Xanax Detox

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Addiction to Xanax is far from uncommon. Benzodiazepines, to which Xanax belongs, have been prescribed to more than 5% of US adults. In addition, about 31% of US adults will eventually experience anxiety – and should it develop into a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), Xanax will be a potential treatment. Unfortunately, Xanax is both accessible for these purposes and addictive, as Xanax detox Florida programs can attest to.

At Archstone Behavioral Health, we offer comprehensive medication-assisted treatment (MAT) services for Xanax detox. If you would like to know more before considering if you or your loved ones need such services, please read on.

An introduction to Xanax

As outlined above, Xanax is a benzodiazepine. It is a Schedule IV prescription drug, primarily used to treat insomnia, anxiety disorders, and panic disorders. It can also see medical uses in managing high blood pressure and epileptic seizures. It achieves these goals by acting as a short-acting central nervous system (CNS) depressant, and thus a sedative. It slows down brain activities while stimulating GABA receptors, which are responsible for calming feelings. Unfortunately, Xanax and other benzodiazepines also see illicit use. Because of their calming effects, they can be used recreationally, increasing the already existing risk of addiction. Once dependence on the drug settles in from prolonged or unmonitored use, addiction may only follow suit, which is what makes drug detox in Florida necessary.

A bottle of Xanax on its side on a brown surface.
Despite its benefits in treating anxiety and other disorders, Xanax can often kindle addiction.

Detoxing from Xanax is far from easy, and can actually have significant risks to the individual. This is why addiction to Xanax, or any other benzodiazepines, is always best treated through tailored and monitored detox programs.

Xanax withdrawal symptoms

Initially, we should note that Xanax withdrawal symptoms can vary considerably. As such, the average Xanax detox Florida program will also differ, as it caters to them.

The main factors which can affect them, their severity, and their duration will include:

  • Prior history of Xanax use; duration of past Xanax use, dosage, etc.
  • The patient’s characteristics; age, sex, body mass, etc.
  • Physical health; medical history, and such elements as kidney function.
  • Mental health; the patient’s mental well-being, and the possible presence of co-occurring mental health disorders.
  • Possible co-occurring addiction or drug use; whether other medications are being used to treat other conditions, and whether addiction to a medical or illicit drug co-occurs
  • The presence of other factors; the patient’s own recovery capital and self-efficacy, their environment and close circles, etc.

That said, Xanax withdrawal symptoms will often be largely identical to those of acute withdrawal from other benzodiazepines. These symptoms can include:

  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Hyperventilation
  • Tremors
  • Sleep problems
  • Muscle spasms
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sweating
  • General discomfort
  • Hypersensitivity to light, sound, or touch
  • Psychosis, including hallucinations, delusions, and delirium
  • Seizures

These aside, Xanax addiction can also come with its own withdrawal symptoms.

Physical symptoms

The physical symptoms of withdrawal from Xanax will vary significantly, but can include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Heart palpitations
  • Increased menstrual bleeding
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle pain
  • Numb fingers
  • Sensitivity to light, sound, or touch
  • Sweating
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Tremors
  • Seizures

The symptom of seizures is particularly noteworthy as a life-threatening hazard of detoxing on one’s own, as we’ll see next. Such dangerous symptoms are notable reasons to opt for a Xanax detox Florida program instead of seeking self-detox.

A close-up of a black woman in pain sitting on a bed.
Xanax withdrawal symptoms can be severe and hard to manage without professional help.

Psychological symptoms

Psychological symptoms of Xanax withdrawal can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Panic
  • Paranoia
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness

Such symptoms can also differ significantly depending on the patient’s general mental health and history of mental health disorders.


Finally, after initial withdrawal ends, the patient may experience Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). PAWS is a set of symptoms which, unfortunately, may flare up unpredictably and for no discernible reason. For Xanax, PAWS symptoms are similar to those of other benzodiazepines and can include:

  • Cravings
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Hypersensitivity to sight, sound, or touch.
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Changes in appetite

The duration and severity of PAWS will differ significantly, but it’s not uncommon for long-term Xanax users. Studies suggest that between 10% and 25% of chronic benzodiazepine users experience protracted withdrawal, and PAWS may follow suit.

Distinguishing PAWS from symptom reemergence and symptom rebound

Lastly, here we should briefly differentiate PAWS from symptom reemergence and symptom rebound. If you’re exploring online resources you may encounter these terms, so we believe this distinction may benefit your research.

