Xanax Detox: What to Know

Table of Contents

Xanax detox is a process associated with uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that can be life-threatening in a non-clinical setting.

Among the most prescribed psychotherapeutic drugs in the United States, Xanax (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine typically prescribed to treat panic disorders and anxiety disorders. Although Xanax can be highly effective short-term, benzos are Schedule IV controlled substances with the potential for tolerance, dependence, and addiction.

It is not only dangerous to abruptly stop using benzodiazepines at home, but potentially life-threatening. By engaging with a supervised medical Xanax detox, you can streamline the withdrawal process, mitigate complications, and strengthen the likelihood of recovery without relapse.

Detoxing From Xanax

Even if you have been prescribed Xanax short-term, you should always consult your prescribing physician before discontinuing use of the medication.

The optimum approach to detoxing from benzos like Xanax involves a tapered reduction in dosage. A gradual dosage reduction will streamline withdrawal and reduce the chance of Xanax withdrawal symptoms presenting.

There are three distinct phases to the Xanax withdrawal process:

  • Immediate withdrawal
  • Acute withdrawal
  • Protracted withdrawal

While most people detoxing from alprazolam will experience immediate and acute withdrawal, not everyone will experience protracted Xanax withdrawal.

Xanax detox in a clinical setting will:

  1. Address the issue of physical dependence on Xanax
  2. Purge all traces of benzos from your system
  3. Minimize complications during withdrawal
  4. Reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms
  5. Act as a bridge into ongoing inpatient or outpatient treatment

Xanax Definition

Xanax is a branded formulation of the benzodiazepine alprazolam. The medication is from the same class of drugs as Klonopin (clonazepam) and Valium (diazepam). Mainly prescribed to treat panic disorders and anxiety disorders, Xanax may also be administered for the treatment of seizure and alcohol withdrawal.

Like all benzodiazepines, Xanax inhibits activity in the brain and the CNS (central nervous system). Xanax enhances the effects of a chemical called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) that occurs in the brain, inducing a sense of relaxation and calmness.

Xanax may effectively alleviate acute symptoms such as panic attacks or rapid-onset anxiety, but this benzo also has a high potential for abuse and addiction (sedative, hypnotic, or anxiolytic use disorder).

Xanax Detox Process

The Xanax detox process may take place in either an inpatient or outpatient treatment center. Inpatient Xanax detoxification provides the most supportive pathway to withdrawal.

The treatment team will use a tapering schedule rather than abruptly discontinuing the medication. An incremental reduction in dosage will reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms – more on these below – and will also minimize complications. Around-the-clock medical supervision will also prevent seizures, potentially deadly if untreated.

Your treatment team may substitute an equivalent dose of Valium (diazepam) for your dose of Xanax, stepping the Valium dosage down once weekly.

Symptoms of Xanax Withdrawal

How long do Xanax withdrawals last, then?

Some people may experience mild Xanax withdrawal symptoms lasting for a few days. Others encounter chronic and protracted withdrawal that persists for months, or even years.

These are some of the most reported Xanax withdrawal symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Altered sense of smell
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Tingling in legs or arms
  • Numb fingers
  • Tremors
  • Heart palpitations
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarhhea
  • Fever
  • Insomnia
  • Weight loss
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Muscle aches
  • Hypertension
  • Cramps
  • High body temperature and blood pressure
  • Rapidly rising heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Hyperventilation
  • Grand mal seizures

The sustained use of a benzo like Xanax affects areas of the brain responsible for:

  • Mood
  • Motivation
  • Reward

If dependence and addiction develop, those areas of the brain will undergo functional and structural changes.

When you discontinue use of the medication, it takes time for the brain to accustom itself to the absence of Xanax. Psychological withdrawal symptoms may present, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Mood swings
  • Problems with focus
  • Restlessness
  • Delirium
  • Hallucinations
  • Suicidal ideation

What’s the Best Way to Detox from Xanax?

The most effective way to detox from Xanax or any other benzodiazepine is by connecting with a supervised Xanax detox program at a licensed medical detox center.

This pathway to recovery provides you with medical supervision 24/7, a tapered reduction in Xanax dosage with substitute medications administered, and a springboard into ongoing treatment.

Don’t take the chance of detoxing from Xanax at home. This may involve the presentation of withdrawal symptoms so intense that you relapse, and could even trigger a fatal seizure. 

Now you know how to detox from Xanax, the right way, how can you connect with the right science-based treatment in Ohio?

Get Help with Xanax Detox at Ohio Recovery Centers

If you have developed an addiction to Xanax, whether after legitimate medical use or through abusing this potent benzo, we can help you fight back. To mitigate the withdrawal effects from Xanax, engage with our supervised Xanax detoxification program.

The Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers can supervised a tapered reduction in dosage. If necessary, you may be prescribed another type of benzo to further streamline detox. You will also benefit from continuous clinical and emotional care, reducing the risk of complications during detox.

While detoxing from Xanax is a crucial step in the recovery process, you will require ongoing treatment to address the psychological aspect of benzo addiction. Choose from the following Ohio Recovery Centers treatment programs:

  • PHPs (partial hospitalization programs)
  • IOPs (intensive outpatient programs)
  • Dual diagnosis treatment programs (for co-occurring disorders)

When you are ready to move beyond addiction to benzos like Xanax, contact Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers online or call 513-757-5000 for immediate assistance and a supervised medical Xanax detox.

Table of Contents