Xanax (Alprazolam) Withdrawal Symptoms And Timeline
Read on to learn more about xanax withdrawal symptoms, as well as a general xanax withdrawal timeline and what you can expect to experience.
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Over time, someone who is using or abusing alprazolam will build up a tolerance to the drug. Tolerance often goes hand-in-hand with the development of physical dependence. As the user takes increasingly higher doses to achieve the same effect as before their brain may more quickly begin to rely on the drug to function normally.
Side Effects of Alprazolam
When used as prescribed, benzodiazepines like Alprazolam can be a useful tool for anxiety. However, there are some risk factors associated with their use.
- Prolonged dependence. People who have abused alprazolam or other benzodiazepines for long periods of time are likely to suffer more intensely unpleasant withdrawal symptoms than short-term alprazolam abusers. 7
- Multi-substance abuse. Alprazolam withdrawal is likely to be more severe for people who abuse alcohol and other sedative-hypnotic drugs while using alprazolam. Abusing these substances together can also lead to overdose and death. 8
- Mental health conditions. People who suffer from underlying mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety may find it more challenging to get through the withdrawal process because symptoms may re-emerge during recovery.5
Alprazolam Withdrawal Symptoms
If a dependent user tries to quit taking alprazolam, he or she will likely experience withdrawal effects as the body and brain adjust to living without the drug. Alprazolam withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening.7 As a result, a xanax medical detox program is the safest method for withdrawing from alprazolam and recovering from addiction.
Alprazolam withdrawal symptoms may include, but are not limited to:
Other common symptoms of Alprazolam withdrawal include sleep problems, hand tremors, sweating, nausea, and dry retching. Other symptoms include unintentional weight loss, headaches, muscle stiffness or pain, heart palpitations, irritability, anxiety, panic attacks, difficulty concentrating, changes in perception, psychotic reactions, or even seizures. 3,8
Xanax (Alprazolam) Withdrawal Timeline
The alprazolam withdrawal timeline depends on how frequently the person was using alprazolam and the average dose being used. The user’s age and overall health also influence how quickly alprazolam is metabolized, which can influence the speed of onset of the withdrawal syndrome.
Acute Withdrawal Timeline
- 1-4 days: Increased anxiety, insomnia3
- 10-14 days: Physical symptoms: hand tremors, sweating, nausea, and dry retching, unintentional weight loss, heart palpitations, headache, muscle pain, muscle stiffness, seizures
Mental and behavioral symptoms: difficulty falling or staying asleep, or periodically waking up; panic attacks; increased anxiety; difficulty concentrating; changes in perception of the environment and people; irritability; psychotic reactions 3
- 7-28 days:Increased anxiety, insomnia5
Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms
The worst of the alprazolam withdrawal symptoms last 10 to 14 days.3 During this time, it is crucial that the person is monitored and supported by trained addiction specialists. It is common for people to relapse during this time. The risk is greater for people who take alprazolam with other substances such as alcohol.
After the initial alprazolam withdrawal phase, users may experience “post-acute” withdrawal symptoms. Not everyone will experience these effects. But they can last for weeks or months. 5 These symptoms include increased anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, memory problems, depression. 5
After four weeks, it may be difficult to determine whether the person is continuing to suffer from alprazolam withdrawal signs or underlying anxiety disorder.5
Dangers of Xanax Withdrawal
Substance abuse causes an array of physiological problems and medical complications. People who are struggling with alprazolam withdrawal effects may experience the following medical problems:
- Seizures: Seizures are extremely dangerous and common in heavy alprazolam users. The risk is exacerbated if the user also abused alcohol prior to withdrawal.
- Delirium or psychotic episodes: The lack of alprazolam in the system can cause changes in perception and psychotic reactions.
- Abnormal body sensations: Twitching, muscle stiffness, and lack of coordination are common alprazolam withdrawal effects.
- Hypersensitivity to loud noises: In general, alprazolam abusers will be hypersensitive to stimuli during withdrawal.
- Weight loss: Alprazolam withdrawal lowers appetite, which can lead to unintended weight loss.
- Hyperventilation and panic attacks: The most common physical alprazolam withdrawal signs – anxiety, panic attacks, tremors, and hyperventilation – are serious complications throughout the withdrawal process.
Xanax Detox and Withdrawal Treatment
While Xanax (alprazolam) detox can present severe withdrawal symptoms, there are medical interventions that can help mitigate some of the most devastating effects of Xanax withdrawal. Medically-supervised detox can yield positive results for those struggling with Xanax or benzodiazepine misuse.2 Whether in an inpatient or outpatient setting, Xanax detox programs can help provide patients with behavioral and medicinal therapies to help mitigate withdrawal symptoms.2
However, detox is simply the first step in a larger continuum of addiction treatment care. Those who completed detox may move onto a more intensive inpatient or outpatient treatment program designed to help them achieve recovery. If you’re struggling with Xanax misuse and are ready to take the first steps to recovery, consider calling our addiction helpline. American Addiction Centers (AAC) has admissions navigators standing by to help answer any questions you may have about Xanax withdrawal, the detox process, and your insurance coverage. Don’t delay, call us today at .