What Is Xanax Half-Life?

Xanax Half-Life | Midwood Addiction Treatment Center

Xanax Half-Life

Xanax is an intermediate-acting benzodiazepine. After using Xanax in pill form, peak levels can be found in the blood about 1 to 2 hours later. The average half-life of Xanax in the blood is 11 hours in healthy adults, meaning that half of the drug has been broken down and eliminated through the urine during that period. It takes between five to seven half-lives for 98% of a drug dose to be expelled from the body, so Xanax takes at least four days to be fully eliminated.

The half-life of Xanax tends to be longer for the elderly, individuals who are considered obese, those with alcoholic liver disease, and people of Asian descent. Moreover, for these people, Xanax will likely take more time to metabolize and clear out of their system. Furthermore, the concentration of Xanax in the blood is up to 50% among tobacco smokers.

Xanax Half-Life – Detection Windows

Xanax is detectable in the blood, saliva, urine, and hair, but how long it can be identified depends on a variety of personal factors. Age, weight, body fat percentage, the presence of other medications, dose, length of time Xanax has been used, hydration level, and metabolism all influence how long it takes for the drug to be expelled from a person’s system.

The following are the estimated detection window times for Xanax:

Urine – A urine drug screen, such as those that are conducted for employment purposes, may test positive for Xanax up to one week after a dose. For populations (e.g., the elderly) who metabolize Xanax more slowly, that time may be longer.

Saliva – Xanax can be detected in saliva for up to 36 hours.

Hair – As with all drugs, Xanax can be identified in a hair follicle beginning two to three weeks after the last dose and for up to 90 days.

Blood – Blood samples may be taken for a screening test or in cases of treatment for a suspected or confirmed overdose, but they can only determine that a person has taken Xanax in the last 24 hours.

Risks of Xanax Use

Xanax can cause drowsiness and sedation, so for this reason, those using the medication should not drive, operate machinery, or engage in any other activity or task that requires full concentration and alertness. Xanax can have interactions if combined with other medications, illicit drugs, or alcohol, and can lead to severe, life-threatening breathing problems, sedation, and coma or death. Medications of particular concern are prescription opioids such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, and illegal drugs such as heroin.

Because Xanax can induce feelings of relaxation and well-being, and because tolerance for the drug can build rapidly, it has the potential to be habit-forming. Patients should take Xanax as directed, and are strongly advised not to use it more often or in larger doses, as this can lead to serious health complications, addiction, and overdose.

Do not suddenly stop using Xanax, as this can result in withdrawal symptoms and serious complications. Instead, talk to your doctor about a tapering schedule in which you are gradually weaned off the medication over time.

Symptoms of Xanax overdose can include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Depressed respiration
  • Clammy skin
  • Dilated pupils
  • Disorientation
  • Weak pulse
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Confusion
  • Coma

Xanax Half-Life | Midwood Addiction Treatment Center

Common Side Effects

Xanax can produce side effects that often subside once the body has become used to the medication. The most common side effects include the following:

  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Appetite changes
  • Joint pain
  • Nasal congestion

Serious Side Effects

Serious side effects are rare, and may include the following:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Severe rash
  • Yellowish eyes or skin
  • Memory problems
  • Speech difficulties
  • Confusion
  • Impaired coordination
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Overdose

Treatment for Addiction

Xanax is a powerful sedative that has the potential for abuse and dependence. Because withdrawal symptoms associated with Xanax can be severe and even life-threatening, abrupt cessation is never advised, especially without the direct supervision of a medical professional or addiction specialist.

Midwood Addiction Treatment is a specialized treatment facility that employs a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to substance abuse and addiction. We offer multiple services vital to the process of recovery, including psychotherapy, counseling, group support, aftercare planning, medication-assisted treatment, and much more.

If you or someone you love is abusing Xanax, other drugs, or alcohol, contact us today. Discover how we help people break free from the cycle of addiction for life!


Roofies | Date Rape, Abuse, and Addiction | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Rohypnol, commonly known as “roofies,” is not approved for use in the United States. Nonetheless, like other benzodiazepines, it is classified by the DEA as a Schedule IV substance, indicating that it has a lower potential for abuse than other drugs and does have some legitimate medical purpose.

Rohypnol, along with GHB, is among the best-known date rape drugs. Despite its relatively low scheduling, it is frequently abused for its sedative properties.

