This is why when it comes to narcotic medications, you keep track of what, when, and how much you are taking. I’ve taken 2-3 mg lorazepam in one shot every 2-3 days for about 6 months during the day and the worst that I experienced was an increase in “adrenalin overflows”(fight/flight response) severity, mostly occurring in the evenings when trying to go to sleep.
I tend to be more resistant to benzodiazepines in general in regards to using it as a treatment for anxiety/panic attacks, and what typically ends up happening to individuals is the rebound withdrawal when taking it on an “infrequently regular basis”(i.e. every 2 days or so) for long periods of time. Taking higher doses(for me, anything above 0.5 mg) will cause irritating rebound withdrawal. Follow the graph of a sine or cosine function and that is basically how the drug levels are behaving in your body and how it is upsetting your brain chemistry.

Before doing any of the following, check with your doctor first:
If necessary, crush a 0.25 mg tablet up into powder and add to 1 cup of cold honey or maple syrup and completely stir to form a suspension and divide that up into 3 equal volumes( that would be three 1/3 cup measures/doses) and take a single 1/3 cup dose every day for about 2 weeks(preferably before you go to sleep), and then try splitting up the doses into 4 equal volumes( four 1/4 cup doses) and use the same dosing schedule. This is going to the extreme, but some individuals have more issues with withdrawal than others and need to be weaned off of it over a longer period of time with lower doses, which many doctors do not understand since they generally follow a one-size fits all treatment.

Crusty
7:08 pm May 17th, 2016

Alicia, Klonopin is a longer acting benzodiazepine medication compared to Xanax. Your doctor put you on a lower dose because of this and also as part of a long-term dosing schedule to wean you off. If you try to up the dose of this medication, you’ll be in a worse situation because more of it will build up in your system.

Vanessa
3:16 am June 26th, 2016

My mom has recently stopped xanax and is currently in the hospital for a seizure. She is very confused and just not making sense when she talks. My question is will she ever be back to normal?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
3:53 pm July 13th, 2016

Hi Vanessa. Human body needs time to get used to without the drug. I suggest you speak with her doctor, and consult with him/her about medications that may ease withdrawal symptoms.

Leave a Reply

Trusted Helpline
Help Available 24/7
1-888-882-1456
PRIVACY
GUARANTEED