benzo abuse facts

Withdrawal symptoms  |  Withdrawal timeline  |  Detox |  Back to top

Xanax is commonly prescribed as an anti-anxiety medication. It can help patients struggling with insomnia, panic attacks, PTSD, and/or excessive worrying.

While Xanax can provide helpful relief for acute distress; it’s not a suitable long-term medication. Benzodiazepines like Xanax can be addictive, which can create problems surrounding withdrawal.

So, if you or a loved one are worried about Xanax dependency, it’s vital to be aware of and prepare for withdrawal symptoms. As with all addictions, quitting this drug will take patience and determination.

In light of that, this article will cover what to expect from Xanax withdrawal and how you can help a struggling loved one.

Let’s dive in!

What to Expect from Xanax Withdrawal

How severely a dependant suffers Xanax withdrawal depends on your dose and how often you are using it. Withdrawal symptoms can range from uncomfortable to very difficult, and many underestimate its effect.

It’s important to remember that even doctor-prescribed medication can have an addictive hold over those taking the drugs.

If you’ve been using Xanax multiple times a day, quitting will be incredibly difficult. It’s important to gradually reduce your dose, following the advice of your physician.

Don’t be tempted to go cold turkey, as this could trigger perilous withdrawal symptoms – for instance, delirium and grand mal seizures.

Roughly 40% of those taking Xanax will experience moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms for more than six months. It’s important to remember that the medication doesn’t discriminate.

If you have been using it for a long time, your body will become dependant automatically, and withdrawal will be difficult.

symptoms of benzo withdrawal

Abuse facts  |  Withdrawal timeline  |  Detox |  Back to top

If you’re weaning yourself off Xanax, you can expect to experience some of the following symptoms.


Delirium is a state where your cognitive behavior can change, leading to agitation and disorientation. If you suffer this, you might experience hallucinations, restlessness, and disturbed sleeping habits. You may also feel withdrawn, quiet, and lethargic.

Increasing Anxiety Levels

During withdrawal, many people quitting will experience spikes in their anxiety levels. This anxiety might be worse than that experienced pre-treatment. It is common to feel nervous, jump, or on-edge while you taper off Xanax.

Psychological Symptoms May Include:

In summary, here are some of the psychological symptoms you may experience:

  • Delirium
  • Hallucinations
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty focusing
  • restlessness

Now, let’s take a look at the physical symptoms:

Physical Symptoms May Include:

In short, some of the physical symptoms you may experience include:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Racing pulse
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Hyperventilation
  • Tension in the jaw
  • Numbness
  • Sensitivity to light and smells
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite

…To name a few.

benzo withdrawal timeline

Abuse facts  |  Withdrawal symptoms  |  Detox |  Back to top

Most commonly, Xanax withdrawal kicks in eight to 12 hours after your last dose. If you don’t taper your dose, your symptoms will grow increasingly intense. Ordinarily, the withdrawal is worst on the second day and improves by the fourth or fifth.

Sadly, withdrawal doesn’t end there for many sufferers. Protracted withdrawal is a prolonged withdrawal experience accompanied by milder psychological symptoms. These can come and go over several months and can last as long as one year.

How to Overcome Xanax Withdrawal

The best approach to overcoming addiction and stop using Xanax effectively is to taper down your dose. This means taking progressively smaller amounts over several weeks. Your doctor should be assisting with this process and supporting it.

Xanax metabolizes very quickly, so tapering this drug can be challenging as the amount of it in your system spikes and wanes. Your doctor may be able to assist you with avoiding these peaks by prescribing a long-acting benzodiazepine such as diazepam instead.

How to Help Someone Overcoming Xanax Withdrawal

If you’re a loved one hoping to assist someone quit Xanax, the most important thing is to remain patient. Remember that their dependency is physiological and not a sign of an addictive personality and that their struggles are out of their control.

You can provide support by being understanding of their symptoms and expecting changes in attitude without blame.

While they suffer withdrawal, those quitting Xanax might benefit from herbal sleep aids such as valerian root and chamomile. They may also find mindfulness practices and mediation, and regular exercise helps their sleep patterns and anxiety.

symptoms of benzo detox

Abuse facts  |  Withdrawal symptoms  |  Withdrawal timeline  |  Back to top

While supporting someone through the withdrawal process, it’s also essential to look out for their long-term health and acute, dangerous symptoms. As discussed, seizures may occur in extreme cases.

If you can, stay close to the person while they suffer the worst symptoms of withdrawal so you can call for help in a medical emergency.

It’s also important to check in with their mental health. Suicidal thoughts are possible symptoms of withdrawal. While they are more anxious and paranoid than usual, you can be vital support by being a steady friend and reassuring them.

Call a doctor if you’re concerned about the health or safety of the person in question.

Find a Detox Center Near You to Overcome Xanax Withdrawal

Quitting Xanax is a daunting journey that can put a tremendous strain on your life if you don’t receive adequate support and understanding. The withdrawal process is vital to setting yourself up for a safe, happy, and sober future.

If you suspect Xanax withdrawal is proving difficult for you or your loved one, it’s wise to find a detox center near you. This will ensure you can detox safely and comfortably in the presence of experts that can provide psychological and physical support.

A stay at a drug detox center usually averages three to seven days. For more information, please feel free to reach out and contact us!

Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Detoxification Guide for Xanax.

Written By Jeff Mahre BA MFA MLIS - January 12th, 2017

Xanax are commonly prescribed medication for anxiety and/or panic disorder. They fall under the group of drugs known as sedative-hypnotics. Our guide allows you to make informed decisions regarding the use of these drugs. As with other addictive substances, we recommend that Xanax detox is done in a professional medical facility. Contact someone who can help you today.