How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System?

Xanax is a benzodiazepine medication often prescribed to treat anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and panic disorder. Less frequently, it is also used to treat agoraphobia and severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

As a central nervous system depressant, Xanax slows down the nervous system, producing a calm, relaxed feeling.

Generally, Xanax begins to work within an hour of consumption. But how long does it stay in your system? Find out here.

What Is Xanax?

Xanax, like all benzodiazepines, works by increasing the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. A neurotransmitter, GABA decreases nerve impulses throughout the body, which causes sedation, relaxation, and anti-anxiety effects.

Often, Xanax works quickly, with some people experiencing effects within minutes. However, symptoms of GAD, panic disorder, and agoraphobia usually alleviate within hours or days of the first dose.

In addition to the above, Xanax can induce side effects such as:

  • Deep sleep
  • Euphoria
  • Visual, auditory, and sensory hallucinations
  • Increased sex drive
  • Detachment from yourself or your body
  • Talkativeness
  • Lack of feeling or emotion

As a result of these effects and because Xanax is fast-acting and reaches peak blood concentration in one to two hours, many people abuse the substance to experience a high or self-medicate.

People who consume Xanax heavily build a tolerance to the effects of the drug, including feelings of euphoria, causing it to be misused. Xanax can be habit-forming and highly addictive if used long-term, so it is often only prescribed as a short-term treatment.

Xanax Addiction

Xanax relieves anxiety and is popular among those looking to self-medicate. However, when taken without the advice of a healthcare professional, physical dependence can develop quickly as a person’s tolerance to Xanax rapidly builds. Because of this, some people sadly take 20 to 30 pills each day.

Across the United States, Xanax addiction is on the rise, especially in people under 30. It is estimated that 70% of teens with an addiction to Xanax obtain the drug from their family’s medicine cabinet. This is not surprising considering Xanax is the most prescribed psychiatric medication in the United States.

What Is the Average Half-Life of Xanax?

The half-life of a drug refers to the length of time it takes for the concentration of the drug in the plasma or the total amount in the body to reduce by 50%.

The half-life of Xanax can range from nine to 16 hours, averaging at 12 hours, meaning that half of the drug is metabolized and eliminated from the urine in that time frame. This means that the average time it takes to eliminate Xanax from the system is four days.

However, several factors can influence how long this takes. When considering how long Xanax can stay in your system, it is also important to remember that Xanax can show up on a drug test for much longer, depending on what kind of test is done.

How Long Can You Detect Xanax in Your System?

Healthy adults will naturally eliminate Xanax from their bodies within four days. However, several factors can influence how long Xanax may stay in your system, such as:

  • Your age, weight, and height. Your body type can affect how long it takes your body to process Xanax and, therefore, how long the drug stays in your system.
  • Frequency of use. The more often you use Xanax, the more pressure you put on your liver and kidneys, ultimately slowing the detoxification process.
  • Liver and kidney function. Good kidney and liver function will help excrete Xanax faster.
  • Metabolic rate. If you have a slower metabolism, it will take longer to remove all traces of Xanax from your body.
  • Consumption of other substances. Consuming certain medications will slow the detox process.
  • Dosage. The amount of Xanax you take will determine how long it stays in your system. The more you take, the longer Xanax stays in your body.

Types of Drug Tests

How long Xanax can be seen in a drug test depends on the type of test you do. The most common tests for Xanax are urine tests, hair tests, saliva tests, and blood tests.

People are required to complete drug tests for a variety of reasons. However, they are most commonly used as part of a compliance program for people with drug use disorders, in the case of a suspected overdose, or as a condition of accepting a job offer.

Urine Tests

Urine tests are the most commonly used form of drug screening as they can test for all prescription and illegal drugs. They can also test for multiple substances in the same sample, including cocaine, benzos, and marijuana.

Urine screening can detect Xanax for five to seven days after the last dose.

Blood Tests

Blood tests can detect everything that urine testing can, but they generally cost more. As they have a lower window of detection, they are less common. However, blood tests can detect Xanax for one to six days after the last use.

Hair Tests

Hair testing can detect Xanax, in addition to multiple other substances, for up to 90 days. In a hair test, hair follicles are removed from the body and tested in a lab.

While there is a significant detection window, hair testing cannot measure how much Xanax a person has taken. The justice system generally uses this type of test to test for chronic drug use.

Saliva Tests

Saliva tests are low-cost, and the results are immediate. A swab is taken from your mouth to extract oral fluid, which determines if you have used drugs in the past three to 48 hours. Saliva tests can detect Xanax for up to two and a half days after the last consumption.

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

If you abuse Xanax and wish to stop it, you will need to complete detoxification. As with all drug addiction treatment, detoxification should be done slowly and with medical supervision.

If you intend to stop taking Xanax, seek professional medical advice, as the withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous. For example, if you abruptly stop consuming Xanax cold turkey, your body may go into a form of shock called acute withdrawal.

Upon seeking treatment, you will be tapered gradually off Xanax, and a medication, such as a longer-acting benzodiazepine that provides the same effects, will be substituted temporarily to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. This process can take up to six weeks.

