Xanax Symptoms, Signs & Side Effects

Just as with other states, there are many people in Colorado including cities like Boulder, Denver and Colorado Springs that struggle with addiction to prescription drugs.

One class of prescription drugs that’s very commonly prescribed, and unfortunately, also abused are benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are powerful drugs that were first introduced in the 1970s. Of benzos, Xanax which is the brand name of alprazolam is one of the most widely abused.

The following provides an overview of things including Xanax side effects, signs of Xanax addiction, and Xanax overdose symptoms.

Xanax Side Effects

Many of the Xanax side effects that occur most commonly with the use of this drug are the result of how it acts on the brain and body. Xanax is a drug prescribed to treat anxiety and panic disorders primarily, and it has a calming and sedative effect.

For people with true panic or anxiety disorders, the short-term effects can be highly beneficial, but even when someone has a legitimate prescription for the drug, side effects can occur.

Short-term side effects of Xanax can include cognitive problems, extreme sleepiness, and slurred speech. For a lot of people, the side effects from Xanax are similar to being intoxicated from alcohol.

For people who take high doses, the side effects of Xanax may be even more pronounced and may include profound confusion and disorientation.

Xanax Addiction Signs

Xanax abuse is something that’s different from an actual Xanax addiction, and there are differences in the side effects and signs of these two scenarios.

With Xanax addiction, someone has progressed beyond just abusing the drug, and they have a psychological and often a physical dependence to it.

Signs of Xanax addiction often relate to the person’s behavior. For example, Xanax addiction signs may include doctor shopping to get multiple prescriptions, stealing from friends and family, being secretive or lying, or being preoccupied with obtaining more Xanax.

People who are addicted to Xanax tend to make it their top priority in their life, even above things like their career as well as their relationships.

Xanax addiction signs can also include purchasing the drug illegally, taking it even when negative consequences occur, or trying to stop taking Xanax and being unsuccessful.

Xanax Symptoms

As was touched on above, Xanax has sedative properties, which relate to many of the side effects of this drug.  People who are using or abusing the drug may show signs such as having slurred speech and motor and coordination problems. They may seem extremely drowsy as well.

Most of the Xanax signs and symptoms of use are pretty similar to using alcohol.

The higher the dose a person takes, the more obvious Xanax signs and symptoms may be to outside observers.

Some of the other Xanax signs and symptoms can include dizziness, headaches and dry mouth. People who use Xanax may have problems with their sex drive or performance, urination problems and changes in weight. Less common but also potential Xanax signs and symptoms of use can include depression, memory problems, skin rashes and constipation.

Side Effects of Xanax Abuse

Typically Xanax abuse can be defined in a few different ways. The first scenario would be if someone didn’t have a prescription for Xanax at all, but took it recreationally. In any situation when taken without a prescription it can be considered one of the signs of Xanax abuse.

Another one of the Xanax signs of abuse is someone who has a prescription for Xanax but doesn’t take it as directed. A person may take a higher dose of Xanax or take it more often than they’re prescribed, and this is considered one of the signs of Xanax abuse.

Another one of the Xanax signs of abuse occurs when someone takes Xanax in a different way than what they’re instructed in terms of crushing it up and snorting it as an example, for a faster high.

Also relevant to the discussion of the signs of Xanax abuse is pairing it with other substances, such as alcohol or opioids. This is considered one of the Xanax signs of abuse, regardless of the factors surrounding the situation.

Xanax Overdose Symptoms

Xanax overdose is a very real and scary scenario that can occur with the use or abuse of this drug. When someone takes Xanax, it slows the activity of certain chemicals in their brain, and if they take too much or mix Xanax with another substance, the activity can be so slow that a person overdoses.

A Xanax can occur intentionally but also accidentally. For example, it’s not that uncommon for people to mix Xanax with alcohol, but they don’t realize that this can easily lead to an overdose.

Signs of a Xanax overdose tend to include extreme drowsiness and coordination problems, confusion, lightheadedness and breathing problems. Fainting can also be one of the signs of a Xanax overdose.

The most common situations with a Xanax overdose do occur when someone has mixed it with another drug.

Drug overdose can be fatal. If you suspect someone is experiencing an overdose, call 911 immediately. Do NOT be afraid to seek help. If you do not have access to a phone contact Colorado Poison Center for online assistance.

Xanax High Symptoms

When people take more Xanax than they’re meant to or abuse the drug, they may achieve a high from it. It’s possible to feel high from using it as prescribed as well, although it’s not as common.

Some of the Xanax high symptoms can appear to outsiders as someone who’s very drowsy, incredibly relaxed or the person may appear to have a sense of well-being.

People who are high on Xanax aren’t going to act like someone who’s high on a stimulant drug like cocaine since the properties and effects are different.

Xanax Side Effects Long-Term

Most of the time when we hear about the signs and side effects of Xanax abuse the focus is on the short-term, but what if you’re a long-term user of Xanax? What are Xanax side effects in the long-term?

When people abuse Xanax or other sedatives over the long-term, it can lead to mood disorders like depression, psychotic episodes, aggression, and problems in cognition. One of the most common Xanax side effects in the long-term is memory impairment, and some people who abuse the drug in the long-term may experience prolonged periods of sedation as well.

Of course, two other primary Xanax side effects in the long-term include psychological addiction and physical dependence. With physical dependence, someone who has been taking Xanax for a period of time will have withdrawal symptoms if they suddenly stop using the drug.

Xanax side effects on weight are also possible, particularly with long-term use. Xanax side effects on weight usually indicate weight gain with prolonged use of the drug. Even in people who take Xanax as prescribed the occurrence of weight gain is relatively high.

If you or a loved one may has a problem with Xanax, it’s important to seek help whether that’s at The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake which serves people in Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, statewide and nationwide, or at an out-of-state facility.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.