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Xanax (Alprazolam) Withdrawal Symptoms + Timeline

Xanax (Alprazolam) is a medication that is prescribed to treat intense anxiety and panic disorders. It is currently among the most prescribed drugs in the United States, and has been for years. The reason that many people turn to Xanax and that doctors give out prescriptions for this medication is simple: because it works. There is really not a more effective medication on the market for sheer anxiety and panic than this one.

The major drawbacks associated with this medication can cause some people to stop taking it. In most cases, it is recommended to avoid using this medication unless you are 100% sure that you’ll need it. Consistent long term usage of Xanax (and other benzodiazepines) is linked to developing dementia as well as other permanent cognitive deficits. These facts are not meant to scare people, rather point out that Xanax is typically not safe for the long term.

For this reason, many people have turned to other medications and/or just decided to quit using Xanax. When you decide to quit Xanax, it is important to work closely with your doctor and/or under the supervision of a professional. Withdrawal symptoms can be serious and extreme compared to most other medications. In fact, for certain individuals, this is the single hardest drug that they’ll ever withdraw from.

Factors that influence Xanax withdrawal

Not everyone will experience the same degree of withdrawal symptoms when coming off of Xanax. For some people it will be a relatively moderate withdrawal, while for others it will be total hell. Various factors that play a role in influencing withdrawal include: time span, dosage, your physiology, and how you quit.

1. Time Span

How long have you been on Xanax? Were you just using it on an “as needed” basis? Or were you taking it for months? Some people have been on this medication for years, taking it every single day. Individuals that have been on it consistently for long periods of time are going to have the most difficulty when it comes to withdrawal.

2. Dosage (.25 mg, .5 mg, 1 mg, 4 mg)

Typically in cases of treating generalized anxiety or social anxiety, a person only will need about 0.25 mg to 0.5 mg to alleviate symptoms. Even for panic attacks, the maximum recommended dose is only 0.5 mg. Since the immediate release version of the medication may need to be taken multiple times per day, it is not recommended to exceed 4 mg daily. Most professionals will not prescribe more than 4 mg to be taken on a daily basis.

3. Physiology

Your personal physiology will play a role in determining how quickly you recover from the withdrawal symptoms. Some people heal faster than others so just realize that your withdrawal experience is unique to you.  Not everyone has the same degree of social support or the same opportunities.  The way that your nervous system reacts to the withdrawal will be dependent upon your individual situation.

4. Cold turkey vs. tapering

It is actually dangerous in many cases to quit taking Xanax “cold turkey.” Therefore it is not medically advised to just stop taking this medication without having slowly tapered down the dose over an extended period of time. Work with your doctor or another professional if you need help with this process. The person who prescribed you this medication should be well aware that you need to “taper” and should never quit “cold turkey” unless you are already on the lowest possible dose.

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms List

Below are some symptoms that you may experience when you stop taking Xanax. Realize that this medication is considered one of the most difficult to quit. People can build up a quick tolerance to the drug and since it works so quickly and effectively, many people become addicted. During your withdrawal, it is important to realize that many of the symptoms you will experience are a result of your brain readjusting to processes without the drug.