In brief, these three terms describe rather different phenomena:

  • PAWS describes a syndrome, where the patient experiences cravings and other symptoms post-detox. These may be unique to PAWS, independent of previously experienced symptoms during a given Xanax detox Florida program, and may require their own treatment routes.
  • Symptom reemergence describes a condition where the patient primarily experiences symptoms that existed prior to their Xanax treatment. This condition, too, requires additional treatment to manage effectively.
  • Symptom rebound describes a condition where the patient experiences the same symptoms they had during initial withdrawal more intensely. Unlike PAWS, the duration of which can vary considerably, symptom reemergence typically resolves over a few weeks.
A man in pain on a bed holding his head.
Symptoms may emerge again long after detox, and may require some management to deal with as well.

Is it safe to detox on your own?

Having outlined the above symptoms, it should be clear that quitting alone is significantly dangerous. In most cases, individuals experiencing withdrawal may have trouble identifying respiratory troubles or other symptoms. They are also typically unable to manage more severe symptoms on their own, and symptoms like seizures can prove fatal.

In addition, self-detox typically entails quitting cold turkey. This is also highly risky, as withdrawal symptoms tend to be much more powerful in such cases. Most of the time, such attempts pose risks to the individual’s health and life. Even if they don’t, they will most often fail to achieve detox, as withdrawal symptoms without proper clinical management tend to push individuals back into Xanax use.

Xanax detox timeline

To illustrate the above, here we can briefly outline the typical Xanax detox timeline. Should you opt for a Xanax detox Florida program, this will also be the timeline your treatment providers will seek to manage as you approach rehabilitation.

  • Within 6-12 hours from the last dose, initial withdrawal symptoms may begin to appear. Depending on the patient’s case, seizures may also be present as early as this stage.
  • In the first 1-4 days, acute signs of withdrawal will emerge. Earlier symptoms worsen, and typically peak around the 4th day. This is a particularly challenging phase, as it may pose symptoms like seizures or delirium.
  • From the 5th day to the second week, physical symptoms tend to start dissipating. Clinical monitoring remains necessary, and mental symptoms like depression tend to peak.
  • After four weeks, most symptoms tend to have subsided. This may take longer for long-lasting addictions, and psychological symptoms may remain. Monitoring for PAWS may also be necessary, depending on the case.
A close-up of a black analog clock on a wooden surface.
Withdrawal can take a while and feel longer than it is – but every day of abstinence is a small victory and a step forward.

The process of Xanax detox

With the above in mind, the detox process caters to the withdrawal timeline and the patient’s needs. If you seek MAT or opt for a Xanax detox Florida program, the following is the typical detox timeline you should expect.

#1 Assessment

Before the process can begin, a healthcare professional must assess the patient to ensure it is best tailored to their needs. The assessment must include the following.

Physical and mental health

Physical health complications may arise due to co-occurring addiction, due to long-term addiction and substance use, or other health conditions. Mental health disorders may also be present alongside substance addiction, which constitutes a dual diagnosis, or may cause or be caused by addiction. In all such cases, detox and subsequent treatment steps must account for such factors. Poor physical health may require clinical care outside of addiction treatment, for example, while mental health disorders will require dual diagnosis treatment instead of standalone addiction treatment.

Medical history

A patient’s medical history will also significantly inform MAT routes, as regards both medication choices and means of administration. Notable examples include:

  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Injection drug use

For respective examples, patients with liver or kidney disease need special care in terms of oral medications like methadone or buprenorphine. For such patients, these medications may need to be given less frequently or at lower doses to avoid toxic levels.

In addition, some patients may face gastrointestinal issues like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. As we’ve outlined above, such issues are also common during Xanax withdrawal. In such cases, oral medications may not be the better choice for such patients.

Finally, albeit not as common for Xanax detox Florida programs, some patients may have a history of injection drug use. This is typically true of co-occurring addictions that involve opioids or other substances one can inject. In such cases, damaged veins may make injectable medications a poor option. Moreover, depending on the patient’s character, history, and mental health, injectable medications may make them feel uncomfortable.

A close-up of a stethoscope on medical records.
The patient’s medical history must inform Xanax detox treatment and subsequent programs to ensure appropriate steps are taken.

Xanax use and addiction history

Finally, there are specific factors related to past Xanax use and the patient’s addiction history which should concern healthcare providers. Among others, consider the following:

  • Polydrug use. In cases of pure Xanax addiction, benzodiazepines like clonazepam and diazepam or non-benzodiazepine anxiolytic medications like gabapentin or pregabalin tend to work best. In polydrug use cases, however, medication options may differ. Xanax and opioid users, for example, may benefit more from medications like buprenorphine or methadone. Then, too, such medications should be given with caution to avoid risking respiratory depression.
  • Route of administration. Like outlined above, patients with Xanax addiction may also prefer oral medications specifically. In many cases, such medications also offer the convenience of self-administration as the patient doesn’t need to visit a clinic. However, the exact addiction severity, symptoms, and other factors to be assessed should determine ideal administration routes.
  • Underlying mental health disorders. Finally, dual diagnosis aside, patients may commonly be using Xanax to treat anxiety or panic disorders. In such cases, MAT should account for Xanax’s benefits to the patient and adjust pharmacotherapy accordingly. Xanax detox Florida programs may consider antidepressant medications like SSRIs or SNRIs, for example, if they best fit the patient’s needs.

