How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System? Timeline and Effects

Living a fast-paced lifestyle in a chaotic world can take a toll on one’s mental health, so it’s not a surprise to see more people developing anxiety and panic disorders through the years. Different medications to soothe anxious-driven thoughts are popping up in pharmacies, but one of the strongest and most effective drugs for treating anxiety and panic disorders includes Xanax. 

How Long Does Xanax Last in Your System?

Xanax is an intermediate-acting medication that can take between an hour or two to reach its peak since the body still needs to absorb it. The substance then binds with your proteins, which circulate throughout the body until it becomes more concentrated. While the effects of Xanax can be felt between four to six hours, it usually stays in the system between 31 hours to 5.6 days. 

Different factors can impact the tolerance and long-lasting presence of Xanax in your system, such as the following: 

  • Age – Xanax tends to last longer for senior people, which can stay in their system for 16.3 hours while younger adults can hold it for 11.2 hours;
  • Weight – The more fat your body has, the slower it will take to break down substances like Xanax. That’s why people who are overweight can have Xanax in their system for up to 21.8 hours, while healthier adults can have it for 11.2 hours;
  • Ethnicity – Believe it or not, Xanax lasts longer for Asian people as research found it can stay in their body for up to 14 hours, while Caucasian people have it for 11.2 hours;
  • Metabolism – Naturally, people have different metabolisms depending on their lifestyle. Those who are active have a faster metabolism, so they can flush out Xanax quicker compared to people who don’t dabble in any physical activity;
  • Liver Function – The liver is responsible for processing all substances that go through the body, so naturally, poor liver function can impair its ability to break it down faster. With that being said, it can last up to 19.7 hours for people with liver disease and 11.2 hours for healthier adults;
  • Dosage – The higher the dosage of Xanax, the longer it will stay in your system.
  • Frequency – People who take Xanax regularly in short intervals will have a higher concentration of the drug in their system for longer periods.
  • Interacting Medications – Some drugs that interact with Xanax boost its effects and longevity, so medications like erythromycin, ketoconazole, nefazodone, and oral contraceptives can extend the lifespan of Xanax in your system.
  • Smoking – Nicotine can help metabolize it, reducing it to 50 percent of its lifespan for smokers.
  • Alcohol – Mixing Xanax with alcohol can be life-threatening since it can depress your central nervous system, which can lead to breathing problems, comatose, and even death. As for longevity, alcohol can boost the effects of it and cause it to last in your system for longer periods. 

Now that you know the different factors that can influence the longevity of Xanax in your system, let’s move forward to the various drug tests to see how long the medication can be detected. 

  • Urine tests: 5-7 days
  • Saliva tests: up to 2.5 days
  • Blood tests: 1-6 days
  • Hair tests: 1-7 days up to 90 days

What is Xanax?

Xanax falls under a class of medications known as benzodiazepines, which are drugs that interact with the central nervous system to deliver a head-to-toe, relaxing effect. Many patients afflicted with anxiety or panic disorders may recognize Xanax as the brand name for alprazolam, which is a more intermediate-acting type of benzo compared to short-acting benzos like Dalmaneor or long-acting benzos like Valium

It is prescribed to people diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), which should have the following symptoms: 

  • Excessive worry
  • Restlessness
  • Uneasiness
  • Becoming tired easily
  • Difficulty with concentrating
  • Increased irritability
  • Tense muscles
  • Trouble with sleeping
xanax pill identifier
How Long Does Xanax Last

Similarly, Xanax is also given to people who experience panic attacks, which typically manifest in the following forms: 

  • Change in heart rate
  • Palpitations including, pounding heartbeats, or 
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • The feeling of shortness-of-breath or choking
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea or stomach pain
  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • Feeling chilled or overheated
  • Feelings of unreality (derealization) or being detached from yourself (depersonalization)
  • A fear of losing control, losing your mind, or dying

What are the Effects and Side Effects?

As mentioned above, Xanax produces a calming effect by slowing down brain activity. In particular, the medication works by boosting the activity of the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, which is a type of neurotransmitter that slows down the nerve impulses of the body. With that in mind, it can help people to feel at ease and alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and panic disorders with its sedative and anxiolytic properties. 

While Xanax can be valuable for its effective treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorders (GAD) and panic disorders, keep in mind that this medication should also be taken with extreme caution as it has addictive qualities that can hook people into abusing the drug. Some of its effects that people find addictive include the following: 

  • Lightheadedness
  • Relaxation and calmness
  • Feelings of unreality
  • Having visual, auditory, and sensory hallucinations
  • Detachment from yourself or your body
  • Being talkative
  • Deep sleep
  • Decreased awareness
  • Lack of feeling or emotion
  • Increased interest in sex

When users end up developing an addiction to Xanax and suddenly stop, it can result in the following withdrawal symptoms: 

  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Muscle pain
  • Tremors
  • Diarrhea
  • Numb fingers
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Heart palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Paranoia
  • Seizures

Xanax can deliver the effects in a relatively short period, producing a sense of calm and euphoria that can last for a few hours. Taking it regularly can maintain the relaxing effects, though the addictive properties can quickly cause users to develop a dependence on the drug. 

It’s important to understand how long Xanax can stay in your system and the proper intervals you should take it since the medication can be highly addictive. As the adage goes, too much of a good thing can be bad, so be sure to consult with your doctor and take it only at the recommended dosage and frequency.