What Are Roofies?

Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) and other benzodiazepines (e.g., Ativan, Xanax, and Valium) act as central nervous system (CNS) depressants. Roofies are reportedly ten times stronger than Valium and is commonly used in other countries such as those in Europe and Latin America for the treatment of anxiety and sleep disorders.

Rohypnol As a Date Rape Drug

There have been a large number of cases of unintentional Rohypnol use. During the college years, an estimated 1 in 4 women experience date rape or attempted rape, and a significant amount of these incidents involve substances such as Rohypnol and alcohol.

Rohypnol was first synthesized in Switzerland in 1975, intended for medical use. Soon, however, instances of misuse were reported throughout Europe. Sexual predators began frequently employing the use of Rohypnol by secreting dropping a pill in a person’s drink without their knowledge. After it quickly dissolves and is consumed, the perpetrator is free to take advantage of the unsuspecting victim who ingested it.

Rohypnol has been most commonly found as a white, odorless and flavorless drug, making it almost impossible to detect when it’s been slipped into a drink. Some manufacturers reformulated it into green tablets that make drinks blue when mixed, making it more identifiable. Both types of pills are still being produced, however, and cases of date rape involving use of the drug are still a problem in the United States.

How Are Roofies Used?

Rohypnol pills are often swallowed, either with water or alcohol, or chewed and then dissolved sublingually (under the tongue). Pills typically come in 0.5-2 mg doses, but users may take many to intensify the effects. Some users will crush the pills and snort the remaining powder, smoke it with marijuana, or sometimes even inject it.

Also, people who use heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, or LSD might use Roofies to either amplify the positive effects or temper the adverse effects of these drugs. Rohypnol and alcohol is, unfortunately, a popular and infamous combination at both clubs and parties. Once Rohypnol enters the body, effects take about 20 minutes to onset and can last for 12 hours or longer.

Roofies | Date Rape, Abuse, and Addiction | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Origins of Rohypnol in the U.S.

Although physicians do not prescribe Rohypnol in the U.S., there is enough demand that shipments have frequently been smuggled in from abroad. It may be procurable by asking around at a club or on the Dark Web, as drug trafficking websites have illicit substances to be ordered and shipped to addresses in the U.S.

In 1996, the Drug-Induced Rape Prevention Act increased the restrictions and penalties associated with the use of the drug. Being found in possession of Rohypnol can lead to a fine and up to 3 years in jail, and importation or distribution is punishable by as much as 20 years.

Symptoms of Rohypnol Abuse

Some people, especially teenagers and young adults, abuse Roofies in an attempt to manage co-occurring mental health disorders, such as anxiety or insomnia, or solely for the sedative high that Rohypnol induces.

If someone is abusing Rohypnol, you might notice some warning signs, which can include the following:

  • Extreme lethargy
  • Fatigue
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Reduced inhibitions
  • Confusion
  • Forgetfulness
  • Poor work or school performance
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Apathy

Effects of Rohypnol Abuse on the Brain

Roofies work to depress brain function and CNS activity, and it can accomplish this to a profound degree. It has a potent tranquilizing effect, and many users have described it as “paralyzing.” This dramatic reduction in activity in the brain and body is compounded when it is used in conjunction with alcohol.

This overall effect helps to explain why people who have the drug slipped into a drink without their consent become vulnerable and incapacitated. Death from an overdose of Rohypnol is much more likely to occur when alcohol use is involved.

Other mental side effects of Rohypnol can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Lack of inhibition
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Short-term amnesia
  • Blacking out
  • Long-term memory impairment
  • Nightmares
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Stupor
  • Slurred speech
  • Poor coordination

Effects on the Body

The incapacitating effects caused by Rohypnol are both physical and psychological. As brain activity slows dramatically, the body’s functions will also experience a similar reaction. Some of these effects may be evident to others, but some are internal, and may not be identified until they result in a medical emergency.

Physical side effects of Rohypnol may include the following:

  • Muscle relaxation
  • Weakness
  • Impaired motor control
  • Visual disturbances
  • Low blood pressure
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Urinary retention
  • Profound respiratory depression
  • Tremors

Roofies | Date Rape, Abuse, and Addiction | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Rohypnol Addiction and Withdrawal

If a person begins regularly abusing Rohypnol, he or she may soon discover that habit can be quite challenging to quit. Both psychological and chemical dependence hallmark Rohypnol addiction. These conditions are more like two sides of the same coin.