#2 Tapering

After the initial assessment, treatment providers may then begin to develop a tapering schedule. In doing so they will gradually decrease the dosage of Xanax, up until the point where the patient quits entirely. This gradual process is preferred to avoid the dangers of quitting cold turkey, as we’ve seen above, and to enable better recovery outcomes.

The exact tapering process will differ based on the patient’s unique characteristics, circumstances, and needs, as highlighted above. Still, the typical tapering process will reduce the dosage of Xanax by about 25% every week or every other week. Therefore, it should typically take patients between 4 and 8 weeks to completely quit Xanax.

A close-up of a doctor holding papers while talking to a patient.
The patient will be monitored and comforted throughout the tapering process until they have quit Xanax entirely.

Only after the tapering process concludes, full withdrawal and detox symptom management will begin. That is, when the patient has both quit Xanax and any remaining Xanax has been flushed from their body.

#3 Pharmacotherapy

Once the patient starts experiencing post-detox withdrawals, MAT programs will focus on pharmacotherapy. During this stage, treatment providers will prescribe specific medications to help the patient manage this phase and successfully recover.

Medications prescribed and administered during this phase will depend on the patient’s pharmacotherapy needs. Mainly, depending on the case, they will include:

  • Xanax withdrawal management medication. The main offering of any Xanax detox Florida program, such medication as clonazepam and diazepam will help treat withdrawal symptoms from Xanax itself.
  • Withdrawal management medication for different substances. If the patient has a co-occurring addiction to another substance, medication may also need to treat its own symptoms.
  • Medications for physical conditions or mental health disorders. Lastly, the patient may also require medication for other physical conditions or co-occurring mental health disorders. Such pharmacotherapy will often go past the MAT phase, and continue into residential programs as the patient continues to receive clinical care.

#4 Monitoring

Throughout the detox process, the patient must also be closely monitored. This is so that healthcare professionals can swiftly provide any type of care necessary, and is why MAT only takes place in a safe clinical environment.

There are two primary types of challenges that addiction treatment providers must monitor. The first is physical symptoms and complications, such as:

  • Seizures
  • Respiratory distress
  • Heart rate abnormalities
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Changes in appetite that may cause malnutrition

Should any such complications arise, treatment providers may respond accordingly – such as by prescribing or administering anticonvulsants or beta-blockers.

A close-up of a doctor holding a blister pack of blue pills and a cup of water.
Pharmacotherapy may still be needed in the late stages of detox to manage symptoms and complications.

The second challenge is mental health monitoring, where treatment providers must ensure the patient is comfortable and of sound mind. In this regard, they will monitor the psychological effects of treatment of:

  • Initial symptoms, such as anxiety, which Xanax treated
  • Withdrawal symptoms, such as increased anxiety, irritability, or depression
  • Possible co-occurring mental health disorders, like depressive disorders

#5 Counseling

Finally, as mental health challenges and disorders are very common, any reputable Xanax detox Florida providers will offer tailored counseling throughout the process.

For this initial phase of treatment, individual therapy and counseling are often preferable and optimal. Such treatment practices help the patient to:

  • Develop coping strategies and improve their risk management skills
  • Uproot underlying causes of addiction, such as existing anxiety disorders
  • Build their self-efficacy to allow them to continue with subsequent programs

With such goals in mind, the typical types of therapy patients receive during this phase are:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Motivational Interviewing (MI)

Once such practices have proven helpful, the individual will be able to benefit from group therapy and family counseling in subsequent programs. This phase is fundamental to recovery, as it sets the foundations for an effective and complete rehabilitation.

Two armchairs facing each other in a psychotherapy room.
Behavioral therapy is a fundamental component of all detox and addiction treatment, and Xanax is no exception.

Archstone Behavioral Therapy is here for you

In summary, detox from Xanax can be very challenging. Xanax can be a very beneficial drug to treat mental health disorders and other conditions, but it is also notably addictive. It is also very accessible, and addiction to it can be very hard to shake off as it comes with powerful withdrawal symptoms.

If you or your loved ones are in need of MAT, we are here to help. At Archstone Behavioral Health we proudly run the most comfortable and effective programs for Xanax detox Florida has to offer, as our patient testimonials can prove. If you would like to know more, explore your options, or ask any questions about the process, please feel free to contact us today via email or call us at 561.867.8445.

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