  • Anxiety: When you stop taking Xanax, your brain no longer has the drug to bind to GABA receptors. Therefore instead of the calm feeling you experience while on Xanax, you may experience very severe anxiety. It may be so severe that you have a difficult time functioning and/or coping. Just know that the severity will subside as time passes throughout your withdrawal.
  • Concentration difficulties: Many people report difficulties with concentration while taking this drug, but also during withdrawal. Research has shown that people exhibit cognitive deficits for weeks after taking this drug. If it seems as though you are not able to think clearly, it is likely a result of the withdrawal process.
  • Convulsions: This is a condition in which the muscles rapidly contract and relax rapidly and repeatedly. These are especially common if you try to quit taking Xanax in “cold turkey” fashion. It is basically uncontrollable shaking of your body because you have become accustomed to the drug for functioning. These will subside as long as you do an extremely gradual taper.
  • Depression: It is extremely common to experience increasing depression when coming off of Xanax. For some people the calmness associated with this medication actually helps with depressive symptoms. The combination of all of the withdrawal symptoms can lead to feelings of deep depression and sorrow.
  • Hallucinations: It is thought that when you stop taking Xanax, especially if you do not slowly taper, that neurons become overexcited. The overexcitement is thought to contribute to some individuals experiencing hallucinations. Although this isn’t a common withdrawal effect, some people do experience them as a result of quitting Xanax.
  • Headaches: People have reported minor headaches, to major migraine-esque headaches when coming off of Xanax. These can make life very difficult to deal with especially if they are ongoing. It is recommended to make sure you are drinking adequate water and taking over-the-counter headache relief if necessary.
  • Insomnia: Perhaps the most common symptom that people experience when withdrawing from Xanax is insomnia. You may not be able to fall asleep at night and instead your mind seems to be controlled by anxiety and stressful thinking. Even when your physical body is exhausted, your mind runs an uncontrollable course that keeps you awake.
  • Irritability: Many people report feeling irritable when they come off of benzodiazepines. Some people experience aggression in combination with feeling highly irritable. Recognize that little things may really irritate you during withdrawal.
  • Memory problems: Long term use of this drug has been linked to developing dementia. It is not a surprise that Xanax is linked to memory problems during withdrawal. Most people should experience their memory return to normal within a few months into withdrawal.
  • Mood swings: Many people have experienced mood swings during withdrawal from benzodiazepines. These mood swings make actions unpredictable and can make recovery difficult because one minute you may feel good and the next very depressed.
  • Muscle pain: You may experience an extensive amount of pain in your muscles or throughout the body. This could be a result of muscle tension and could also just be aches and pains of withdrawal.
  • Nausea: You may feel nauseated for awhile and/or experience flu-like symptoms especially during the first few weeks of withdrawal.
  • Nightmares: It is common to experience nightmares and other sorts of crazy dreams when coming off of Xanax.
  • Palpitations: You may experience heart palpitations especially during the acute phase of withdrawal. These are sensations that your heart is beating rapidly, irregularly, or abnormally. These may drive you crazy because they can lead to further anxiety. They will eventually subside if you can relax.
  • Panic attacks: Since this medication is used to treat panic, you are likely going to experience panic when coming off of it. The panic may be significantly worse than before you started taking Xanax. This is something that you will have to learn how to cope with. It will eventually go away and/or reduce in intensity, but during the initial withdrawal period it may be extreme.
  • Perceptual changes: Changes in perception have been documented during withdrawal.
  • Psychosis: Many people experience psychotic episodes as a result of withdrawing from Xanax. If you end up experiencing psychosis as a result of your withdrawal from Xanax, it could be due to the fact that you withdrew too fast. Psychosis as the result of withdrawal does not typically respond to an antipsychotic medication.
  • Seizures: One of the huge dangers associated with not tapering off of Xanax is that of experiencing seizures. In cases of benzodiazepine dependency, seizures are a common withdrawal symptom if you cut bait with the medication cold turkey. This is not safe, so make sure you are slowly tapering off or “titrating” down to a lower dose over a period of time.
  • Sleep disturbances: You may notice changes in your sleep patterns. It may be difficult to get a full night’s sleep and/or you may experience significant interruptions in your ability to stay asleep. These disturbances can make life even more stressful while trying to come off of Xanax.
  • Suicidal thinking: The excessive anxiety may provoke thoughts of suicide and contribute to a person feeling trapped. During withdrawal, it may feel as if you are prisoner to the excessive nervousness, anxiety, and stress that you are experiencing. This will eventually get better, but in the meantime, make sure you have a coping strategy in case you start to feel suicidal.
  • Sweating: Most people report extensive “night sweats” when coming off of Xanax. You may sweat excessively throughout the day, but most people report that their sweats throughout the night are significantly worse.
  • Tingling sensations: You may feel tingling sensations across your body when you first come off of this medication.  These sensations are not easy to deal with and may drive you crazy.  Just recognize that this is a well-documented symptom of withdrawal that should be understood.
  • Tremors: This is uncontrollable shaking usually in your hands and/or arms. The muscles contract and relax, sometimes in rhythmic frequencies. If these do not go away, you may need to conduct a slower taper.
  • Vomiting: Some individuals end up puking as a result of the intense nausea that they experience. Although this isn’t a very common symptom, it has been reported.

Note: Following your last dose, Xanax stays in your system (along with its metabolites) for between 2 and 4 days.  Some believe that discontinuation symptoms become most noticeable after it has been fully cleared from the body.

Xanax Withdrawal Timeline: How long does it last?

There is no specific timeline for withdrawal from Xanax. It may take one person a few weeks to overcome the withdrawal symptoms, while recovery for another person may take months or years. It is important to recognize that your experience with any medication is unique and cannot be generalized to everyone. Most researchers have found that people coming off of Xanax go through an “acute phase” (shorter term) which is sometimes followed by a “protracted phase” (longer term).

Acute phase

On average, withdrawal from Xanax lasts 2 months or more. A good rule of thumb I like to go by is the 90 day rule for any psychiatric medication. In most cases, withdrawal symptoms subside by the third month of not taking the medication. This is assuming that you gradually tapered off of the medication – not quit cold turkey. If you quit cold turkey, the withdrawal effects may linger for longer than just a few months.

Protracted phase

There is evidence of a protracted or extended withdrawal phase in which people experience effects for months if not years after their last dose. It is suggested that up to 15% of individuals who have taken Xanax could exhibit symptoms for an extended period of time. These symptoms typically include things like: insomnia, tinnitus, cognitive deficits, anxiety, jerks, muscle weakness, tremors, muscle pain, and tingling sensations. People may experience brain damage if they were taking high doses of Xanax over an extended period of time.

