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Oxazepam Withdrawal: Learn the Timeline, Symptoms, Detox

Oxazepam (brand name Serax) is a type of medication known as a benzodiazepine. It is a sedative that works by calming the central nervous system, and it is commonly prescribed for insomnia and anxiety.

About 50 million benzodiazepine prescriptions are written each year in the United States. Dependence to benzodiazepines is common. In fact, about 11,000 deaths due to benzodiazepine overdose occurred in 2016. Once someone develops a tolerance to benzodiazepines like oxazepam, it can be easy to slide into addiction. The body craves it more, and it is hard to stop taking.  Withdrawal is uncomfortable and difficult. Learn more below about oxazepam withdrawal and how to get treatment. 

What Are the Oxazepam Withdrawal Symptoms?

Like the withdrawal syndrome caused by other benzodiazepines, oxazepam withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Disturbed sleep
  • Irritability
  • Increase in tension and anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Hand tremor
  • Sweating
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Dry heaves
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Heart palpitations
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain and stiffness
  • Seizures
  • Psychotic reactions

What Are the Stages of the Oxazepam Withdrawal Timeline?

Benzodiazepine withdrawal can occur in different patterns, which can also happen with oxazepam withdrawal. Oxazepam withdrawal usually falls under a “rebound” pattern but, depending on how long someone has been abusing it or how much they have been taking, oxazepam withdrawal symptoms may also result in a more difficult form of withdrawal known as withdrawal syndrome.

If someone also has a co-occurring dependence on another substance such as alcohol or other sedatives, withdrawal may be even more difficult.

The oxazepam withdrawal timeline may include:


  • Occurs within one to four days after stopping the drug
  • Symptoms include anxiety and depression

Withdrawal Syndrome

  • Usually lasts about 10 to 14 days
  • Includes a spectrum of symptoms, which may include: tremors, sleep disturbance, weight loss, mood disturbance, sweating, and vision problems.

A third pattern known as protracted withdrawal syndrome may also develop after a couple of weeks of withdrawal. This primarily includes feelings of anxiety that may last for months after last taking the drug.

Why Should I Detox?

It can be difficult and painful to quit using drugs cold turkey, and in some cases, including oxazepam withdrawal, it can be dangerous.

Although quitting cold turkey may seem like a good idea, withdrawing on your own without professional medical help can be very challenging given the difficult physical and psychological symptoms. Finding a professional, medically-assisted detox program to support you during oxazepam withdrawal ensures that you will be carefully monitored in a safe environment while your body goes through the difficult, and sometimes painful, detoxification process. Going through an addiction treatment program also positions you for a better chance at lasting recovery because of the structured medical and emotional support provided.

What is the Next Treatment Step?

A full continuum of treatment ensures the best opportunity for a successful recovery. Following a full continuum of treatment means starting with the medical detox process and then progressing gradually from an inpatient status to outpatient treatment. You will then have the opportunity to participate in an alumni program after the formal treatment program is completed. The stages of addiction treatment include:


Your primary goal is medical stabilization during the first stage of withdrawal treatment, which is known as detox. Expect the detox stage to last from a few days up to a week. When you arrive, your medical team—which will include doctors, nurses, and support staff— will complete your comprehensive medical assessment, which will help determine your level of addiction and additional medical needs you may have. The assessment includes a medical exam plus a urine screening for drugs.

Your medical team will monitor you 24/7 to help manage uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and prevent dangerous Oxazepam withdrawal symptoms.

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Many people also experience anxiety, depression, and other emotional and psychological challenges during the detox period. Your treatment plan will also include comprehensive support to help you with these symptoms. A longer-term treatment plan will be put into place for you once you are medically stabilized.

Residential Treatment

If you and the treatment team determine that you need further medical treatment, you may continue the next stage of treatment on an inpatient basis, which might be because of co-occurring medical conditions or post-acute withdrawal symptoms. Inpatient treatment is intensive and includes 24/7 clinical monitoring. At this stage, you will start seeing a therapist regularly to help you process the emotional and psychological aspects of addiction and recovery.

Partial Hospitalization

Partial hospitalization (PHP) is in-between outpatient treatment and inpatient care. The goal of PHP is to stabilize your mental status and better prepare you for success once you return to independent living after you leave the treatment center. During this stage, you’ll live at a transitional living facility while undergoing a supportive and rigorous treatment program. This program will be five days a week for six hours each day. You will be able to participate in individual, group, and family therapy programs to help you address emotional and mental health needs.

Learning positive life skills, coping mechanisms, and techniques to help prevent relapse so that you will be prepared for long-term recovery will be the primary focus during PHP.

Intensive Outpatient

The next stage is the intensive outpatient program (IOP). An IOP allows you to live at home while also attending counseling and programs to help support your recovery. Depending on your treatment plan, you will participate in about nine or more hours of clinical therapy several times each week.

Intensive outpatient therapy will help you to continue learning new ways to manage cravings, stress, and other challenging issues that may arise once you live on your own again. After you complete the IOP stage, you will transition into the alumni program, which is also known as aftercare.


You will have the opportunity to meet other treatment center alumni during weekly support groups and social events after you complete the formal treatment program. These aftercare opportunities spent with other alumni members can help you develop new friendships and build social support with others who understand the recovery process.

Being a part of this supportive network can help you grow while focusing on your recovery and adjusting to life after the treatment program. It can also be a safe space to share relapse prevention strategies, new experiences, and techniques for stress management. Most of all, it can be a way to enjoy time with new friends.

Start Your Journey to Recovery Today

If you’re ready to start a safe withdrawal from oxazepam, contact the admissions specialists at Ocean Breeze Recovery today for free and confidential help. They can provide the guidance and support you need to start your recovery by walking you through the process and answering any questions you may have.

After speaking with a specialist, you will know what to expect from our evidence-based services and feel confident to make an informed decision about your treatment plans. Our specialists can also check with your private health insurance to see if your treatment costs will be fully covered. Call us today at 844-554-9279 and let us help you get started on your journey to recovery.

Sources (2019, September 18) Oxazepam. Retrieved from

Society for the Study of Addiction. (1994 November) The benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. Petursson, H. Retrieved from (2020, April 1) How Long Does Withdrawal From Benzodiazepines Last? O'Keefe Osborn, C. Retrieved from

Psychology Today. (2010, January 13) Alcohol, Benzos, and Opiates—Withdrawal That Might Kill You. Jaffe, A. PhD Retrieved from

American Society of Addiction Medicine. (2015, May 13)ASAM Continuum. What are the ASAM Levels of Care? Retrieved from

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