When an addictive substance is used regularly, dependence eventually forms. Once use of the substance ceases, unpleasant, painful, and sometimes dangerous side effects occur. This is known as withdrawal. Defined by the American Psychological Association, withdrawal is a syndrome that develops after cessation of prolonged, heavy consumption of a substance, with symptoms varying by substance but generally including physiological, behavioral, and cognitive manifestations. 

Withdrawal symptoms differ based on the substance of abuse, with some manifesting mild withdrawal symptoms while others yield painful and dangerous symptoms. Regardless of the substance that has been abused, withdrawal can be very uncomfortable, which is why it is highly recommended to seek a professional detox clinic to assist in the process. Clinicians at these facilities will monitor the withdrawal process and ensure the individual feels safe and supported.

How Long Does it Take to Withdraw From Xanax?

Xanax is notoriously difficult and dangerous to withdraw from. As a benzodiazepine, Xanax withdrawal can cause life-threatening seizures when usage has stopped. According to Griffin Memorial Hospital, withdrawal seizures usually occur in patients who have been taking these medications for long periods of time and at high doses, with the severity of seizures ranging from a single episode to coma and death. 

The length of Xanax withdrawal depends on the length of the addiction and the quantity of the drug regularly used. Those who have abused Xanax for a short time, or only used very little, may have a significantly shorter withdrawal period and display relatively mild symptoms. 

In contrast, those who have struggled with Xanax abuse for an extended amount of time, or in large quantities, may experience an extended withdrawal stage and more dangerous symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms typically show up within the first few days and last up to two weeks. Rarely, Xanax withdrawal can take up to one month.

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms 

Symptoms of Xanax withdrawal vary based on the length of addiction. For the average individual, symptoms appear within the first few days and last approximately two weeks. If the Xanax addiction is severe, withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening. 

Symptoms include: 

Profuse sweating

Sweating is common when going through withdrawal. This is the physical body’s way of ridding itself of all remaining traces of the substance. 


An individual withdrawing from this highly addictive benzodiazepine is likely to experience increased levels of anxiety. As a common anxiety medication, Xanax interacts with neurotransmitters in the brain to produce a calming sensation. The absence of Xanax can increase the individual’s anxiety to higher levels than before they started medicating.


Due to profuse sweating, vomiting and diarrhea that are likely to occur during the withdrawal stage, the body becomes extremely dehydrated. This intense dehydration causes muscles and joints to cramp up, producing involuntary spasms. 


Xanax abuse causes a chemical alteration within the brain. Once withdrawal begins, the individual may feel depressed as Xanax is no longer altering neurotransmitter activity as was once frequently occurring. 


As the most dangerous symptom of Xanax withdrawal, these seizures can be fatal if the individual is unsupervised. When an individual abruptly stops taking Xanax, its absence causes abnormal nerve activity within the brain and the individual is at high risk for seizure as a result.  

Due to the severity of some of these symptoms and the potential for life-threatening side effects, such as seizures, clinical supervision within a professional detox facility is highly recommended. 

Asheville Recovery Center Can Help  

It is extremely important to seek help immediately if you or a loved one is struggling with substance addiction or withdrawal. The founders of Asheville Recovery Center, as well as many of our addiction therapists, have struggled with addiction and now enjoy life in recovery. They understand the struggles of addiction and how difficult it is to overcome alone.

While we do not have a detox facility, we can refer you to a quality clinic where experts can supervise your withdrawal phase. Upon successfully completing the detox process, we will work with you to formulate a custom treatment plan designed to fit your individual needs. If you feel that you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, our specialists are on standby and ready to help. Call (828)518-6996 and speak with an addiction expert today so you can take the first step towards a rewarding life of sobriety.

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