Full recovery

Most people will fully recover from their Xanax withdrawal, but it may take months or years. There is no telling when the person is going to return back to a completely normal state of functioning. If you are dealing with Xanax withdrawal, take the time to focus on engaging in healthy activities. Do things that are good for your mind and body such as: getting natural sunlight, socializing with others, staying busy (e.g. at a job), exercising, and eating healthy.

My personal experience coming off of Xanax

I had taken Xanax immediate release as well as the XR (extended release) version. I was on the immediate release version for about a year, and I took the XR version for about a year and a half. They worked wonders for my anxiety and honestly I don’t know that I would have been able to make it through a year of my high school without them. I was plagued by severe social anxiety as well as general anxiety. This drug did what it was intended to do – reduce my anxiety.

Coming off of it was no fun, but I was lucky that I wasn’t put on a super high dose. The withdrawal experience was nothing short of a nightmare for me being a teenager at the time, but it was still easier than Paxil. My withdrawal symptoms lasted for 6 to 8 months, so I am well aware that the process takes awhile. My doctor didn’t even tell me to taper off of the medication, so that probably made things worse than necessary. Always make sure that you taper off of these drugs so that you can avoid dangerous effects of quitting cold turkey.

If you have been withdrawing from Xanax and would like to share your personal experience, many people would appreciate it. Sharing your experience helps people realize that they are not alone in this struggle and that full recovery is possible. I am living proof that you can make it out from Xanax withdrawal.

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{ 202 comments… add one }
  • Jill August 14, 2018, 5:59 pm

    I started taking Xanax in 1989 at age 25 following a divorce. I stopped taking it two months ago. After 29 years I can finally feel something. It has been extremely difficult and I have had to taper off the dosage slowly.

    Reading these comments and knowing I was not alone helped a great deal. In the dark of the night when you cannot sleep things can get really scary. My psychiatrist suddenly retired and no one in Jacksonville wants to prescribe Xanax in 2018. I understand why.

    I think the sudden retirement is a blessing in disguise. I can feel my body (even if I have to calm down my racing heart) and I feel like I am waking up again. I am somewhat confused, disoriented, uncomfortable with my physical body and emotions. I understand this is all quite normal.

    If you need assistance getting off Xanax please get the help. Please don’t spend 29 years missing out like I did. I fully expected to have to “detox” in a mental health hospital and it still may come to that.

    The important thing is to detox slowly and safely and remember… the way you feel right now, in the middle of all this withdrawal stuff, is NOT going to last forever.

  • Edith A Miles April 18, 2018, 9:02 pm

    I have been on Xanax for 34 years 1984 for heart palpitations and anxiety. I lost my mother and husband within 5 months that year. My heart doctor prescribed Xanax .25mg x daily I have taken this all these years. My new primary doctor said no longer give me prescription because people my age get confused.

    So was given taper instructions to come off it. I told her I’m not confused and know this might be impossible to come off of after all these years. She said she was flagged and might get in trouble. I feel like I was thrown under the bus.

    After the first week I awoke with racing thoughts and shaking and took .125 of pill – it helped. Is this to late for me to come off of? I don’t want to have a seizure. I always thought Xanax helped me so is it ok to be forced off when I don’t want to be?

    • V April 25, 2018, 4:20 am

      Dear Edith – you have been through quite an ordeal in your life, and I am so sorry. For what it’s worth, no, I don’t think you should be forced to quit a such a long-term habit that a physician inflicted on you in the first place.

      I am sure some other (private) physician might be more understanding? But also, please remember that you can eventually get off them if you want to, and it may not even be as terrible as you expect. Greater miracles have happened. ;) Good luck and all the best.

  • Tyler Durden January 7, 2018, 4:40 pm

    Hey everyone! I’ve suffered from insomnia since I was about 8. I’ll never forget the first night as a child, laying in my cozy blankets, just staring off at the wall, and realizing the sun was coming up, I hadn’t slept, and still wasn’t tired.

    Fast forward to today (1/7/18), and here I am. 4 weeks out of the intensive care unit, where I spent 1 week being told my kidneys and liver were shutting down, and I’d probably die.

    Well… I’m not dead, but, after a year of taking xanax and every other benzo in the world, I lay here, been awake for 24 hours, and will be lucky if I get a hour of sleep tonight before my next 24-40 hour up cycle. I was up to 20+ mg of xanax a day. Im not bragging by any means. Just trying to paint a picture of how bad it can be. Brace yourself…

    During my hospital stay, I hardly lifted my head or ate for a week. Zero strength, zero appetite. I lost over 25lbs, and still can not fully walk. All my muscles are going absolutely crazy, and everything hurts.

    During the first 3 weeks, I sweat constantly from every pore in my body, and could hardly get out of bed. My brain was so foggy, I couldn’t even compose a text, or talk to people. Yes, it was THAT bad!

