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Xanax Detox Process: Tapering Protocols & Centers Near Me

Long-time Xanax (benzodiazepine) users can become physically and mentally dependent on the drug. When use is discontinued, side effects like psychosis, anxiety, and even seizures can occur as a result of the chemicals in benzodiazepines no longer interacting with the brains neurotransmitters. To avoid strong negative side effects from Xanax withdrawal, it is recommended to follow detox and tapering protocols.

The specific drugs used and the amount used within the Xanax detox protocol is dependent on how long the person has used Xanax and the dosage they have been taking.  The tapering protocol is decided after a thorough evaluation which should occur immediately upon entering a detox facility. Going through detox in a residential medical detox facility also will allow patients to get off the drug in a safe environment with therapeutic support.

If Xanax use is chronic and you suddenly stop taking the drug, you will likely experience severe withdrawal symptoms which are many times accompanied by dangerous side effects including protracted withdrawal symptoms and sometimes death.

It’s important to understand Xanax detox protocols, and procedures so that you know what to expect from the process.

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What is Medical Detox Like For Xanax?

Medicinal detox is helpful when tapering and getting off of Xanax. A team of medical professionals keeps an eye on your symptoms and provides relief. With medicinal detox, you never have to face the process alone, where symptoms can become fatal.

Xanax, and other benzodiazepines, are central nervous system (CNS) depressants; and affect the neurotransmitters in the brain to produce a calming effect. Xanax has the potential to be abused especially when combined with other substances such as simulants, opioids, and alcohol. Xanax has psychological effects and physical effects that both need to be addressed during detox.

What Happens During Detox From Xanax?

During Xanax detox, you will go through withdrawal symptoms. The severity of these symptoms varies from person to person depending on the duration and amount of drug use.

Your doctor will select the best method for your situation. The following symptoms are what you will most likely experience during detoxification.


Depression is the most common withdrawal symptom of Xanax. The drug works by increasing the amount of serotonin in your brain, which is a neurotransmitter that can affect mood.

When you suddenly stop taking Xanax after chronic use, the lack of serotonin may cause depression. Treating depression during detox allows the patient to feel better and avoid suicidal thoughts.


The lack of serotonin can cause anxiety during detox because it affects your brain’s ability to regulate mood and behavior. Anxiety is often accompanied by other symptoms like:

  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleep problems

Rapid Heartbeat

This occurs when the body has an increased heart rate due to it receiving large doses of caffeine or stress hormones like cortisol after stopping Xanax use. This symptom will generally subside within days or weeks after detox. 

Drowsiness, Headaches, Loss of Balance, and Muscle Pain

These are some common side effects of Xanax withdrawal. Since Xanax is a sedative, its sudden removal from your system will result in drowsiness as the brain tries to normalize itself without the drug’s action on serotonin or GABA receptors.

You may experience headaches due to changes in serotonin levels during detox from Xanax. The drug also affects dopamine release, which can cause muscle twitching and weakness during detoxification. This often leads to a loss of balance that is noticeable when walking.

What Are The Xanax Detox And Tapering Protocols?

The first step in Xanax detox is a comprehensive clinical and medical assessment. The assessment helps the treatment team to determine the amount of use, physical condition, and presence of psychiatric disorders.

Once the assessment takes place the treatment team meets to discuss a treatment plan and guidelines for handling the detox process.

Generally, a plan to taper from the Xanax is put into effect or an alternative benzodiazepine that is longer lasting will be prescribed. Periodic exams take place to assess withdrawal symptoms, and physical and mental conditions and adjust the tapering process to make sure that comfort is intact. Throughout the detox process, other medications will be prescribed to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings such as:

  • blood pressure medication
  • sleep medication
  • restless leg syndrome
  • migrains
  • lack of energy

and other symptoms that may occur.

What Are Tips For Making It Through Xanax Withdawal?


