With prescription drug abuse being one of the biggest issues facing the country today, there is an increasing need for education and awareness as to what these drugs really are and how powerful they can be. One of the prescription narcotics most commonly abused is Xanax, a name brand medication in the Benzodiazepine (Benzo) category of depressant drugs. This medication can be very helpful to those who use it accordingly, but it can also be seriously addictive and even life threatening.
So in taking a closer look at specific substances, we want to of course answer the question- how long does Xanax stay in your system.
How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System: Understanding Alprazolam
Alprazolam is the generic name for a potent, short-acting anxiolytic drug in the benzodiazepine class. Xanax is actually a brand-name for Alprazolam, and is typically the most commonly known version. Alprazolam is frequently utilized in the treatment of anxiety disorders, such as:
- Panic disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Social anxiety disorder
- Nausea from chemotherapy
The drug binds to a number of specific sites on the GABA receptor of the brain, and elicits responses as a:
- Anxiolytic (Anti-panic)
- Muscle relaxant
While there is some debate about people building a tolerance to the anxiolytic effects, there is a clear indication that tolerance to the sedative effects will build in a couple days of using the drug. Thus, withdrawal symptoms can occur after only a few weeks of use if the drug is suddenly stopped.
How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System: Side-Effects
There are various possible side-effects that may occur while taking Xanax or any Alprazolam drug. Some possible adverse effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Slurred speech
- Suicidal ideation
- Urinary retention
- Skin rash
- Respiratory depression
These side-effects can be uncomfortable and some are more common than others. However, probably some of the greater risks come with prolonged use, which can lead to severe dependence and withdrawal.
How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System: Withdrawal
Another reason people as how long does Xanax stay in your system is to determine how long the withdrawal periods are. Once the body has developed dependence on a drug, withdrawal or “rebound” symptoms can make it extremely difficult to discontinue use. Some common symptoms of withdrawal from Xanax include:
- Rebound anxiety
Some of these seizures and other reactions can actually become life-threatening, making Xanax withdrawals some of the most dangerous one can experience.
How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System: Overdose
When asking- how long does Xanax stay in your system- you may be concerned about the risks of overdose. An Alprazolam overdose can range from mild to severe depending on how much of the drug has been taken. One of the primary problems with an Alprazolam overdose is that it creates an excessive depression of the central nervous system. Some of the signs of Xanax overdose are:
- Impaired balance
- Muscle weakness
- Shallow breathing
These risks may be more or less serious depending on a number of factors, including if Xanax is taken with any other substances.
How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System: Half-life
As with all drugs, and even most chemicals or substances that enter our bodies, there are a number of factors that influence how long it takes for Xanax to leave the body, such as:
- Body fat content
- Health of the liver
- Kidney health
- Amount of the drug taken
- Length of time using the drug
Typically Xanax has a half-life of 9-16 hours, meaning it takes a healthy body 9-16 hours to get rid of half of a dose of the drug. Because of the half-life, the drug will typically be out of the systems after 4 days. However, this is usually just for the occasional consumption. Xanax can stay in the system for a week or longer for frequent or heavy users depending on the above factors.
How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System: Detoxing
A huge problem with drugs like Xanax is that a lot of people assume these prescription narcotics are safer because they are not street drugs. Yet, Benzodiazepine drugs like Xanax are commonly connected to serious health issues. Beyond that, the dangers of addiction and the potentially fatal withdrawals are exactly why these medications are not nearly as safe as some people like to think they are.
Because of the risks of Xanax withdrawal it is crucial to seek out safe medical supervision for the detox process. Because Xanax can be present in the body for over a week for long-term users, it is important to have a means to monitor the complications Xanax withdrawal may cause. This is especially true if the individual has been using other substances in combination with Xanax.