Substance Use

What Are the Side Effects of Alprazolam Abuse?

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blue alprazolam pills spilling out of rx bottle

Side Effects of Alprazolam Abuse

Alprazolam, which is more commonly known by its brand name Xanax, is a commonly used and abused prescription medication — so much so that the Keck School of Medicine of USC predict that Xanax addiction and addiction to other benzodiazepines will be the country’s next drug epidemic. In this post, we’ll go over the side effects of alprazolam, including withdrawal symptoms, signs of abuse, and how to get help.

If you or a loved one are struggling with Xanax addiction, you’re not alone. Help is available through Zinnia Healing. Our dedicated and compassionate team of addiction specialists can help you overcome even the toughest addictions. Learn more about our addiction treatment programs here.

What Are the Common Side Effects of Alprazolam?

The most common side effects of Xanax use include the following:

  • Memory loss and “blacking out”
  • Drowsiness
  • Sedation

Now we’ll take a deeper look at alprazolam’s side effects in the short term and long term.

What Are the Short-Term Side Effects of Alprazolam?

Short-term side effects of alprazolam include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Paranoia
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive talking
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Decreased libido
  • Decreased motivation
  • Slurred speech
  • Strange dreams
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Yellow skin and/or eyes
  • Problems with coordination and balance

What Are the Long-Term Side Effects of Alprazolam?

The longer you abuse alprazolam, the higher your chances are of experiencing alprazolam physical dependence, addiction, withdrawal, and overdose.

Long-term effects of Xanax abuse typically manifest as psychological symptoms, such as:

  • Depression
  • Delirium
  • Aggression
  • Impulsivity
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Increased risk of dementia
  • Psychosis

When your body builds up a tolerance to Xanax, it will go into shock when you suddenly stop taking the drug or cut back on how much you take. The following side effects of Xanax withdrawal will likely occur:

  • Vertigo
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Fainting
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Low blood pressure
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Muscle weakness and uncoordinated motor function
  • Shallow breathing
  • Severe allergic reaction
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle cramps
  • Risk of serious injury and death if taken with opioids

Signs of Xanax addiction include:

  • Continued Xanax use despite repeated problems at work, home, school, and in personal relationships.
  • A desire to want to stop using Xanax but an inability to do so.
  • Building up a tolerance to the drug, which requires you to increase your dosage to feel the same effects.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms after stopping or cutting back.
  • Cravings for the drug.
  • Isolating yourself from all responsibilities and obligations, including social activities, family events, and activities you once enjoyed.

Have you been experiencing any of the above symptoms? Contact Zinnia Healing today to learn more about how we can help. Help is standing by 24/7.

Does Alprazolam Affect Your Personality?

Xanax is a sedative drug and will therefore make you feel much more relaxed, detached, and aloof than normal.

Benzos also change the chemistry of the brain, which creates a sense of fearlessness and lowers inhibitions. These feelings can cause the user to take more risks and engage in activities they otherwise would not have, which can lead to serious accidents, financial distress, legal problems, employment problems, and damaged relationships. In fact, statistics show that about 40% of impaired drivers in car crashes have traces of tranquilizers or sedatives in their bloodstream.

Other ways that Xanax use can alter your personality include:

  • Lack of motivation
  • Lack of interest in daily activities
  • Increased rage
  • Heightened anxiety
  • Depression and feelings of worthlessness
  • Suicidal ideations

What Drugs, Substances, or Supplements Interact with Alprazolam?

Xanax is a strong drug on its own. Unfortunately, many people don’t take Xanax alone. Instead, they take it with other substances to enhance the feelings of relaxation and euphoria. Combining alprazolam with other substances can produce dangerous side effects.

If you have any concerns about what medications you can take with Xanax, seek medical advice from a healthcare professional immediately.

Alprazolam and Central Nervous System Depressants

Xanax is a CNS depressant. There are three main classes of these drugs:

  • Benzodiazepines, includingXanax, Klonopin, Valium, and Ativan
  • Non-benzodiazepine sedative-hypnotics, includingZolpidem
  • Barbituates, including mephobarbital and phenobarbital

Alprazolam and Alcohol

Alprazolam and alcohol can be a life-threatening combination, as both suppress the CNS. The most serious effects of combining these two substances include: 

  • Decreased functioning of the cardiovascular and respiratory symptoms, which can lead to depressed breathing, heart rate, and oxygen flow to the brain
  • Increased likelihood of coma
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Increased risk of overdose
  • Increased potential for psychosis
  • Development of a substance use disorder — there is a direct link between using two or more substances together and developing an SUD

Alprazolam and Adderall

Alprazolam is a sedative, and Adderall is a stimulant, meaning these drugs have opposite effects and can counteract each other when taken together.

Combining these two prescription medications can lead to the following symptoms:

  • Altered functioning of the brain
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular problems
  • Increased risk of blood pressure and heart problems
  • Liver failure

Alprazolam and Cocaine

Some of the side effects of alprazolam — elevated heart rate, low blood pressure, heart palpitations, and heart attack — are also common side effects of cocaine. Therefore, taking these two substances together puts extreme stress on the heart and lungs and is extremely dangerous. You should never combine Xanax and cocaine.

Alprazolam and Heroin

Heroin and alprazolam both depress brain functioning. The only difference is that heroin does this via opioid receptors in the brain, and alprazolam does it by increasing Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

Both of these brain activities can lead to slowed and shallow breathing and, when taken together, can depress the respiratory system to fatal levels.

Alprazolam and Gabapentin

Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant drug that suppresses the central nervous system, similar to what Xanax does. As a result, combining these two drugs can result in: 

  • Dizziness
  • Poor coordination and lack of balance
  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty concentrating

Zinnia Healing Can Help

If you’re feeling consumed with thoughts of using alprazolam — whether on its own or with other substances — it’s important to know that help is available. The compassionate staff at Zinnia Healing takes a comprehensive approach to treating substance abuse, including any co-occurring mental health issues, therapy that involves family members, detox, medication-assisted therapy for the management of physical symptoms of withdrawal, and inpatient and outpatient programs.

Contact us today at (855) 430-9439 to speak with one of our admissions counselors. We have treatment centers around the country and a wide range of treatment options to help you find a custom approach with lasting results.