Oxazepam (also sold under the brand name Serax) is a prescription medication used to treat a number of disorders, including insomnia, anxiety, and acute alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Part of the benzodiazepine class of medications, oxazepam acts as a sedative, suppressing brain functions and relieving anxiety. Intended as a short-term treatment, oxazepam can become addictive if taken for an extended period, typically longer than four weeks.

People who abruptly stop taking oxazepam after prolonged use often experience painful physical and mental symptoms known as oxazepam withdrawal. Without medical help, this process can be deadly because of the risk of seizures. Other symptoms include muscle pain and vomiting.

The Risks of Stopping Oxazepam Cold Turkey

Some people addicted to oxazepam may decide to “quit cold turkey” and abruptly stop taking the drug. This can result in painful and possibly life-threatening symptoms. Health professionals recommend that people addicted to benzodiazepine medications like oxazepam withdrawal from the drugs with medical help. At a detox facility or drug rehab, the staff can gradually wean addictive users off oxazepam in a process known as a taper.

Oxazepam vs. Xanax (Alprazolam): What’s the Difference?

Xanax (alprazolam) is the most popular and commonly abused benzodiazepine drug. Xanax, often used to treat panic attacks, affects the body quickly. In contrast, oxazepam takes longer to start working and is typically less potent. Developed in 1965, oxazepam has fallen out of favor and is not widely prescribed in the United States. However, oxazepam and other benzodiazepines should not be considered a “safer high” and substituted for Xanax. oxazepam can also be addictive, and its withdrawal symptoms can be fatal.

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Oxazepam Withdrawal Symptoms

Oxazepam Withdrawal Symptoms

Symptoms of oxazepam withdrawal vary, depending on the length of use and the amount taken. Abusing other substances, such as alcohol, along with oxazepam can exacerbate the withdrawal process.

Mild Symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Muscle pain
  • Restlessness
  • Tension

Chronic Symptoms

  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting

Severe Symptoms

  • Delirium tremens
  • Hallucinations
  • Memory loss
  • Paranoid psychosis
  • Seizures

Oxazepam Withdrawal Timeline

Oxazepam Withdrawal Timeline
  • First 1-3 Days

    The heaviest users of oxazepam can experience withdrawal symptoms about a day after their last use. They can experience excessive sweating, rapid heart rate, and anxiety. However, some users may not experience physical symptoms until later–this is called the “rebound” period.


  • First 4-7 Days

    Most physical side effects begin to fade in this period. But many former users still report having insomnia and anxiety.


  • Second Week

    Withdrawal symptoms from many benzodiazepines like oxazepam can rebound about two weeks after the last use. The withdrawal symptoms from oxazepam can be the most painful and dangerous during this time. Serious side effects, such as seizures, nausea, and muscle pain, are all possible without proper medical supervision.


  • First Few Weeks

    Former oxazepam users begin to recover as most symptoms fade. However, many experience Post Acute Withdrawals Symptoms (PAWS), which include cravings, depression, and irritability. Continued treatment can help former users through this period.

Oxazepam Withdrawal Detox and Treatment

Oxazepam Withdrawal Treatment and Detox

How to Safely Withdrawal from Oxazepam (Chlordiazepoxide)

The safest way to withdrawal from oxazepam is to have a health professional administer a taper to gradually wean clients off the drug. At detox and drug rehab, staff can monitor clients as they safely withdraw from the drug. This also can prevent a return to use or relapse as clients cope with uncomfortable symptoms like depression, anxiety, and cravings for the drug. It’s also important that clients are honest about the extent of their oxazepam use so the staff can properly implement the taper.

Continue Treatment after Detox

Because the symptoms of oxazepam withdrawal can last for weeks, it is highly recommended that former users attend an inpatient or outpatient drug treatment program to ensure success. Oxazepam users often receive Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to put clients on the path to long-term recovery.

Need Help Finding Treatment in Your Area? Drug Treatment Center Finder Can Help

Drug Treatment Center Finder has a database filled with drug rehabs in all 50 states. We can help you find a drug treatment center in your area. If you have questions on withdrawal detox and treatment, call our 24-hour hotline at (855) 619-8070, and one of our call agents will walk you through the addiction treatment process.

Oxazepam Withdrawal FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about Oxazepam Withdrawal
  • Can stopping oxazepam cold turkey lead to death?

    Like all benzodiazepine drugs, oxazepam can lead a potentially fatal seizures if abruptly stopped. Quitting cold turkey can result in other painful symptoms, such as insomnia, that could encourage a return to use. For this reason, health professionals advise that addicted users seek medical help to stop using oxazepam.


  • How long do oxazepam withdrawal symptoms last?

    Withdrawal symptoms from oxazepam can appear about 24 hours after the last use and can return or “rebound” about two weeks after stopping oxazepam.


  • Are there home remedies to detox from oxazepam?

    Home remedies are not an effective treatment for oxazepam withdrawal. Attempting to withdraw from oxazepam using home remedies is extremely dangerous because of the risk of seizures. The safest and most effective way to detox from oxazepam is to gradually reduce the dosage with medical supervision.


  • What’s the best way to get off oxazepam?

    The best way to get off oxazepam is to seek professional drug treatment and have a medical team supervise your withdrawal process. If you need help finding a drug rehab in your area, Drug Treatment Center Finder can help you begin your journey toward recovery. Call our 24-hour hotline at (855) 619-8070, and one of our call agents will be available to answer any questions you may have about oxazepam addiction and the right treatment methods to pursue.