September 28, 2023

Tapering off Xanax: How to Do It, Symptoms, & FAQ

doctor and patient representing Tapering off Xanax

Tapering off Xanax safely can streamline the withdrawal process, whereas the abrupt discontinuation of the medication can trigger severe and potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Consult your prescribing physician before adjusting your dosage of benzos or discontinuing use. Xanax withdrawal can even occur when the medication is taken as prescribed, but effective treatments are available to assist individuals through this process.

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Xanax (alprazolam), is commonly indicated for the treatment of anxiety disorders, panic disorders, insomnia, and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). While Xanax can provide relief during times of acute distress, it is not intended for long-term use. Prolonged use of benzodiazepines like Xanax can potentially lead to dependence and withdrawal issues.

How to Taper off Xanax

Tapering off Xanax should always be carried out under the guidance and supervision of a healthcare professional, typically your prescribing physician.

First, consult your doctor to discuss your desire to taper off Xanax. They will evaluate your current dosage, your overall health, and the reasons for discontinuing the medication.

Your healthcare provider will create a personalized tapering plan that outlines the gradual reduction of your Xanax dosage. This schedule for tapering off Xanax

may involve switching to a longer-acting benzodiazepine like Valium (diazepam) to ease the tapering off Xanax side effects

Adhere strictly to the tapering schedule provided by your healthcare provider. This schedule will specify the reduced dose and the duration of each tapering phase. Do not rush this process.

During the tapering process, you will have regular check-ins with your doctor to assess your progress and adjust the taper if necessary. Be open about any withdrawal symptoms or challenges you experience. Common withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, irritability, and muscle tension.

Consider seeking support from a therapist, counselor, or support group to help you cope with the psychological aspects of tapering off Xanax.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating well, engaging in regular exercise, getting adequate sleep, and managing stress. These factors can help alleviate withdrawal symptoms and improve your overall well-being.

Tapering off Xanax can be a gradual and sometimes challenging process. Remain patient and committed to the tapering plan.

During the tapering process, avoid alcohol and other substances that can interact with Xanax or intensify withdrawal symptoms.

If you experience severe or concerning withdrawal symptoms, contact your healthcare provider immediately. They can provide guidance on managing these symptoms and may adjust your tapering plan if necessary.

Remember that Xanax withdrawal can vary from person to person, so your tapering plan should be tailored to your specific needs and responses. Never attempt to taper off Xanax on your own, as it can be dangerous without proper medical guidance and supervision.

image of man representing possible reaction when tapering off xanax

Symptoms of Tapering Off Xanax

Tapering off Xanax can lead to withdrawal symptoms. These may differ in duration and presentation from person to person. Side effects of tapering off Xanax may include:

  • Anxiety: Increased anxiety is a possible reaction when tapering off Xanax. You may experience heightened feelings of worry, restlessness, and unease.
  • Insomnia: Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep can occur during the tapering process. Sleep disturbances are a common withdrawal symptom.
  • Irritability: You may become more irritable and have a reduced tolerance for stress and frustration.
  • Muscle tension: Tapering off Xanax can lead to muscle tension and discomfort.
  • Mood changes: Changes in mood, including mood swings, increased sadness, or emotional instability, can occur during withdrawal.
  • Difficulty concentrating: Some individuals have difficulty concentrating and may experience cognitive challenges during the taper.
  • Nausea: Nausea and digestive discomfort are possible withdrawal symptoms.
  • Sweating: Excessive sweating or perspiration may arise during the withdrawal process.
  • Tremors: Fine muscle tremors, especially in the hands, can be a symptom of Xanax withdrawal.
  • Heart palpitations: Some people tapering off Xanax may experience heart palpitations or an increased heart rate.
  • Headaches: Headaches or migraines can be triggered during the withdrawal phase.
  • Hypersensitivity to sensory input: An increased sensitivity to sensory input, such as light, sound, or touch, may manifest.

The severity and duration of these symptoms can vary widely based on factors such as the individual’s Xanax dosage, duration of use, and overall health. To minimize withdrawal symptoms and ensure a safe tapering process, follow a tapering plan under the supervision of a healthcare provider. If you experience severe or concerning symptoms, seek immediate medical attention or contact your healthcare provider for guidance.

