Substance Use

What Are the Side Effects of Xanax Abuse?

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Xanax Abuse Side Effects

Alprazolam, commonly sold as Xanax, is one of the most frequently prescribed psychotropic medications for anxiety and panic disorders in the United States, according to the National Library of Medicine. Xanax is a benzodiazepine that binds to the GABA-A receptor in the central nervous system, creating a calming effect.  

Although Xanax is the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepine, specialists argue that it is highly addictive and its risks may outweigh the benefits. According to OHSU, all patients who take benzodiazepines long-term will develop physiologic dependence on the medication, require escalating doses, and develop withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking it. Therefore, a tapering dose is needed to avoid Xanax withdrawal symptoms. 

Abusing Xanax increases the risk of withdrawal and future side effects brought on by complications. In addition, since alprazolam works on the central nervous system, mood swings are possible when using too much of this medication. 

If you’re displaying signs of Xanax abuse and you can’t stop, Zinnia Health can help. We provide various treatment options, including medication-assisted detox, therapy, and outpatient aftercare support. Call us at (855) 430-9439 to find out more. 

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What Are Common Side Effects of Xanax Abuse?

People who abuse Xanax will experience side effects caused by a slightly depressed central nervous system. This results in drowsiness, insomnia, impaired motor skills, and a lack of coordination. In addition, some may experience serious side effects from using Xanax with another medication or substance. 

These side effects include:

  • Respiratory distress
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Coma
  • Death

The illicit use of Xanax in large doses can result in a fatal overdose, especially if used along with another medication that causes central nervous system depression.

According to The National Library of Medicine, the outcome of mixing these medications is generally poor and often results in death. Overdosing on Xanax alone presents a better outcome, though some complications can be long-term.

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration announced that fake Xanax containing fentanyl is being sold on the street. This deadly drug is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. An individual who abuses Xanax containing fentanyl may display the following side effects:

  • Extreme happiness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Sedation
  • Unconsciousness 

What Are Short-Term Side Effects of Xanax Abuse?

Alprazolam abuse can involve taking more alprazolam than prescribed or purposely taking it along with other substances to enhance the benefits. 

When taken beyond the prescribed dosage, you may experience a sedative effect. You will also experience the following short-term side effects caused by benzodiazepine toxicity:

  • Slurred speech 
  • Altered mental status
  • Mild drowsiness
  • Coma-like unresponsiveness
  • Respiratory depression

These physical symptoms will resolve once serum levels of alprazolam decrease. This requires hospitalization for supportive care. Without professional medical treatment, the individual is at risk of complications that could be deadly.  

What Are Long-Term Side Effects of Xanax Abuse?

Benzodiazepines such as Xanax cause changes in the brain that trigger dependency over time. When Xanax is suddenly absent, the brain may not function effectively. As a result, emotional responses to withdrawal are common and may continue for some time unless treatment is administered.

Xanax withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Delirium
  • Psychosis
  • High adrenaline

Individuals who abuse Xanax will need medical assistance to treat troubling side effects and withdrawal symptoms. Most often, this person will require detox in a rehab facility to reduce exposure safely and gradually. This allows their brain to respond effectively despite the absence of Xanax. It is not advisable to quit cold turkey

Xanax withdrawal is hard to manage without medical supervision. And withdrawal symptoms may cause subsequent drug abuse. If you or a loved one are at risk of excessive drug use, Zinnia Health can help. We offer medical detox treatment programs to help you quit. Call us at (855) 430-9439 to learn more. 

Does Xanax Abuse Affect Your Personality?

Using Xanax in the manner prescribed can cause psychological symptoms consistent with anti-anxiety medication. 

These include the following side effects :

  • A calming effect
  • Drowsiness
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Difficulty concentrating

However, individuals who abuse Xanax in large doses risk becoming addicted. A Xanax addict will have turbulent mood swings and violent outbursts. They may also forget deadlines and have memory problems in general. People who abuse Xanax are also lethargic. 

Xanax addiction and abuse do not display the same behavioral signs as classic opioid addiction. For example, someone who abuses Xanax may not resort to stealing to obtain the drug, but they often take more than they should use after saying they won’t.

Other personality changes include:

  • Short temper
  • Risk-taking behavior 

What Drugs, Substances, or Supplements Interact with Xanax?

Xanax is known to cause interactions when taken with certain drugs. These interactions vary in severity and can range from person to person. Drugs that most commonly cause interactions when taken with Xanax include:

  • Opioids: Using Xanax with opioids can depress the respiratory system, resulting in difficulty breathing or the inability to breathe.  
  • Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants
  • Imipramine and Desipramine: Using Xanax at a dosage of 4 mg and up increases the plasma concentration of imipramine and desipramine.
  • Fluoxetine: Fluoxetine increases the half-life of alprazolam. This means it will take longer for alprazolam to leave your system.
  • Propoxyphene: This medication increases the half-life of alprazolam.
  • Birth Control: This medication increases the half-life of alprazolam.

Other prescription drugs include:

  • Amiodarone
  • Antidepressants
  • Antifungals 
  • Antihistamines
  • Cyclosporine 
  • Diltiazem 
  • Ergotamine 
  • Erythromycin 
  • Isoniazid 
  • Medications for mental illness and seizures
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Sedatives
  • Sleeping pills
  • Tranquilizers

Xanax interacts with any drug or supplement that acts as a CYP3A inhibitor. For this reason, it’s best to let your physician know if you’re taking any medication or supplement before starting alprazolam. 

Zinnia Health Can Help

If you are struggling to stop using opioids or other substances despite the dangers, Zinnia Health can help. Our addiction treatment centers are fully accredited and include medical detox and mental health treatment. Call us at (855) 430-9439 to find out more.

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