Therapeutic interventions such as group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and individual therapy are also made part of the curriculum for individuals attending a drug detox center and are experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Xanax is used to treat anxiety and without it, emotions can run very high. Group therapy and individual therapy have a positive effect on outlook and anxiety.


Hydration is important when going through withdrawal from any substance because dehydration can seriously exacerbate withdrawal symptoms. Mild stimulants like caffeine should also be avoided as they can boost withdrawal activity. Alcohol should also be avoided during withdrawal. Oftentimes, a diet of small, bland meals is easier on a nauseated stomach during detox. High protein foods can help to keep strength up.


For individuals tapering at home under the supervision of a doctor, a minimum of eight weeks is required to effectively wean off Xanax. With this timeline in mind, physicians will often decrease the dose by 15% to 25% percent for every quarter of the withdrawal period.

What Is An Example Of A Xanax Tapering Schedule?

This taper assumed the individual is taking 6 mg per day. Xanax tapering is a process that takes place in a controlled environment, under medical supervision, and is the best way to avoid negative outcomes of withdrawal like psychosis and seizures.

Weeks One To Two: 4.5 mg for two weeks

Week Two To Four:  Then 3 mg for another two weeks

Week Four To Six: 1.75 mg for another two weeks

Week Six To Eight: 1mg For another two weeks

Week Eight To Ten: .05 mg for another two weeks

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How Do You Choose A Medical Detox For Xanax?

It’s important to make a well-informed decision before entering detox, however, it’s also important to act and not overthink it. Becoming willing to get help is the first step. If you are considering entering detox, here are some questions you might consider researching:

  • Medical protocols followed by the center
  • Length of the treatment program
  • Credentials of staff and multidisciplinary specialties
  • Not just medical but clinical and therapeutic expertise
  • Step down levels of care after detox and aftercare planning
  • Cost of treatment
  • Insurance coverage
  • Staff-to-client ratio
  • size of mileu

Final Thoughts On Xanax Detox

Getting the right help from an expert, such as from a Xanax rehab center, is vital because detoxing from Xanax can actually be life-threatening. Making the decision to get help is a big step, but it’s worthwhile. Our substance use programs combine medical detox treatments with therapies to ensure that your body recovers from the damage caused by Xanax while your mind heals itself too. learning coping skills to achieve lasting sobriety is important and detox is the first step on that road to recovery.

Our addiction treatment specialists will discuss your options in private during an initial consultation. Call us now to get started or fill out our contact form. Help is right around the corner.

Xanax Detox FAQs

How Long Does Xanax Detox Take?

The half-life of Xanax is around 12 hours, so most people will be metabolizing it out of their systems after 4 days. Urine tests can detect Xanax up to 5 -7 Days old if taken within 1 day whereas saliva and blood may take longer depending on how long ago you took them. Xanax withdrawal is extremely difficult which is why it’s important to make sure you have a medically monitored detox to help during this strenuous time both for the mind and body.

How long can you take Xanax before you'll haveto go to detox?

The half-life of Xanax is around 12 hours, so most people will be metabolizing it out of their systems after 4 days. Urine tests can detect Xanax up to 5 -7 Days old if taken within 1 day whereas saliva and blood may take longer depending on how long ago you took them. Xanax withdrawal is extremely difficult which is why it’s important to make sure you have a medically monitored detox to help during this strenuous time both for the mind and body.

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Medical Advice Disclaimer

Magnified Health Systems aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.

Picture of This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

Dr. Bickley graduated from U.C. Irvine with honors: Phi Beta Kappa, Golden Key International Honor Society, Cum Laude. He has been featured on national radio and print media. He is also a frequent lecturer at National Conferences. He holds an A.S. degree in Drug & Alcohol Studies, and two B.A. degrees in Criminology & Psychology, and masters and doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology. He is a licensed California Drug & Alcohol Counselor Level II, a licensed Clinical Supervisor and is certified in treating Eating Disorders.

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