Medical Detox for Prescription Drug Dependence

Medical detox is often beneficial for the safe and comfortable treatment of prescription drug dependence, especially for substances like benzodiazepines, opioids, and other potentially dangerous medications. Here is an overview of medical detox for prescription drug dependence:

Evaluation and assessment

The medical detox process begins with a comprehensive evaluation and assessment by a healthcare team. This evaluation helps determine the type and severity of prescription drug dependence, the specific substances involved, and any co-occurring medical or mental health conditions.

Customized detox plan

Based on the assessment, a customized detoxification plan is developed. This plan outlines the appropriate medications, treatment modalities, and duration of detoxification necessary to safely manage withdrawal symptoms.

MAT (medication-assisted treatment)

In many cases, medications are used to ease the withdrawal symptoms associated with prescription drug dependence. For example, opioid dependence may be treated with FDA-approved medications like methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone. Benzodiazepine withdrawal may be managed with a longer-acting benzodiazepine like Valium.

24/7 medical supervision

Medical detox takes place in a supervised and controlled environment, often within a specialized detoxification facility or a hospital. Medical staff, including doctors and nurses, provide around-the-clock monitoring and support to address any medical complications that may arise during withdrawal.

Psychological support

In addition to medical care, individuals in medical detox receive psychological support. This may include counseling, therapy, and mental health assessments to address the psychological aspects of dependence.

Management of withdrawal symptoms

Medical detox aims to manage withdrawal symptoms effectively. This may involve administering medications to alleviate discomfort and reduce the risk of severe complications.

Gradual reduction

For certain prescription drugs, especially benzodiazepines, a gradual tapering of the medication may be employed to minimize withdrawal symptoms and prevent severe rebound effects.

Safety and comfort

The primary goals of medical detox are safety and comfort. The healthcare team ensures that the individual’s physical and emotional well-being are prioritized throughout the detoxification process.

Transition to further treatment

Medical detox is the initial step in the recovery process. Once detoxification is completed, individuals are typically transitioned into a comprehensive addiction treatment program, which may include inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation, counseling, therapy, and support groups.

Ongoing monitoring

After detox, individuals are monitored and evaluated to assess progress and determine the most appropriate follow-up care and support to maintain sobriety.

Medical detox is a critical foundation for recovery from prescription drug dependence, as it provides a safe and supervised environment for individuals to withdraw from these substances. It ensures that withdrawal symptoms are managed effectively while addressing the broader physical and psychological aspects of addiction. Seek professional help and guidance when dealing with prescription drug dependence to increase the chances of a successful recovery.


Is tapering off Xanax with Valium safe?

Tapering off Xanax with Valium, a longer-acting benzodiazepine, can be a safer approach when done under medical supervision. Valium can help ease Xanax withdrawal symptoms and provide a smoother transition, but it should be done under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Does tapering off Xanax cause fatigue?

Fatigue is a common symptom during the tapering off phase of Xanax withdrawal. As the dosage decreases, individuals may experience fatigue, along with other withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, and mood changes. These symptoms can vary in intensity and duration.

How long is the tapering off phase of Xanax withdrawal?

The duration of the tapering off phase in Xanax withdrawal varies from person to person and depends on factors like the individual’s dose, how long they have been taking Xanax, and their overall health. Tapering is typically a gradual process that can last several weeks to several months.

What is the most effective way to taper off Xanax?

The most effective way to taper off Xanax is under the guidance of a healthcare provider. A personalized tapering plan is developed, gradually reducing the dosage while monitoring for withdrawal symptoms. The process should be tailored to the individual’s specific needs and response to the taper.

an image of Gratitude Lodge's tapering off xanax side effects treatment center

Get A Safe Medical Detox from Xanax at Gratitude Lodge

Do you require assistance detoxing from benzos like Xanax? If so, place your trust in Gratitude Lodge in Southern California. Our treatment centers located in Long Beach and Newport Beach offer a welcoming and inclusive environment where you can initiate your recovery from Xanax addiction through a variety of medication-assisted treatment programs.

Begin your recovery with supervised medical detoxification. Access medications, clinical care, and emotional care to help you taper off Xanax smoothly, minimizing the intensity of the benzo withdrawal process. Having addressed the issue of physical dependence, you can move into ongoing inpatient treatment at one of our luxury beachside facilities.

All Gratitude Lodge treatment programs offer personalized interventions that may include:

  • MAT (medication-assisted treatment)
  • Psychotherapy (CBT or DBT)
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Individual counseling
  • Holistic therapies
  • Aftercare support

If you need help tapering off Xanax and tackling benzo addiction, call 888-861-1658 today

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Joe Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
Jenni Bussi

Jenni Russe MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

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