Xanax (alprazolam) is a popular medication that treats anxiety disorders, insomnia, panic attacks, and PTSD. The drug is greatly beneficial for people who suffer from these conditions and take it responsibly. However, long term Xanax use or Xanax abuse can create serious problems. It is a highly addictive substance that produces unruly withdrawal symptoms if a person becomes addicted to it.
Xanax withdrawal is extremely dangerous and should never be attempted outside of a medical setting. In addition, the symptoms of Xanax withdrawal are painful and terribly unpleasant. Withdrawal often drives people to continue using. However, professional medical detox services are equipped to help people through Xanax withdrawals safely and comfortably.
What Happens During Xanax Withdrawal
People who take Xanax in high doses or for long periods of time are at risk of developing a dependence on the drug. As a result, these individuals are also at risk of experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal happens when someone who is dependent on Xanax abruptly stops taking the drug. Without this substance in the body, the person will struggle to feel normal. In addition, they experience immense physical pain and mental anguish.
Xanax is only meant for short-term use. It has a much higher potential for addiction than other drugs in its class. In severe cases, people can experience withdrawal symptoms after taking Xanax for only a couple of weeks. However, the longer a person abuses the drug, the worse the withdrawal symptoms will be.
If a person is addicted to Xanax, they are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms when they decide to get sober. Unfortunately, Xanax withdrawal can be so unpleasant that, without professional help, it can be difficult to get through without using it again. Instead, it is highly recommended that people who are dependent on Xanax undergo medical detox.
Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms
Xanax has a very short half-life, so withdrawal symptoms can occur rapidly after the last dose leaves the body. Symptoms of Xanax withdrawal include:
Physical withdrawal symptoms:
- Muscle spasms
- Racing pulse
- Muscle pain
- Heart palpitations
Psychological withdrawal symptoms:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Suicidal thoughts
- Panic attacks
The best way to avoid withdrawal symptoms is to taper yourself off of Xanax slowly. However, if you are addicted, this is difficult to do. Instead, you should seek help from a medical detox near you.
The Rebound Effect
People who take Xanax for anxiety or panic disorders may experience worsening mental health symptoms after quitting Xanax. This is known as the rebound effect, or rebound symptoms.  Intensified symptoms of pre-existing mental health conditions can make Xanax withdrawal even more difficult. Rebound symptoms consist of heightened anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia. Although rebound symptoms tend to diminish after 1-2 weeks, underlying psychological disorders will require further treatment.
Xanax Withdrawal Timeline
Even though Xanax is a short-acting drug, withdrawal symptoms can linger for more than a week. However, there are many factors that determine how long Xanax withdrawal will last. These influential factors include:
- Dosage taken
- How long Xanax was abused
- How often Xanax was taken
- Combining Xanax with other substances
- Physical health conditions
- Pre-existing mental health conditions
On average, Xanax withdrawal will begin between 6-12 hours after the last dose wears off. During this time period, individuals will experience anxiety, irritability, and mood swings. Between days 1-4, withdrawal symptoms are typically at their worst. After day 4, symptoms should begin to improve. Then, after two weeks, most symptoms should be gone and any lingering symptoms should be mild. 
When it comes to Xanax withdrawal, some people experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). This is a phenomenon where some symptoms linger for up to two years after quitting the drug. Symptoms of PAWS include:
- Chronic anxiety
- Ongoing insomnia
- Lack of concentration skills
- Difficulty multitasking
- Diminished sex drive
- Depressive symptoms
- Body aches and pains
Symptoms of PAWS slowly decrease in intensity and frequency over time. In addition, they are managed by therapy, healthy coping skills, and holistic practices.
Medical Detox for Xanax Withdrawal
Unfortunately, Xanax withdrawal is often a long and uncomfortable process. In addition, many of the symptoms are severe and dangerous. As a result, quitting on your own and stopping all at once is not recommended. Instead, individuals should slowly taper down their use to smaller and smaller doses. This is the most effective and safest method of Xanax detox as it reduces withdrawal symptoms. However, if someone is addicted, they may not be able to taper themselves. Consequently, medical detox is a more effective method of detoxing from Xanax.
Medical detox provides 24/7 care and supervision to people who are experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Under the close eye of medical professionals, individuals can avoid uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Furthermore, if a complication occurs, a professional can intervene. In addition, detox helps minimize the unpleasant symptoms of Xanax withdrawal and is the best option for people who are looking to get sober.
If you or a loved one is addicted to Xanax and experience withdrawal symptoms when not taking the drug, you should seek help from a medical detox near you. You shouldn’t have to detox on your own – and you don’t have to. For help with Xanax withdrawal, contact our addiction specialists at Carolina Center for Recovery today.