Psychological dependency becomes apparent when the person starts engaging in compulsive drug-seeking behaviors to fulfill an emotional need. This type of dependence can develop with regard to the use of nearly any psychoactive substance—marijuana, for example. Rohypnol, just like cocaine and heroin, can also result in what is called a chemical or physiological dependence.

When a person misusing Rohypnol discontinues drug use, he or she may encounter highly unpleasant symptoms of drug withdrawal. This effect is the result of the body’s intense reaction to the drug’s sudden absence and is a tell-tale sign that the person is chemically dependent.

Withdrawal symptoms of Rohypnol addiction can include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions
  • Tingling sensation
  • Numbness of the extremities
  • Loss of personal identity
  • Shock

Rohypnol withdrawal can induce seizures up to a week after a person’s last use. Rohypnol treatment typically consists of a prolonged supervised detox period that often involves a drug taper or gradual reduction in doses over the course of several weeks.

Many cases of addiction develop as users are simply trying to avoid withdrawal. If you recognize symptoms of Rohypnol misuse in yourself or someone you love, you should seek help as soon as possible to prevent further abuse and the myriad of risks associated with this behavior.

Getting Help for Rohypnol Addiction

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction to Rohypnol, other drugs, or alcohol, the best path to recovery is through specialized treatment. This path may entail detox, followed by a partial-hospitalization or outpatient program.

Through the use of comprehensive treatment programs, Midwood Addiction Treatment offers help to those who are motivated to recover from substance abuse. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease that is most effectively treated using an integrated approach that includes therapy and medication, as well as holistic elements, such as proper diet and exercise.

Our team of addiction specialists employs evidence-based services vital to the process of recovery, such as psychotherapy, counseling, group support, and aftercare planning. We are dedicated to providing people with the tools, resources, and support they need to become sober, prevent relapse, and foster satisfying lives, free from the use of drugs and alcohol!

Benzo Withdrawal

Benzo Withdrawal | Midwood Addiction Treatment Center

Benzodiazepines (benzos) are central nervous system (CNS) depressants commonly prescribed to treat conditions such as anxiety, panic disorders, seizures, insomnia, muscle spasms, and alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

Benzos are prescribed under several brand names, including Ativan (lorazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam), Valium (diazepam), and Xanax (alprazolam). Although these drugs are considered to be relatively safe when used as prescribed, they have the potential for addiction and can be dangerous when misused. Benzos can pose significant risks to those who abuse them, and discontinuing use early on can mitigate some of the short- and long-term dangers associated with the use of these drugs.

What Is Benzo Withdrawal?

Extended benzodiazepine use or abuse often results in physical dependence—a state in which a person’s body becomes accustomed to the presence of a drug such that it can no longer function normally without it. When a person is dependent on benzos, and use is reduced or discontinued, the body will encounter a range of unpleasant effects known as withdrawal.

Symptoms of benzo withdrawal vary from mildly unpleasant to life-threatening. The severity of withdrawal is often related to the average dose of the benzo previously used and how rapidly use is halted. Users who suddenly quit benzos after a prolonged period of use are at higher risk of intense withdrawal symptoms than those patients who are weaned off gradually.

Is Benzo Withdrawal Hazardous?

Benzo withdrawal can be dangerous or even fatal, particularly for those with a severe dependence and/or co-occurring mental health conditions. Serious symptoms induced by benzo withdrawal may include both psychosis and seizures. If left untreated, seizures may be progressive, increasingly difficult to control, and potentially fatal.

Owing to this danger, it is critical that those attempting to quit benzos receive help from a physician, addiction specialist, or substance abuse treatment program that can safely guide them through the recovery process.

Suddenly discontinuing benzo use can also result in rebound effects, in which symptoms previously managed by the drug return with greater intensity. Users may suffer from symptoms such as rebound anxiety and insomnia at a level of severity comparable to or greater than those experienced before the user began using the benzo to treat such symptoms.

Benzo users who encounter rebound symptoms may be compelled to immediately relapse in an attempt to relieve the unpleasant and disturbing effects of withdrawal. Although many of the symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal are uncomfortable, treatment options are available to manage many of them, thus making the process safer and more tolerable for those entering recovery.

Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms

Benzo Withdrawal | Midwood Addiction Treatment Center

Symptoms of benzo withdrawal may include any or all the following:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heart palpitations
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle pain
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Poor concentration
  • Sensory distortions
  • Tremors

In instances of severe withdrawal, dangerous complications can develop, such as seizures and psychosis. Users who previously experienced seizures and/or have combined benzos with other prescription drugs or alcohol may be at an increased risk for developing seizures during withdrawal.

Some benzo users may encounter what is known as a protracted withdrawal, or post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). This condition can persist for several months or longer and include chronic anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances.

Withdrawal from benzos can range in severity and duration between individuals. The intensity of the withdrawal depends on several factors, including the person’s health, the dose typically used, and the speed at which the medication is decreased when using the taper down method.

Medications for Withdrawal

Medications may be employed in the treatment of benzo withdrawal to help wean users from the drug, treat withdrawal symptoms, and relieve discomfort. A doctor may gradually taper a patient off benzos over a period of weeks or months, rather than suddenly discontinuing use.

For example, if a patient is currently taking a benzo with a relatively short half-life such as Ativan (lorazepam), the physician or addiction specialist may first prescribe one with a longer half-life, such as Klonopin (clonazepam). This change can help relieve symptoms during detox and better facilitate the weaning process.

Other medications that may be used to manage benzo withdrawal include the following:

  • Phenobarbital
  • Anticonvulsants, such as carbamazepine and valproate
  • Sedative antidepressants, such as trazodone
  • Anti-hypertensive drugs, such as clonidine or propranolol, for those who experience severe autonomic consequences as part of benzo withdrawal (e.g., hypertension and accelerated heart rate)

Of note, the administration of these medications does not completely neutralize the risk of dangerous withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures. To reduce the risk of complications, patients should be closely supervised during detox by medical providers or addiction professionals to ensure safety.

While medications may be beneficial and even vital during the withdrawal process, it is important to understand that addiction treatment requires more than the administration of medication. Instead, medication is just one essential therapeutic component that should be employed in conjunction with psychological treatments, such as behavioral therapy and counseling.

Benzo Withdrawal and Addiction Treatment

Benzo Withdrawal | Midwood Addiction Treatment Center

Detox is the process of clearing toxic substances from the body. Because benzo withdrawal is associated with both distressing and potentially severe symptoms, medical monitoring is typically the safest course of action. Many people dependent on benzos also abuse other drugs or alcohol, which can increase the risk of dangerous complications during withdrawal.

Benzo detox can be conducted in a hospital environment or an addiction treatment facility. Medical providers who specialize in addiction in a detox facility begin by evaluating the severity of the patient’s condition and deciding on the best treatment plan for the individual. Medical providers may also:

  • Monitor heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature.
  • Gradually taper down the dose.
  • Prescribe medications to relieve discomfort.
  • Prescribe medications to reduce the risk of seizures.
  • Encourage enrollment and participation in further treatment.

Although a safe detox is an essential step in the treatment process, long-term recovery necessitates learning coping skills to deal with a life free from drug use.

Programs offered by Midwood Addiction Treatment after detox completion and/or residential treatment include the following:

Partial-Hospitalization Programs (PHP) are an option for those who have either completed residential treatment or require an outpatient setting. Our PHP offers intense and comprehensive treatment comparable to a residential program, but is set in a comfortable clinical environment during the day, and includes the option of a relaxing, safe, and supervised home-like residence in the evenings.

Outpatient Treatment Programs offer weekly individual and group therapy and counseling with flexible time outside of treatment to attend to work, school, family, and adjust to living in the real world without drugs or alcohol.


Psychotherapy can be provided by an addiction counselor, therapist, or psychologist. Patients will attend individual therapy sessions at least once per week. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), for example, is a common and effective strategy used to address benzo addiction.

The theoretical basis for CBT is the notion that there is a connection between a person’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. CBT was developed to help people identify and understand the thoughts and beliefs that factor into negative emotions such as anger, worry, and depression. CBT also helps people understand how these emotions contribute to negative and unhealthy behaviors, such as drug and alcohol abuse, in order to foster positive lifestyle changes.

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers comprehensive, evidence-based treatment programs that promote sobriety and provide people with the tools and support they need to begin experiencing the fulfilling lives they deserve, free from drugs and alcohol. Contact us today to find out how we can help!