Taking A Xanax Drug Test

Whether done voluntarily, or court ordered, there are some things to know about taking a Xanax drug test. Understanding the uses of this drug, as well as how long it stays in the system can help to determine whether your or a loved one should seek treatment for an addiction to Xanax.

Last Edited: 07/29/2021

Author: Melissa Knight Melissa Knight

Clinically Reviewed:

07/28/2021

Medical Reviewer:

Dr. Tasnova Malek

Dr. Tasnova Malek

Xanax is a popular drug known for treating anxiety and panic disorders. However, some employers and governing bodies require individuals to take a drug test for various reasons. Have you been taking this drug illicitly, and wondering how long does Xanax stays in your system? Understand the timelines and how to get addiction help.

What Is Xanax And What Is It Used For?

Xanax is the brand name for the generic drug called alprazolam. Alprazolam, belonging from the class of benzodiazepines, are recognized for their ability to treat anxiety and panic disorders. The main effects of the drug to achieve treatment of these conditions include the following:

  • Relaxing the muscles
  • Reducing brain activity
  • Slowing down breathing and heart rate
  • Inducing drowsiness
  • Limiting neural excitement related to convulsions

Primarily, Xanax is administered orally through a tabler, extended-release tablet, or an oral dissolving tablet. The type and amount of Xanax prescribed depends on the medical needs of the patient.

What are the effects of Xanax?

As previously mentioned, there are varying purposes for the use of this drug. Nevertheless, there are also potential side effects whether one takes the right dosage or abuses Xanax. The effects are more pronounced when one misuses Xanax, thus, these are the signs individuals need to look out for:

  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Increased sleepiness
  • Low energy
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Impaired memory
  • Chest pain
  • Changes in weight or appetite
  • Incomprehensible speech
  • Incontinence
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Weakness

How Long Does Xanax Last?

The effects of Xanax depend on the dosage and the person’s metabolism, but the intended effects of the drug typically last for about 8-12 hours. During this time, people with anxiety may feel more calm and collected. Those with panic disorders will have minimal to no panic attacks, and insomniacs will be able to sleep.

It is important to know that these effects can eventually shorten when there is a misuse of the drug, as what usually happens when a person develops tolerance. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Xanax is a Schedule IV controlled substance, with a potential for abuse when taken beyond the intended dosage.

How Quickly Does Xanax Leave The Body?

To give a better perspective on answering this question, it is helpful to understand the half-life of substances. All drugs, such as Xanax, have what we call half-lives, or the amount of time it takes for the body to process substances to decrease half from its initial dosage.

Having said that, the average half-life of Xanax is about 11-12 hours. This means that for Xanax urine tests to appear negative, you must wait for a minimum of 4 days on average until it totally leaves your system. However, this is not the same rate for people–those who are suffering from Xanax misuse, or taking a high dosage of the drug may wait longer than that when they are expecting to have a test.

How Long Does Xanax Stay In Your System?

A drug’s length of stay in your body depends on several factors. We can only rely on averages with moderate confidence since everyone has different biological and external factors that may influence these numbers:

  • A person’s physical health: Drugs are processed primarily by the kidneys and liver, ready to be excreted through urine, sweat, saliva, and other bodily fluids and waste. When there are kidney and liver problems, it may take longer to remove Xanax from the body.
  • Amount and frequency of dosage: People who ask, “How long do bars stay in your system” should also consider the amount and frequency of Xanax intake. If you are recommended a higher dosage, you will need to wait longer times to pass a drug test negative of this substance.
  • Type of drug or drug combination: Some illicit types of Xanax may be combined with other drugs that disrupt their usual half-lives. In other instances, the interactions of different drugs taken can also affect the person’s metabolism of the substances.

If you are wondering how long Xanax stays in urine, saliva, blood, sweat, or any type of excretion, the only sure way to determine that it is completely out of your body is through complete, long-term abstinence. If you continuously take or abuse the drug, there is always a possibility that Xanax will be detected using any of the drug tests to be administered.

How And Why Do People Test For Xanax?

