How Long Does a Xanax High Last?

03 May How Long Does a Xanax High Last?

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One of the most common questions people will ask about Alprazolam, commonly known as Xanax, is “how long does Xanax last?” or more specifically “how long does a Xanax high last?” The answer, of course, is complicated because the high people experience and the intended medical use are two separate effects and depends on a number of factors which we will go over in detail.

How Long Does Xanax Last?

A Xanax high will only last for about four hours on a single dose, but sometimes up to six. This, of course, depends on the dosage as well as many other factors pertaining to the individual taking the drug. Xanax will stay in the person’s system for much longer, but the “high” will only be felt for four hours on a single dose.

While Xanax is a fast-acting drug, it does not last for very long, which is why the drug is often abused. A user needs to keep taking the drug to achieve the desired effects, and will eventually build up a tolerance, which leads to higher dosage and frequency, eventually building into a dependence and addiction.

Your doctor will often recommend taking the drug several times during the day, depending on what it is being prescribed to treat.

How Long Does a Xanax High Take to Kick In?

Xanax that is taken by mouth and absorbed into the bloodstream typically takes under an hour to feel its effects. Xanax reaches peak concentration after one or two hours after ingestion.

Xanax is advertised as relieving anxiety within a half an hour or taking an oral dosage. A person can begin to feel effects from a single dose of Xanax in about 15 to 30 minutes. Users will feel its effects for a few hours, reaching its peak levels in the blood at one to two hours. This is when the drug has taken its full effect.

A 0.25mg dose is usually enough to reach these effects, but it all depends on a person’s tolerance and history with the drug. There will also be differences in doses based on body weight and other factors. There doesn’t seem to be any correlation between taking the drug with food and accelerating or slowing the high.

When a person crushes and snorts the powder from the tablets, they will feel a high more immediately, but this is a very dangerous way to take the drug. Snorting Xanax can give a near immediate delivery of alprazolam to the person’s brain and increases the person’s risk of side effects or overdose.

How Long Does Xanax Stay in the Body?

While Xanax kicks in in 15 to 30 minutes and reaches its peak in around an hour or two, the full effects of the drug will only last for an average of about five hours. But Xanax will actually remain in a user’s bloodstream long after its effects stop being felt. This is because Xanax has a half-life of about 11 hours.

A half-life is the period of time it takes for half of a drug’s dose in the blood to be eliminated. Therefore, it takes 11 hours to eliminate half of the dose of Xanax taken, and several more half-lives for the drug to be completely eliminated from a person’s system. This means it can actually take several days for the body to rid itself of all traces of Xanax.

However, because the drug’s effects wear off after just a few hours, Xanax is usually prescribed to be taken several times a day. Those who abuse Xanax will also take it more frequently which will make it take much longer for the drug to be eliminated from the bloodstream. When there is chronic or heavy use of the drug, Xanax can be detected up to a month and a half after the last dose was taken.

There Are Several Other Factors to Consider For How Long a Xanax High Will Last

The duration of action for Xanax, or when its effects are felt, is affected by several other factors, including a person’s age, weight and health history. If a person has liver disease, it will also cause it to take longer for the person to eliminate Xanax from their system. For some people, the drug may stay in their bloodstream two or more days after taking even just one pill.

When a person takes Xanax regularly, they will maintain a higher level of the drug in their bloodstream. For these people, it will take several weeks to eliminate it from their bloodstream. And even after it is out of the blood, it will pass into the person’s urine, where it can be detected even longer after the final dose.

Now that you understand how long a Xanax high will last, it’s important to also understand how it actually gets you high.

How Does Xanax Get You High?

Xanax is classified as a benzodiazepine, the effects of benzodiazepines are used in medical treatment as a central nervous system depressant. Benzodiazepines are currently among the most widely abused prescription medication drugs available and people are taking benzodiazepines (prescription medication like xanax and clonazepam aka klonopin) without proper medical supervision which can even quickly lead to substance abuse. The medication/drug is often abused because of its fast-acting, relaxed high that it can give those who take it.

Xanax is designed to decrease abnormal brain activity and create a calming sedative effect on a user’s mind and body. As a depressant affecting the central nervous system (CNS), Xanax slows your brain activity. Specifically, Xanax increases a person’s GABA activity, which restores your brain to its natural balance, and reduces your “excitability.” Different CNS drugs function in different ways, but the primary effect of Xanax increasing GABA activity is a feeling of calm or drowsiness.

This is beneficial to those using it as prescribed for anxiety, sleep disorders or other mental health issues, but for others who use the drug recreationally, or those who abuse their prescription, Xanax can become highly addictive and lead to problems.

While it typically relieves anxiety and relaxes a user’s body, a Xanax high can also sometimes trigger feelings of euphoria. This is only seen in a small fraction of people who use the drug, under one percent. Alprazolam, the active ingredient in Xanax, causes the positive mood feelings and other effects that are related to the euphoric high felt by this small fraction of users.

