Quitting Xanax Withdrawal and Timeline

Quitting Xanax Withdrawal and Timeline

If you’re struggling to know how to quit Xanax, you are not alone. There is not one right, or singular reason to seek help, but instead the important part is you are here, trying.

Xanax is commonly prescribed to treat panic attacks and generalized anxiety disorder. However, long-term use of Xanax can lead to physical and emotional dependence, making it difficult to quit without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. If you or your loved one is looking to learn how to quit Xanax, or wondering how long it will take to quit Xanax, this article will provide you with the necessary information and guidance to taper off this drug  safely.

Understanding Xanax and its Effects

Xanax works by enhancing neurotransmitter activity in the brain, resulting in a calming effect that helps reduce stress and relax muscles. However, this drug can be highly addictive, even when taken as prescribed. Over time, the body and mind become dependent on Xanax, leading to withdrawal symptoms when attempting to quit.

How Long Will It Take to Quit Xanax?

Quitting Xanax suddenly, also known as going "cold turkey," can be dangerous and increase the likelihood of experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms, including seizures and hallucinations. It is crucial to work with a medical professional to develop a safe tapering plan. The rate and length of the tapering process will depend on factors such as the duration of Xanax use and the damage caused by the drug.

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms can be both physical and psychological, ranging from headaches and insomnia to panic and seizures. The severity and duration of these symptoms can vary from person to person. It is essential to be aware of the potential withdrawal symptoms to better prepare for the journey of quitting Xanax.

Physical Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Heart palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Muscle pain and tremors
  • Diarrhea
  • Numb fingers
  • Sensitivity to light and sound

Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal Timeline After Quitting Xanax

Understanding the withdrawal timeline can provide insight into what to expect during the process of quitting Xanax. It's important to note that the length in which it takes to quit Xanax may vary for each individual.

Early Withdrawal (Within 24 hours to Several Days)

During the early withdrawal phase, anxiety, insomnia, and any other health concerns that were previously treated with Xanax may rebound. This phase can begin within 24 hours to several days after the last dose.

Acute Withdrawal (5 Days to 1 Month)

Acute withdrawal typically occurs five days after the cessation of Xanax and can last up to a month. Symptoms may intensify during this phase, including increased anxiety, insomnia, mood fluctuations, seizures, and hallucinations. Medical supervision and prescribed medications can help manage these symptoms.

Protracted Withdrawal (Months to Years)

A small percentage of individuals may experience protracted withdrawal, also known as post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS). These symptoms, such as anxiety, insomnia, and mood swings, can persist for months or even years after quitting Xanax. It's important to seek support and engage in coping strategies during this phase.

Factors Affecting Withdrawal Severity

The severity of Xanax withdrawal symptoms can vary based on several factors, including:

  • Duration of Xanax use
  • Current dosage
  • Underlying medical conditions
  • History of substance use disorder
  • Age (especially for individuals over 60)
  • Dose and frequency of Xanax intake

Seeking Professional Help for How to Quit Xanax

Quitting Xanax without medical supervision is not recommended due to the potential dangers associated with withdrawal. Professional help ensures a safe and comfortable detoxification process.

Medical Detoxification

Medical detoxification is the recommended approach for quitting Xanax safely. Under the care of medical professionals, the individual's Xanax dosage will be gradually reduced to minimize withdrawal symptoms. This process typically takes a minimum of eight weeks, with the dose decreasing by 25% for each quarter of the withdrawal period.

Supportive Care and Therapies

During Xanax withdrawal, supportive care and therapies can significantly aid in the recovery process. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Motivational Interviewing (MI) are often used to address the underlying causes of addiction and provide coping mechanisms. Proper hydration, nutrition, and rest are also crucial for supporting the body during withdrawal.

Lifestyle Changes to Support Xanax Withdrawal

Quitting Xanax involves more than just tapering off the medication. It is essential to make lifestyle changes that support overall well-being and aid in the recovery process. Here are some recommendations:

1. Create a Supportive Environment

Surround yourself with a strong support network of friends, family, or support groups who understand your journey and can provide encouragement and guidance.

2. Practice Self-Care

Prioritize self-care activities that promote relaxation and reduce stress. Engage in activities such as exercise, meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises to help manage anxiety and improve overall well-being.

3. Establish Healthy Sleep Habits

Ensure you have a consistent sleep schedule and create a conducive sleep environment. Avoid stimulants like caffeine before bedtime and implement a relaxing bedtime routine to improve sleep quality.

4. Adopt a Balanced Diet

Aim for a nutritious diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Avoid excessive sugar, caffeine, and processed foods, as they can negatively impact mood and energy levels.

5. Engage in Meaningful Activities

Find activities that bring you joy and a sense of fulfillment. Pursue hobbies, spend time with loved ones, and explore new interests to enhance your overall well-being.

6. Seek Professional Support

Consider therapy or counseling to address any underlying mental health issues that may have contributed to Xanax dependence. Therapists can provide valuable guidance and support throughout your recovery journey.

While therapy is a phenomenal resource, it may not be accessible for everyone. There are many recovery resources available online, such as support groups and other recovery programs. Here at Relay, we’ve created the #1 group-based recovery experience, which blends the benefits of a support group with the expertise of behavioral psychologists into one valuable app. You can find it here!


Taking the steps and learning how to quit Xanax is a challenging but achievable goal with the right support and guidance. By working with a medical professional to develop a safe tapering plan, seeking supportive care, and making positive lifestyle changes, you can successfully navigate the withdrawal process and move towards a healthier, drug-free life. Remember, recovery is a journey, and every step forward is a step towards a brighter future.


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