    Today I can navigate stairs alone, but it’s difficult. I still sweat when I’m overly active, but, it’s gotten better. I started taking xanax because of insomnia and anxiety. I only stopped because I almost died. I’m staying clean, because I want to live. And I want my life back.

    I’m going crazy without sleep, and I’m pretty terrified what I’m going to do. I’ve never had a prescription for xanax, I had to search it out on the black market, and it would be very easy to get. Honestly, that scares me.

    I can’t help but wonder, at what point does the need for sleep override the desire to be clean? I’ve come off oxy’s, coke, meth, and many other nasty substances… all of them were a carnival ride compared to this hell.

    Best of luck to everyone fighting this demon, and just know, you CAN get though it. We all can. Some of us will need more support than others, and some of us are just crazy enough to try it alone. I can say from experience, the alone option is a pretty rough ride.

    • Tyler Durden April 20, 2018, 1:17 pm

      Thought I’d update this since I left a comment on another post… it’s been 3 months since I posted. I still struggle to walk right, but I’m walking without a cane, and yesterday I went on the longest bike ride since my hospitalization, which was about 80 blocks.

      I unfortunately caved in, and use benzos for sleep, and every 3-4 days, I use opiates in place of benzos, for 1-3 days, so my tolerance doesn’t sky rocket again. I use etizolam, I’ll never touch xanax again, and I never use benzos for anything buy sleep.

      My doctors can’t get me to sleep naturally, and I can’t live without sleep, so… it is what it is.

      • Teresa June 10, 2018, 12:42 am

        Just wondering if you have tried over the counter sleep aids, or melatonin? Anyway if you are trying to get away from certain drugs, might be worth a shot. Good luck!

      • MissiRae July 10, 2018, 11:54 pm

        Hi Tyler! I took 5mg a day of Xanax for over five years. It got me through those last five years of work as my anxiety was off the charts. When I stopped working I realized I didn’t need the Xanax anymore. I told my psychiatrist I wanted to come off.

        I weaned off very, very, very slowly and felt fine until the first day with no Xanax at all. From that point on, for 10 months I went through the worst withdrawal ever. Ringing in the ears and sweating were the worst of all the many, many symptoms.

        I am now over 3 years out and while all the other symptoms have stopped, I STILL have excessive sweating and ringing in my ears. I’m told it may never go away! I totally agree, Xanax withdrawal is the WORST!!

  • Lindsey January 24, 2017, 11:49 pm

    It was my New Years resolution to get off, but so far it has been horrible. I was formerly on Ativan and was medically detoxed from that and was successfully off of all benzos for a year before going through a very traumatic divorce and essentially begging my doctor to put me back on… well here I am again. I was just out of it for the last two days, shaking, confusion and sweating brutally set in. I’m scared and don’t want to burden those around me. Any help or support would be great!

  • Trisha January 10, 2017, 2:34 pm

    I’m currently on 6 mg at night to sleep. I was started at age 31 by a doctor for insomnia after my entire life being riddled with no sleep or little to none. I’m up to 6 mg at night… due to a severe neurological reaction to an antibiotic that nearly killed me, I now have episodes where I fall asleep uncontrollably.

    I end up falling asleep at night forgetting to take my xanax, and then I wake up… my head ringing like a bell, my body shaking… headache and my body cramping. I immediately take my xanax. I found out that I have a genetic condition that causes my brain to make little to no GABA… as well as other things.

    I have begged my doctor for help. I’m not getting it. I am in a nightmare. I just woke up from falling asleep and forgetting to take it. I can remember the withdrawals from when I was found out I was pregnant… 2-4 weeks of hell… and that was on not even 2 milligrams.

    I was told that if I wanted off I would have to go into special facility due to the amount my doctor has prescribed me daily. The threat of seizure is great according to my neuro… he is amazed and sympathetic towards my case. I’ve been hoarding my meds to be able to taper off… I just don’t know how, and I’m terrified.

    No one ever told me these things. Yes, it works for me… it does what it is supposed to do… I’ve been on it for 15 years. My geneticist is at a loss because my genetic condition keeps me from sleeping without medication. I am lost.

    • Tyler Durden April 20, 2018, 1:10 pm

      It’s hands down the toughest drug I’ve ever came off of. Harder than coke, meth, and in some ways, even heroin. If I may humbly suggest, reduce by approximately. 25mg per week until you’re down to under a half mg, then take the half mg for 3 weeks. I always preferred to reduce my “daytime dose”, but it makes it hard in the end due to no sleep.

      This is NOT medical advice, but I know what worked for me, was taking opiates in place of benzos. A lot of people may scoff at that, but if low doses of opiates for a few weeks gets you off benzos, you won. Just don’t mix the 2 (opiates and benzos), it can be deadly (I did, slipped into a coma for 2 days. Scariest thing ever).

      You can do this. You so can! I’m a life long insomniac and have massive anxiety, and I can’t answer the sleep thing yet, but I promise you don’t need this drug for anxiety!

