How Long Do The Effects Of Xanax Last?

Xanax is a popular anti-anxiety medication that is often abused or used recreationally because of its relaxing and euphoric effects. A Xanax high does not last very long, but Xanax use has many short-term and long-term effects.

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Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


On average, the effects of Xanax typically last about four hours, but can last as long as six hours in some cases.

Unlike typical antidepressants, Xanax, which is a brand name for alprazolam, is rarely prescribed by a healthcare professional to be taken in the long term.

This is because Xanax is one of the more addictive prescription drugs on the market today, therefore it’s easier for a person to develop Xanax abuse.

Xanax is more often prescribed to be used temporarily or on an as-needed basis during a particularly difficult or stressful time in a person’s life.

The Average Half-Life Of Xanax

The average half-life of Xanax, or amount of time it takes for half the drug to be eliminated from a person’s system, is around 11 hours.

The length of time for the half-life of Xanax varies depending on a few factors.

These include a person’s gender, age, size, and genetics. Xanax’s half-life will also vary depending on a person’s previous experience with benzos or other drugs.

How Long Does Xanax Last When Taken As Prescribed?

Xanax is most commonly prescribed for anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. As a prescription medication, Xanax and other benzos have been found to be very effective.

When taken as prescribed for mental health, a single dose of Xanax should last around four to six hours. The effects should be felt within 30 minutes to an hour and will peak between one and two hours.

How Long Does A Xanax High Last?

Xanax high will typically last around four hours for a single dose that has been misused. Misuse of Xanax can occur in a few different ways, such as crushing and snorting Xanax powder..

If a person were to take high doses in an attempt to feel more effects, they would more than likely fall asleep instead from the drug’s sedative effects.

Some people may be tempted to combine the use of Xanax with other drug use, such as opioid or alcohol use, in order to extend or amplify their high.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration strongly advises against combining depressants, as this can increase a person’s risk for overdose.

How Long Do The After-Effects Of Xanax Abuse Last?

While a Xanax high itself does not last very long, the medication remains in the body for an extended period of time afterwards.

As a result, a person can still experience serious side effects of Xanax even when they no longer feel high from it.

Short-Term Side Effects Of Xanax Use

In the first few hours after Xanax use or abuse, a person might experience:

  • slurred speech
  • reduction of anxiety
  • euphoria
  • sleepiness, drowsiness, and sedation
  • blurred vision
  • decreased heart rate and blood pressure
  • lightheadedness

Further, some of the side effects of Xanax are not limited to the short term and may affect a person for a long time afterwards.

Some of the effects of Xanax abuse can even be permanent or result in chronic disease or illness.

Long-Term Effects Of Xanax Use

Continued use of Xanax could lead to:

  • physical dependence
  • strong cravings
  • substance abuse disorders
  • permanent changes to the brain and central nervous system
  • changes in behavior or personality
  • liver disease
  • long-term impairments to memory
  • increased susceptibility to anxiety, depression, and stress
  • panic attacks

Duration Of Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms from Xanax will typically start around 8 to 12 hours after the last dose was taken and will peak on the second day.

Symptoms of Xanax withdrawal can be life-threatening, and detox should never be undertaken without professional medical advice.

Xanax withdrawal typically lasts around a week — at least that is true of the physical withdrawal symptoms. Psychological symptoms and cravings can last for up to a month or even more.

In some rare cases, people can develop what is called protracted withdrawal. With protracted withdrawal, symptoms of withdrawal can come and go for up to a year or more.

Treatment Programs For Xanax Addiction

With some drugs, it is possible for a person to detox on their own, however, with Xanax it is not recommended to do so.

Quitting Xanax cold turkey after heavy use can be lethal. Xanax detox is best done under the supervision of medical professionals and at a treatment center.

A rehab program for Xanax addiction may include:

  • group counseling
  • cognitive behavioral therapy
  • outpatient treatment
  • inpatient treatment
  • medical detoxification
  • medication-assisted treatment
  • 12-step programs
  • relapse prevention support

Find Addiction Treatment Services At Bedrock Recovery Centers

When you have decided that you are ready to give professional addiction treatment a try, please consider reaching out to us at Bedrock Recovery Center.

After talking with our treatment specialists, we can get you or your loved one started in an alcohol and drug abuse program as soon as you are ready. Call our helpline today.

  1. Medical News Today
  2. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus
  3. United States Drug Enforcement Administration
  4. United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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