Usually, those who have developed a physical dependence on Xanax experience the most severe withdrawal symptoms, which can begin just hours after the last dose. They generally peak in severity within one to four days.

During withdrawal, you might experience:

  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Muscle pain
  • Tremors
  • Diarrhea
  • Numbness
  • Light and sound sensitivity
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Heart palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Paranoia
  • Seizures

Detox and Recovery

Detoxification from Xanax should happen slowly and with inpatient help. Both physical and psychological dependency must be addressed in such a program. The goal of treatment is to support you in overcoming your addiction.

During treatment, you will also have the opportunity to address other underlying conditions, such as anxiety or depression, as well as substance use disorders.

Treatment for anxiety, panic disorders, or any other mental illness contributing to Xanax abuse often includes therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most common form of therapy for benzodiazepine addiction. CBT involves working with a therapist to develop healthy coping strategies.

NPAC is one of the country’s leading addiction treatment and detox centers. If you require support detoxing from Xanax or seeking addiction treatment, call us today.

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Samantha Kelly​

Director of National Business Development & Admissions Coordinator

I am a dedicated and passionate professional with extensive experience in business development Admissions and marketing. I have an incredible passion for showing others that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel if someone truly wants it.
Being in recovery myself I understand the struggles of addiction and alcoholism. I Started this Career path in 2009. With multiple years of experience, I bring a multi-faceted approach and am always seeking new ways to make a difference in the lives of those I work with.

Kim L. Buckner

Facilitator

As a Substance Abuse Motivational Speaker, Pastor, Peer Advocate, and Facilitator. Kim helps clients avoid relapse by understanding their triggers. Those people, places and things that can cause craving, as well as internal triggers like feelings, thoughts, or emotions. Kim also clients with identifying and building healthy relationships now that they’re clean and sober.

Kim’s background includes extensive experience as a motivational speaker and work in faith-based organizations helping youth and adults alike. He says he is motivated by giving back to the community, understanding, and not judging who she comes into contact with. Kim’s favorite quote is by Dr. Raymond Johnson: “The respect given to others rebounds to the giver to deny the scared in the Other is to deny it in oneself.”

Caty Burns

Clinician

Caty graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and minors in Counseling and History. Throughout her undergrad, she worked at the local CASA program, supporting volunteers advocating for children who had experienced abuse and neglect. Caty worked for seven years at a community mental health center (CMHC), partnering with children, adults, and families.

During those seven years, she taught life and coping skills as well as behavior management, provided case management and peer recovery services, and facilitated treatment teams that included the client, family, providers, and community members. I have also worked at an IOP providing group therapy services. She is currently working towards my Master of Social Work.

In her free time, Caty enjoys reading, especially historical fiction, spending time outdoors and having movie nights with her family. Disney World is her happy place, and she dreams of living among the elephants.

Madison Knowles

Mental Health Therapist

My name is Madison Knowles, I am a Mental health therapist at NPAC. I am a single-mother of two and I have a daughter who is globally delayed and has been diagnosed with autism. I have been in this industry since I was 16 years old, as I was fascinated with human behavior. I obtained my masters in applied behavioral analysis and started off working with people with disabilities. I then found my love for counseling when I worked with juveniles who had mental health and substance use issues. I then decided to go back for my mental health therapy license after that and working in a forensic treatment center. I went on to obtain my therapy credentials and since 2017, I have also been working on my PhD in forensic psychology in which I am currently working on my dissertation. I am inspired by change and how resilient people can be. My favorite inspirational quote is “Some will, Some won’t, So what, NEXT!!!” This quote has inspired me to try, try, and try again no matter how hard life gets, someone will give you a chance eventually. As a therapist at NPAC, I have been given the opportunity to work with diverse populations such as in substance use and mental health and I am known for my work with people on the schizophrenic spectrum as well as with other clients with other severe conditions including personality disorders.

Megan Carmona, LMHC

Lead Therapist

Our Lead Therapist, Megan, is a bilingual Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in working with adults who struggle with addiction, anxiety, depression, and trauma. As Lead Therapist, she provides individual, family, and group therapy sessions to our clients.  Megan says “I am very passionate about therapy, especially about supporting my clients in exploring their strengths and identity. My goal is to provide individuals with the tools that can help them achieve independence in coping with their challenges and facilitating personal development.” In her free time, Megan enjoys watching docu-series and playing video games with her family. Her dream is to own acres of land so she can care for vulnerable animals, especially old dogs, cats, and horses. 

Kristen Bensley

Primary Clinician

As Primary Clinician, Kristen works with all aspects of our clinical team, from case management to primary therapy.  She has broad experience working in the mental health field. Prior to joining our team at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic, Kristen was part of the team awarded the Evernorth Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Designation by Cigna. She says her motivation is to help people rediscover who they are and become excited about the future and all the possibilities life offers. Kristen’s favorite quote is: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

Ronn Daigle, MSW

Therapist, Utilization Review Clinician

Ronn Daigle services as a Therapist and Utilization Review Clinician at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has been working in the field of substance use disorder treatment since 2011, with experience in all facility-based levels of care. Ronn earned, both an Associate of Arts in Psychology (2013) and Bachelor of Science in Human Services, with an Addiction Studies Concentration (2015) from Indian River State College. 

