Xanax is a prescription benzodiazepine medication. Xanax reduces activity in the central nervous system (CNS). People take Xanax and other prescription benzodiazepines to manage the symptoms of anxiety and panic disorders.

Misusing benzodiazepines can lead to tolerance and physical dependence. People who develop Xanax addiction must seek professional addiction treatment. In many cases, Xanax addiction treatment programs begin with a medically-supported detox.

This article will explain how long Xanax stays in your system. You will learn what to expect during Xanax withdrawal and how long drug screenings can detect Xanax in your body.

Contact the First Step Behavioral Health team to learn about our treatment programs or schedule an intake assessment.

What is Xanax?

Xanax is the brand name for a prescription drug called alprazolam. Doctors may prescribe Xanax to patients with anxiety or panic disorders.

Medical and mental health professionals believe anxiety is a symptom of imbalanced brain chemicals. Anxiety is linked to low levels of a brain chemical called GABA. Xanax works by increasing GABA levels.

Xanax can reduce symptoms of anxiety, including:

  • Sleep problems
  • Agitation
  • Poor concentration and memory
  • Racing thoughts
  • Digestive problems

Some of the side effects of Xanax include:

  • Relaxation
  • Sedation
  • Calmness
  • Euphoria

People may like the way they feel while taking Xanax. This can lead to misuse. Xanax misuse includes:

  • Taking more Xanax than prescribed
  • Continuing to take Xanax for longer than prescribed
  • Using Xanax without a prescription (recreational use)

Benzodiazepine misuse can lead to tolerance (needing to use more to get the desired effects) and physical dependence.

How Long Xanax Can Be Detected in a Drug Test

Your body breaks down Xanax as soon as you take it. However, the length of time it takes to eliminate Xanax from the body depends on several factors.

Some of the most significant factors influencing how long Xanax stays in your system include:

  • Weight and body composition
  • Age
  • Metabolism
  • Overall health

Generally, the half-life of Xanax (how long it takes your body to eliminate half of the substance) ranges from 8 to 16 hours with an average of 11.2. It takes four to five half-lives for the body to fully eliminate a substance, but traces of the drug (metabolites) can still be detected by drug tests for several days or weeks afterward.

Drug screening tests can detect Xanax in your system for different amounts of time. Here is an overview of how long drug tests can detect Xanax.

Urine test

Urine tests are the most common form of drug screening in the United States. These tests may detect Xanax in urine for up to 5 days after your last dose.

Hair testing

Hair testing can detect Xanax for up to 3 months after your last dose.

Saliva testing

Saliva testing may be able to detect Xanax for up to 2.5 days after your last dose.

Blood tests

Xanax may remain in your bloodstream even if you can no longer feel the drug’s effects. Blood testing may be able to detect Xanax for up to 5 days after you stop taking it.

If you are concerned about passing a drug test, you may need treatment to stop using Xanax or other drugs. Don’t wait until addiction becomes life-threatening or keeps you from living the life you choose. Get help as soon as you recognize a problem.

Xanax Detox: What to Expect

Xanax is a Schedule IV controlled substance. This means that it has a medical purpose but poses the risk of misuse and addiction.

Xanax misuse can quickly develop into physical dependence and addiction. Xanax abuse changes the way your brain and body work. These changes may make it nearly impossible to stop using Xanax when you choose.

People with Xanax addiction require comprehensive treatment programs. For many, a medically supported detox program is the first stage of addiction treatment.

You will receive medications, emotional support, and other treatments during detox. This treatment will help you manage Xanax withdrawal symptoms, which can include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Muscle spasms
  • Seizures
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Delirium
  • Panic attacks
  • Nausea
  • Abnormal physical sensations throughout the body

You may take medications to reduce cravings and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Medical and mental health specialists will evaluate your needs and provide tailored care. This care will help you remain safe and comfortable throughout the detox process.

How Long Does Xanax Withdrawal Last?

Several factors can affect how long Xanax withdrawal will last and how long it stays in your system. These include:

  • How much Xanax you used
  • How long you have been taking Xanax
  • Other benzodiazepines you have been taking
  • Your history of substance use disorder (SUD)
  • If you are in withdrawal from other drugs or alcohol

These factors can also impact the severity of your symptoms. It is crucial to have treatment and support early in recovery so that you can have a safe, complete detox.

Find Help Now

If you or someone you love struggles with Xanax abuse or addiction, you are not alone. Effective, compassionate treatment is available at First Step Behavioral Health.

Contact our specialists today to explore your treatment options, verify insurance, or set up an intake appointment.

Jump to a Section

Call (855) 425-4846