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Alprazolam Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms

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Alprazolam, also widely known as Xanax, is a benzodiazepine that is most often prescribed for the treatment of anxiety disorders such as panic attacks. Unfortunately, medium to long-term use of alprazolam can lead to strong symptoms of withdrawal if the user tries to quit or abruptly reduce his or her dose. If you or a loved one is struggling with Xanax addiction, call 888-602-1971(Who Answers?) to speak with a treatment advisor about your needs and to find a detox center near you.

Xanax withdrawal can lead to uncomfortable physical problems as well as a wide range of mental health concerns, especially if you were prescribed alprazolam for a legitimate anxiety disorder and you decide to quit taking it. Panic attacks could spike and even if you were NOT taking Xanax for a legitimate disorder, you could find that you now struggle with anxiety as a result of the alprazolam being removed from your daily regimen.

In the following post we’ll discuss what causes Xanax withdrawal, what the signs and symptoms of alprazolam withdrawal are, what you can expect during detox and what treatment options are available to assist you. If you have any questions, or you need immediate help, call 888-602-1971(Who Answers?) and we’ll connect you with a detox center near you.

Causes of Xanax Withdrawal

So what is it that leads to withdrawal from alprazolam? Generally, if you’ve taken Xanax for more than a few weeks you are susceptible to withdrawal symptoms when you quit. Even if you cut back a dose from say 6mg a day to 2mg per day, you are at risk for withdrawal symptoms. Any adjustments in dose, either cutting back significantly or completely eliminating the dose, can make you at risk for withdrawal.

Symptoms of alprazolam withdrawal are caused by the brain and the body’s reaction to the lack of the drug after it has developed a tolerance. What this means is that if you’ve used Xanax for 4-6 weeks, and you suddenly quit or change the dose, you will struggle with some level of withdrawal—symptoms can persist for just a few days or may last months depending on:

  • How long you’ve been using Xanax.
  • How much Xanax you use on a regular, daily basis.
  • Whether you have quit before.
  • Your age and underlying physical and mental health.

Dependence on Xanax can develop even from a small dose of less than 4mg per day being used long term. Taking the drug with alcohol, other drugs or using it in any way other than prescribed (such as crushing the pills and snorting them) can lead to a significantly faster tolerance and addiction. If you’re addicted to Xanax, your risk for withdrawal when you quit is increased to a magnitude that may feel unbearable.

Don’t let fear of withdrawal prevent you from getting help. Treatment is available. Call our helpline at 888-602-1971(Who Answers?) to find a Xanax withdrawal rehab center near you.

Signs and Symptoms of Alprazolam Withdrawal

A wide range of central nervous system symptoms become evident when you quit taking Xanax after a prolonged period of time. These symptoms generally affect your mood and emotions, but they can also negatively impact your physical health.

The most common signs and symptoms of alprazolam withdrawal include:

Alprazolam Withdrawal Signs

Psychosis and hallucinations are common alprazolam withdrawal symptoms.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach
  • Sweating profusely
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Tremors or seizures
  • Coma
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Psychosis or other psychotic reactions
  • Hallucinations
  • Muscle cramps
  • Twitching of the muscles or muscle spasms
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Inability to fall asleep or stay asleep
  • Nightmares
  • Headache and muscle aches
  • Difficulty focusing or remaining concentrated on a task
  • Tension and general agitation

From the time you cut back your dose or quit taking Xanax, signs and symptoms of withdrawal can appear quit rapidly. Seizures, although not always present when a user quits taking alprazolam, are the most dangerous symptom of withdrawal. As such, all individuals who abuse Xanax or take it with a prescription should seek medical or professional detox treatment to ensure that they receive adequate monitoring and care during withdrawal. Failure to seek professional help could lead to a seizure that may be life-threatening without immediate medical attention.

What to Expect During Alprazolam Detox

Detoxing from alprazolam addiction can take weeks. Most of the time, if you’ve been on a moderate to high-dose of Xanax, for a long period of time, the detox center will require that you taper the dose off slowly to reduce your risks. While tapering the medication slowly is the preferred method of detoxing safely from Xanax, it does prolong the amount of time it will take to get off the drug.

A tapering schedule may include reducing the dose by 1mg or even .5mg every 3-5 days over the course of weeks or months. Tapering can reduce the withdrawal symptoms you feel and will significantly reduce your risk for seizures or other potentially life-threatening complications from alprazolam withdrawal.

Here’s what the typical Xanax withdrawal timeline looks like:

  • Phase 1 – this phase lasts about 4-5 days. During this time you will feel heightened anxiety and may have trouble sleeping.
  • Phase 2 – this phase lasts up to two weeks. During this time you will feel strong symptoms of withdrawal during with seizure or other complications could arise. You may feel sick to your stomach, and the anxiety persists.
  • Phase 3 – this phase can last months. During this time you will notice that the worst of the symptoms of alprazolam withdrawal are beginning to subside but you may feel various disturbances here and there for a prolonged period of time depending on how severe your addiction was.

Xanax Withdrawal Nearly Killed Me: How Detox Saved my Life


Post-acute Withdrawal Syndrome or PAWS is a symptom of withdrawal that many people that struggle with alcoholism or benzodiazepine addiction report. Symptoms can persist for years spiking randomly long after you have been sober for a prolonged period of time. For those struggling with benzodiazepine addiction, such as alprazolam addiction, PAWS symptoms include:

  • Mood swings and sudden outbursts.
  • Depression or feeling blue.
  • Cravings that persist.
  • Lack of cognitive performance or inability to think clearly.
  • Sensitivity to stress and other triggers.
  • Anxiety and irritability.

Treatment Options

If you or someone you love is struggling with alprazolam withdrawal, call our helpline at 888-602-1971(Who Answers?) to discuss treatment options that are available to assist you. A wide range of detox programs are offered throughout the country to help you. The most common include:

Making sense of these treatment options, and know which one is right for you can be hard. We’re here to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Just give us a call and we’ll provide you with the care you need.

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