Understanding Xanax Withdrawal

Although some people with a Xanax addiction haven’t been taking the drug for very long, it’s not at all uncommon for people with this particular addiction to spend weeks, months or even years under the control of Xanax.

In fact, in a study of the issue in the Iranian Journal of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, researchers found that the average person in Tehran, Iran with this addiction had been abusing the drug for about five years.1

Long addiction timespans like this are terribly hard on the brain. They become accustomed to the ongoing presence of Xanax, and they don’t function properly when the drug is gone. The withdrawal symptoms that appear when people try to quit are tied to the damage long-term Xanax abuse can cause.

Male friends having serious talk

Withdrawal Signs

Xanax works by quieting electrical activity in the cells of the brain. When the drug is gone and the cells fire at a normal pace, people may feel anxious or agitated. They may feel more awake and alert than they have in decades. Sometimes, that’s the only symptom a person will feel during withdrawal.

However, some people do have more serious withdrawal symptoms. For these people, the awakened electrical signals continue to grow and spread until seizures develop. People like this may begin to hallucinate or tremor before the seizures begin, so they’ll have time to get help before the problem gets out of control.

Treatment teams assist with Xanax withdrawal symptoms by applying a different benzodiazepine medication, and tapering the dose of that medication over time.

This approach gives brain cells with the opportunity to adjust to the lack of drugs, so they can come up to a normal speed of functioning at a slower, safer pace.

The rate of Xanax detox depends on the person, the nature of the addiction and how well an individual handles withdrawal symptoms. When a patient chooses to detox in a medically controlled environment, trained professionals will monitor the entire process to keep each patient safe and as comfortably as possible.

A Full Recovery?

Detox is designed to help people to adjust to the lack of Xanax in their bodies. At the end of that process, people are sober, but they might still have Xanax aftermath to deal with. Drugs like Xanax can produce lasting effects in a person’s life for many months or even years. Therefore, it is important to do the work of therapy while in rehab to be able to manage ongoing physical symptoms with a stronger mental framework.

In therapy, people learn the following important insights into their recovery:

After several bouts of prescription drug abuse, Lara F. finally got sober: It is my greatest gift and the best/worst thing that ever happened to me. It showed me how strong I am. It showed me I can fight. It showed me I can overcome something that most people don’t even address or will not be able to overcome. It led me to my voice. Read more of Lara’s HeroesInRecovery story here.

If you’re ready to start your own path toward Xanax recovery, we’re here to help. We want you to feel empowered without Xanax, just like Lara. Pleasecall us today at The Oaks at La Paloma at our 24 hour, toll-free helpline, and we’ll tell you more about our treatment programs and how you can enroll.


1 Babakhanian, M. et al. “Nonmedical Abuse of Benzodiazepines in Opiate-Dependent Patients in Tehran, Iran.” Iranian Journal of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. NCBI. 2012. Web. Accessed 21 July 2017.