Other signs of a Xanax high include dizziness, lightheadedness, and unsteady balance. Xanax can also produce extremely unpleasant and sometimes dangerous side effects. These include intense drowsiness, stomach issues and changes in a person’s mood. Someone with a bad Xanax high can become very irritable.

The scary thing is that this is not necessarily limited to someone who has taken too much of the drug. A high dose makes a person more likely to experience side effects, but a person taking the drug in normal doses can also deal with serious side effects, which can even be as serious as seizures, hallucinations or suicidal thoughts. There is no way to predict who will or won’t experience adverse symptoms.

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Is There Anything That Makes a Xanax Work Faster?

Yes, there is, but it can sometimes be dangerous. One safer tactic is when taking immediate release Xanax, to dissolve it under the tongue rather than swallowing it. This will release the effects more quickly, however, they won’t last as long. This is a good trick to use if a person is having an anxiety attack, to help make sure it doesn’t get out of control.

Users should never crush and snort Xanax, as it can be quite dangerous and cause a seizure or overdose. Xanax should also never be taken with alcohol, as Xanax will actually increase the effects of alcohol, and further, impair a person’s reactions and thinking. In these cases, the person should absolutely never drive or do anything that requires them to be alert.

One odd combination that can cause bad side effects is if a person were to take Xanax with grapefruit juice. This can cause issues because grapefruit juice is metabolized by the same enzyme in the liver that breaks down Xanax. When a person’s system becomes overloaded, or “swamped,” it will not be able to break down the Xanax, which could build it up to dangerous levels in the person’s blood. This is actually the same interaction that causes issues with alcohol.

What is the Proper Way to Take Xanax?

Xanax is only meant to be taken as prescribed by your doctor. It is unwise to take larger and even smaller doses or to use it for longer periods than recommended. Whenever side effects are encountered, your doctor should be contacted immediately, but you should not stop taking the drug without your doctor’s advice. Quitting Xanax cold turkey can be very dangerous. You will have to taper down your dosage for a safe detoxification process.

Specifically, Xanax should be swallowed whole without crushing, chewing or breaking the tablet. Extended-release tablets are made specifically to ensure that the drug is released slowly into the body. If a person were to crush, chew or break the tablet, the Xanax would be released immediately and will give a quicker high, but will not last as long. This can lead to taking too much of the drug. Your doctor will prescribe what he or she feels is the appropriate amount to achieve the drug’s desired effect while avoiding dependence or any potential withdrawal symptoms.

If your Xanax does not seem to be working to treat whatever it was prescribed for, see your doctor. Do not up your dosage on your own. And again, do not stop taking it abruptly. Withdrawal symptoms can be severe and even cause seizures or death.

Xanax should be stored at room temperature away from light, heat, and moisture. You should make sure no one else has access to your drugs.

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What are the Effects of Xanax?

The short-term effects of Xanax are generally quite positive for the user, but for others, things can take a turn for the worse. Usually, Xanax will make a person feel relaxed or drowsy. Effects on the body can include dizziness, drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, irritability, headache, nausea, extra talkativeness and even joint pain. Xanax users will also feel less tension. Eventually, when a person keeps trying to achieve a euphoric high, they will develop an addiction to the drug.

Other effects on the Central Nervous System can include depression, fatigue, impaired coordination or memory, less articulate speech, insomnia, and lightheadedness. It does not take long for a person to start experiencing adverse effects to the drug. Learn more about the side effects and how long Xanax can stay in your system.

How Does a Person Develop a Xanax Dependency?

When a person continually uses Xanax, especially when taken in larger dosages, it opens the door to Xanax abuse by developing a chemical dependency to the drug. When a person develops a Xanax dependence, their body will not be able to function properly without it. Users can actually become dependent even if they take the drug as prescribed, but it is more often seen in those who abuse the drug.

When a person takes the drug over a longer period of time, they may build a tolerance to the drug. The body will then require a larger and/or more frequent dosage to feel the same or similar high.

To give yourself the best chance to avoid Xanax withdrawal and the nasty symptoms that come with it, make sure you take the drug exactly as prescribed.

Xanax high

Seeking Help for Xanax Addiction

We understand how hard the cravings can be and how difficult addiction is, so we urge you to take your first step towards recovery now and avoid the long-term effects of substance abuse. You can do it. You can achieve a clean and sober life of happiness.

If you are seeking help for an addiction to Xanax or any other benzodiazepines, call us today at 678-293-9115 to speak with an addiction specialist about detox treatment options. 

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Carter, Alan. “How Long Does Xanax Last?” Health Line. 20 Nov. 2017. 28 Feb. 2019.

T Buddy, “How Long Does Xanax (Alprazolam) Stay in Your System?” Verywell Mind. 26 Sep. 2018. 28 Feb. 2019.

“The Effects of Xanax Use” 28 Feb. 2019.


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