    • MissiRae July 11, 2018, 12:03 am

      I detoxed off by decreasing the dose by only 0.25mg. It took over 6 months but I was fine during that time. However, once I was not taking any I experienced the worst withdrawal ever. The very worst of it was over by about 10 months but over three years later I am still excessively sweating and have ringing in the ears.

      As a retired psychiatric nurse who worked in the chemical dependency field, I don’t think there is any way to get off this medication without experiencing withdrawal. And I am so sorry!

  • Mel December 20, 2016, 3:45 pm

    Hey. I have been on xanax .05 for 3 times a day for 20 years. I was tired of having to see my doctor every month to get my script filled and I also moved to another state and did not want to have to run to a doctor here and try to get xanax. I tapered off for a couple of weeks and I am on day 3 without it.

    I have had some lower back pain, anxiety, blurred vision, some fuzzy thinking… forgetfulness, had some mild nausea the first night. I have had tightness in my teeth, like clinching (if that makes sense). The only thing really bothering me is the jitteriness, feeling uneasy and very tired.

    I have some xanax but I figure if I can make it 3 days without it I can stay off. From what I have read it gets better after the first 4 days so I am determined to get rid of the xanax for good.

  • Kim Delfosse December 17, 2016, 1:44 pm

    I’ve been reading all your individual stories regarding coming off Xanax, and here’s my story. I decided one day to start tapering off Xanax a week or so in my doctors office. She had me start by taking 3/4 5mg for 2 weeks, than half for 2 weeks, but by the time I was at a half pill for a week and 4 days, I started loosing my mind.

    My head was foggy and felt heavy and weak, I became crazy, and started screaming and crying and went so far as to tear down all my Christmas decorations. I decided I couldn’t live this way, so I woke up the next morning and started taking the full amount I have been taking for over 10 yrs. My doctor told me I was to continue weaning myself regardless of how crazy it was making me, and she never told me to take valium to help calm me.

    I thought I was going to lose my mind, and I haven’t received one call from her to see how I was doing. I am 62 and even though it was my choice to get off the xanax, I found it was too hard without help out there. I never knew about valium to help and never was told the dangers without that help, and no contact from my doctor as a follow up, because it’s so dangerous as I’ve been reading.

    I am very dizzy and feel off and basically can’t function, even though I have been back on the full mg I’ve been taking for over 10 yrs. So my question is, did I do the right thing, and, how long before I start feeling normal again?

  • john November 24, 2016, 9:18 pm

    Hi, my name is John, I came across this forum after leaving the doctors office where I had gone to seek help to get off Xanax. I am currently taking 0.5 mg a day that is 0.25 in the morning and 0.25 at night for the past 3 months. I had/probably still have anxiety and short episodes of depression.

    The doc has prescribed I take half of the 0.25mg in the morning and another half of the same at night for 3 weeks he also prescribed 600mg of gabapentin at night and 300mg of gabapentin in the morning together with 15mg mirtazapine at night also for 3 weeks then get off the Xanax. Has anyone tried this and does it make the withdrawal any easier or better? Thank you.

    • Marina May 3, 2018, 4:30 pm

      I was taking 3 to 4 mgs daily depending on the severity of my anxiety. I gradually tapered off Xanax for 3 months. I stated with 1.5 mg daily for 3 weeks, then to .75 mg for 3 weeks, to .50 mg for another 3 weeks, then .25 mg for 2 weeks and now I’ve been 4 days without any Xanax.

      The first day was ok, second day was tougher. I had muscle aches and jerks, tingling sensations like bolts of electricity. I made it through the night with minimal sleep. The third day was a lot better. Today is day 4 and I feel good. I keep myself busy, exercise and eat healthy.

      I’ve been taking Xanax for 25 years. I never thought I could do this, but I am! You can too! You have to be positive and have positive people in your life to make it through. I know take Paxil for anxiety, but I don’t worry about being addicted. I won’t ever take Xanax again.

    • MissiRae July 11, 2018, 12:10 am

      The gabapentin should help! The over-the-counter GABA is often prescribed for the same reason. I’ve never heard of using an antidepressant but your doctor must have a reason! You are lucky you are at least getting some help from him!

  • G-girl November 19, 2016, 12:12 pm

    I am day 3 into a taper by my family physician. He said 2 x daily .25 for 1 week and then .25 daily for 1 week. He will not refill. I have to believe with all my being this will work. I tried my own way first by making the time longer between taking it and it did not work. I wanted to die and felt close to seizure. Everything was amplified 100 times. Called my doctor and fessed to taking more than I should. Having faith it will work. I know it won’t be easy once they are gone, just hope it doesn’t escalate again on the day they are just gone. I am ready, but is my brain?

