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Xanax Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline, & Treatment

By May 14, 2024

Benzodiazepines are habit-forming medications that cause dependence within a short period, causing individuals who take them daily to experience withdrawal symptoms during abrupt cessation. Most withdrawal symptoms begin within 24 hours after the final dose and can last from a few days to several months, depending on several factors. It is estimated that percent of patients taking benzodiazepines long-term (past the 2-4 week prescribing guidelines) will experience protracted withdrawal or a “post-withdrawal syndrome”. There may be a genetic predisposition or gene expression phenomenon that occurs during the withdrawal syndrome to shift into a protracted withdrawal syndrome and damaged central nervous system. Protracted withdrawal syndrome refers to symptoms persisting for months or even years.

How Long Does Xanax Withdrawal Last?

There is a risk that people who quit benzodiazepines without a taper may experience a life-threatening grand mal seizure. If you go into withdrawal without tapering, you also risk experiencing delirium and hallucinations that cause you to lose touch with reality—a terrifying and dangerous experience. When you are physically dependent on a drug, it means your body can’t operate normally without it. If you stop or reduce your dose suddenly, you will experience withdrawal symptoms.

What Happens When You Stop Taking Xanax?

Others might experience a few weeks or months of uncomfortable, but bearable, symptoms. Unfortunately, there is another group of individuals that may experience severe symptoms, often for months or years on end. For these people, the intensity of withdrawal can be overwhelming and in some cases lead to death – either as a direct result of the withdrawal syndrome itself or as a result of suicide. One known case of death was that of David Stojcevski, an inmate at the Macomb County Jail 17 days into a 30 day sentence for an unpaid traffic ticket.

Benzodiazepines in Canada: Is a Withdrawal Crisis Looming? – Mad in America

Benzodiazepines in Canada: Is a Withdrawal Crisis Looming?.

Posted: Thu, 22 Feb 2024 08:00:00 GMT [source]

Treatment Resources

  • As withdrawal progresses, patients often find their physical and mental health improves with improved mood and improved cognition.
  • This is because, after several weeks, most people develop a physical dependence.
  • Xanax withdrawal can begin within 24 hours after the last dose and symptoms may last between a few days to weeks.
  • Tolerance withdrawal occurs because your body is requiring more of the drug in order to achieve the same effect.

It is common that patients experiencing symptoms do not recognize that their poor physical and mental health is related to their long-term use of the benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are among the most commonly prescribed medications in the U.S. According to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), benzodiazepines were prescribed at around 66 million doctor’s visits a year from 2014 to 2016.

People with benzodiazepine tolerance may take supratherapeutic doses because the recommended range no longer provides relief for their symptoms. The higher dose may help ease your symptoms, but it can also increase your risk of overdose and severe withdrawal symptoms. If the person’s original symptoms return once they stop taking prescription benzodiazepines, doctors may also prescribe a different class of medications, or other drugs or therapies, to help manage them during withdrawal. Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be risky, so it is best to work with a doctor. Depending on which benzodiazepine you are currently taking, your doctor may want to switch you to a different one before your taper begins.

  • It will take longer to fully eliminate all of the Xanax from your body, though you may not necessarily “feel” the sedative effects for longer because you’ve built up a tolerance to the medication.
  • Some people continue taking benzodiazepines throughout their pregnancy while others follow a dose tapering schedule.
  • In addition, over half of the survey respondents said benzodiazepines’ side effects or withdrawal symptoms caused them to consider suicide.
  • To view a comprehensive A-Z list of benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms, go here.
  • Dizziness is often reported as being the withdrawal symptom that lasts the longest.

People who have been taking Xanax on a regular basis will consistently maintain a higher concentration in their bloodstream. It will take longer to fully eliminate all of the Xanax from your body, though you may not necessarily “feel” the sedative effects for longer because you’ve built up a tolerance to the medication. For obese individuals, it may be more difficult for your body to break down Xanax.

  • People taking high doses of benzos may start with a quicker taper and slow down once a lower dose has been achieved.
  • When a person becomes physically dependent on benzodiazepines their body and brain become so accustomed to having the drug that they will experience withdrawal symptoms when you cut down the dose or stop the drug.
  • Additionally, medical supervision allows doctors to respond much more quickly to potential side effects and withdrawal symptoms.
  • The primary difference between these drugs is the length of time they stay active in the body.
  • These dips in blood sugar cause levels of adrenaline and cortisol to rise, leading to symptoms like anxiety and palpitations.

Factors That Can Affect Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

However, it’s important to note that everyone metabolizes medications differently, so the half-life will vary from person to person. Studies have shown that the half-life of Xanax ranges from 6.3 to 26.9 hours, depending on the person. Xanax helps to calm the nerves and induces a feeling of relaxation. benzodiazepine withdrawal In high doses, however, it has the potential to be abused and can lead to dependence (addiction). For this reason, it’s classified as a federal controlled substance (C-IV). If you have been taking Xanax several times a day, then quitting is going to take time, patience, and determination.

Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS)

If you experience severe withdrawal symptoms during tapering, tell your doctor so they can adjust your care plan as needed. Withdrawal symptoms can occur after as little as one month of use, even on small, therapeutic doses. Among people taking benzodiazepines for longer than six months, about 40% experience moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms when they quit suddenly. The signs and symptoms of Xanax withdrawal vary from person to person. Research indicates that roughly 40% of people taking benzodiazepines for more than six months will experience moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms.

What is benzodiazepine protracted withdrawal?

A rebound effect is the reoccurrence of a symptom after a person stops taking the medication that was treating it. For instance, someone taking Xanax for anxiety is likely to have a reoccurrence of their anxiety symptoms during withdrawal. Quitting cold turkey can increase your risk of extreme and dangerous withdrawal symptoms, including delirium and grand mal seizures.

How Long Does Withdrawal From Benzodiazepines Last


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