- Xanax detox requires specialized care from trained health professionals.
- A combination of tapering and psychotherapy is the safest way to withdraw from Xanax.
- Quitting cold turkey or unsupervised detox can result in potentially fatal outcomes.
- With professional help, most people can expect a recovery in about 30 days.
Suddenly stopping Xanax can cause life-threatening withdrawal, especially if you have a long history of abuse. Fortunately, Xanax detox can safely clear the drug from the system and prepare your body for long-term addiction treatment.
Xanax (Alprazolam) – A Benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety disorders and panic disorders, is a highly addictive drug. Thus, its abuse can lead to dependence, dangerous side effects, overdose, or death.
What is Xanax Detox, and Why is it Necessary?
How to Detox From Xanax Safely?
Both inpatient and outpatient facilities provide Xanax detox services. However, most people prefer inpatient programs that provide 24-hour medical supervision to reduce their risk of developing life-threatening complications. You may consider switching to an intensive outpatient program once you are physically and mentally stable.
During detox, a doctor gradually lowers your dose of Xanax until you can function normally without taking the drug. Doctors call it “dose tapering.” Tapering is necessary to prevent severe withdrawal and seizures. Notably, since there is no standard tapering schedule, it must be customized to meet unique individual needs.
Besides, the doctor may give an equivalent dose of diazepam instead of Xanax. In the meantime, they will monitor your symptoms and gradually lower the dose of diazepam, usually once every 7 days. If your symptoms continue to be severe, they may reduce the dose less frequently.
You may also need to take medications to treat specific symptoms during Xanax detox. For example, depression drugs and beta-blockers are effective in relieving dysphoria and anxiety.
Withdrawal Symptoms During Xanax Detox
If you have used Xanax for more than 3-4 weeks, suddenly stopping it can cause the following symptoms:
- Muscle pain and stiffness
- Burning or prickling sensations
- Blurred or double vision
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Ringing in the ears
- Retching and nausea
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of sleep
- Anxiety, panic attacks
- Problems with memory and concentration
- Increased sensitivity to light, sound, touch, or taste
- Metallic taste
- Distortions of body image
- Feelings of unreality, depersonalization, derealization
- Depression, dysphoria
How Long Does It Take To Detox From Xanax?
Xanax withdrawal detox usually begins within hours after the last intake and continues for a few days to a few months. Xanax has a half-life of about 11 hours. Meaning a person will take about 11 hours to clear half of the dose from the body. As a result, they may start experiencing uncomfortable symptoms approximately 8 hours after the last dose.
Below is an approximate timeline of Xanax withdrawal.
First few days
Rebound anxiety and sleep problems commonly occur within 1 to 4 days after the last intake.
10 to 14 days
Most users will develop full-blown withdrawal during this period, including physical, neurological, and psychological symptoms.
Most symptoms subside a month after the last dose. That said, some users may continue to experience withdrawal symptoms for several months.
1 in 4 long-term Xanax users may experience symptoms lasting longer than 12 months; this is known as protracted or post-acute withdrawal.
Factors Affecting Xanax Withdrawal
Each individual experiences withdrawal differently. As such, there are substantial unique differences in the duration and intensity of withdrawal symptoms.
Some key factors affecting withdrawal are dose, method of use, use of alcohol or other drugs, age at first use, genetics, and duration of use. Moreover, a person with an underlying mental illness or a history of abuse may experience more severe withdrawal.
How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your Body?
The detection time - the period from the last intake and a positive test result - primarily depends on the testing method.
For example, blood tests can detect Xanax for up to 4 to 5 days. Likewise, a hair test can give a positive test result for up to 90 days.
The detection times for a saliva test and urine analysis are 2 days and (up to) 5 days, respectively.
Xanax Detox Treatment
Most addiction experts agree that combining dose tapering with psychotherapy is the safest approach for Xanax detox.
Also called talk therapy, this non-drug approach includes stress management and relapse prevention techniques. Notably, psychotherapy sessions before and during detox drastically improve treatment outcomes and help prevent relapse. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT is the most commonly used psychotherapy in addiction treatment. It helps people identify and replace negative thoughts (likely contributing to addiction) with positive ones. Some rehab centers may also provide other non-drug interventions such as yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and massage therapy. Detox is only the beginning of a journey to a drug-free life. You will need to continue psychotherapy for long-term recovery from Xanax addiction. To improve the chances of full recovery, addiction centers provide individualized programs that address your physical and psychological issues.
Loss of appetite and weight is common during Xanax detox. Thus, it is crucial to eat healthy meals to maintain your weight and speed up your recovery. Detox centers provide balanced and nutritious meals specifically tailored to meet your needs.