  • Drew October 27, 2016, 6:00 pm

    It always makes me feel less like a failure or as if there is something wrong with me when I read posts like this. Frankly, listening to others stories of suffering through withdrawals keeps me trying. I started on Xanax .5mg roughly 6 and a half years ago. I work an incredibly stressful job and travel extensively (50,000 miles a year in the car) and life was just “getting to me” so I got a script for the .5mg. WOW, it was like a miracle drug (and in some ways still is if you have ever suffered through a true panic attack that lands you in the ER). After using it for months as needed, I began needing it as more of a maintenance item day to day. What a mistake…

    I first realized that the xanax was not what I signed up for (an anti anxiety pill that was NOT an SSRI that I could use and stop whenever) when I was driving to a sales call one morning when I had run out of my script and was so sensitive to the light I had to pull over. Things only progressed from there and my answer was to just take more and or to keep taking it. Long story short I ended up at 4mg per day constant just to feel “normal” and I started having major problems with depression and cognitive function. Cannot stress the cognitive function enough! If you are like me, my brain is all I have, I link my self worth to my abilities on the job and in the technical field I work.

    I have been working for over a year now and have dropped to .75mg per day (.25 in the morning and .5 before bed) and I am at a total and complete wall. Any time I try to push myself to .5 or lower I feel very unwell. I am uncertain I will be able to keep my current job and have a low enough level of stress to finish weening. So to anyone else out there thinking its a quick fix be careful. This drug is amazing and can do great things for a lot of people but its not a forever solution to anxiety. You need to seek counseling and find out why you are anxious and make life changes to alleviate those problems for yourself.

    I have lost friends due to this drug (never want to leave the house anymore), I have lost brain power (cannot even describe this one) and could potentially lose a 6 figure income in the process of undoing what I did so many years ago. Also if anyone else has advice or experience in “hitting the xanax wall” I would love to hear some stories like that. Thank you to anyone who is reading this and I hope it either gave you some insight on the concerns you should have before taking any benzo or be support to know that even in high stress situations tapering and weening WORKS! I think I simply need to adjust my schedule to the fact that it could take another year to get from .75mg to nothing, this makes heroin, pain killers and just about any other drug withdrawal look like a walk in the park. Had I known what I know now I may have worked much harder early on with counseling and trying to balance myself in a more natural manner.

  • Jay October 19, 2016, 3:15 am

    Nasty drug. I have been taking 3 mg a day for close to ten years. I have been cutting back the last 4 months and now I am taking none. This is my third day. I refuse to go back. Never again.

    • Kathryn February 25, 2018, 12:36 am

      I’ve been on 3mg per day for almost twice as long. Your post gives me hope. How did you taper?

  • Jenn October 17, 2016, 11:29 pm

    I wanted to write this post to share my story even if it helps one person. I am 47 years old I started taking Xanax as a teenager prescribed to me by Dr. I had taken it on and off most of my adult life. The last 10 years I became addicted to painkillers which also were prescribed to me by a doctor. I got sick of chasing things and feeling bad about myself and did something very stupid I was determined to quit everything cold turkey.

    It almost cost me my life I had severe I mean severe hallucinations they cause me to jump out my window, I spent many days in the ICU. If you can avoid taking this drug please do. I have suffered from panic attacks since I have been a teenager along with new develop social disorder.

    I did have an extremely tough year with one bad thing after another but still it was no excuse to turn to drugs to escape because the truth is problems are still there only worse when the drugs are gone. I promise you drug abuse always leads to suffering always no exceptions. I did it I’d be the odd I will never go back. It’s been six months and I can honestly say after everything I went through and even my hospital stay it didn’t take me that long to get back to my normal self just have to surround yourself with positive energy.

    Talk to your doctor and taper off. I realize I was taking way above what my doctor was giving me and buying them but it was the only way I could find relief at the time. I truly believe you have to want it or it won’t work. I wanted freedom more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my life and I have it and there’s nothing like it no I don’t miss it how could I ever miss something that caused me such suffering.

    I wish everyone luck and please don’t do it by going cold turkey. I’m not supposed to be here but I am and maybe it’s to help others.

  • Tracy September 15, 2016, 3:16 pm

    I did not know what coming off of this medication could do to me. I accidentally quit cold turkey after oral surgery concentrating on the pain of the surgery. I was off my meds for 10 days before realizing what I had done and was throwing up having diarrhea and tremors and sweats couldn’t eat couldn’t drink had to be hospitalized for fluids. It was a hell I could not imagine. Now I am halfway through tapering down and getting off of all of anything that could ever cause This Feeling Again.

  • Clay September 11, 2016, 6:49 pm

    I have always thought I was smart about self medicating. I’ve experimented with all sorts of mind altering substances. I had no idea how dangerous Xanax was. I started taking Xanax to sleep because I could get them online for $1. I got tired of going to the doctor to ask for whatever sleeping pill was next… Ambien, Lunesta, trazodone, clonidine.

    I took Xanax for about a year straight, along with my prescribed Adderall. No one even really noticed what I was doing, I was able to function for the most part (except for some random afternoon pass out sessions when I didn’t take my Adderall booster). I took 2-6mg per day. One day I just got pissed about having to take pills so I threw them all away.