Many individuals wonder how long does Xanax stay in the system urine test, blood test, or saliva test because they are faced with an impending evaluation. People test for Xanax for various reasons, and many of them are related to occupational and law enforcement purposes. To be more specific, people take a drug test to determine Xanax use if:

  • They are looking for employment and an employer wants to make sure that they are free from any type of drug abuse
  • They are suspected to have a drug use problem and governing bodies would want to make sure
  • An upcoming health procedure or a new prescription is warranted and doctors need to determine if the person is taking contraindicating drugs
  • They are bound to travel
  • They need to pass a background or security check

Typically, a drug test for Xanax would be done through the following steps:

  1. Collecting a sample: You may be asked to present a sample of your urine or saliva using a designated room where you can’t do any manipulations. On other instances, health professionals will draw out blood, or pick hair and skin samples as an alternative to urine and saliva.
  2. Lab test: Your samples will be sent to a lab where they will find traces of Xanax. Lab results will confirm if you have been using the drug over relatively recent periods.

Why Do People Abuse Xanax?

Many prescription drugs such as Xanax are abused unintentionally due to their nature. For example, a person who is suffering from panic attacks or anxiety may become dependent on the drug for their daily functions until it evolves into a full-blown addiction. This common pathway of use, tolerance, and dependency is the story of most people suffering from Xanax abuse.

However, there are also others who are deliberately abusing Xanax. They may or may not have diagnosed anxiety disorders and other conditions treatable by this drug, but they intend to purchase Xanax in illegal marketplaces or acquire them illicitly from their networks. Others may also purchase illegal drug combinations containing Xanax as a means of self-coping strategies for other mental and physical health conditions.

How Do People Develop Xanax Use Disorders?

Addictions develop because of how drugs affect our brains. Substances such as Xanax bind with certain receptors in the brain which causes the relaxing and pleasurable effects. Over time, the individual taking the drugs gets reinforced to keep on taking higher doses of the drug in order to achieve the same effect, a phenomenon called tolerance.

When a person tolerates higher doses of the drug, they will reach a point where it is difficult to function without Xanax, and withdrawal symptoms occur. This is called drug dependency, of which an addiction eventually follows. This typical progression almost always happens when a person misuses Xanax whether intentionally or not.

How Can You Determine If You Have Xanax Use Disorder?

Many signs and symptoms can point to a potential Xanax addiction, but the core things you need to look out for are:

Physical signs:

  • Long-term drowsiness
  • Low energy for most of the day
  • Slurred speech that doesn’t go away
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium
  • Withdrawal symptoms: Seizures, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, flu-like malaise
  • Cognitive problems

Behavior symptoms:

  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Running into legal problems
  • Financial issues
  • Social isolation
  • Relationship strain
  • Drug paraphernalia and suspicious tablets

These are just some of the myriad of signs, but the best thing is to follow your instincts. If you suspect Xanax abuse in yourself or a loved one, it is best to get help as soon as possible to prevent the life-threatening effects of long-term addiction and overdose.

What Problems Can Come From Xanax Abuse?

Drug addiction affects a person’s overall life. It can damage their physical and mental health, their relationships, occupations, and other areas of their lives that they find meaning in. Xanax abuse can cause the following:

Physical and mental health problems

  • Irregular heart rate (Tachycardia)
  • Breathing problems
  • Poor muscular coordination
  • Kidney and liver issues
  • Poor memory
  • Mood swings
  • Overdose
  • Organ shutdown
  • Death

External problems

  • Relationship issues: Marital arguments, domestic abuse, changes in interactions
  • Financial issues
  • Job loss
  • Poor academic performance
  • Law enforcement problems due to criminal or risky behaviors

These problems may not occur all at once, but they can gradually harm a person over time as the drug abuse progresses.

Xanax Abuse? It’s Not The End

Xanax abuse doesn’t have to be permanent. The truth is, there are resources available for people who want to break free from Xanax addiction. Below are the steps you can follow in order to get the right kind of help:

  1. Get in touch with a trusted addiction counselor: Be sure to contact a high-quality rehab center that has evidence-based treatment options for Xanax abuse. They will guide you through the process of assessment, management, and provision of aftercare programs.
  2. Prepare for the upcoming rehab program: There are several preparations needed to undergo rehab, such as personal, financial, and occupational obligations. Rehab centers can help you verify your insurance to make sure that addiction treatment is covered by your provider, and you can start making arrangements for personal, work, or school responsibilities.
  3. Talk to trusted loved ones: Another helpful step is to share your addiction treatment journey to a loved one who knows will be supportive of your decision. It takes a single decision to start treatment, but it takes a loving and caring community to help you stay in your recovery journey.

You may have encountered this article in the hopes of just ‘getting by’ and passing your drug test–but know that Xanax abuse doesn’t have to be a permanent hurdle for you to be your best self. By taking the first step towards recovery, you can break free from Xanax abuse and remove it completely not just from your body but also from your life.

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Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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