Xanax Detox & Withdrawal

in Detox
Published Oct 2, 2020

Once a person stops using Xanax, a period of adjustment called withdrawal follows. It can be distressing both physically and psychologically, as the body and brain need time to adjust and recover. During this period, it is recommended that a person detoxing seek help from medically trained professionals and a recovery support system. Withdrawal from benzodiazepines can be severe, even dangerous, if the drug is stopped too abruptly.

How long does Xanax withdrawal last?

Xanax has a short elimination or half-life (6 to 20 hours); therefore, withdrawal typically begins within six to 12 hours of the last dose. This timeframe is determined by the dosage, period of use, and whether a person has been taking longer-acting Xanax. Symptoms may include increased heart rate and blood pressure, agitation, insomnia, anxiety, and changes to appetite.

The acute phase of withdrawal, known as benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome, is said to last between five and 28 days. The person usually experiences a peak of severity around one to two weeks post-withdrawal, after which symptoms return to a pre-withdrawal phase. In some cases, the person may experience a protracted withdrawal (also known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome or “PAWS,” for short), which lasts for months and sometimes years. In most cases, Xanax withdrawal lasts up to three months.

What are the symptoms of Xanax withdrawal?

Stopping benzodiazepine medications without professional intervention, such as medical detox, can cause a number of unpleasant and prolonged side effects. Because of the nature of benzodiazepines, which alter the brain’s chemistry causing things to slow down, ceasing long-term benzodiazepine use can cause too dramatic a change in brain activity, leading to unpleasant side effects.

In addition to the above side effects, withdrawal symptoms mimic that of benzodiazepine withdrawal, which include:

  • headache
  • anxiety
  • tension
  • depression
  • insomnia
  • restlessness
  • confusion
  • irritability
  • sweating
  • rebound phenomenon (where one loses control over a coordinated movement)
  • feelings of unease
  • dizziness
  • derealization (feeling like one’s surroundings are not real)
  • depersonalization (when thoughts and feelings seem unreal, or not belonging to oneself)
  • hearing sensitivity
  • numbness/tingling of extremities
  • hypersensitivity to light noise, and physical contact/perceptual changes
  • involuntary movements
  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite
  • hallucinations/delirium
  • convulsions/seizures (more common in patients with pre-existing seizure disorders, or who are taking drugs, such as antidepressants, which lower the threshold for seizures)
  • tremor
  • abdominal cramps
  • muscle pain
  • agitation
  • tachycardia
  • panic attacks
  • vertigo
  • short-term memory loss
  • abnormal body temperature


PAWS symptoms include depression, anxiety, insomnia, perceptual symptoms such as ringing in the ears (tinnitus), tingling, numbness and pain in hands and feet, motor symptoms (muscle pain, weakness, tension, painful tremor, shaking attacks, jerks, spasms), and gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps).

Risks of home detox

In this instance, detox is the process of stopping using substance and detoxifying the body, at home without medical intervention. Due to the number of health risks associated with home detox, it is not advised by medical professionals. It can be particularly dangerous to suddenly stop drinking or taking drugs cold turkey, rather than tapering off.

Home detox is rarely successful because the side effects of stopping are so unpleasant that the risk of relapse is high.

It is strongly advised by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to seek professional intervention, especially if the person has been using substances persistently, to ensure they overcome risks of home detox.

“For alcohol, sedative-hypnotic, and opioid withdrawal syndromes, hospitalization or some form of 24-hour medical care is generally the preferred setting for detoxification, based upon the principles of safety and humanitarian concerns.” SAMHSA Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment Improvement Protocol, TIP 45

Again, there are a number of risks with home detox—particularly in the cases of alcohol and benzodiazepines. Medically-monitored detox centers are a crucial aspect of the recovery process. They ensure that the person is treated safely and also reduce the risk of complications that might arise from the detox process. According to SAMHSA, almost 80 percent of professional detoxification uses medication to ease withdrawal symptoms.

The Gallus Method of Xanax detox

Gallus Medical Detox provides the comfort of a residential facility, but with clinical expertise that is far superior to most detox facilities. We offer safe, effective, and personalized treatment. In fact, we are so proud of our proprietary method that we named it The Gallus Method.

The key features of Gallus Medical Detox include:

  • Individual treatment plans, with a focus on personalized sobriety
  • Psychological, physical, and social assessments
  • IV Therapy Program
  • 24/7 medical supervision
  • Cardiac telemetry and video technology
  • Ongoing adjustments to treatment plans in order to suit our patients’ needs
  • An individual aftercare plan identifying resources and next steps toward a long-term recovery


Gallus also offers a unique outpatient benzodiazepine taper support program with medical supervision, MD visits, and individual therapy.

At Gallus Medical Detox Centers, we bring compassion to the commotion. Peace to the pain. Empowerment to the powerless. If you or someone you know needs support with addiction problems, bring us your battle. Call us today and take the best, first step towards recovery: 720-704-1432