Ronn additionally earned a Master of Social Work degree in 2021 and is a current Registered Clinical Social Work Intern working toward licensure (LCSW). He describes himself as detail oriented, and solution focused.

Ronn says: “There is nothing more fulfilling than working with someone who doesn’t believe in himself or herself, and being there in the moment with them when the belief begins. We work with individuals who come to us at a point and time in their respective lives where they do not believe that change for others is possible; let alone for themselves…throughout the process they eventually come to a point where they realize that change is not only possible, but achievable.”

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI

Assistant Clinical Director

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI is the Assistant Clinical Director at Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic who specializes in the treatment of LGBTQ, addiction, as well as mental health disorders ranging from depression and anxiety, to Bipolar Disorder, trauma, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, and eating disorders. Erika utilizes a number of modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness amongst others. Erika has been in practice for close to a decade and has earned her license in Mental Health Counseling, as well as being a Master’s Certified Addiction Professional. Erika has worked with many individuals including couples counseling and family therapy, and is fluent in Spanish.
 
Throughout my years of practice, one of the things I enjoy helping people find is inner peace. Whether you are in the deepest parts of depression, overrun by your anxiety, controlled by your addiction, or there are certain issues in your life that are negatively impacting your ability to function, and have a happy, healthy life, maybe now is the time to talk about it. I am a big believer in empowerment, working hard in therapy, and utilizing different techniques to help you regain that inner peace that may have been lost along the way. I want to work with you as a team because with two people, absolutely everything is possible. I want to be there as a therapist, to help build you up, support you, but also help you be honest with yourself and accountable. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, my biggest goal for you is going to be simple….for you to no longer need my services. Why? Because if you no longer need my services, it means that you have regained your peace, you have regained your strength, you have regained your confidence. It means that you now have the tools to address any issues that try to derail you, and best of all, you will have the insight to overcome and thrive. So let’s begin this journey together, and get you to the place you want to be, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, and in your sobriety.

Aurelio Ayuso, MSW, LCSW, CAP, ICADC

Clinical Director

Aurelio has worked with those that suffer from the disease of addiction in adults and juveniles alike for over 10 years, beginning in the United States Navy where he proudly served for 20 years, working with those that were succumbed by addiction due to trauma and continuing his passion for helping those in need locally in Central Florida.

He specializes in both Addictions and Trauma, he has worked first as a therapist then as the clinical supervisor to both the Juvenile and Adult Drug Court programs in Brevard County. Aurelio has been instrumental in developing substance abuse treatment programs directly tailored to help those that also suffer from complex trauma due to their addiction. He has been recognized by several organizations for his forward thinking and ability to tailor treatment to individuals in the most restrictive environments.

Mr. Ayuso received his Graduate Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker as well as Certified Addictions Professional in the State of Florida, and Internationally Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor. Aurelio specializes in the treatment of Addiction, Trauma, and Abandonment using strength based strategies deeply rooted in Solution Focused, and Mindfulness Therapies. At the Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic he passionately develops holistic curriculums that foster the belief that through addressing the mind, body, and spirit together, the Disease of Addiction can be addressed successfully.

Robert Lehmann, MHSA

Chief Operating Officer

Bob Lehmann is the Chief Operating Officer at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has a Master’s Degree in Human Services Administration with a concentration in Mental Health Administration and over twenty-five years of experience as a senior executive at addiction and mental health treatment facilities.

One of the reasons for his commitment to excellence in addiction treatment was his experience related to family members who suffered from the disease of addiction. Bob has been actively involved in community organizations throughout his career. Recently he was one of the founders of the Florida Addiction Treatment Coalition (FATC) and is its present Vice President. FATC was designed to bring together treatment executives in Florida to advocate on behalf of treatment facilities and the clients they serve adhering to a foundation of integrity and service excellence.

Jose R. Toledo, M.D.

Medical Director

A well-rounded and accomplished individual, Jose R. Toledo, M.D., is the Medical Director of Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a neurologist with 25 years of experience and has been in private practice since 1991 on the Treasure Coast of Florida. He completed his neurology training at the State University of New York and his Fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh in Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology.

He also completed 24 months of acute inpatient psychiatry at the Western Missouri Mental Health Center, University of Missouri in Kansas City. In 2008, Dr. Toledo participated in and was certified in the continuing medical education activity entitled “Buprenorphine and Office-Based Treatment of Opioid Dependence” from The Medical University of South Carolina during which began his quest to found and head Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a brain specialist with particular competence in addiction medicine and out-patient detoxification treatment and integrates the fields seamlessly. He is certified to prescribe Buprenorphine (Suboxone). He incorporates his background in neurology into the addiction field. Dr. Toledo is member/fellow of The American Medical Association, The Florida Medical Association and The American Society of Addiction Medicine