    I did not even realize I was physically dependent on Xanax and when withdrawal sat in, I didn’t know what was happening. I didn’t sleep for 5 days. I hallucinated, sweated terribly, headaches, lights when I closed my eyes, restlessness, tremors. I was researching everything on not sleeping, I didn’t even realize until about Day 4 or 5 that I was withdrawing from the Xanax.

    It was actually my wife that put the puzzle pieces together. I experienced every withdrawal symptom in the book and it was God awful. I have a very strong mind and body but this was probably the hardest thing I have ever done. Walking helped tremendously during the withdrawal. I walked even though my legs were hello from fatigue. It was like walking into a bad acid trip for 5 days.

    I’ve now been off it for about a month and I’ve pretty well returned to normal. After 2 weeks I felt pretty good. I hope someone reads this and knows it may not take “months or years.” Granted, I can’t vouch for everyone else. I even had drinks the other night with no problems. My recommendation is to never, ever take this drug more than one or two days in a row.

    If you’ve taken it every day for an extended period of time, it is likely that you don’t even know what all it is doing to you. I certainly didn’t. It turns out my sleeping issues went away once I took away the Adderall, started eating healthy, exercising, daily meditation, and sleep routine (including a cup of sweet chamomile tea – a daily treat that I look forward to now). I am sure I will continue to get better over the next few months but I feel like a normal person again.

    I still have the occasional headache, the ringing in my ears, and I still get night sweats every so often… All the symptoms only occur ever couple of days now so they are more than manageable.

  • Margaret DeStefano August 26, 2016, 4:21 am

    I’ve been on prescription Xanax for 5 years. Original dose was .5mg 3x a day for the first 3 months. Then it went to 1mg 3x a day for about 9 months. After that, the psych said to take 1mg, 4x a day. That was for four years. Needless to say, I came to the conclusion that this medication is causing me more harm than good. So I decided to quit, on Friday night. Cold Turkey.

    That was almost a week ago. I took my meds as prescribed, never abused them, so I was hoping the withdrawal from them wouldn’t be too severe. The first 72 hours was hell. I was jittery, my heart was pounding, my anxiety was through the roof… I also was really really irritable. I was a wreck. Some of that has started to subside, still there but not as bad. Now I’m getting shakes and my head is in a fog.

    My muscles ache, especially my joints and stomach muscles. I haven’t gotten stomach sick, but I am having very loose stools, similar to diarrhea. I see a counselor on Tuesday to help with this and some other things. I’m hoping that the withdrawal isn’t too long. Now I see why they say to do a slow taper. But I’m still glad that i decided to stop taking xanax.

  • José August 9, 2016, 5:28 pm

    I am an MD/PhD graduated from UT Graduated School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston.Trust me; do not panic. Xanax could be kicked out of your life, not easily but for sure it can be done. I was on 5 mg a day for 2 years. Tapper 0.5 mg for 3 months (4.5mg) 4 mg for another 3 months and so on until having 0.5 mg pills for rescues.

    Key thing: Be sure and make it a fact that you will feel like crap but that crappiness is not going to kill you. Drink tons of water. AVOID CAFFEINE AND NICOTINE, and more importantly walk 40 min/ 1 hour a day. It will be hard this walking thing at the beginning, but 10 minutes into this brisk walking, endorphins, serotonin and dopamine kick in and you feel invigorated.

    1 and a half year later I take an occasionally 0.5 xanax. YOU CAN DO IT. 40-50% of feeling bad with the withdrawal is psychological. You can do it.

  • Mikie_Mike August 3, 2016, 2:13 pm

    I only started taking Xanax after severe side effects to Prednisone (depression, high anxiety, etc.). I never had chronic depression or anxiety before, so I found my reaction to the high doses (60 mg tapering over a couple of weeks) of Prednisone surprising and odd. In any case, I felt so bad, I asked the doctor for Xanax.

    I only took 0.5mg/night to help me sleep, and it was great for a couple of weeks, but starting in week 3, I was wanting to take it during the day because I was starting to feel antsy. I started taking 0.25 mg during the day. Anyway, to make a long story short, I decided at 1 month to get off it. I was only taking 0.75 mg/day, so I figured it wouldn’t be too hard. Easier said than done… at least for me.

    In that short amount of time, taking it daily, I’d become totally dependent, and when I tried to quit cold turkey, I’d have all kinds of withdrawal symptoms. So I’m tapering, and I’m now down to 0.125 mg – 2 times a day, but that last step is hard. I tried to split this in half, and my back started cramping, so I went back to 0.125 mg and will try cutting 10% per week now.

    One thing I wanted to share is that I found Magnesium Citrate (400 mg) helps me when I start feeling anxiety during the withdrawal, so I’m not as tempted to up my Xanax dose with I start feeling bad.

  • Kristen August 1, 2016, 3:56 am

    Good Evening, I have been on 3mg-4mg of xanax for almost 12 years. It all started with the tragic death of my mother. My brother then committed suicide and a month later my best friend was killed in a car accident. I had several more deaths from 2005 till 2013. My fiancee was in 2011 and was a suicide also.

    I have tried several times to stop taking these medications. By myself and with a Doctors supervision. I went to my General Practitioner this past February and she gave me 90 pills for 30 days. Then put me on Klonapin, 3 mg a day. That did not cut it. Switched me to a higher dose and upped my Prozac, that was still not effective. So she switched my Prozac to Effexor and added 10 mg of BuSpar TID.

    After waiting months to see a Psychologist, he informed me that for the length of time I have been on Xanax, it should be a 3 year weaning process. Those months with all the medication changes almost put me over the edge. He discontinued all the other meds and has me back on Prozac and 4mg QID of Xanax.

    I don’t wish to be on any medication, but my anxiety and PTSD need to be treated some how. Maybe shock therapy will be my next step. Mind you, this is the first Psychological professional I have been to through this whole decade and then some. General Practitioners and Nurse Practitioners do not have enough training to treat most anxiety and depression disorders. I am in the medical field and also have a Pharmacy Technicians Certification.

    I had no idea how bad this medication was going to effect me after being on it for such a long period of time. I am chemically dependent and just want some normalcy. My advice, smoke some herb, f-ck pharmaceutical propaganda. The FDA is a govt agency, and has deep pockets.

  • Kyle July 25, 2016, 3:50 pm

    These are very good posts and unfortunately the reality of coming off of Xanax if you had used it as a regimen. However I think it is worthy to note that a lot of people if not most fear the withdrawal process itself which causes symptoms to be much worse than they should be. This goes especially for the anxiety and depression that comes with withdrawal.

    So my advice is to take it slow, listen to your body and if you feel sick from cutting those, go back to your other dose and wean off slower. Take your time, listen to your body, and you will get better. Make sure to make small coats, and I need very strong. Check out the Ashton manual which you could Google and I believe it is one of the most effective tapering methods. Good luck to all.

  • Jimmy July 14, 2016, 10:40 am

    It’s not easy I’ve been taking 2mg twice a day for about 6 years now due to a work injury. Now I’m getting back to work and I can not take Xanax at all period, in their words… I’m getting some crazy insomnia and my stomach is hurting like crazy, I had to cut my dose in half for 3 or 4 days than half or a half, wow this sucks but I’m gonna make it I’m a strong minded kind of dude but wow this is something else. Good luck to you all.

  • Christina July 2, 2016, 9:22 am

    I was started on Xanax in 2005 after my husband had a heart attack, never had anxiety before his open heart surgery. It was a low dose 0.5 mg tid prn. I went on for about a year on that dose then the panic wasn’t controlled dose increased to 1 mg TID for about 8 years then was increased to 2 mg TID.in 2014. I wasn’t caring much about anything.

    But I also found myself buying things I couldn’t afford. Being wreck less with life. Disassociated myself from loved ones. Decided to take a travel job, away from my family. So I moved to Connecticut to work there. All’s good. Except I’m married with children and they’re back home. I lived alone with one of our dogs in a 1 bedroom apt. It was nice but I was alone.

    I did this for 6 months then moved back home. I knew something was off. Why am I traveling alone for my job. Pop a Xanax and it don’t matter. I travel to RI… Well let me tell you. I started having tremors, fear, anxiety. Well I’d take an extra dose!!! I checked my bottle because it was coming up on a refill. To my surprise I had 4 days before refill and not enough Xanax to get me to the refill, that had never happened before.

    I took my last 2 mg tablet on a Saturday night. Sunday was rough. I was disoriented , I began to vomit a lot. I could not eat or sleep. Monday confusion, difficulty walking, auditory hallucinations, terrors… Tuesday… Confusion, auditory hallucinations are very prominent. I’m in a town where I know nobody, I have no family or friends. I decide, somehow, to get in my car and try to get to hospital.

    Well that is not where I ended up. I was found confused, tremors, sweating, I’m in my car on a military base???!!!! What!!! They got me to the hospital. The officer knew enough to call my husband from my cell. I was admitted for benzo withdrawal. I remained confused with mild seizures and unable to walk for 8 days. I was physically ill with nausea vomiting insomnia and hallucinations.

    By day 8 I was coming around. My husband was there and had been there since day 2 of my inpatient stay. I don’t remember not one of those 8 days. But I heard stories!!!! I was not in a good way. I was discharged and my husband was bringing me home. It was a 2 day drive . I was mildly confused, I was highly sensitive to everything. I was yelling, crying, shaking.

    By day 11 on the road I seemed to have come around. But the restless legs and insomnia continued for about 4 months long. I was off Xanax COLD TURKEY. Today it’s been 6 months. I’m working, I’m back to being a normal attentive person. This experience was one of the worst things I have gone through. But it can be done but not without help from professional and family. Support is of upmost importance.

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